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NCIS Review: The Secret Life of Tony DiNozzo

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After last week's unorthodox 200th episode event, NCIS returned to traditional form tonight with "Secrets," an installment better embodying the series' vintage blend of humor, relationships and crime-solving.

In the wake of an episode that asked "what if" on such a grand scale, it was hard not to play a similar game this week as well. After meeting the infamous Wendy, DiNozzo's ex-fiancee, can't you see the connection?

Clearly he still felt it. Having not spoken to her in nine and a half years since being dumped the day before their wedding, Tony found himself serving as Wendy's press liaison ... and making out with her in front of her son.

Not what he envisioned going into this case, and certainly not what I expected either. To the extent that chemistry can be present in a couple who split up a decade ago, these two certainly had it.

If Wendy hadn't left him the way she did, would Tony be at NCIS? More broadly, would he be happy-go-lucky and fully content with life, rather than putting up facades and chasing the wrong thing?

Tony and Wendy

Everybody gets pensive and confused (people also get not hungry), and DiNozzo has clearly been more conflicted this season than in the past, but he may have set a new high water mark tonight.

The way he and Wendy left things, that inner turmoil may not fade away anytime soon.

Suffice it to say, the vaunted closure Ducky spoke of did not take place for Tony, at least not in the sense that he finally put his relationship with Wendy behind him and turned the corner for good.

The extent to which Gibbs was playing "cupid" to set his right-hand man up with her is unclear, but he could clearly tell (as Gibbs has a way of doing) that Tony hadn't really let Wendy go yet.

Where those two go from here after Wendy's surprise explanation for leaving Tony, and apparent overture - she wasn't ready for The One then, but she is now - remains to be seen as well.

Is she really trying to pursue a relationship with him after all this time?

It seemed that way, although she also became the umpteenth person to remark about his feelings for a certain someone. Can we list everyone who's picked up on this over the past several months?

Wendy made no secret of her renewed affection for Tony, in any case, and the parallels between Tony and Gibbs, as helpfully explained by Ducky in a terrific scene in the morgue, are distinct.

Will the younger continue to repeat the elder's destructive romantic pattern, or break the mold?

Gibbs and Duck

Wendy seems cool in a lot of ways, but as Tony himself said, that crashed and burned. Rekindling the flame may not be the key to happiness; extinguishing it for good might be the ideal course of action.

Whatever sparks may exist, he might want to stop and consider that Wendy ... A) Lied to Tony at least once; B) Dumped him nearly at the altar; C) Has a child with another man. Maybe not the best fit.

Regardless, Michael Weatherly, even more than usual, was terrific in his nuanced portrayal of a man battling repressed emotions and combating them with every humorous defense mechanism in the book.

Perrey Reeves, as Wendy, was also enjoyable, especially given that were predisposed to dislike her. McGee's right, she's a cutie - and a tough nut to crack, hard-nosed, witty and more than a little vulnerable.

Far from a one-note character, not unlike Tony.

I'm interested to see when and if she'll be back, and where Tony takes this, but her appearance made for a solid episode, along with a super-charged investigation that provided one laugh after another.

The idea of ordinary citizens embodying superhero personae for real world causes was both amusing and eye-opening, as these aren't people dressing up for fun: they're driven, organized community activists.

Even Gibbs had to give props for that final takedown.

Now an investigative reporter, Wendy nearly met her demise because of her profession. Fearful that she would link the heroes' crime-fighting ways to improving property values, the murderous real estate developer dad (Ray Wise, great in everything he does) of one of the costume-wearing Samaritans tried to kill her as well.

Abby in Costume

The superhero premise also led to an inordinate number of McGee nerd jokes and legitimate fangirl moments for Abby. Even though this was a DiNozzo-centric episode, the whole team was involved and terrific.

Yes, it was a cheesy case at times, but it offered plenty of laughs, so it worked.

Overall, it was a fun hour that struck the perfect NCIS balance of action, comedy and surprisingly complex character development. A refreshing return from the terrific, but unconventional 200th milestone last week.

A few additional thoughts and observations before turning it over to you:

  • How funny is it that Vance has to seriously ask if Gibbs was married to a woman he "goes way back" with? Signs you have too many ex-wives: When your boss loses track of them.
  • Who knew Palmer took such a profound interest in wedding caterers?
  • "This isn't my costume. These are just my clothes." Amazing.
  • Someone needs to make a TV Fanatic username ICU.
  • Tony does look good in a suit, doesn't he?

