NCIS Review: A Daughter is a Precious Thing

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NCIS can be so much fun some weeks, it's sometimes easy to forget the seriousness of the jobs these special agents hold, and the sacrifice of the men and women their investigations revolve around.

Not tonight. The team grappled with a mystery that was, as DiNozzo put it, not your case du jour. For the proud members of the U.S. Marine Corps, life makes that collect call every single day.

Part I of "Engaged" was a compelling, emotionally weighty episode from beginning to end, a story moving enough to send chills up your spine even when the action on screen was minimal.

The disappearance of Gabriela Flores, an exemplary Marine by all accounts, and an even more tremendous human being, clearly hit close to home for the team, and Jethro Gibbs in particular.

Special Agent Gibbs Pic

Flores' unit was tasked with building and protecting a school for young girls in a war-torn province of Afghanistan were such things simply do not exist. After a RPG attack, she and others were presumed dead.

The plane transporting their remains home to Dover AFB subsequently crashed, leaving the team unable to find DNA evidences Flores was on board, despite plenty of circumstances suggesting that she was.

Gibbs took it upon himself - as a Marine himself, a leader of NCIS men and women, and especially as a father at one time - to figure out what happened and give Flores' father the closure he needed.

We learned a bit about Gibbs' past last week but tonight's flashbacks transported us to a time where Jethro became the person he is today - one who would never leave a man - or woman - behind.

Seeing a young Gibbs played by Sean Harmon, Mark's 23-year-old son, gave these scenes great authenticity, but more importantly, younger Jethro behaved just as he does now, down to the mannerisms.

I loved the way women in uniform were portrayed in this episode, past and present. Strong, equal, able and honorable. Flores was all of these things and more, making her fate that much more sickening.

To think that there are places where the mere education of girls is met by violence is profoundly upsetting. That there are Marines who put their lives at risk to change that is both humbling and inspiring.

Thanks to Gibbs' relentlessness, Flores' story may still end on a triumphant note. Refusing to close the case without iron-clad proof that this fine Marine was killed, the team kept treating her as missing.

Then they caught a break. A photo given to Gibbs by Flores' father helped ID the insurgent group that bombed the school, and thanks to McGee's video skills, we know she was abducted, not killed.

Trying to flee with children, of course. Seeing the events unfold via satellite, using night vision, was a chilling visual, but how awesome was it to see Gibbs unflinchingly headed off to bring her back.

Not that we'd expect any less, but the way this episode was set up, and feeling so connected to a victim we now know to be alive, seeing our hero rise to the occasion is enough to fill you with pride.

Time and again, Mark Harmon carries NCIS with a demeanor bold, complex and strong (like Gibbs' coffee, the Chaplain might say). Three cheers for the gray-haired grisly for his performance tonight.

The show rarely disappoints after almost 200 episodes, but this was one of those that will leave you thinking about it hours later, eagerly awaiting what will surely be a powerful conclusion next week.

There's a time and place for jokes and office shenanigans, and there's a time to get serious. In part two, Gibbs and the team will grab their gear and then some in the desert hills of South Afghanistan.

A few closing thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • You know it's a long night when Abby is over-caffeinated. Think about how much Caf-Pow that takes!
  • I loved Ducky's way of telling Gibbs to focus on those that are still alive. Such command of words.
  • "Wheels are churning." "List of buckets." There should be a Ziva-isms Twitter account.
  • Ziva's head slap of Tony, followed by Gibbs telling him to stand down, was classic.
  • DiNozzo really rode a ferris wheel naked? Wait, is anyone really surprised?
  • How about that first flashback in bed? Has Gibbs ever really let her go?

What did you think of tonight's NCIS? Sound off in the comments below!


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (203 Votes)

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


Ziva wasn't put on the show to ruin Tony. Janet your right about McGee spying on Tony well Tony does the same to McGee.


Smack your buddy across the head. Just see how he or she reacts.


there you go again michael nobody hates ziva or mgee yes mgee was spying on tony just as tony has done many many times before thats what friends do and yes michael friends give each other head slaps or love taps in ziva;s case lets just all agree it was a great episode and it just wouldnt be team gibbs if any one left.


