NCIS Season Premiere Review: The Aftermath

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"What's a four-letter word for surviving a terrorist attack? Luck." - Gibbs

NCIS kicked off its 10th season with another strong installment, one that was basically the final chapter of a five-episode arc, beginning in April with the burning of a Baltimore warehouse in "Rekindled" and concluding with Gibbs and Dearing finally squaring off mano-a-mano.

As premieres go, it didn't quite live up to the hype, with the conclusion a bit anticlimactic and parts feeling somewhat disjointed. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable, and it's great to have the team back in one piece.

Unlike last season's opener, which picked up the action months after the previous finale and saw Tony piece together the puzzle through a series of flashbacks, tonight began mere seconds after "Til Death Do Us Part" and the blast that rocked NCIS' headquarters, leaving its agents in peril.

With debris still in the air, Gibbs was ordered by SecNav Jarvis to proceed with "Extreme Prejudice" in the hunt for Dearing. First, however, we learned the status of his team members:

Extreme Prejudice Pic

McGee sustained a shrapnel wound he wasn't even aware of until becoming light-headed. Anyone who's ever been through a traumatic event can attest to the masking of pain with pure adrenaline. Fortunately, he came back strong, and we saw him call Penny afterward. It's unclear if Lily Tomlin will reprise her role as his grandmother, but EP Gary Glasberg hinted to TV Fanatic that he may explore Tim's relationship with his father soon.

Ducky and Palmer reunited at the hospital, shortly after the former's heart attack. In one of the episode's most poignant moments, he encouraged his protege to return to work without him; in another, the old man came back and uncovered a critical clue (off the record of course, as he's still in recovery).

Tony and Ziva were trapped in the elevator (which they acknowledged right away was against protocol), until they were rescued by Abby in amusing fashion. The Tiva fan contingent likely wished they were stuck in there longer, and justifiably so, as those scenes blended some hilarious banter with the obligatory sexual tension. It looked like he was going in for a kiss at one point, but the status quo remains. Which isn't to say it wasn't memorable, between Ziva using Tony's head as a thigh master and calling him "ripe." Details Eli doesn't have to know.

Abby (and Vance) made it out of the building relatively unscathed … physically. She's clearly taking it harder than most, and it will be interesting to see in the coming weeks if she recovers her infectious enthusiasm. Tonight, it was MIA, and for good reason. If anything or anybody can make one question the good in the world, it's the actions of Harper Dearing.

Kick. His. Ass. Abbs' directive was certainly heeded by Gibbs & Co., but their adversary kept them guessing with a blast that claimed at least one member of Fornell's team, then by faking his own death.

Force the turnover, Make him keep playing. The plan to stage the arrest of Dearing's ex and draw him out of hiding failed, as he slipped through their fingers again. What they needed was a real game-changer.

Gibbs devised one, concluding that this self-proclaimed superior "whistleblower" wanted his final memories to be those of his son. Sure enough, they met at the home where he raised Evan, cassettes eerily playing.

Dearing drew similarities between himself and Gibbs in the standoff, which was a more intimate affair than expected. After he reached for a gun, Gibbs stabbed him once in the gut in self-defense. Game over.

By his own design, Dearing remained shrouded in mystery until the bitter end. While the entire story arc was excellent, Richard Schiff almost felt underutilized in the role; an actor of his pedigree could have made this jaded, vengeful villain even more compelling given more screen time. It's not that what we saw of him was less than convincing, it's just that a few more scenes would've offered greater insight into how a Navy father's obviously loving mind could become so terroristic.

Ziva and Tony Photo

In any event, the villain met his long-overdue end with "Extreme Prejudice." Next week, the "Recovery" begins, and it will be interesting to see how the after-effects of what happened shift the show's landscape.

A few stray notes, quotes and observations before turning it over to you:

  • Of all the characters, the Ducky-Jimmy relationship may have shone brightest tonight.
  • Sad as it was that Tony Sr. didn't call, it looks like he'll pay another visit this season.
  • Like the episodes themselves, the blast was said to have occurred May 15, 2012 and the memorial outside the building dedicated September 25, 2012.
  • Evan's words on the audiotape, played during the closing sequence with a smiling Gibbs looking on: "I love this country. I want to protect it. I want to protect what it stands for."

And the million-dollar question ...

  • Why does Gibbs need a bigger basement and what exactly was he measuring for?

What did you think of tonight's NCIS Season 10 premiere? Discuss below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (767 Votes)

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


A show can't stay the same after 10 years. No show does. The idea of Gibbs using his knife was because it was meant to be a personal pay back. Sean Murray is in a lot of the episode time. His place is in the office on most occasions. He is their computer whizz. The episode jumped ahead in time after awhile, it wasn't the next couple of days.
And Linda, if you haven't been watching for 2 seasons then you really can't make a sound judgement about the show.
The show is Gibbs based and this is why he is always the hero. I do agree that Tony's character has been dumber down somewhat.
There is more to come about pst in future episodes. They only have 43 minutes to do an episodes, the rest is paid add time.


