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.


@MzLady, my pleasure girl!! Michael has a nasty habit of posting total crap and unfounded rumors on here. So when I read the one about Cote leaving after this season, I knew I could shoot holes in that post. I agree with you, I do not get why Michael even calls himself a fan. He only likes Tony, and I think the Tony from the first two seasons. I can't te if he even likes Gibbs. I wonder, since he goes by Michael, maybe he's Michael Rivkin's ghost disguised as a troll to bad mouth Ziva.


@Kat nice comments.dont waste your time with @michael he spreads lies all over this and other fan site pages i really think he needs medical help


I totally agree with Paula the attorney was perfect match for Gibbs she is very pretty they look good together. Gibbs has aged gracefully still handsome and a beautiful smile. That JLC looks like a dude she could be his sister or to make things interesting how about she was once a man and became a woman {sike}. But on a serious note she is too old for Gibbs when he was hugging her I cringed. She has no sex appeal. When she was talking too Gibbs she look like she was lying and hiding something. She can't be trusted. When I found out that Lombard was going to be on the show I thought she was going to be a match for Tony because I remember her on legends of the fall she was beautiful don't know what happen maybe she just needs make-up or something. I know that was longtime ago but put some make-up on or a dress and fix her hair. She might turn out looking WOW. Leave ziva alone she is better than Kate. Palmer picking abbey *Classic* that was awesome. Ducky I would of thought he would been delighted to be best man but hey new time in life abbey would do it justice she so cute.


How come when NCIS fan say something about Ziva they are call trolls but when Tiva bad month Tony or JLC or Gibb were told to suck it


I was thinking about the season finale if it true that its going to be about the Phantom Eight what if Jimmys wife is a member


@Kat - High 5 to you; GO gurl!! That loon cracks everyone up with his self-imposed doctrines on Ziva. He can't even appreciate the ENTIRE cast, for spending sooooo much time wondering what "Ziva will do next". He's obssessed with her. I can name a few others that are too. They go around posting nasty remarks about one solitary character that they will NEVER be able to ignore - yet they claim to not like her. Then why do you give her SOOO MUCH OF YOUR ATTENTION??!!! S6 & S7 were the HIGHEST RATED Overall seasons consistently for NCIS, as far as viewers went - ESPECIALLY Season 7. There is NO.WAY.ON.EARTH the network will ever ignore the powerful draw of viewers that Ziva paired up with Tony brought to NCIS. This cast is THE best cast on Television - TOGETHER. End of Discussion.


You rock, Thomas! I agree with everything you said. I suspect that you and many others on this board are examples of the kind of viewers that NCIS is in danger of losing (and may already be losing). I keep watching in the vain hope that we'll get back some of that show that we all came to love. So far, it's not looking good.


Cote de Pablo signed new 2 year contract
Posted by Tim in Cote News, NCIS News on 04 28th, 2011 | 9 comments
As you may have already heard, Cote de Pablo signed a new 2 year contract.
According to Deadline she got a salary increase and a cash bonus. Great news and fantastic to hear that Cote will stay on NCIS. This article is for you Michael, since you want people to believe that Cote is leaving at the end of this season. I even left the date this was reported to make sure that wouldn't be disputed. So, all the cast members have contracts through to the end of season ten. 😜


(continued again from previous comment) A forced Glasberg idea is hard to mistake it is like bad fan fiction. Under Glasberg's tenure loyal Tony and Ziva fans who combined make up the majority of the fan base (and Tiva fans) who rarely complain have for the most part been generally disrespected by the schizophrenic sophomoric writing that has plagued their favorite characters. It all started in my opinion with the first episode "Guilty Pleasures" in Season 7 that Glasberg was first listed as executive producer. Our beloved characters that used to be consistently contemporary, human, witty, sexy, and dramatically complex have slowly become uneven, mediocre and middle of the road. I am tired of being part of the silent majority. This show needs to get back on its game or it will die a boring irrelevant death.


Michael, you are seriously close to troll status. Cote was dating a big wig and was supposed to be the center the show, are you crazy or are confusing reality with really weird dreams you seem to be having? If you can't stand the show this much, quit watching. Makes no sense to keep watching a show that you appreantly hate. And Cote isn't dying this season so that rumor is complete crap like your other comments. I couldn't stand Tony in season two but I wasn't hateful to that character and its actor the way you are with Ziva/Cote

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