NCIS Review: Look to Yourself

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NCIS definitely knows how to raise the stakes with international missions, inter-agency subterfuge and kidnapped military personnel. Far from a run-of-the-mill murder case, tonight's investigation was just the onset of an intriguing new arc that could continue through next month's season finale, if not beyond.

The conclusion of "The Missionary Position" unfolded very quickly and felt anticlimactic after a compelling, slow-building first 45 minutes in the U.S. and Colombia, but it was just the opening chapter.

More questions were asked than answered, and none greater than what Dr. Samantha Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis) knows about the mysterious Monique Lisson (Karina Lombard), whose penchant for secrecy and suspicious background were evident from the start. In that respect, Lisson is a fitting adversary for Ryan.

Under Fire

Following their apparent sleepover at Gibbs' house, were led to believe that Ryan's reappearance could be purely personal, to showcase her new relationship with Gibbs, and not necessarily related to tonight's case.

Similarly, Ziva just happened to have an old friend in Cartagena, Colombia. Wishful thinking. You knew there would be more to both characters' involvement, but their connection to each other was a surprise.

NCIS does a nice job of creating intricate situations involving multifaceted individuals you can't make sense of. You want to like Ryan, and to a degree Monique, but there are parts of each that are so, so shady.

The show also intertwines personal relationships and casework, whether it's with old friends or new romantic partners, blurring the lines even further and weaving a tangled web for its characters to circumvent.

Not everything is black and white, as we were reminded many times tonight, but with Ryan, you have no idea if she's one of the good guys or not. She and Gibbs are on the same team, but it doesn't feel that way.

Will she shape up after this and be a team player? Coming clean about wanting to talk to Lisson is a good start, but Gibbs' romance with someone he clearly can't trust is enough to give anyone pause.

Gibbs Gets His Man

At the same time, he's clearly attracted to her. It's neat that he has an age-appropriate love interest, and how could you not like Gibbs' awkwardly happy smile after he told her "we did okay" in their attempt at coupledom?

Overall, the episode was less about Tony and Ziva, or the latter's past, and more about the casework. Posing as missionaries to collect DNA samples and infiltrate cartels through vaccinations? Diabolical.

For his part, DiNozzo was anything but dead weight, particularly during his heart-to-heart with Chaplain Castro. Tony sounded a lot like Gibbs when comforting her and telling her how much guilt he carries.

We learned a little more about Ziva the human being instead of Ziva the action hero. Told by her longtime friend to search internally for happiness, she may again find herself reexamining her worldview.

Ziva's not the only one who will need to dig deep and look to herself before this is over. This case, if it does indeed continue and grow more intense, could test the instincts and fortitude of the entire team.

This case has the potential to get ugly, given the complexities and people. Cartels aren't known for keeping things above board, and the warning signs were abundant. How deep will NCIS go?

The Navy Chaplain was rescued after the CIA connection was exposed, but "The Missionary Position" clearly set the table for bigger things. This isn't over, and the next chapter should be very interesting.

Missionary Mission

Meanwhile, Jimmy Palmer spent the bulk of the episode hemming and hawing over who to choose for his best man, and after much deliberation, went with his gut and made the only logical choice ... Abby!

As an octogenarian, Jimmy's mentor Ducky would've been an unusual dark horse pick as well, but he bowed out, leaving Abbs to do the honors. Miss Scuito as the best man-woman? Somehow it just works.

All in all, an unconventional but solid episode with both a satisfying conclusion and plenty left unresolved. A few additional thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • Gibbs punching McGee's arm in celebration of the rescue? Awesome moment.
  • Of course a trip to Colombia ends in Tony rattling off Puss in Boots quotes.
  • The dead body dropping near a picnicking couple was a bit Bones-esque.
  • The funny thing about Palmer's wedding tuxes? They were once in style!
  • Is Richard Schiff's character also connected to Monique and Ryan?
  • Was the "Colombian" seaside at the end actually Long Beach?
  • Please, please, let them show Palmer's bachelor party.

