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NCIS Review: The K9 and the Nannies

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You can never go wrong putting a dog into the star seat in any TV episode. And Dexter filled the role especially well in "Seek," a NCIS story about a K9 expert who was killed by a sniper after saving a child from a Taliban mine field in Afghanistan. 

As it turned out, the murdered Marine's widow was correct in her suspicion that he was not killed by the Taliban, which the NCIS team was able to figure out with the limited number of clues it obtained.

Gibbs and McGee on the Case

The dead Marine - Ted Lemere - had been using his canine to help some contractors clear some empty buildings of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), not realizing they were searching for loot left behind by Afghanis who had previously fled from the Taliban.

When he discovered what they were up to, they offered him a cut of their take - and when he refused, they killed him.

In the midst of Tony's hilarious commentary, Ziva's secrecy and Vance's search for a nanny, Dex stood out as the top dog for this show, gathering good will and love from everyone right from the start when he settled down beside his murdered handler. 

The chemistry between Dex and Ted's widow was apparent from the get-go, and despite her acceptance of the fact that Dex couldn't stay with her because of his continuing commitment to Marine services, I couldn't help objecting just a little bit: surely the companion deserved to stay with someone who obviously loved him, especially after he lost his handler. 

The writing for this episode (kudos to Scott Williams) was clever.  Even the name of the episode - "Seek" - served to bring the themes together in a collage of purpose:  Vance was seeking a nanny; Ziva was seeking Bodnar; the NCIS team was seeking Ted's killer; and Dex... well, Dex's purpose was to seek out mines and IEDs.

The writing set up a cool sequence as well, starting from Tony's quip about Vance's search for a nanny:

Tony: If Vance is waiting for Robin Williams in drag to come floating on some magic umbrella, singing "Do Re Mi", he's going to be waiting a long time.
McGee: Wow Tony, three movie nannies in one reference. That's impressive. | permalink

This was followed by the character of one of the prospective nannies who encapsulated at least two of those same movie nannies: Mary Poppins (complete with umbrella) and Maria from The Sound of Music:

Maria [prospective nanny]: It was so very nice meeting you, Director. And I do hope you'll do me the honor of being governess to your lovely children. We'll play games and sing songs and...
Vance: Well that sounds great Maria but I do have a few other applicants to meet...I promise I'll let you know soon. Thank you. | permalink

Tony was in full joker mode in this episode, too, as he showed when he and McGee went to meet Mr. Pitt:

Pitt: My sister's kid. Useless.
Tony: Useless. Well with a name like that, what do you expect? | permalink

It's rare to find him and McGee sharing the same head space, as they did when commenting on an obvious point:

Pitt: Me, I'm not the coddling type.
McGee and Tony: We've noticed | permalink

Additionally, they shared a fear of dogs this time around. In fact they had more in common than not in this episode, even agreeing that Pitt should be charged for "assault with a deadly Dobie."

As it turns out, we may have an explanation for Ziva's mistake from the last episode, where she didn't realize her notes were being read by a detective: she's been working late at night continuing her search for Bodnar.  I had forgotten about him, and so when Abby questioned Ziva's recent unavailability, I thought maybe Ziva had a romance going or something. It wasn't until Vance interrupted her investigation that it was apparent that Bodnar was still on her radar. Vance seemed to know this, too, but chose at this point not to address it. 

(See the rest of our NCIS quotes for more details and clues)

There was a lot of concern from last week as to whether Vance was back to form after losing his wife, so Ziva was able to help him figure out. I thought her advice to him was dead-on and practical. Seems like the moment he figured out that he was sabotaging his search for a nanny, he was able to see a little more clearly, such that when the right person came along, he was able to recognize her as a good fit for his children.  Mind you, that other Mary Poppins character was too weird for words, regardless of Vance's motivation. 

The end of the day belonged to Dex. That magnificent animal so loved by his original handler Ted, Ruby and Gibbs. I knew that when he was shot he would live (prime law for animals in any episode: don't let them get killed off), and was pretty sure he'd be retired from active duty. Still, it was a relief to see him being left with Ruby at the end. More than a relief, really: it was a little overwhelming. That, or I got some dust in my eye. I'm not sure.

