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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
  • 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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A wife for Tony can open up another side to the story. For instance, Tony, sitting at his desk, opens up the lunch his wife packed for him (leftovers from the previous dinner) and a flashback from the previous night unfolds. His wife, a teacher, is used to planning in themes. In her dance class she learned to belly dance and the ladies were going home to test their new skills on their husbands. His wife decorates the bedroom ceiling like a sheik's tent using an old parachute and bobbles. She dances for him and feeds him native food fit for a sheik, etc. Back at NCIS, everyone sitting at his/her desk, is wondering why Tony is smiling so big. Unlike the old Tony, the new Tony never tattles about his special times at home with his wife. NCIS can have a new following of people looking for ideas to spice up their own lives. This should be done only in snippets so that the NCIS story line continues as is.

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I thought keeping Tony single was the way to go, too. Although Tony needs to continue to be fun and happy, he also needs to be a serious agent. As he grows older, his being a womanizer will be unattractive . He will end up appearing like his lecher father. They have written into the script Tony's longing for a lasting relationship.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Secrets, and thought it was one of the best shows of the season. I liked Wendy's character and wouldn't mind at all if for Tony, she was "the one" I loved Tony/McGee, Tony/Ducky, and we even got a Tony/Abby moment! All terrific scenes IMO. I even liked Ziva last night, as she was neither tragic, Mary Sueish, wonder woman, or cruel. I loved Gibbs bow to ICU at the end and even though I guessed the killer, I thought the superhero storyline was really fun. Kudos to writer Steve Binder for this enjoyable episode.

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I agree with alot of you...I didn't care for Wendy at all. Do they have all new writers or what? This is a hit TV show and they are letting go down the tubes! I always thought Tony was very strong and smart, he just had a bad childhood and self-esteem issues and didn't realize how strong and smart he really was. I like Ziva, but she was always to snarky and had a chip on her shoulder about everything--glad they have lightened her up a bit. I agree though...Tony should not end up with Ziva OR Wendy! Do you remember the nurse he was with? Can't remember her name...(and I think she did a number on him)..but if he could find someone like her. Not a cop...strong and loved him...I think it would work!

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if all of these leds to Tony and Ziva becoming a couple then the writer must really be out of ideas because they do not know what their fanbase wants or do they even care I mean really did they see what has happen to CSI when they did it. I hope and pray that it does not happen, if Michael(the actor) does not want it and if its the reason CBS fire TBTP then I do not know why its being fored on them

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I just think it selfish of Tiva to ruled everything us Tony fan like about Tony so he can be with her

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I agree with Zia. No to Wendy. And no to Ziva. Ziva and Tony would have a combative relationship. Tony needs someone who can give him what he missed as a child. A loving uncomplicated relationship and children. Tony will have a chance to be a solid husband and father with her help. Perhaps a first grade teacher would be a good choice. No high powered women! Gibbs keeps making that mistake because he doesn't want anyone to compete with his memory of Shannon....an uncomplicated soft woman.

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ITA Zia...the Tony/McGee relationship is really getting cool. I also loved this episode (except for Wendy...Tony was screwed up all those years for that?). I'm thinking and hoping we may FINALLY be getting both Tony and Gibbs to a point where they can move on with their lives without all the emotional baggage. Gibbs had a couple of REAL smiles, played Cupid, and admitted he was wrong (rule 51) about the superheros. Awesome!!

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Maude said "we need to see what is up with "CI Ray" now that he is conveniently out of the country". He is not out of the country but out of Ziva's life. A few episodes ago they wrote him out when he turned out to be that week's Big_Bad/Killer.

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i have a feeling that Tony is going to be the father of Wendy's son.