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NCIS Review: The Evil McGee

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"Double Blind" can be summed up in one word: loyalty.  Or, if you like, four words: "I've got your back.'

Never has the family aspect of the NCIS team ever been more evident and on display, particularly in the face of a common enemy. 

Tony, Tim and Parsons

The team was called in response to a Petty Officer's frantic concern that he's being followed. At first, Gibbs and McGee seemed to think he was just being paranoid, until McGee found a GPS tracker under the man's fender. 

It turned out that the man had signed up for an experiment to examine the psychological aspects of subjects who were placed under surveillance. Right after agreeing to this, he was mugged and - as a result of being hit in the head a crowbar - suffered a concussion... which removed all memory of the experiment. 

So his fears of being followed, while real, were not criminal. Upon realizing that his surveillance - while suffering from amnesia - lead to the cameras getting pictures of his UA wife (UA stands for Unauthorized Absence, which is similar to being AWOL), he burnt down the testing center in order to destroy the data.

The character of Richard Parsons was well written.  Colin Hanks played the part very well too, coming off at first as a sort of harmless mild-mannered Columbo:

Parsons: Relax director. I'm just here to cross some "t"s and dot some "i"s. I'll be as quick and painless as possible. | permalink

I truly expected him to walk away from questioning one of the team, only to then turn back with the standard oh just one more thing....

The writers - through Parsons' activities - played NCIS fans like a flute in this episode: at first putting the spotlight on Ziva, with Parson's intense questioning regarding the nature of her friendship with an Israeli operative. Then this exchange happened when Tony attempted to defend Ziva during an elevator ride with Parsons:

Parson: What makes you think I'm going after Ziva? | permalink

Which I think was meant to make us believe that Tony was the real target. Then after examining his files, the team was sure he was investigating Vance. Then, after bugging Parsons' phone, McGee finally discovered the true target, which was Gibbs himself.

While all of this was going on, it was great to see the entire team trying to look out for each other. Parsons played Abby so well by criticizing her lab technique such that she was angry at him at the exact moment that he asked her a key question. I don't think he needed to go to that effort with her, as she is generally an innocent and open book anyway. Her opinion of him was formed after she blurted out the fact that Ziva had discovered that Eli was a murderer and had told Gibbs about it:

Abby: I knew that guy was trouble. He's like an evil McGee. | permalink

I had the same thought while watching him make the team dance on his puppet strings.

When they thought Vance was his target, the team gathered in his office and inadvertently destroyed his plausible deniability by telling him how they were going to find out what he was up to, including placing an electronic bug on his phone.  Vance saw it for what it was: they wanted to "have his back.'

I think the most compelling scene though was when all of them (minus Vance) gathered in the lab to discuss Parsons. I don't know if we've ever seen all of them gathered like that, including Palmer - who in this episode had nothing to say. It was a true family moment for them. Interesting to see Tony complete Gibbs' thought, too, regarding the "playing cards" metaphor.

In fact, I think Tony resembled Gibbs in another scene as well when he barged in on Parsons during the interview with Ziva and announced that the interview was over. When Parsons objected with you don't have the authority, Tony barked back: It was over two seconds ago.  Door! And I thought it was perfect: Tony protecting Ziva like the stand-up guy that he is, using as few words as possible. Just like Gibbs.

Tony's exchange with Ziva about her sleeping with someone in Israel because, as she put it, I felt alone was touching and a little sad. It looks like the writers are intent on teasing us with these two, to keep us tuning in just to have us try to figure out which direction this particular love boat will sail next. (The complete dialogue of that scene - as well as many other exchanges - are on our NCIS quotes for this episode).

I think that while Vance may be the NCIS director, Jethro Leroy Gibbs is the father of that unit - and so the final scene focused the tension on him, once we learned that he is the actual subject of Parsons' investigation.  Great ending to this episode... and you can be sure next week's finale will be fairly amazing.

Some final thoughts:

  • The episode title "Double Blind" refers to a phrase commonly used in experiments, and refers to the fact that neither the subjects nor the ones administering the test are aware of who is getting treatment and who (in the case of drug testing) are getting placebos. I'm not sure the title fits, for either the case they investigated or the investigation of NCIS itself.
  • Parsons' lab knowledge and tech savvy (as evidenced by his knowledge that his own phone was bugged) really put the exclamation point on Abby's assertion of him being an "evil McGee." Makes you wonder if he was aware that the team was sorting through his files too, and hacking into all kinds of places where they had no business being.
  • The writers gave us some misdirection with the promo for this episode. When we saw Parsons barking at Ziva Did you sleep with him? we had no idea that the question had nothing to do with Tony.
  • That was an awesome new Camaro that Ziva was driving at the beginning of the episode. You have to wonder if she'll be questioned about it, and about whether she can afford it. It would be neat if she had accidentally kept one or two of those diamonds for herself. Unrealistic and unlikely, but pretty cool. (By the way, I tried to track down the title to the song that was playing on her stereo but couldn't manage to get it.)
  • Our NCIS Round Table discussion is up!  Come over and take a look and then chime in with your thoughts.

