NCIS Review: The Pretender

at . Comments

Of all the scenes you'd never expect to see, having Gibbs play the part of a street person would be near the top of the list.

The opening of Canary" was well played, with Gibbs scavenging through trash and Ziva doing a valley girl routine on her phone while walking down the alley in stilettos, all in an effort to nab Ajay Khan, the second most sought-after cyber-terrorist in the world. (The mysterious "MC" - who we've yet to meet - was number one).

Canary Picture

Khan was identified as a key player in MC's organization who, as it turns out, was charged with getting an Ebola infestation in place. 

After grabbing him - and more importantly, his laptop - Abby and McGee were able to get an address to a warehouse off of the hard drive prior to it going up in smoke.  The warehouse contained another employee of MC who had died after being infected with the Ebola virus. Upon determining the shipping details of the disease, Gibbs and McGee were able to hunt down the shipment and safely dispose of it. Meanwhile, Ziva and Tony (and improv artist Kevin) worked on overconfident Khan in an eventually successful effort to have him give up the IP address of his boss.

So this time, everyone was back to his/her old self. And Ziva was still learning English language idioms:

Ziva: All warehouses are the same.
Tony: Up there with old houses, churches and prisons. Gives me the willies.
Ziva: Is that the thing where people lick their fingers and them they put it in someone's ear?
Tony: That's a wet willy. | permalink

Last episode's unsure Abby was back on board and on fire, despite her ridiculously wild nightmare hair.

The most compelling aspect of this episode was the character of Khan. Often we are treated to fiends who are just a little less intelligent than the NCIS team. Typically, Abby and Tim sort through the clues, after which the criminal is identified and brought in for interrogation, who then confesses the reasons for his or her behavior. 

Not this time, though. Khan was written to be a canny guy who not only knew his rights, but was able to guess at many of the tricks the team might throw at him to get him to talk. You have to admire the fact that he held on until the bitter end, still doubting NCIS's commitment to send him to Gitmo, even after he puked into a bag while uncomfortably detained on the plane. 

While it was easy to guess that all of the excitement at Gitmo was acted out for Khan's benefit, the most surprising thing to me was discovering that they hadn't gone there at all. Khan was probably one of the most irritating know-it-all smarmy characters to appear on the show, so it was cathartic to watch McGee plow through all of his logic in order to arrive at the conclusion that indeed Khan did know MC's IP address.  

Khan: Who is this?
McGee: Someone smarter than you who's about to hang up. | permalink

Speaking of McGee, it was interesting to see Abby and him working so close to each other as they tried to break into Khan's notebook. And then later on she said "from the ashes, McAbby will rise!" Was that foretelling?

Throughout the episode Deputy Director Craig showed his lack of courage and need to cover his butt, right up until Abby informed him that the anthrax agent could conceivably kill a very large crowd of people. Interestingly, Gibbs didn't give him a lot of grief about it - I suppose because he knew Craig to be self-aware enough to know that he ultimately wasn't suited for the job. Gibbs tends to say a lot when he says nothing at all. Craig reached his own - correct - conclusion:

Gibbs: The job's never done, Jerome.
Deputy Director Craig: No. Which is why I don't think I'm the man for it.....yet. | permalink

A couple of final notes:

  • You may have recognized the actor who played Khan as Vik Sahay.  He played as Lester Patel in the now-defunct series Chuck.
  • The title to this review refers to a couple of themes in the show, but also to a song from 1977 - the year Tony said that music died.  "Free Bird" also came from that year, but wasn't chosen because then you might not have been able to stop thinking about it.
  • As always you're invited to check out our NCIS quotes from this episode.
  • Our NCIS Round Table is up.  Check it out.

What did you think? Were you taken in by the "Gitmo" scenario? Do you have any thoughts about McAbby? What was your impression of Khan?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (270 Votes)

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



Would you guys like for them to return to this storyline next season?


@Mikey: LOL!! I think would have been hilarious.