Final notes:

  • This episode was directed by Michael Weatherly. The continuity with the other episodes was dead on and the acting and interchanges were lively and entertaining - I think he did a great job with it.
  • We know the Bodnar plot will now go on  It seems likely that Vance will confront Ziva about it at some point.
  • Tony took note when Abby brought McGee - and only McGee - a coffee. Hmm.
  • It's only been a few weeks/months and Vance is still in mourning and still misses his wife but... the new nanny is interesting, isn't she?
  • Check out this week's NCIS Round Table

What are your thoughts? Did you like Dex (bearing in mind, the only acceptable answer is "yes")? Where do you imagine Ziva's search for Bodnar will go? Here is next week's promo:

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (220 Votes)

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

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In other news, this spoiler was released today: " 'The April 9 episode of NCIS is getting a lot of buzz. What can you tell us about the episode, especially on the Tony/Ziva front? Can we expect some explosive moments with these two?' — Cheryl 'Explosive? In a literal sense, not so much. Incredibly sweet? Yes. (…and there’s more than one!) Also, prepare yourself for the ending. In one word: Cliffhanger. In three words: Oh. My. God.' "

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shipping Tony and McGee. And why must people continue to be mean. I do not have an issue with you disliking a character but to say that you want Ziva killed or that you hate an actress is unnecessary and over the top.

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@gatorgal-I agree with everything that you have stated for this episode. Thank you for your opinion because I feel exactly the same way. For everyone who thinks the Ziva and Vance scene was too long; it was only 3 minutes long. 3 minutes of a 42 minute episode is hardly too long. And just because you are a junior agent does not mean you are not qualified to give someone advice about hiring a nanny. One thing has nothing to do with the other. She wasn't talking to him as an agent, but as one human being to another. I enjoyed this episode very much. I loved that they went back to the Tony and McGee dog scene-classic. It is always fun when Tony and Tim get together. I love the brotherly bond that they have. It was also nice to see Ziva and Abby together. I hardly think having a 2 minute scene can be considered shipping Abby and Ziva. Come on people. Tony and McGee had more time together in this episode than they did and I don't hear people saying that the writers are shipping Tony and McGee. And why must people continue to be mean. I do not have an issue with you disliking a character but to say that you want Ziva killed or that you hate an actress is unnecessary and over the top.

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@anna I refer you to MCAL's remarks on this subject. And while Ziva's likely to be in jeopardy by the end of the season finale, it's more likely Bodnar dead or written out than Ziva. But hey, I'm sure you'll be happy with her being seriously injured. At any rate, a fine episode, and an equally fine job by Weatherly in the director's chair.

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I agree fully with your review. It was a brilliantly directed and well written episode and what a magnificent animal Dex was. I am glad that I am not the only one who cried. The guest star who played Ruby was excellent also.
Some great Tony-McGee moments in the ep.
The Ziva-Vance scene was also good.
All of the Gibbs moments, specially him with Ruby and Dex were amazing.

Gatorgal

@ MCAL I'm totally with you regarding this season. Season Ten is the best in my book!

Gatorgal

@ MCAL- you agreed with Patricia's comment that Ziva was the reason Jackie was killed and should be held accountable, hence you were included. My point is that the Ziva haters conveniently forget Vance's own guilt in this sad story and blame the character, and the actress for everything they hate about the show. I don't obsess unlike those who continually post the same complaints over and over again. GLad to see you agree that they need to get over it.

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In brighter news, this episode got 19.79 million viewers. So close! It was almost over 20 million again. But at least we got seven in a row over 20 mil. I think that's the best amount of viewers in a row NCIS has ever had (Please tell me if I am wrong though and give me a link for proof). And Season 10 also has the episode with the most amount of viewers (Shiva). So yeah... whoever said season 10 was the worst needs to wake up and smell the roses. If these views continue, season 10 might beat season 9 in total viewers by over two million and will be the first season with over 20 million viewers total. Season 10 the worst? Oh hell no! Season 10 the best? Oh hell yeah!

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And the real point is you have to accept that this is how it goes. You can have problems, but you just have to move on. Obsessing over every little detail won't help you cause every show in existence isn't perfect and if we worried about everything then no one would enjoy television.

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@gatorgal
I never said it was solely Ziva's fault. I was just agreeing with Patricia because she came to a logical conclusion on one characters guilt. I can easily blame everyone for what happened. Ziva for not immediately bringing Eli in, Vance for inviting a man he knew might be a target into his house, Eli for putting himself in danger where other people could get hurt, Bodner and his hired gun for for existing and even Jackie for agreeing to invite Eli to the house. (Surely she had some idea of the potential dangers the head of Mossad would bring). The point is everyone is at fault for something. And perhaps that's why no one is being hanged. They just acted like humans.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 18 Quotes

Vance: I worry that the act of hiring a nanny means that I'm moving on. And if I'm moving on, I worry that Jackie's death will....it'll feel like...
Ziva: It's a bit more final?
Vance: [nods]
Ziva: Well then I suggest you take your time, Director. Hire a nanny or do not hire one. But do not let anyone tell you when you're ready or should be ready to move on. That is entirely up to you.
Vance: You may be on to something.
Ziva: I have some experience.
Vance: Yeah? Where were you a week and a half ago?

Tony: You know, I've been thinking about getting a dog.
Gibbs: He's not a dog. He's a Marine.

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