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NCIS Review: "One Last Score"

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As if he hadn't already left an indelible mark on NCIS in seven-plus seasons, Michael Weatherly directed a compelling, unique and thoroughly entertaining episode Tuesday.

Michael deserves praise all around, because while "One Last Score" was definitely unusual as NCIS episodes go, it was still terrific, well-acted and perfectly paced.

A lighter tone was indicative of Weatherly as the shot-caller and hit the mark nicely. Even though there were some corpses, there wasn't a deadly serious moment.

That's not to suggest the plot wasn't typically detailed and awfully complex at times. What looked like a standard murder of an NCIS employee became a lot more.

One Last Score Pic

Financier Leona Phelps, a hybrid of Bernie Madoff and Martha Stewart (ankle monitor and all), was accused of defrauding billions from federal employees and thieves alike.

Our original victim was part of a crew trying to find out where she stashed it. Rather than a standard murder investigation, this episode took on the feel of a heist flick.

The Phelps Fund used to retirement funds of people who trusted her, and when Gibbs watched clips of some of the men and women who fell victim to her, it was upsetting.

Especially in difficult economic times - also referenced in the agency's cutbacks Vance was charged with - this struck a powerful chord, punctuated by Phelps' smugness.

The government never recovered her money, but Phelps, who was able to finagle her release from Camp Cupcake, was undone by the fact that she stole from thugs, too.

Gibbs eventually discovers that the thieves attempted to steal her ledge holding offshore account information so they could get theirs back (and then some, most likely).

When they couldn't get it even after pilfering her seized property within NCIS' confines, the last remaining member of the gang tracked her down at her opulent home.

Where, conveniently, she had just secured her release.

Fortunately, Ziva and Gibbs were standing by to apprehend the thief AND nail Phelps, now caught red-handed with ALL her account info. High-fives all around, guys.

You knew there would be a chase scene with Weatherly behind the camera, and this was a good one, especially the end with Gibbs' mere glare inducing surrender:

After watching that scene again, all I can think of is that Mark Harmon is no Steve McQueen, but he's not too far off, either. I doubt I'll get a lot of arguments there.

This nod to the ultimate film anti-hero was far from the only Weatherly touch, of course. The topical, cinematic references were off the proverbial hook this week.

Ducky and Tony reflected on Psycho while lambasting Palmer for not seeing it. Tony referenced Xanadu from Citizen Kane, lambasting the guard for not knowing it.

The fact that Phelps owned William Faulkner's old desk was another nice touch. The show's writing and direction makes even the smallest details quite memorable.

If anything felt slightly off last night, it was the introduction of E.J. Barrett (Sarah Jane Morris), who transferred to D.C. from Spain - the very post Tony turned down.

E.J. caught Tony's eye early and often. Ditto Gibbs, but not in the same way.

It's unclear if he's just surly toward newcomers (very possible with L.J.) or doesn't like her specifically for reasons unknown. We'll find out more in the coming weeks.

While I liked E.J. and she seems like she could blossom into a dynamic character, the shower scene at the end caught me very much by surprise. It seemed sudden.

Tony and E.J.

We haven't even met her team yet (she has one, right?) and she's already half-naked with Tony? In typical fashion, we faded to black before they actually kissed, but ...

Needless to say, it'll be interesting to see where this goes, especially in light of the fact that we're soon going to meet Ziva's boyfriend Ray. What did you think of E.J.?

While I don't see a need for her on the show, I'm open-minded. If we rejected every new character without giving them a shot, where would we be? Remember Ziva?

On a lighter note, and perhaps not coincidentally, there were references to showering earlier in the night, with McGee, Ziva, Palmer and Tony all exchanging notes.

Basically ... Michael Weatherly has a thing for showers. Not surprising or unfunny.

What did you think of last night's NCIS? Comment and discuss below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (141 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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I did not and will not watch the show again if NCIS keep making this kind of cheap episodes. Come on , bringing in a new character without any "character" is one bad thing, but the shower scene is VERY ODD and very very UN NCIS. It was not needed . IF they hooked up in the future , why start with a shower scene? This episode is my least favorite overall (I watched NCIS for few years now). So sad , because the new girl is not someone I am looking forward to see every NCIS episode and the episode ended in a very unclassy, cheap way. NCIS is not a highschool tv series yo!

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I find it amusing at how seriously some of these characters are taken. I love the show and thought this one was well done as usual. E.J. will achieve what the writers want her to achieve and we will for the most part love the fool out of it. In the meantime, some folks with their outlook or new characters like E.J. remind me of the Thom Gemcity fan who was killing off McGee's characters to protect them. Hopefully no one goes that far but you get the idea. E.J. appears to be eccentric but I don't think has been around long enough to like or dislike!

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I agree with the majority. I do not like the EJ character and I think it is unrealistic that Tony would get that caught up with her when he has known her less than two days, was working on a case & they barely spoke. Hopefully, he is just getting close to her because he (and Gibbs) are suspicious of her. Just a few episodes ago he was supposed to have grown up when it comes to women. If this is reflecting the character's real feelings & he really has fallen that fast and hard then I think Tony will be in hot water with Gibbs (and the team) before its over with because he doesnt appear to be thinking clearly. Aside from this "EJ rant" I really did like the rest of the story & the interactions between the other team members. MW and JS did a great job.

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I liked the episode. However I don`t like the EJ character shes nosey. I agree with what someone posted I think shes a spy for Vance

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wish everyone would calm down i read somewhere shes only on till the end of the season think maybe she gets killed,so let tony have a bit of fun and at the same time make ziva jealous,also loved tony in this one funny yet not too much,also looked good in his casual clothes.

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EJ was the worst, I hate her already...and that is saying something because she is hot...that's how annoying she was. I hope she doesn't last long, I don't want the only TV show that I watch religiously to be ruined...she's terrible!

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E.J. needs to go! She is nosy, unliked and not needed. Gibbs is my favorite character but I also like all the other cast members. Vance should get killed off and bring back the first director... the one BEFORE Jenny. Gibbs had free range and the director backed Gibbs' team.The other shows I liked went downhill when the cast got changed. Please keep it as is and keep up the GREAT work. NCIS is my favorite show!

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I own all the seasons of this show and also watch the reruns on the cable stations even though I have seen them a hundred times. I must say that although I did like the fact that it was a somewhat lighter mood for the show, it was the first one I actually didn't like. Hopefully the new character doesn't turn people away but it seems like they are pushing her right now, not good as far as I'm concerned. Someone mentioned when Ziva started as a comparison, but I liked her immediately. Again as others have said "If it's not broke don't fix it"

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Another thing- I also think that EJ was inserted to create a rift between Tony and the rest of the team. That scares me a bit, but I do think it's his time to move on. He's my favorite character, I love him to death, but I think he needs his own team. Also I think the loss of EJ at the end of the season will affect Tony's decision to leave or not to leave.

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Ziva should go she too perfect

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