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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
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (296 Votes)

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

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Josie-leeds

Loved Jimmy developing a set and standing up to Ducky. I love Ducky but he can be soooo patronizing. Ziva will make every effort to bring Bodnar in because she wants to watch him get his. However, If Ziva thinks as little of the govt. ability to provide justice as many do, she may just skewer him and let him die slowly,preferably not on American soil. That will be the defining moment of the season finale and we will have to wait until fall to find out WHAT she does......Mossad directer Sirtis might well be the monkey wrench thrown into the story.

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I get so sick of people saying that Tony gets no respect. He SHOWS NO RESPECT TO HIS PEERS EITHER. He is always calling McGee names, always in Ziva business, always needing to know what others are doing. He is a needy little boy who can't stand on his two own feet if his life depended on it. He does have his fantastic "man up" moments (like in Shiva) but they are fleeting and then he is back to the goofy, snoopy, need to know all things pest. In order to get respect, you need to give it!!!

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I am on the same page with the people who were talking about "Castle" on these pages. I too have been saying that the Tony and Ziva relationship could evolve in the same way as Kate and Rick's has on "Castle" and believe that the writers could handle it in the same way. Anyone who watches "Castle" knows that it is not a make-out fest every week. Heck, some weeks they don't even kiss! I think it could be the same way with Tony and Ziva. Tony loves Ziva. It is VERY obvious. And she loves him, too. Everyone knows. The audience does, the team does, even Gibbs knows. Now, they just have to admit it to one another.

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Tony and Gibbs did have a female partner when the characters were introduced in the two episodes of JAG in the spring of 2003. That agent's name was Vivian Blackadder and she was played by Robyn Lively. Kate was then introduced in the very first episode of NCIS in the fall of 2003. So I don't think it was ever just a Tony/Gibbs team. There has always been a female agent involved in one capacity or another. And I feel that Ziva fits into the mix the best of all of them.

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It may have been a two man team but Gibbs shows Tony no respect either. In fact, he is worse then Ziva or McGee. He head slaps him, yells at him and shows signs of annoyance towards Tony, even Vance thinks McGee is a better agent then Tony. If the higher ups show no respect how can anyone else. This is not a McGee or Ziva problem....it is the writer's problem/view point. Also, they have written him with no backbone when it comes to Gibbs. He will not do anything without first asking him if it is okay. He doesn't trust his own judgement or feelings. He is afraid of Gibbs reaction or how he will see him. Tony needs to stand up and be a man and then maybe others around him will see him as such too.

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Here's the real question: What's Marina Sirtis' role as the new Director of Mossad going to be? If Ziva were going to kill Bodner, there would really be no reason to have recast the role.

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so could we see something like Criminal Minds season 7 where the team is questioned by a Senate Committee for their retaliatory actions? As far as Tiva you know these people that are saying that its going to happen that like saying the world is ending on 2012 it didn't happen and this will not happen. Because the writer are smart they know who their real fanbase is and they know without thinking the show would be over onces they JUMP THE SHARK.

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people seem to FORGET, that before kate along....it was a 2 man team....GIBBS AND TONY....and who does everyone THINK, did the searchs?....it wasn't until after kate joined the team, that tim was brought in to help out.....tony was a COP and got his GOLD SHIELD at a young age....he KNOWS what he is doing....tim doesn't like doing things the OLD WAY....because he doesn't KNOW HOW.....he complained when they couldn't use the conputers once (power outage or something), of doing things with "hard copy"...papers and such. i'm glad i missed the headslap....because that imo, is ABUSE and would NEVER be allowed.

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It feels good to not be the only one who thought that the neighbor was involved. I still think that the neighbor wanted the wife. But it was interesting how the cases paralleled. Ziva and Lt. Daniels really were a matched set. And watching Gibbs and Tony react was classic. And thanks to whoever talked about how Vance might have been involved. That comment is making me rethink what I see in the episode. TIVA...maybe it's because I love Castle, but I think the writers are following the Castle playbook; for every three steps forward, take two steps back. It always looks darkest before the dawn. Ziva didn't put Tony in the loop at the beginning; two steps back. Tony and Ziva going to Rome together (and Gibbs being the one who makes it happen); a million steps forward. Tiva is already happening; just because they haven't slept together doesn't mean that there's any going back now.

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@Lynn Lynn I would Love for "Ci-Ray" to be involved somehow! What a twist that would be. Although...I don't see Ray working against Ziva or the team in bringing down Bodnar. Even though he went rogue, I think he would actually try to HELP Ziva because he still had feelings for her.