NCIS Review: Devil's Trifecta (With the Devil Always Being the Ex)

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They say that marriage can be a bitch, but tonight's NCIS episode, "Devil's Trifecta," gives that a whole new meaning in my opinion.

It's one thing to have to deal with an ex-wife, pay alimony, and all of the other crap associated with making a bad choice in a spouse, but when that ex-wife actually almost gets you killed, that's a completely different story.

With as many ex-wives as Gibbs' has had, you might have guessed the target would be him, but the poor victim turns out to be Agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano). My favorite sidekick of Gibbs had always been Mike Franks (Muse Watson), and ever since his character was killed off, my favorite has been Fornell.

If there is an episode that features Gibbs and Fornell, you can almost guarantee it to be a hoot-feast, and tonight's episode was no exception.

Devil's Trifecta (and Ziva)

As serious as the episode began with Fornell almost being killed, it quickly turned into one laugh right after another when the center of the entire mess turns out to be Gibbs and Fornell's mutual ex-wife, Diane Sterling (Melinda McGraw).

Of course, like every crazy ex-wife of Gibbs and Fornell, she's remarried and now is back to work for the IRS, not as an auditor but as an enforcer. She's investigating an IRS fraud ring involving filing tax returns under fake identities and conveniently uses her Gibbs and Fornell aliases as cover identities, which lands Fornell on the wrong end of a bullet.

The punchline of the entire case involved smuggling goods inside fish of all things, but like most NCIS episodes, the case wasn't the center of the episode (although smuggling crap like DVDs inside fish was, well, an interesting idea), and instead, the focus was on the characters, this time on Fornell, his ex Diane, and somewhat on Gibbs, at least towards the end of the episode.

People can say all the bad crap they want about their ex's but their true colors show when that ex potentially lands in the arms of someone else. In this case, that someone else is our dear Agent McGee. 

This is where things got really weird, and I think it's going to take a long time before poor Timmy's co-workers let him forget about this one. McGee was assigned to protect her, and after being a complete jackass to him initially, she breaks down and admits that her current husband is leaving her and maybe she's a bitch from hell after all, which is why she can't seem to keep a husband.

Tim, being the super-nice guy that he is, ended up comforting her through the night, which is completely misconstrued by the entire team, especially Fornell. As much as Fornell seems to hate his ex-wife, you can't help but see the jealousy in his eyes when he believes that Diane got it on with a cute, younger guy. Yes, on the surface, Diane appears to be the bitch that every ex-husband has nightmares about, but it also appears that Fornell may actually still hold a torch for her, even if it is a small one. I certainly don't think there's a chance in hell they'll ever get back together, but there's still some feelings there.

But, the best parts came at the end with the scenes with Gibbs and Diane. We all know that Gibbs true soul mate was Shannon, and his other wives were only cheap replacements. But, when it is revealed that Gibbs does actually remember how he proposed to Diane, it shows that while he may not have loved her like he did Shannon, he certainly did care - and still does.

This culminated at the end of the episode when Gibbs confronts Diane about her current marriage and what she needs to do to save it:

       "Give Victor a break for being him, not for being someone else"

For those who remember previous episodes with Gibbs' other ex-wives, he's given them similar advice, showing that the man does truly have a big heart. Most men don't give a rat's ass about their ex-wives, but Gibbs is different. He does care, and he wants to help.

The episode ended with Diane asking Gibbs if he just going to end up being alone for the rest of his life. I love his response: "I'm not alone". 

That's exactly right. First, he has the dear memories of his true love, Shannon, and their daughter. And, most of all, he has his NCIS family - Tony, Tim, Ziva, Abby, Ducky, all of them. It may be the holidays and while most of the characters may seem to have relatively empty lives, they have each other, and that's the true spirit of the season.


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (249 Votes)

Michelle was funny(sometimes) but she was the mole, there was also Brent Langer(guy who Michelle killed) but GIbbs is the only one that knows him well. Paula Cassidy was a good char, but relaly only had a relationship(sort of) with Tony, and she didnt like Ziva!!!!! Kate, and Jenny were very major characters, but i think for now, its too soon to make one for Jenny, since we just got one for Caitlin


@Eula I agree I stopped watching SVU Cuz Stabler left be was my favorite. I Still like criminal minds even tho the was cast changes I like everyone on but I just half to get used to the new girl. I love everyone on NCIS Tony is my favorite


@Michael -- I get about choosing your battles and deciding what is important enough to fight for ... but there's also consideration of other human beings. By that I mean if a show I've enjoyed changes, for whatever reason, and I don't like the changes but it's the highest rated drama on television, for instance, then one could consider that a lot of other people like it just the way it is and it's a wrong use of one's efforts to try to make them all miserable about what they like. There are a lot of advantages to respecting other people in the world and learning to listen, which is learning, with being friendly, supportive, and friendly with one's fellow man --and that doesn't mean one isn't able to make decisions about what to fight for, but it helps in determining what is important.


Boy if everyone was like that heck if God was like that we would all be in trouble. When you love something you don't quit and walk away like a coward you fight for it and try to fix it that what makes you a adult.


@Eula - I agree too! There are a lot of shows I've stopped watching when they made casting changes that made the show not fun for ME to watch (even if I'm the only one). Off hand, CSI (on 2 occasions!), Last Man Standing when they got rid of my favorite daughter, CSI:NY when they added the new woman (who I didn't like on House either), and Criminal Minds when they got rid of JJ. I always find something I enjoy to watch -- so why would I watch what makes me mad?


@ eula nice comment


@ Janet. I totally agree with you.I Love all the characters on NCIS. Tony is my favorite. I don't like NCIS: Los angles and I don't watch it at ALL. Just like SVU I use to love that show love seeing the characters but when Elliott left I watched 1 episode of the new characters I thought I was watching a soap opera so I STOPED watching it. So has Janet said: why do you watch a show and keep saying how bad it is. HINT: stop watching it. DUHhhh


The only joy we can get out of this Ziva storyline is her contact is up after this season and she might leave


i really dont understand some people its obvious they dont like NCIS so can anybody explain to me why the hell do they watch it


Well whatever happens in Shabbat Shalom, since it is centering around Ziva, we'll likely see the usual assortment of unrealistic Ziva action figure moves, the usual awe and admiration of every thing she is and does, as well as poor tragic lip wobbling Ziva moments when she discovers that mean old Eli has betrayed her (again!!!!) Yikes - and this seems to be the set up for the remainder of season ten's focus on this Ziva based soap opera, that used to be the crime procedural called NCIS.

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