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NCIS Review: Misdirection and Wrong Assumptions

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Once again, we were treated to a couple of fascinating parallel plots in tonight's episode of NCIS, "Hereafter."

In the crime story, the team was called to investigate the mysterious death of a marine who perished during training at Quantico. Turns out he died as a result of cerebral hemorrhaging, due to repeated blows to the head. 

The team was provided some misdirection as a result of the discovery that the dead marine had participated in a fight club. Later it was learned that their commanding officer had been attempting to toughen his team up by wounding them repeatedly - basically, torturing them - in the same manner as his brother, who had died from his injuries.

At the Crime Scene (NCIS)

The more personal story involved Leon Vance, who discovered that his wife had kept a separate bank account and a legal "separation of property" letter; he found them inside a safety deposit box that he didn't know about.

Of course, the immediate conclusion he came to - and by extension, the viewer - was that she was getting ready to separate from him prior to her death. The agony of that assumption was plain to see, as he tried to ensure his kids continued with their lives. He even went back to work while harboring that painful secret.

The writers did a great job with Vance's character, portraying him as a brittle and proud man who felt the need to shield his kids and everyone else from his anguish. It seemed sad to me when his daughter offered to help him sort papers and he declined, telling her that they needed to get into the kitchen and eat some breakfast. Or when his son asked him when he was going back to work, only to be told to get ready, because the car was leaving in 20 minutes. 

It would have been better for him to have let them in, allow them to grieve along with him - but that wouldn't have been Vance, would it? It would have been someone else entirely. The truly bright spot occurred when Vance returned home after solving the crime, only to find his kids shrieking with laughter as Tony and Ziva chased them around the house. They needed that, he said. And he was right about that, just as he needed to smile at their laughter.

And how about that exchange between Tony and Ziva just as they got to Vance's house to babysit?  The excruciating grimace on Tony's face was hilarious: he was truly horrified at the thought of being around them. Then this happened:

Ziva: DiNozzo, pull it together.
Tony: Kids. This is way above my pay grade. I spent the afternoon in a child care clinic when I almost lost my life.
Ziva: Stop stop stop stop. We're doing the director a favor, okay? We just need to be here, we need to be normal. Can you just please do that for a few hours?
Tony: Sure. Fine.
Ziva: Fine.
Tony: Only because you asked nicely. | permalink

Did you catch the laugh and smile they gave each other after that? Interesting to say the least, as was the fact that they both got into playing with the kids.

I liked the fact that Ziva finally had a brief heart to heart with Vance about the death of his wife. The beautiful/tender tension between them was portrayed so well by Cote de Pablo and Rocky Carroll. There was some great acting there.

The compelling conclusion tied up Vance's story nicely, with Gibbs making him realize that Jackie was merely preparing her kids and herself for a time when Vance wouldn't be around. The key point involved the fact that she started preparing around the time the NCIS building was bombed (end of NCIS Season 9 and the beginning of NCIS Season 10.)

I have to say: the writing, the directing and the acting on the show are stellar. Hardly a wrong note anywhere. If there is to be any criticism, it would be the idea of Tony continuing to be the clown and not evolving more and more into the strong watchful Tony we saw in "Shiva." Maybe it's time for someone else to play the clown for a while.  Deputy Directory Craig might fit that role, or Palmer.

Some final thoughts:

  • It was good to see Abby, even if only for a little bit, as she had at least one great line from the NCIS quotes of the evening: You could totally rock an eye patch Gibbs. And that's not important. | permalink
  • Missing from the picture entirely was Jimmy Palmer  He wasn't in either of the autopsy scenes. What's up with that?

So, what did you think of this episode? Did you see any plots holes? How do you think Deputy Director Craig will leave? Or will he?

UPDATE:

Steve Marsi has set up this week's round table to discuss this episode.  We're stumped about whatever it is Gibbs is building in his basement.  Come on over and check it out.  It's here:  NCIS round table.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (284 Votes)

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

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To me Vance is like a drunk driver. He messed up by not letting his superiors know that a wanted man was in the USA. Fire his but and let's give some other terrific actors some story lines.