@tiva Abby was not put on the show to ruined Tony character and then replace him as gibbs senior agent like Ziva was that one of the reason why so many of them didn't want to resign their contact because it was becoming the Ziva show instead of NCIS. Infact Michael was ask on Facebook about him be written off the show to make Ziva look perfect and he said it made him feel really depress


it was just one head slap Ziva was giving Tony a wake up call. but it was ok when Abby head slapped him in season 5 when she was telling everyone she got a better Job offer. whats the difference between Abby doing it then Ziva. and Kate was mean to Tony too he elbow him all the time. everyone has the own opinion and thats good thats because if we all agreed life would be boring. however I do agree that Tony should be the hero once and whale tho but I love the whole cast and the show wouldn't work with any of them. I count Kate too I like her a little bit I just like Ziva more. NCIS needs to keep up the good work this episode is the best of the season so far.


This is one of the most powerful episodes in a while. Mark Harmon (and his son) were both in exceptional form. You could feel Gibbs' emotion toward the father and for the circumstances surrounding Ms Flores' disappearance.
As far as all the "nitpicking"-what does that really matter? Loved that Gibbs was reliving waking up with Shannon. It would be great if-when the show is on its last season-the writers would give him another "Shannon"...someone he could be with the rest of his life. Just hope that last season is a loooong way away.
This is undoubtedly one of the best dramas on TV today


OMG...36 comments and all most of you got out of this excellent show was a stupid headslap! It was funny, it was appropriate for the situation, and it was probably spontaneous! Get over it! The show was excellent and the team acted well together (even McGee who was great being McGee) solving this solemn tragedy, with a little levity that was needed as stress relief after working long hours, since they didn't get their energy-boost from cowpows! Abby was super wired-up, and Ducky & Jim, outstanding, as always. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is as a Navy spouse, and someone who has worked with the Navy and Air Force over the past 32 years (including a CACO team that goes to Dover AFB whenever needed to process those fallen incoming heroes), I was surprised that Ducky & Jim processed the bodies and not Dover, whose job it is to do it upon entering the U.S., but it was a minor TV moment, since the story was really about the missing 1Lt Flores and her father, the chaplain and the snarky SecNav (don't like him). All the guest stars in the show were superb...Sean as a young Gibbs, the 5-star general, the chaplain (who I did, too, like), and of course, Mr. Flores. Can't wait until next week. I can always count on someone being negative!


You all who are so intolerant of those of us who found Ziva's headslap offensive need to learn that not everyone is going to see things your way, and that this is okay. As a fan who has been extremely disappointed at the last few years degradation, dismantling, and diminishment of Tony's character, I am beyond sick of these "funny" moments, in which Tony is yet again, made to look bad. This time he is a slacker and not as loyal as Ziva, to Gibb's. And yes once again we have superior Mary Sue stepping in to correct him, with Gibbs approval. I'm extremely disappointed that yet again, tptb are taking away traits that were cool about Tony's character, and giving them to Ziva.


It was an excellent program, provocative and human. Gibbs comforting the father who thought he had lost a daughter was heartwrenching considering Gibbs' history. I wasn't ready for it to end. Looking forward to next week.


Oh. My. Word. Is life REALLY so...dull? Tedious?... that we are actually getting fired up and cussing over a HEAD SLAP??? If Tony were normally a dignified figure, or if he was being serious at the time, it wouldn't have been funny (though I still wouldn't have been offended enough to use profanity! It's not that big a deal, in the broad picture of life! Really!), and if it wouldn't have been funny, they probably wouldn't have done it. It was funny! Granted, Tony outranks Ziva in the story line -and we remember, it IS a STORY!- and he's been offered his own team, and successfully taken over for Gibbs when Gibbs was away, but he wasn't ACTING like anyone's superior anything at the time; he was being kind of whiny, and she snapped him out of it!
Someone mentioned an unlikely promotion she received at Mossad. A) Her father is the director; may not be fair, but it's a plausible reason. B) Has she ever acted incompetently in her position?? Could be she just deserved it.
But ultimately, although I enjoy the show as much as anyone -and believe me, I wouldn't be reading or replying to overly-emotional comments if I didn't- IT'S FICTION! Fact-based, well-written, compelling FICTION!
That said, this was a very enjoyable episode, and I'm excited to see how it concludes!

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