NCIS Review: Sweet Cheeks and Crumpled Fenders

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Rome, Berlin, misdirection, a duplicitous new Mossad director, "sweet cheeks" and a car crash. I'm not sure we could ask for much more from such an enticing NCIS episode as "Berlin."

The hour opened with Mossad agent Amir Mantel waiting for a contact in a parking garage. A car pulled up and someone he recognized rolled down the window and shot him. Abby later figured out that the communication earpiece he was wearing wasn't from the latest Mossad equipment, so Mantel could not have been working (or at least wasn't communicating) with Mossad at all, despite Mossad Director's assertion that he was, and that a member of a rogue faction from within Mossad had done the shooting. 

At the end of the episode we still weren't sure what that was all about.

Tony and Ziva Scene

The Tony/Ziva tease brought us much closer to what so many were hoping to see, but not yet all the way. We're not done with NCIS season 10, though, and so we're left hoping for more - providing everyone's okay after that final scene.

As soon as Tony and Ziva started off in the car, I imagine many of us anticipated that imminent crash, but then forgot to worry about it when this happened:

Ziva: You know I keep thinking if it was not for Orli, things would have been different. I would be a different person.
Tony: Then I should catch her before she leaves. You know. I'd thank her. | permalink

So rude of that assassin to smash into them just when they were holding hands and starting to get into it. It made me wonder: was that Bodnar trying to do away with Ziva? He knows her and is aware of her tenacity. He had to know she'd never give up trying to hunt him. I'm surprised she didn't roll her eyes when he advised her via video-link to let it go: please forgive me and walk away. Vendettas lead to nothing but heartache.  

Interesting, too, that he told her that there was more to the story - and that nothing was at it seemed.  Food for thought there: was he actually trying to justify his killing of Eli? Or perhaps it wasn't him at all who killed him and there was no attempted coup? What's the real story here?

We now know that the supposedly rogue faction of Mossad that Director Orli Elbaz spoke about was a lie and that the supposed rogues were all valid agents still in good standing with Mossad. We also know that Director Elbaz wanted NCIS and the other U.S. agencies to spin their wheels looking for Bodnar in every place other than where he was:  the U.S. The questions keep piling up, and there's no real light being shed here.

For example, during the plane ride home, Ziva and Yaniv had a conversation about family loyalty:

Yaniv: You would do anything for your family, if they had done wrong, would you not?
Ziva: You wrote him off. You had not spoken in years. I do not understand this loyalty.
Yaniv: It never leaves us. Does it, Ziva? | permalink

That last question seemed rather pointed, suggesting that perhaps in addition to killing that reporter, Eli David had done something else wrong, something worthy of his own death. Or at least it leaves the question open.

At the end of the day, Vance decided to let Mossad off of the hook with their misinformation, all in an effort to ensure there was no further wasted effort in the hunt for Bodnar. 

Ziva's back story with her father is worth talking about as well.So many of her choices were based upon the events of her family life: her father constantly going out on "business trips;" the breakup of her parents' marriage, as a direct result of Eli's indiscretions with a young Orli Elbaz (no wonder Ziva hates her!); Ziva dancing with her father as he says: My Ziva. One day you will dance with a man who deserves your love.

So touching to watch that scene as she remembered it while dancing with Tony. 

You get the sense too that Tony's new pet nickname for her will now be "sweet cheeks": after calling her that in the hotel room, she laughed and said she remembered the first time he referred to her that way. It seems he called her that in season three, episode eight - though I don't know the circumstances. She didn't like it back then but this time, it was different: he called her that again on the dance floor. In season three, I think she saw it as derogatory, but this time it was a term of endearment. 

I have to admit, I'm enjoying the chemistry and romance between these two: 

Ziva: When I have a man, the favors I offer have little to do with clothes.
Tony: That's good to know. | permalink

There's no doubt that these two are going places. 

Some final notes:

  • Marina Sirtis fits the Director Elbaz role well: I expected to see a slightly older version of Deanna Troi but instead encountered someone who fully took on the Mossad director character. Entirely believable and engaging. 
  • Ben Morrison embodied the young Eli David role well, too, right down to his mannerisms and voice. That was some great work, both with his acting and the costuming.  
  • Ziva seems to think that Director Elbaz's duplicity involving Bodnar's location has to do with the love she had for Ziva's father - and that she shared the same motivation as Ziva: to hunt and kill Bodnar without interference from government agencies. I'm not so sure - nothing with this woman is at seems.
  • Check out this week's NCIS quotes.
  • This week's NCIS Round Table discussion is up!  Come over and add your take on our discussion.

