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NCIS Review: Hunters and The Hunted

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Get ready: this episode was the launching point for the major story that will take us to the end of NCIS season 10.

To that end, this was one of those installments where the last 10 minutes were the most compelling, particularly that slow approving nod from Vance to Ziva.

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

The title - "Chasing Ghosts" - was a play on words, as the "ghosts" here were twofold: the first was the missing Navy reservist's husband, Noah Daniels, who was later presumed dead.  The second was Bodnar, who's been in the wind since the death of Ziva's father and Vance's wife. Both the Navy reservist - Callie Daniels - and Ziva were looking for closure. 

Tony, Abby, Gibbs and Ziva

In the case of Daniels, it turns out he had staged his own kidnapping at his home - and then later staged his own death by killing Darryl Orton, a man he had previously met in a restaurant. And then left a fake suicide note, directing the investigators to (supposedly) Daniels' dead body. 

The degree of Daniels' commitment to the ruse was found in his willingness to have his girlfriend lop off his ring finger, as well as his willingness to kill the stooge.   Daniels' marriage was going through rough times and he didn't want his wife being able to access his trust fund or come after him for it in the event of a split. He had hoped that the staged kidnapping and death - complete with the fake confession from Orton - would allow him to be free to flee with the money and his girlfriend. 

The discovery of Daniel's finger in the garbage can sort of creeped everyone out, especially Tony who tried to make light of it:

Tony: Hope this doesn't turn into one of those whacked-out games of tic-tac-toe. You know, a finger here, an arm there, you find a head and you've got a meat puzzle... | permalink

There were two other subplots, which I found much more interesting. The first involved Palmer's career evolution. We're so used to seeing him make lame jokes that go nowhere and being considered a clown who is slightly lower in status than Tony. 

Consequently, it appeared that Ducky didn't take him seriously, trying to shoo him out of the picture when it came time to do a psychological profile of the man who they thought had kidnapped Daniels. Palmer's heartfelt rejection of Ducky's dismissal is recounted in the NCIS quotes from this episode. And it was beautiful. 

The final subplot was mostly about Ziva and, to a lesser degree, Vance. Finally we saw most of the NCIS gang find a way to support Ziva's hunt for Bodnar - whether it will end in his apprehension or (more likely) Ziva's vengeance on him. Throughout the episode Tony was in full investigative mode when it came to Ziva, even to the point where he took note of her five minute tardiness in getting to work. 

This bugged McGee to no end, a fact I found a little strange until near the end, when we discovered that McGee had been helping Ziva all along. 

Interesting that Tony didn't try that hard to hide his misgivings from Gibbs, choosing instead to ask for his permission to find out where she was and what she was doing. Equally surprising was Gibbs' agreement and encouragement to do so "now!" Tony - and likely all of the viewers - were surprised to find McGee in that room with Ziva.  None of us saw that coming. Not so surprising was the fact that Ziva had been active in her search for Bodnar all along, employing the help of contacts from all over the world. 

Even Abby was on board, despite her misgivings, in helping Tony track Ziva down. 

The next surprise was Gibbs' knowledge of this activity and his active agreement with it. I had a hard time trying to figure out whether I was amused at Gibbs' fake innocent expression as Ziva and Tony shared their apprehension prior to Ziva's confession to Gibbs... or Ziva's shock at learning that Gibbs' not only knew all along, but was more than willing to allow her to do some traveling to find Bodnar, even to the point of sharing with her the latest intel: that Bodnar was in Rome.

And then there was Vance. A man who had his own closure to deal with. He too approved of Ziva's hunt for Bodnar and indicated so by his slow nod at the end.

This is going to be good.

Final notes:

  • I was positive at the start that Daniels' neighbor had kidnapped or killed him, out of a misplaced attraction to Daniels' wife. Did anyone else suspect him?
  • Even though McGee had been helping Ziva all along, Gibbs told Ziva to go to Rome and to "take DiNozzo." Not McGee.
  • Tony got one of Gibbs' "slap upside the head" in this episode, something we haven't seen in quite some time.
  • We learned something from Ducky about the custom of having the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the right hand. Certainly this was news to me anyway.  "Vena amoris" - literally, the vein of love.

