NCIS Season 16 Episode 18 Review: Mona Lisa

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That was wild, and a little confusing. 

NCIS Season 16 Episode 18 found Torres in the spotlight, and for all the wrong reasons. As a new viewer to NCIS, I appreciated that "Mona Lisa" put one of the NCIS team in the frame for a crime they did not commit. 

It helped illustrate the way the relationships inside the NCIS were built, but damn, the evidence against Torres was stacking up from the get-go. 

A Dazed and Confused Torres - NCIS

It was a bizarre way to take things for the character, but it highlighted that your drink being spiked is not reserved for bars. Have you ever heard of somebody having their protein shake spiked? It's a stretch, but I'm sure it has to have happened away from the show. 

The breadcrumbs of evidence were intriguing and all, but I couldn't shake the feeling that Torres should have been kept well away from the case. I get that he was battling to remember everything he could but being along for the ride just complicated matters. 

Torres: How the hell did I get here?
Gibbs: You asking me?
Torres: I'm sure I don't even know where here is?
Gibbs: Apex Marina.
Torres: And what happened to me?
Gibbs: Are these rhetorical questions?

Hypothetically speaking, if Torres did turn out to be a cold-blooded killer, I'm sure the NCIS team would have a headache trying to explain that one. I get that NCIS follows a different set of rules, and maybe I'm just overanalyzing because I'm new to the show. 

Gibbs Finds Torres - NCIS Season 16 Episode 18

The evidence was coming through fast and furiously. It was dead end after dead end. The moment the crystals were missing from the lockbox and the way the assistant tried to turn the whole thing on Torres, I figured that she was in on it. 

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What I didn't bank on were the crystals being hidden in the shark tank. It was a brilliant way to try to fleece everyone, but Gibbs is not the type of person to allow someone to get one over on him. 

Torres was in an awkward position throughout "Mona Lisa," and I don't doubt that Bishop believed him. Her issue was that everything was pointing towards him being a murderer. She wouldn't have been able to forgive herself if it turned out she was aiding a man who took a life. 

The Fire in Her Eyes - NCIS Season 16 Episode 13

I suspect they will be friends again before we know it, but I don't think Torres would really know how he would react if the tables were turned unless he was genuinely in that situation. 

Bishop was the one who immediately recognized that there was something amiss when she couldn't get ahold of Torres, so that alone should prove that she's a good friend. 

Related: NCIS Super Bowl Promo Teases Ziva Return

For now, it looks like Bishop will be taking some time to clear out Ziva's secret office, and I could not be more excited. I only started getting intrigued by this series when the Super Bowl teaser for the show strongly suggested that Ziva was making a comeback. 

Bishop: Hey, have you seen Torres?
McGee: Um, I'm doing fine. Thank you for asking.
Bishop: Oh, okay, McGee, I just saw you like eight hours ago. Do we really need to debrief every morning?
McGee: Well, I guess not.

NCIS Season 16 Episode 13 did an excellent job of kicking the mystery into high gear, what with the developments about the office and the notes. But Gibbs seemed like he was hiding something then, and I'm more convinced than ever that he's hiding something now. 

He immediately shut Bishop down when she opened up about the calls to clean the office to the point that he realized he was too tough with her and changed course. He was so passionate about her not going near the office that it made him look like there was more to the tale than meets the eye. 

Ellie Confronts Gibbs - NCIS Season 16 Episode 13

How do we know that he's not already been back there and taken anything that could send the mystery in another direction?

Given that we're approaching the end of NCIS Season 16, it's possible that the storyline will gather steam again, possibly giving us a solid answer by the time the finale airs. Bishop wants answers, and while she never met Ziva, she feels like she knows her based on everything she's heard and read about her. 

It's going to become a passion project of hers, but she also knows that Ziva does not want her to do the digging into the past because her family's well being depends on it apparently. 

Related: Catherine Bell to Join David James Elliott on NCIS: Los Angeles!

Did anyone else think the man from the CIA was going to show Ziva's picture in relation to that wealth of money sitting in the account? It would have been a great way to advance that plot. 

Crawford being the person responsible for all that money was quite the surprise, primarily because of his role as the Secretary of Defense. That's got to sting, and I wouldn't have been surprised if Vince and Gibbs walked out of the CIA dude's office without agreeing to help. 


Vance has been through the mill, and I don't think a CIA operative getting close to him only to break his heart was the best foot forward. The good thing here is that Vance knew there was something amiss about the new woman in his life. 

I did not expect the new necklace to have a microphone in it. That came out of nowhere, but I would have thought someone in the CIA would have checked any new pieces of jewelry from the man they are essentially stalking. 

Just my two cents!

"Mona Lisa" was a decent episode that really set the wheels in motion for the final few episodes of the season. 

What did you think of the way the Torres story was handled? What will Bishop find in Ziva's office? 

Hit the comments below. 

Remember you can watch NCIS online right here via TV Fanatic. 

NCIS continues Tuesdays on CBS at 8/7c.

Mona Lisa Review

Editor Rating: 3.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (40 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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NCIS Season 16 Episode 18 Quotes

Bishop: Hey, have you seen Torres?
McGee: Um, I'm doing fine. Thank you for asking.
Bishop: Oh, okay, McGee, I just saw you like eight hours ago. Do we really need to debrief every morning?
McGee: Well, I guess not.

McGee: How many times did you try calling him?
Bishop: Thirteen, I just, I really hate paperwork.
McGee: No judgments.