Now it's your turn: Is Bodnar's suggestion that Ziva's seeing the whole thing in the wrong light accurate or is he just trying to save himself from her? Was he behind the crash - or was that the work of Director Elbaz? Or someone else? 

What key piece of information have we missed here? Is there anything that can help us figure out exactly who Amir Mantel was and why he was killed? And finally - what's going to happen with Ziva and Tony? Will this budding romance go into the next season with them?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (605 Votes)

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



Good episode, just a scary ending. I love all the characters on this show and don't want any changes. Abby is quirky, McGee the tech guy, Tony the "character" and very special agent and of course Gibbs, the best leader.
Ziva is endearing and Ducky charming. Jimmy, can't think of a description but I really like him. It took a while but I even like Vance now. This show is on top because of excellent acting and good writing. Keep up the good work.


Kudo's to casting M. Sirtris as Mosad boss. Couldn't tell from my PVR, just wondering if the at fault vehicle was the green SUV from the beginning of the show...after all, I'm sure Bodnar would like his diamonds back from Ziva. Too bad they werent driving an NCIS Charger, it would have protected Tony and Ziva! LOL


When Tony and Ziva were at the cafe in Berlin, and Ziva got a video call from Bodner, did McGee not trace the laptop to a U Bahn station nearby in Berlin? But we saw Bodner on video, so how can he be in the USA?


I dont care how they handle it as long as they come back next season and Tony & Ziva are both OK


@Scott: I wondered the same thing but also watched the crash scene a few times. The driver who t-boned them actually had his lights off until the last minute, then suddenly turned them on. For that reason I think it was deliberate. Another thing I wondered but neglected to mention in my review: at the end of Ducky's rant to Gibbs he said something interesting, in relation to Director Elbaz: Every time we deal with Mossad, something bad happens. Please, tell me you're having second thoughts about what you've agreed to here. What's that about?


I didn't read all of the posts, but I wanted to interject one thought on the crash. I re-watched and I don't think it was intentional. Tony didn't see the vehicle coming because his view was blocked by Ziva, but the other vehicle had it's lights on and I'm willing to bet the driver simply ran a stop...maybe fell asleep at the wheel. If it WAS intentional, it would be too close the crash scene from Alias. Also, based upon comments by CdP, I believe they both survive the crash, but she says Ziva and Tony will have a tough time ahead...possibly dealing with post crash injuries. While airbags did deploy, I didn't notice side impact a/b's and considering Ziva's side of the car took the majority of impact, it's a good possibility they're talking severe head trauma, brain damage, and memory loss. So, that the rest of that sentence that began with, "Tony..." may never get finished. Damn those writers.


And where did the showrunner of Castle say it was the biggest mistake he ever made? And even if he did, who gives a FF? They are too different shows. You apparently have trouble distinquishing from one show to the other. I broke my vow to not respond to you but you are so ridiculous.


You will have to give a link to an interview/video that shows Andrew Marlowe saying that putting Caskett together was the worst mistake he made. Because every interview that I've seen has him saying that once they made the decision to put Caskett together, they were NOT breaking them up. And the last interview I saw was 2 weeks ago. Anyway...if you don't like the direction NCIS is turning, then stop watching it. Why come on a fan board and complain that NCIS is acting like L&O (as if that's a bad thing..seeing as tho L&O lasted for 20 years and SVU will be on season 15 in the fall) or saying that they need to bring the Criminal Minds? At some point, every show that deals with crime/criminals/police/lawyers is going to touch on the same subjects; because as inventive as humans are, we haven't really changed all that much. So really, the old addage works; if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.


MI perscepcion del capitulo de ayer es que....1) Ziva y Tony hablaron de sus sentimientos antes del accidente, porque la forma en que se tomaron de la mano fue "algo establecido" algo ya acordado,...Tony fue directo, y antes era temeroso al rechazo, aqui no, el fue directo a ello, y ella correspondio...y lo que ella le iba a decir a El en el momeno del accidentes es algo asi como.."Tony como le diremos a Gibbs".


What do you find bad about Law and Order I wonder?

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NCIS Season 10 Episode 21 Quotes

Ziva: When I have a man, the favors I offer have little to do with clothes.
Tony: That's good to know.

Tom Morrow: What are we proposing here?
Vance: Well with international tensions being so high on this, I'm proposing that we look the other way.
Tom Morrow: You can't be serious.
Vance: I am, Tom. We come down hard on Mossad now, then what happens? Talk to me about wasted manpower if Bodnar gets away after all of this? But understand: this one pass is the last one Mossad ever gets from me.
Tom Morrow: That makes two of us.
Gibbs: Three.