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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 (216 Votes)

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

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Sorry, but if it can't be Ziva then forget it, because this Wendy woman has zero appeal and no chemistry with DiNozzo. Their scenes together were so boring that I kept wondering when they'd be over and get back to the case.And her stupidity doesn't bode well for a professional relationship either.She's the one who wrote a report on the real estate sales in the crime-ridden areas but she couldn't see how that linked with the fact that the Real-life Superheroes were increasing property values by slashing the crime rate? Abby saw it in a couple of hours during which she also treated data,played dress-up and analyzed video files.Go back to school Wendy!

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It was a change of pace but I still liked the show. No I don't care for Tony and Wendy together. She is a career woman who would put that above everything else, including Tony. I don't see him with Ziva as just like the interaction with Kate they are like brother and sister going at each other constantly and loving every moment of it. It's fun watching Ziva interacting with Tony and trying to get information she can use to torment him.
Looking forward to the coming weeks.

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Please!! Wendy is not right for Tony. No chemistry there.
The kiss was so weird, very fake. Tony needs someone soft and sweet, who will appreciate his good qualities. I think those qualities glowed when he was with Jeanne and I have always wanted her to show up with a child.
That was a true love, on both sides. I agree with Shelley, Ncis has not had a good show this year. They need better writers. I have been so bored, I fall asleep while watching.

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Wouldn't it be some twist if the kid was Tony's and Wendy had something incurable and was dying and that that was why she'd been wanting to get together with him?

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I enjoyed last nights episode. Didn't think Wendy was awful but she certainly wasn't a favorite. I loved Gibbs in all his scenes. I also loved the Ducky/Tony moment. I also like that they are finally babystepping to Tiva.

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it was good....i gave it 4 stars....HOWEVER, i don't like that wendy waited until the day before their wedding to break it off...and NEVER really gave him a reason, leaving him to think HE'D done something wrong....and WHO'S the FATHER of her son ?....his age says that she didn't seem to waste much time in hooking up with another man, after tony...or IS that tony's son? as for TIVA: no way do i want tony with someone who sees NOTHING with beating up on her INJURED partner, and threating to KILL him....who also doesn't RESPECT him as her SFA. tony & jeanne: HELL NO to that as well....she accused him of MURDER for god's sakes. i'd like to see tony be the SMART AGENT that we all know he is....and show WHY gibbs HIRED him in the first place....and be shown the RESPECT he deserves from gibbs and the rest. alisa

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Wendy is a joke.
Tony can't commit because he has hidden issues, and it would take away from the show. The cat and mouse relationship he and Ziva have is great.
But come on, the show needs to kick it up some. It's lost it's way.
And let Ziva have some kick ass scenes again.
McGee looks better, but still looks like the walking dead.
And where is Palmer!
Please do not bring back Jeanne Bonit, she gave me the creeps!

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Does anybody find it strange that Wendy has a child by? He is probably the age at which Wendy and Tony dissolved their romance. Why did she have to have a son 9 (nine) years old. What's the connection?

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What have you done to the best show on TV? If the last 2 shows are indicative of what is to come, you have turned it into a maudlin piece of tripe. Sad, sad, sad!

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Bring back Jeanne Benoit.

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