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? 


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (299 Votes)

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



This show has always been character driven. Whether Tiva ever happens is beside the point. The best scene in the show was Tony's expression as the door opened up and it revealed not only Ziva but also McGee. He was speechless for a moment. He has made it clear on numerous occasions that he is there to help her and to see it was McGee doing the helping had to have hurt. I thought Tony was spot on when he questioned what they were doing expressing his concern that they were risking their careers and so forth. Tony may joke to draw attention away from himself but he sought approval before running after her....has he not grown? Now we all know this is getting beyond territorial with Homeland, CIA, NCIS and no doubt Mossad and probably the FBI in the end. I won't speculate but I would say more than 1 career will be on the line by the seasons end.


Like a lot of other people I was shocked that Ziva had clued in Mcgee on her search but not Tony. Although I don't agree with it, I can understand it. IMO Ziva didn't tell Tony not because she doesn't trust or respect him, but because she does trust and respect him. She might have been afraid that he would try to stop her and resisting him would cause more friction between them and she was trying to avoid that for as long as possible.(they did say they were going to tell him eventually) I am not saying in this that Ziva doesn't also trust/respect Mcgee but their relationship is very different. Mcgee just does not make Ziva as emotionally vulnerable as Tony does. This is just my opinion though if anyone was able to follow it lol.


@Michael Maybe it is time for you to stop watching NCIS. All you do is complain about it and say how this is the worse season ever. Why in the world are you still watching? I just stopped watching a show I have been a faithful viewer of for several years. I just am not enjoying it anymore so I stopped. If you like "Criminal Minds" so much, maybe that should become your new obsession. Why don't you start commenting on that page and leave us in peace?


Hmm... The last time I checked this season was an average of 21.90 million people. I believe that would make it the greatest season of NCIS ever, don't you think? WELL?! And shows do not need season long bad guys to be great. NCIS has been doing perfectly without them.


Man with how horrible these season has been storyline wise and character wise I really hope the writer get back to normal for seaosn 11 maybe they should a season long bad guy like CM did this year or maybe its time to get some new blood on the show.


Gibbs and Kate (Kibbs). Gibbs and Jenny (Jibbs). Gibbs and Samantha Ryan (Sibbs). Gibbs and Abby (Gabby). Gibbs and Lt. Col. Mann (Mibbs). McAbby. Tony and Kate (Tate). Tony and Ziva (Tiva). Notice anything? NCIS is FULL of shipping and romantic/sexual relationships and overtures. Has been from the beginning. That's a big part of why people turn in week after week. There is no procedural that doesn't have shipping. It's natural. If you're going to be anti-Tiva, fine. Just don't act as if people turn into NCIS just for the procedural aspects of the show.


Awesome episode this week!! And I'm very excited about how the story is going to unfold! I read somewhere that Tony and Ziva are gonna get closer and closer in the weeks to come..all I can say is boy I hope so!! These two need to get together already!!! I wasn't expecting McGee to be there with Ziva either but I did expect Gibbs and Vance already knowing about it. :) as I said before, it's gonna be intreessting to watch how the tale is gonna unfold in the next few weeks. :)


And people got to learn that TIVA is going to happen (unless of course one of the characters leaves). I mean do you need to see a picture of them kissing? The two of them dancing together doesn't support my theory.


I did not say that that was the only reason people watched the show. I said people watched it for the characters. Mark Harmon has repeatedly said that himself. And for your information, Michael Weatherly is 44 years old and Cote de Pablo is only 33. Are you jealous because you do not have a relationship in your own life?!? Sex and love will always be a part of the human dynamic. And romance has nothing to do with being horny. My husband takes care of that for me, I do not need a television show to fulfill that part of my life. But, there is nothing wrong with a lovely relationship being depicted on a television show.


First switch the ages around. MW is 44 and CdP is 33. Second, where in the world did anyone say we wanted to watch Tony and Ziva act like horny sixteen-year-old? I'd like to know where you get that evidence from. Who said it, where did they say it and when was this written. Sigh... You know a lot of Ziva... non-supporters (cause haters would be too rude) make fine points, but you proceed to make stuff up and devalue everything.

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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.