NCIS Review: Be It Ever So Humble...

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Simply put, this was one of the best NCIS Season 10 episodes so far. And it was almost exclusively the Tony show too. So many things to talk about...

In "You Better Watch Out," the team was called in to investigate the death of an unemployed Navy husband, who - as it turns out - had been stockpiling new unreleased $100 bills and running up enormous debts. Only he ended up trying to use a few of them before he was meant to, which turned out to be very bad for his health.

Because the crime involved currency, the Secret Service had to step in, specifically Special Agent Ashley Winter. Though she seems entirely narcissistic (as evidenced by the fact she's clawing her way to the top of her career), I really hope we see her again. In fact, you have to wonder if maybe she might prove to be a good romantic foil for DiNozzo. Gas on fire perhaps?

The bigger surprise was a visit by Tony Sr., who blithely chose to bunk with his son instead of staying at a hotel. End result: we got to learn so much more about them both. 

Junior and Senior

Tony has always sort of tolerated his dad. Marginally. And we got a peek into why that was:

McGee: You should appreciate your father. I never had family traditions.
Tony: Well. We haven't had them for years. Traditions kind of died with my grandfather. Senior was kind of an absentee parent, you know? Longstanding customs kind of disappeared. Along with a certain family signet ring. It was always passed on to the next generation on the Christmas of the son's 21st birthday. I never got it. Senior claimed it was stolen. "I was mugged, Junior." But I think he pawned it during the bad times. | permalink

His ambivalence toward his father involved more than just the ring of course. But that seeming betrayal symbolized all that he disliked about him.

We also got to learn about Tony's private life:

Tony Senior: That's your bed?
Tony: Yeah.
Tony Senior: Not much room for play.
Tony: Well when I come home, dad, I sleep. Alone.
Tony Senior: You're serious?
Tony: Dad this is my sanctuary. Okay? If I'm going to see a lady I will stay at her place. That way I can leave when I want, and nobody overstays their welcome. | permalink

This thing about his apartment is important... only his father didn't seem to get it. He didn't respect his son's sense of solitude about the place, and ended up bringing Tony's anger to a boil when he hosted the woman across the hall - and did so in Tony's bedroom! Not cool, dad. I truly felt Tony's pain about that.

It was hard not to notice Ziva's keen observation of the two of them, as well. It's like she's gathering information about Tony all the time now, watching him to see what makes him tick. Even the innocent comment about never having been invited to his place (near the beginning) hinted at a question mark, didn't it? And she seems to treasure Tony Sr. almost like a father. I loved the scene where she ends up laying her head against his chest, smiling.

Tony and McGee's visit to the landfill site brought to mind the truism that probably everyone has at least one person in his lives who keeps them grounded and humble. For Tony it's his father. And for McGee... it's Tony. I laughed out loud when Tony's eyes lit up upon learning that McGee was the college mascot at MIT.

This excellent episode rounded out so nicely after Tony discovered that his father did in fact give him the family signet ring, as a means of atonement. The shared "I love you's between father and son put some dust in my eyes.

There's so much more, but it's time for you to share your thoughts. Before you do, some final notes:

  • There are a bunch of NCIS quotes from this episode that you might want to check out, some funny, some thoughtful.
  • This is the first time we've seen Tony's apartment, ever. It's elegant, stylish and military-neat. I was surprised to see that his small twin bed was perfectly made.
  • There was a lot of great Christmas music throughout the episode. Many were jazz pieces by Andy Williams, but there was one remarkable song that played near the beginning when Abby was in the lab: a rendition of "Away in a Manager" by Plan 9.  Great tune!
  • This is Tony Senior's fourth visit. Hopefully we'll get to see him many more times.
  • Tony has a goldfish. He talks to it. It's named Kate.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (210 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



Are you kidding? How about an ok show but the worst. Tony was so annoying rolling on the floor etc. Gone was the best.


Not only is the goldfish name Kate, but the quote about staying at the women's place is the reversal of what was said in the Season 1 Episode 8 "Minimum Security" by both Kate and Gibbs. This is the episode where Tony first met Special Agent Paula Cassidy (Jessica Steen).