What do you think will happen next? Does Ziva intend to bring Bodnar in or kill him? When Tony first spoke to Ziva after getting Abby's help in finding her, he said that he wanted to help. Do you think his help will extend to helping her kill him if that's her goal? How do you think Vance will fend off Homeland Security in order to allow Ziva to continue her manhunt? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (297 Votes)

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

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Love the show, Cast is great and even Leon is acting more human. Keep up the good work.

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oh please no no no no jeanne, NCIS whatever you do, do not bring her back!!
They can bring wendy or someone else but no jeanne.
tony love ziva I don't understand how it is that some people can't see it.

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@Janet
I agree with you. I love both Tony and Ziva. You can't have Tiva without Tony or Ziva. So I would hope that if someone is a lover of Tiva that they love each character equally.

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In France, NCIS was considered like a great show. But there are less viewers.When i am in L.A, i see the show each tuesday. I hate rerounds.I had seen tuesday episode, i found it was an amazing episode. French people are kwown to be romantic and they were certainly despondent to wait for tiva. It's seems that all the elements in the episode "Chasing ghosts" exist to bring Tony and Ziva closer than ever, until their relationship turns romantic. It's time. The showrunner Gary Glasberg said that in the following episode Ziva will let her guards down, and let herself melt into Tony's arms. For me, Tony and Ziva hooked up when they were in Paris, in season 7 , episode "Jetlag". I don't know wether Cote de Pablo renewed her contract or not. Whithout Ziva, the show won't be the same.

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NCIS would not be one of the top shows that it is today without tony he plays his part perfect so people leave him alone.there will be tiva but its a slow progress but they will get there in the end.

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@eula You do realize that Jeanne is probably one of the most hated characters in NCIS history? I highly doubt that they will bring her back. Yea, that would be a really healthy relationship-one that was built on lies, false identities and betrayals. Did you forget that she also falsely accused Tony of murdering her father? Tony and Ziva belong together. And I do not need to see them kissing in every episode. They can still flirt-couples do flirt with one another. It is just that the flirting will have a different meaning now.

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Has usual great episode. I really wish they bring back Jeanne. She was a GREAT match for Tony and great chemistry. If they put Tony and Ziva together then what will happen to NCIS. They can flirt with one another all episode long. Just not a romantic interest for him and her. I love Ziva and has usual TONY I am in love with he is my favorite please NCIS DON'T put them together CO~ workers they should stay. GIBBS LOOKING good has usual. Let Jeanne come back with a kid and that kid is Tony because she told him to choose. So much passion they had for one another. Her father is dead no more arms dealer she is a doctor. For goodness sake let someone on the show have a family. Vance wife is gone so no stability on the show. Who else would be a great father and out of the blue TONY. The joker.

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For the love of Mary people stop with the poor Tony.....bad Ziva drama...its a show. Move on to predicting what's going to happen next. Yes, everybody is entitled to his/her opinion but for the love of Mary move on.

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I feel like I'm watching a different show than some of the people who are commenting. I think this episode was a great way to introduce the final arc of the season. I think it was a great way to show how much the death of Eli David and Jackie Vance has affected the whole team; not just Ziva and Leon. I think it shows just how much Gibbs loves (not romantically) and respects Ziva; how much Ziva respects McGee; how much Vance really wants vengence; how much Gibbs wants Tony and Ziva to be happy; how much each member of the team knows what the strengths of the other members are. Okay...we Tiva shippers are looking for any clues the writers give us. So what? Doesn't that show how invested we are in the show?

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-continued-
And the other reason I still watch event though I don't care for tiva and current direction saddens me is because a bad NCIS ep is still better IMO than many other offerings served up on my cable channel lineup.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 20 Quotes

Ziva: It's not about a choice it's about survival. She will not stop until she gets her closure.
Tony: We still talking about the lieutenant?
Ziva: Please do not go there. I'm fine.

Ziva : I would like your permission to travel to Europe to find Bodnar. I have been trying to locate him with the help of McGee and various contacts.
Gibbs: I know.
Ziva: You have known all this time? Then why did...
Gibbs: You needed to be ready to tell me. He's in Rome.
Ziva: That's what I thought too.
Gibbs: What are you waiting for? Take DiNozzo. Go.

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