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.


Aren't they suppose to do something with Lauren Holly characte these season I wonder if that redhead is her sister that would be cool Also was I the only one who that Abby was great last night she really crack me up. Mcgee was his selfish immature self again not listen to gibbs and bitching when ever gibbs gave him a order you think he would know better by now and him and Ziva invading Tony personal life by spying on his computer and people wonder why we hate Mcgee and Ziva. They are hippocrates Mcgee and Ziva are


the headlap is Gibbs Thing by Ziva doing it to tony it make it seem like their getting rid of gibbs and replacing him with Ziva who the gibbs in season 1 would of NEVER allowed to be brought back to the team. And for all you Kate haters just reminder if it was not for Kate NCIS would of been cancel after season 2 so


my god whats wrong with you people it was a loving head slap ziva gave tony she knows tony is the SFA and ziva knows this.also wish some of you would realise ziva is far better than kate ever was,finally my dear friend michael i listen to other people;s view but when they talk nonsense i cant be quiet.


I noticed the several redheads in this episode, wondering what gives. I too expected Lauren Holly to show up! As for the headslap, Tony deserved it and Gibbs let him know. Interesting interpersonal development. I liked the episode and have to agree that they just keep getting better.In the previews it shows them on a transport with a flag draped container. I hope it isn't Ms. Flores - I'd like to see her reunited with her dad.


Note all the redheads in tonight's episode... not just Shannon redux, but the Chaplain, one of the women who taught at the school in Afghanistan. At one point, I was expecting to see Lauren Holly walk in.


I loved the opening flashback with Shannon basically telling Gibbs to get on with his life. I hope that helps move him along. I am also wondering if this is an episode unrelated to the plotline involving SecNav or if it somehow all fits together...


"In my opinion the Gibb's head slap by Ziva to Tony only points out the fact that she is now equal with him and it says to me that she is slowly taking the place of Gibbs in Tony's working world. Don't read so much into it M..." What the hell? Tony is the SFA. He is the veteran agent. When Gibbs is absent, it is he who is the team lead. Ziva is only some random rookie agent with minimal law enforcement experience and even less of that spent as time as fully fledged Special Agent of the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service. It would be Tony who should be taking Gibbs' place in Ziva's professional life. "And to the nutter who misses ej " Well, in a perfect world we would have Kate back, or Paula Cassidy, or Lara Macy. But this isn't a perfect world. I would take EJ as the leader of a B team over Ziva on this show in a heartbeat. At the very least EJ is not some improbably young, impossibly smug SPESCHUL Mary Sue who bends reality around her finger.


To all the "head slap" haters who are continuing to make this an issue... IT'S A TV SHOW!!!!!! Get over yourselves! If you don't wan to be offended about anything or anyone, go watch the Cartoon Network or SHUT UP! Great episode...can't wait until next week.


Yep,...just another NCIS classic!
I have to admit though that TVFanatic's preview photo having Ziva's pic with the episode title "Engaged" totally deceived me into thinking that the story plot would center around her getting engaged---whoa, what a 'curve' that was for me as I anticipated the development of a 'serious romance' subplot for Ziva!!?....yep,...fooled again!


Hi Janet and Tiva -
Was this Episode not one of the best of the Season? I think so.
They are getting better and better every week. A very touching storyline.
Well done - Probie female writer....
You are so right about 'him' Janet and 'her' as well.
In my opinion the Gibb's head slap by Ziva to Tony only points out the fact that she is now equal with him and it says to me that she is slowly taking the place of Gibbs in Tony's working world. Don't read so much into it M...
And to the nutter who misses ej - oh, that's right, you are the one who is dissing Ziva naturally, YOU seem to be alone in that - well, except for 'him' and 'her' which I am sure we will now hear from.
The FULL Tony Bucket List is now out and 'him' and 'her' are not gonna like it Janet, but most of us will. Last one on the list says "Tell Her" ! ummm??? Wonder just who they mean by that eh ?

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