NCIS will always be the best. I don't care about tohers opinions on the show. I don't wish to see the day this show ends for good. Besides this first episode was cool. And all the time after season 9 ended I was like Harper Dearing the team will send you to your grave! Ziva and Tony always my faourite. :D Waiting for the next episode.


I was a real fan for first six seasons. I even bought Season 7 out of loyalty. I saw little of Season 8 and almost none of Season 9. Decided to try again this season. Wow was I disappointed. Terrible, unbelievable episode. It felt like the writers just threw it together so they could go home early. Think I'm done. Seems like they're coasting on their fan base now and no longer care about the show.


To answer your question about Eli David, watch the Enemies Foreign/Enemies Domestic arc again.
To answer your question about phones. They did. How did you think McGee knew they were in the elevator?


I digress. There were much worse episodes than this (The Christmas episode of season 9 comes to mind). If it were really as bad as you people say, then the user rating would not be 4.6 stars (.1 star higher than the editor rating I might add). Anyway, speaking of crime dramas... How about that Law and Order SVU premiere? Had a nice "Should have saw this plot twist from miles away, but I didn't." Anyone here think it was better then NCIS' premiere?


Very slow, very sleepy !
I thought maybe it was just not a good night for me, but lots of you agree.
Not a good first show of the year. hope next week is better.


@ Suncatcher - It's not just McGee that tptb ignore. Look at what Tony has become. He was originally conceived as nearly as (and sometimes more) competent and important as Gibbs. Now on a good day, he gets to be Ziva's purse, and maybe gets to get one answer right. Ziva and Gibbs on the other hand seem to have many friends at the top. JMO


This is perhaps one of the worst NCIS episodes I've ever seen and I think I've seen them all and many of them several times.
We've seen many explosions on NCIS before were people have been hurt or killed. So I was rather surprised that everyone on the team not only survived but survived with just a few cuts and bruises. The worst injury for the team was McGee who had perhaps 4 inches of a glass in his gut and he's back at work the next day! Please, why wasn't he in surgery fighting for his life.(that would have made for some dramatic scenes.)
Next Ziva and Toni stuck in the elevator –was this a joke - Ziva's Father, who sent her to the desert in the Horn of Africa to DIE- and who we know she considers dead to her- calls her from Israel to see if she is ok and we see no one in NCIS actually call either Toni or Ziva while they were stuck in the elevator!! If they can receive calls couldn’t they make calls? Plus they have nothing more to share with each other than thigh master legs and body smells!!!
Also since when is Ziva this lovey dovey comforting person. What was going on with her an Abby. This scene would have been better done with Gibbs or Toni or Mcgee from his hospital bed (if that fight for life scene had occurred). Ziva is much better when she is portrayed as a hard emotionless ball crusher who has difficulties expressing her emotions.
And Finally(although there are many more things that I can say) "What have the writers done to Toni's Character?". After such deep performances when he was undercover looking for Le Grenouille, or when Director Shepard was killed, or when he had to rescue Ziva, or when his father came to visit etc. he has been reduced to one liners like “Boss isn’t Dearing dead?� while eating a sandwich!!
The next episode has a lot to make up for. If not I will not be watching season 10 and I will have to get my NCIS fix by watching reruns of seasons 6 & 7.


Gotta agree with most, the opener was a bit of a yawn, however, it's still the great NCIS and I can't imagine the day they shut down for good. Big question - what the heck did Sean Murray ever do to the bosses to be so not in most episodes now??? Last season and now S10, McGee is MIA - to the point that many are now asking what happened. Shane Brennan - either write McGee back in or 'splain why we are all asking what the heck is going on! PS - All questioning the ending and how Gibbs killed Dearing - most warriors will say a knife is far more intimate a way to kill than any bullet. Gibbs wanted to be one-on-one with Dearing when he exacted revenge for what Dearing did to his "family." He could have shot him - he chose the knife.


Woeful. I've watched NCIS since the beginning and honestly feel like that episode was one of the worst ever. Tony and Ziva shrugged off the bombing like it was a near miss car accident and no character that we care about suffered in any lasting way. Add to that the continuation of "Super Gibbs" going up against Dearing alone and knifing him (wtf? You have a SIG Sauer on your belt! Use it!) and it really was just pathetic. What happened to the show that gave us the dramatic death of Kate (no one saw that coming, those who claim they did are lying!) and the strong character episodes when Gibbs retired or when Jenny died? I think this show lost its way some two seasons ago and just hasn't found its way back yet. I pray it does soon because i'm getting close to giving up and tuning out.

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