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I was not the least surprised by what Jackie was doing. The minute we were told she took her financial actions in May it became screamingly obvious what she was up to. What I wish is that someone would explain McGee. Why doesn't he hit the streets more? He is supposed to be a criminal investigator. I would also like to see more scenes between Tim and Ziva. After Gibb's snarling, Tiva's games and Abby's bouncing off the wall and smacking Tim around every second or third show, watching Tim and Ziva interact is refreshing. Or, to put it another way, after being addicted to NCIS for 10 years, I have found something missing. I am not sure what but I am beginning to wonder if this is a police procedural or a police soap opera.

Gatorgal

My husband and I have completely separate bank accouts and investment portfolios. There is nothing illegal about it. It is convenient and makes sense. It is not a crime for a married person to have a personal safety deposit box. Geesh!

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I love McGee the most -- however(and I can't believe I'm saying this) he does need a complete makeover. Since he's finally putting on weight, he does need different clothes, longer hair and more story lines. Love interest was promised but....... More personal info!!!

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Very heartwarming episode. Having worked at a financial institution and seeing many women totally lost when a spouse dies, I wouldn't have expected anything different from Jackie, a very strong woman, who thought of her children's and her future. As for involving a lawyer, she probably wanted advice to make sure there were no mistakes if something happened to Vance.
The acting as usual was excellent and Tony and Ziva so great cheering up the kids. Tony is funny, but does his job well so that's a good combination.
Looking forward to the Ducky and Jimmy episode. Still the best show and actors on tv.

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Episode was awesome has usual.Vance emotions about what he found out about Jackie was not what he thought was overwhelming.He is a great actor. I think a wife or husband should have a separate account and a joint account. My mother always said never let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Even with a HAPPY marriage. One never knows. Remember the episode when 2 women were married to the same guy but the guy had a different name. The woman were fighting and Tony and McGee had there phones out and Tony said CHICK FIGHT they were recording it.Gibbs gave Vance great advice. I hope they do not take Vance off the show and put that deputy director in his place.He is funny because he really do not know what to do its like he is confused. No one else on the show has kids so at least keep one of the team that has. Deputy director always act like he is intimated by Gibbs just like Palmer act when Gibbs is around. I have never watched ally Mcbeall so I do not know much about him. Please keep Vance on.Tony: kids it's way above my pay grade. When he acts like a kid all the time. Then what did we see when Vance walked in his house the biggest kid
Tony with a pizza box with jaws teeth on his face. That was funny Tony is still and always be my favorite. Tony said what should we call Vance: probbie Vance.
I was lmfao. Overall great episode. Gibbs always has great advice soft heart when he said go home to your kids tell them you love them.

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Fascinating reading the various comments, love how we all have such different views, guess that's what makes the world go round. Must admit I came to NCIS late so I've very recently (in the last year or so) bought and watched all the episodes on DVD, and continue to do so, so they're all still very fresh in my memory. My gripe is that compared to some of the past episodes some of the most recent ones feel a little weak and there is a lack of the smart witty dialogue of old, and of late Tony has for the most part been over the top, which is a new thing - just watch the first 200 episodes, he's always been funny, but smart and funny which is different to plain silly. I couldn't be more delighted that the series has been commissioned for another run, I just think there are times it could be even better.

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something to point out and I found these out watching Monk but when someone dies I believe the family has 24 hours to remove there love one safe deposit box and I do believe its a crime for a wife or a man to have a sepreate one from their family.

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Nice episode, although the commander torturing his men as a mirror of his brother's death was pretty far far far fetched and I don't think even Marines these days would all agree to such treatment. Vance was great in his sorrow and paranoia. The Gibbs/Vance scene was great and I loved hearing that the angelic Shannon was actually a thinking person about herself and child. Tony was a bit overly clownish this ep, but he came through when he was needed. I love NCIS and great news for an 11th season.

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Will it never end? Although we couldn't make it past 21 million (Although we were 100,000 viewers shy.), this episode won 20.9 million viewers. That means NCIS has had five straight episodes of over 20 million people. That has to be a new record or something.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 15 Quotes

Ziva: DiNozzo, pull it together.
Tony: Kids. This is way above my pay grade. I spent the afternoon in a child care clinic when I almost lost my life.
Ziva: Stop stop stop stop. We're doing the director a favor, okay? We just need to be here, we need to be normal. Can you just please do that for a few hours?
Tony: Sure. Fine.
Ziva: Fine.
Tony: Only because you asked nicely.

Vance: Do you have a suitcase packed, Jerome?
Craig: Always Leon. You know that.
Vance: Good. I'll be in touch.

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