What did you think of this week's NCIS? Did Palmer make the right call? Do you like Gibbs and Ryan together? Where is this case headed? Discuss in the comments below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (266 Votes)

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


still waiting....oops it looks like someone lied about lying about telling a lie.

Avatar just tell me which episode Tony told it to Kate and I'll go look er up. I've got all the DVDs so it shouldn't take but a few minutes. I'll wait. Remember, he has to say he defused a bomb faster than a bomb expert. I can't wait to see it!


@michael you wrote that you dont lie thats the biggest lie yet.


it didn't happen on screen Tony said it to Kate and Mcgee back in season two and I didn't say Ziva speak 100 languages I said it seem like Ziva can speak 100 languages


Hey! you're the guy who said Tony defused a bomb faster than a bomb expert and Ziva said she can speak 100 languages!! you still have to tell me which episodes those things happened in. if you can't you're a liar. come on buddy. I'm waiting. And, holyconaolis12, I agree with all you said but come on man, it's the same number of keystrokes to type a g as it is to type a ' . try it.


Funny now that the table are trun and your guys favroite character is being attack you guys are saying I am a Hater and should stop watching but when you all your doing the samething to EJ and Tony Last year you said to us too bad its our right. Well Guess what I can not lie I have never lie


in the end suspicion laid on another person in ziva's life. this time implyin' that monique a former interpol agent has gone bad. that storyline is played to death already. rivkin -mossad-op gone bad, ray cia agent gone bad , ari ziva's half brother gone bad. jeez. now let's trash interpol an agency that's allied w/ u.s. police/fbi to fight crime & terror all over world. wtf. lay off ziva already. let her have a friend that doesn't go bad. thats cool & fun. how is monique like a mike franks, fornell. rant over. had to get it out. this epi sucked for me. big time.


not even gonna discuss ribbs in detail. what i don’t get is why ryan knows so much about the cia op to get dna from cartel members. far as i know she’s in psychological operations. "Psychological operations are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals". what does /would psychology have to do with gatherin’ dna evidence in a cia op. why would she even know about that top secret cia op? is she that high up in the food chain. don’t think so. another stretch. tbtp’s r gonna blow the development of ryan character. was a good idea for character that’s goin’ bad fast. had no place in this epi. wasn't her field of expertise-dna op w/ cia. she wouldn't have been read in. kissin’ in the elevator. pizza boxes w/ secret messages. come on. in end suspicion laid on another person in ziva's life. monique's former interpol. what is it w/ ncis . interpol is an int'l police/ anti terror organization. & for f's sake lay off ziva already w/ the friends turnin' bad. rant over. what a wasteland of an epi. last line in spanish could have been tony describin' how ziva feels about monique as a friend. tony statin' the obvious about their friendship like sisters. not sure it was about him & ziva. it was ambiguous. sorry guys. had to get this crap out.


and what up w/ the cia agents? they looked like pussies runnin’ high tail into their van. sorry but cia agents don’t act so lame. hell of a lot tougher than that. and they don’t give up info lickty split just because 2 people r pointin’ guns at them. ‘they know’ so we must spill a top secret operation asap. did i say the endin’ sucked? big-time. anti climatic. never saw the rescue, we saw an explosion. then them on video again sayin' the op was done.


the scene w/ tony and chaplain on the balcony. whatev. another bogus scene. would have made a betta quick scene if it was tony & ziva talkin’ about themselves to each other. what both of them r goin’ thru over a beer. like partners, buddies usually do. both of them r alone. didn’t like the whole thread about ‘lonely career women’ desparado women in this epi. men in the biz r just as lonely. for f’s sake look at tony, gibbs, mcgee. again, chaplain should've never been down there. wtf did she do to help the case down there. wtf did any of them do down there. think about it. not much investigatin' undercover work goin' on in colombia. looked like the case was solved in d.c. by ryan, gibbs, mcgee, abby, ducky. another wtf.

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