What did you think of this week's NCIS? Did it live up to expectations, or leave something to be desired? What were the best and worst parts for you? Discuss in the comments below, and vote in our survey:

Who can you best envision romantically with Tony?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (215 Votes)

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

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    70 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    La serie, me encanta, tengo poco viendola pero creo es por mcho una de las mejores que he visto, tengo problemas con la tecnologia, asi que pregunto aqui y haya sobre el desarrollo de la serie en el tiempo que se ha trasmitido. me encanta Ziva y Tony...AHOR mas que comentario la mi son preguntaA:TONY TIENE UN HIJO?..EL LO SABE? LO RECONOCE?

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    After many years of work together and live so many emotions, it is hoped that Tony and Ziva will join. No one intends to a sticky ending or a novel in episodes but the closure of so many feelings between the two.

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    Love NCIS. We rent, we watch On Demand and we watch the weekly program. This year's episodes are not as good as those in the past. I have just one question......is Ziva pregnant? If she is not, I do apologize, she looks a little different this year. She is so beautiful and the chemistry with Tony is there, thanks to the writers. Mark Harmon is great, as is all the other cast members.

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    Enjoyed the episode, loved the real life super heroes. And I enjoyed Wendy. But I'm hoping to see this relationship closed up with a minimum of fuss as a necessary step on Tony's road to a more complete, satisfying life. Just don't see Wendy as the right fit. Not wild about yet another recurring character that would have to be wedged in.

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    Really liked this episode very much:

    1) Enjoyed seeing Tony handled himself in a mature way, loved his interactions with everyone.
    2) Enjoyed the more mature conversations Tony had w/ Ziva as well as w/ Tim.
    3) Wendy/Tony/Ziva in observation room, loved how he reached out to Ziva to keep her there so he didn't have to be alone with Wendy, and Ziva stayed with him.
    4) I want to hate Wendy but I can't really cause she can hold her own against others. But I don't like her lame excuse for calling off their wedding the day before. She never really apologize to Tony for that either. Then lying to him about why she sent the invitation, even if she finally told the truth. I hope we don't see Wendy again.....that it was a one and done episode.
    5) Loved Tony's talk with Ducky, and who knew they had an in-house shrink all along in Autopsy.

    All in all, this was another good episode that I enjoyed, and immensely better than last week's episode.

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    Last week we learn about Jimmy Palmer's abs. This week we hear he's into wedding caterers. Let's give Jimmy Palmer some credit - have him elope with Wendy. Get her out of the picture.

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    I think Michael watches NCIS in another country (or on another planet) and loses something in the translation. Ziva didn't even show up on NCIS until AFTER Kate was shot - how did she help kill her? And her driving aside, WHEN and HOW did Ziva try and kill Gibbs, Tony and McGee? It's either poor translation or there are hallucinogenic drugs involved.

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    I've been glued to NCIS since day one until last season. I couldn't stand EJ and the thought of her with Tony, Gawd NO. Didn't care for Wendy,liked Jeanne, and don't wreck the Tony/Ziva relationship as it is. We need to see more Ziva action!!! Love her! Why is everyone so into have Tony have a significant other? What about Gibbs (no Holly - please!), Duck,McGee? Lots of room for relationships and WORK! Most great shows like this end of having weddings and wreck the show - PLEASE don't do that!!

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    In 3 words or less: Good, Always Good! (Sorry, I got here through the round table link!)

    I want to be a Superhero!!! :)

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    This was a pretty good episode, but I sincerely hope this was Wendy's only appearance. Frankly, after the Christmas episode where Tony decided he didn't want to see her, I'm not even sure this appearance was really necessary. Though, considering they hadn't spoken since the break-up, I suppose it was good for them to at least attempt to clear things up. Wendy was OK - I found myself liking her a little more than I expected - and I can see why she and Tony were initially attracted to each other. Still, like you pointed out, there are a number of reasons why it likely wouldn't work now.
    I did smile at the "you should tell her how you feel" comment. This is the second of Tony's exes now to point out the obvious. Take a hint, DiNozzo.
    The case was really solid too, which was nice; I've noticed that episodes with a more character-developing emphasis tend to suffer a bit case-wise.
    Loved all the team moments and banter and funny lines - classic NCIS stuff. :D




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