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



To your first post... Who are you replying to? I never saw anyone say everyone wants Tiva.
And also, you don't need to capitalize letters. Your point comes across just fine without them.


McGee did hack into Mossad. But he didn't do it on his computer. Notice in that scene he's sitting at Vance's computer, and when he starts doing stuff the quick view of the computer screen says "Director of National Intelligence". So that means Timmy hacked the DNI's computer in order to hack Mossad. This makes it much more believable. And I also think it might clue us into the federal inquiry that happens in a couple of episodes. If NCIS hacked into the DNI's computer, that would raise a whole lotta eyebrows and have people breathing fire.


i agree, tim is TERRIBLE at undercover work...reminds me of H50's catherine rollins...she's terrible as'd think, after working sooooooo long with gibbs and tony, he'd have learned SOMETHING....but, i think ziva has rubbed off on him and NOT for the better, either......he's also NOT very good at following people and NOT being seen....let's FACE IT: his specialty is COMPUTERS...send him back to the basement. alisa


Gatorgal, thanks for your view of the Ziva/Ari/Kate connection. I agree that rehashing would not fit in the current story, but at the end of the day, if the Mossad in real life was as incompetent or riddled with internal feuds as the Mossad portrayed on NCIS, Arabic would be the official language of the State of Israel. Anyways, I do enjoy seeing NCIS (a secondary agency) wag the FBI/CIA/DHS dogs.


NOT EVERYONE WANTS "TIVA" please, STOP acting as we for YOURSELF....i am NO FAN OF TIVA OR ZIVA....i would in NO WAY, cry if she were to be killed a fan of tony; i do NOT want him with someone who does NOT respect him as an CO or even as a DON'T thriw your injured partner to the group and pull a LOADED gun on them, admitt to wanting to KILL them....turn of your com connection, while suppling backup for your partner in the field, because your TIRED of hearing his voice. alisa


Loved the episode! But please do not kill Tony or Ziva!!!!


There's a new video on showing the crash, Tony unconscious with a bloody face, someone walking (which I think is from the SUV to get the diamonds) and then it goes into the preview that was shown last night.


OK, first off - McGee is not the team's undercover person (the only time I remember him going undercover was as Tom E. Gemcity to get into a nightclub) so his screw up when they were being watched was not unexpected. But he does need lessons from Tony or Ziva or Gibbs on that.
Second - NCIS has a history of killing off female characters - Kate, Jenny, Paula, Agent Lee - but Cote has been seen filming later episodes. So unless she's appearing as a ghost I don't think they killed her off.
I think they will have Tony and Ziva recovering from their injuries for awhile so more McGee and Gibbs on screen. Ziva trusts Schmeil but not Orli so I'm thinking it will turn out to be Orli bumping off those in the way of her ambitions but she's stopped with help from Schmeil.
Also I think someone commented on no air bags in the crash. Tony was driving and if I remember correctly both Tony and Gibbs drive vintage cars so they wouldn't have air bags.


Very good episode
Not the ending I wanted or was expecting
why cant one time things end right for once. If they kill off ziva charter i will not watch anymore and i mean it. The same goes for Tony as well. It would not be the same.
also had anyone else noticed the ones this writer kill off are mostly female agents???


I love the cast as is -- a family working together. I've even warmed up a bit to Vance since his character has been mellowed. Please stay with the show everybody. Jackie will be missed. The romantic tension is sweet/spicy. It is, though, a dirty trick to suggest in the preview that the car accident was fatal to one or both. Is the writer waiting for Ms. DePablo's decision about continuing with the series? Oh, please, Cote, do return.

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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.