Not keen on Tony senior, just so sad he is so into his self that he hurts Tonyjunior so much


I wonder whatever happen to the lady who clean his home


PS - In last week's TV Guide it was said that DiNozzo's apartment was very similar to Michael Weatherly's actual digs. Apparently Michael is quite the designer and did his home himself and it's quite gorgeous.


I loved this episode - and give major kudos to the NCIS writers for listening to the fans and their wishes for getting back to basics this season with what made us love NCIS in the first place - the core characters.
Great Christmas present! Thanks! I think Tony was so hurt by the death of his Mom followed by the chronic absence of his Dad and no friends growing up that he recreated what he knew best - a cold, elegant shelter with only a goldfish named Kate where he kept protected from any human interaction. Perhaps that will all change now with the "I love you" hugs by Jr & Sr. Merry Holidays, everyone!


Well without a doubt I thought it was the best episode so far this year. Tony's apartment allowed us a rare glimpse of Tony outside the confines of NCIS. As we look back over 10 seasons, I doubt any NCIS fan could say that is what they would have pictured his home looking like. Even with all the spoilers we could read, the writers and in particular the set designers have left us a ton of hidden messages in what is lying around. Obviously he has no desire to share this special place with a special someone yet. I mean this is a major wall he has built around himself as it appears none of the team has ever been to his place. I just wonder if that wall will begin to crumble as the season progresses. I loved the new Secret Service Agent but lets face it, we don't need another EJ. Either get Tony and Ziva together or allow us fans the pleasure of seeing Tony happy with another. I think its time he have that someone special, he is 44 years old for gosh sakes. To me the biggest question of the night not answered was, What were all the books and notbooks and folders on the table for? Is he taking courses in school? I guess we will just have to wait and see what great things are ahead for Tony and NCIS. Still the best show in rerun or first run on the air.


The one movie poster in Tony's apartment was for "Chinatown", not "Casablanca."


I'm stunned that some don't get why Tony wasn't all warm and fuzzy with Sr's visit.The man ware-housed him off to boarding schools/summer camps at age ten, and was not involved in his son's life. And we've learned in the other Sr eps that his father has never called or visited his son unless he needed something. The man always has an agenda,and he's the master manipulator. Why should Tony suddenly trust the man? And look how he betrayed his son again,bringing the neighbor to Tony's bed! Tony is the most forgiving soul, to a great fault. But I completely get why he treated his Dad the way he did. And of course he once again forgave him. I guess if you don't like a character,you can't have empathy for them. Too bad, as there's so much more to Tony than some "see".


So this is Tony's inner 'life'? A perfectly maintained, perfectly elegant and fabulously furnished apartment with a single bed? I think Tony is trying to make a point to himself about himself every time he unlocks his own door. If this apartment is the 'real' Tony, then who is the guy we've seen for ten years? Like everyone else, I loved the goldfish baby talk and that he named it Kate. I loved that the only movie poster was Casablanca and I loved the absolutely PERFECT cookies Senior made, which is a miracle all on its own. Senior always looks at the easy way out the first time and his flamboyance at being a player at his age is amusing each time it comes up, because, I for one, believe he is - not to mention Robert Wagner will be sexy to his dying day. I feel sorry for Tony now. The poor guy cannot trust any woman he's met in the past 12 years to come inside his domain and share with him. I am sure Ziva and Abby would have been knocked sideways if they had been allowed inside. I also really enjoyed McGee's MIT friend finding his 'calling' in garbage. So much for the fast track all MIT grads are supposed to be on. Lovely episode without too much gooey holiday schmaltz.

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NCIS Season 10 Episode 10 Quotes

Stewie: This was one crazy dude in college. Really knew how to have a good time.
Tony: Shut up. No way.
Stewie: Did he tell you he was the school mascot?
Tony: No! What was the MIT mascot?
McGee: Really. Does it matter?
Tony: Oh yes it does. Stewie?
Stewie: A beaver. He was Tim the Beaver our senior year.
Tony: Please tell me you dressed up like a beaver.

Tony Senior: What can I say? I'm me. I'm not gonna change.
Tony: I know. I know you're not gonna change. And I don't know why I was smiling because there's nothing funny about this. Dad this is my home. I told you my rules, okay? And you broke them. It was a mistake having you here for Christmas.
Tony Senior: You want me to leave.