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)

Loved that McGee had a up front role. Gibbs standing in the house just looking at them sleeping on the sofa not saying a word. Then fornell walks in and get all jealous was so funny. Then of course my TONY all his jokes and laughing about it. This time it was Fornell that had smart comments. Funny how at the end Vance saying they all should would together and he looks up and all of them are gone.
Has usual people always talking bad about ZIVA. I love ZIVA. But TONY is my favorite. Gibbs is the man of few words above all is the show. Great episode has usual. Love NCIS. I do not like the Los angles one.


Ziva is not going to jail. 99.999999999% of the fans don't want that and neither do I.


So it look like NCIS after next Tuesday is off till Febuary so I wonder how we will get Ziva going to jail and Ziva father storyline and abby backstory all in such a short amount of time.


I thought it was a great show right from the begining fornell almost getting killed and the ex-wife she was great and funny and Tim sleeping with her with all there clothes on and her bossing everyone around and the end her and Gibb's having a nice talk it was great!!!


dont know why some people think ncis wants saving its the top show on tv


This and NameSake have been what has save NCIS


I usually don't watch the comedy-only episodes like this week and next but I did catch the Diane and her men comedy show. It had some funny scenes. I really wish they had more of the serious first and light moments shows. That's what NCIS is known for and that's why 20 million watch those shows. I thought that Gone was a perfect example of classic NCIS at it's best. I think Devil's Trifecta and next weeks Robert Wagner are more for the actors and less for the viewers. Please return to the more thoughtful shows.


Liked that McGee got some special attention in this one even though his scene with Diane seemed pretty forced. Enjoyed the Ducky/Tony/McGee scene the most. I like Gibbs and Fornell together. When did Ziva become everyone's best friend? The writers seem to be going out of their way to give us a Ziva being a relatable and sensitive girl friend scene in every episode this season. I would actually like to see other team members get a turn. Although I thought the episode had some good moments, it was too Tony light.


Funny how both episodes of Diane start out with a crime in a driveway.


Even though I thought that the McGee/Diane scene seemed overly contrived, I enjoyed that Tim got some fun attention. This episode was too Tony light. The Tony/Ducky/McGee scene was my favorite. I enjoyed the Gibbs/Fornell/Diane dynamic. Why is it that Ziva is every character's BFF this season? Would love to see other team members in those types of scenes for a change.

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