What are your thoughts on the episode? How do you see the final episode of NCIS Season 10 playing out next week? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (320 Votes)

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

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I mean if I was in Ziva's position I would have thought I was cursed and stayed as far away from relationships as humanly possible.

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@chellemaria
You make a good point. I mean let's look at all the guys Ziva was close too shall we: Eli-Framed her for murder, used an agent to seduce her, lied to her about killing the reporter. He's dead.
Ari: He murdered and tried to get Ziva to help him escape. He's dead.
Rivkin: Was sent by Eli to seduce Ziva. He's dead.
Ray: Was her boyfriend yet lied to her about murder. Something happened to him.
Adam: Took advantage of her despair. I mean how can you blame her?

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If you're wanting to take your ball and go home because a tv show doesn't go the way you think it should, it's time to unplug the tv.

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@Michael
I did not say that all the writers were behind Tiva, I said some of the writers were excited about the filming of that dance scene. And once again, where do you get your ridiculous ideas? The powers that be at NCIS are not going to fire someone for having a different opinion then they do. If that were the case then Pauley Perrette, Rocky Carroll and even Michael Weatherly would be fired from the show because they have all spoken out in one way or another about not being on board with TIVA. Do you ever think things out clearly before you make your comments? As adults, we all are allowed to our opinions and that is true for the cast and crew of NCIS. Rational people do not fire others for having their own opinions.

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Of coursers the writers need to be be hide Tiva if not they would get fire by the right wing nut case that run our TV

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part 2 I guess" and then tell her not to ask any questions she didn't want to know the answers to. I also don't think a brother would get upset about his sister having a date for the opera, or a Shmiel in her life or a flirtation with Stan, or brush her hair out of her face as Tony did to Ziva in the very first episode this season. If they do, that is a pretty strange brother and sister relationship. Ziva has a sibling relationship with McGee and Tony has a sibling relationship with Abby. Tony and Ziva will never be a brother and sister. I can't wait to see where these two end up as I think they will probably, finally, have the romantic relationship they deserve and one a lot of us have been waiting for.

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In the last episode u can clearly see that tony is jealous and hurt after the warehouse scene, after that scene and throughout the rest of the episode you could see Ziva repeatedly looking at Tony but he just doesn’t look at her, he can’t look at her, that's how much it hurt him, friends don't care who you sleep with, well they do but not like that.

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I made these comments in March and I believe that they are worth repeating. This is how I view Tiva: In my opinion, no one on television today has better chemistry than Tony and Ziva. The sexual attraction has been there since day one of season 3 when Ziva "slouched provocatively" at McGee's desk while talking to Tony. It was proven more in "Undercovers" and "Boxed In". It has continued to grow in every season since then. There is nothing remotely like a brother and sister relationship between these two. Brothers and sisters don't act like betrayed lovers as Ziva did in season 4 while watching Tony with Jeanne. Nor would a brother oogle his sister in a bathing suit and then keep those pictures up in his room when he was an agent afloat. Brothers and sisters wouldn't ask each other on a continual basis over the years if the other was jealous of their current lovers. Nor do I think a brother would tell his sister, after he traveled across the world, that he "couldn't live without you, I guess" and then tell her not to ask any questions she didn't want to know the answers to.

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I believe that Ziva keeps Tony at a distance because she does care for him. If you all recall, she told Ducky in the episode "Good Cop, Bad Cop"- "You should keep your distance, Ducky. The ones who get too close always end up dead." I think a lot of her abrasive behavior towards Tony lately has to do with the fact that she feels guilty about being with Adam and she feels responsible for Tony getting hurt in the car accident. Just like Tony uses humor as a buffer, Ziva uses sarcastic barbs and callous behavior to protect herself. But, in my opinion, there in no doubt in my mind that she cares for Tony. Just the look she gave him after she confessed to sleeping with Adam shows how much she cares about Tony.

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That Tony likes Ziva I have no doubt. But she did not seem to feel the same for him. It's time for him to move on.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 23 Quotes

I knew that guy was trouble. He's like an evil McGee.

Abby

What makes you think I'm going after Ziva?

Parson [to Tony]
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