For me, he could have just as well have said and told Tim to go look in the mirror.


On the whole, not exactly the most original episode but what made it fun was the dialogue. All believable until the last minute when the I.P. address was given. @Michael replying to @Doug H - It may be true that the I.P. addresses that government departments use are different to civilians and some cases have their own range set aside, these would usually refer to the external I.P. addresses (ie outside of the government network). The I.P. address given in the episode is an internal I.P. address (ie inside of the government network) which ALL closed networks use other than the 10.nnn.nnn.nnn range. So if we are to take it at face value, MC Hacker is suggested to be an NCIS employee. For Khan to communicate with MC Hacker, he would have to hack into the NCIS servers every time. Which may still play out that way storywise but it's a bit convoluted for Khan and MC to keep in touch with each other without getting the authorities suspicious, that is, more than they already are. For me, he could just as well have said and told Tim to go look in the mirror.


I liked exactly the opposite of what you liked Katie. I hated the stupid Tony humiliation with Ziva getting applause (???) bullpen scene. I loved the episode after that. As far as Shabot Shalom and Shiva go, they were mostly interesting because they killed off some characters we already knew. If they do that too much, there won't be anyone left and it won't be shocking or interesting anymore.


The first scene of the show was classic NCIS and absolutley fantastic. The remainder 40 minutes were boring. It was a step up from last weeks but I really had trouble keeping an interest in the show. I'm afraid after the fantastic Shabatt Shalom and Shiva that the writers are leaving the fans wanting just a little more. I hate to say it but the show did feel very forced. That hair do of Abby's was really dumb for a mid 40ish women. I did think the guests were great . The guy from Chuck and the person I wish was the new director.


@Carol - You seem to have misunderstood at least part of my post. Tony is actually and by far, my favorite character. You hit the nail on the head about Ziva though. I don't blame or dislike Tony for the way he's written. I'm just tired of the Tony is humiliated while Ziva comes off on top formula which is what now passes on the show as "humor" 90% or the time. In the old NCIS days, sometimes Tony was funny because HE was the one who was clever. No one character was always the butt monkey. Sometimes the joke was on Kate, sometimes McGee, sometimes Tony, and yes (gasps) even Gibbs, and I can tell you the unpredictability and variety was a lot funnier and clever. Now it's always princess perfect outdoing poor ridiculous Tony. I'm tired of Tony having to always be wrong, and suffer from Ziva wank fatigue.


Hey everyone. Our NCIS Round Table for this episode is up. Check it out:


Pretty good but not a great episode. Enjoyable nonetheless. It did remind me of the original Peter Graves Mission Impossible. The part I didn't buy was Khan caving in when the Gitmo inmates are banging at the cell door and Tony & Ziva convince him that they will protect him if he gives up the IP address. A few seconds earlier Tiva were willing to give him up on the chance to save their own lives. I disagree with EB's comment that he can't believe that DepDir Craig is such a ditz. I know a lot of government managers and the vast majority are paper pushing bean counters whose primary motivation is not getting criticized down the road for making the wrong decision. I did like the military jet fly over at the end.


I thought it was obvious it was a set up. Abbey getting alittle too old for
the pony tail hairdo. Didn't understand Tim's comment that he was smarter than hacker..tim wasnt working alone. Something about sub. director seems off. Tony and Ziva...I think alot of us are "over it" already. They need to let Tony and Abbey grow up. He always looks like a jerk. And does anybody know why...if NCIS is the number one drama on t.v.---why don't they ever get any award recognition? And...where is Palmer? Since they made Brian a regular..his character is hardly on. Love when its Ducky and Palmer.

Tags: ,

NCIS Season 10 Episode 14 Quotes

Deputy Director Craig: Congrats Gibbs. You did it.
Gibbs: No. It's a team effort.

Gibbs: The job's never done, Jerome.
Deputy Director Craig: No. Which is why I don't think I'm the man for it...yet.