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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 (321 Votes)

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

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@Stephie59 I have two brothers and my two best friends are men, and I can tell you that none of them ever looked at me as Tony looks at Ziva that is not my imagination, you can see it in every episode. The poor man risked his life for her several times; if that's not love then I don't know what is.

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I really hate it when people make fun of other people's opinions just because they are not their own. Even resorting to calling them stupid and crazy. Obviously not all Ziva detractors are like that. But for those who do, I wonder how they can somehow say stuff like that and not think that they sound stupid, crazy and/or hypocritical.

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Michael Weatherly stated in a recent interview that some of the writers were cheering and so excited about the TIVA scene in "Berlin". He said while they were dancing, some of the writers were throwing their hands in the air because they were so excited that TIVA was on the screen. So ya, it is not in the imaginations of the fans. Gary Glasberg stated (and I have said this before)that he pulled the trajectory on TIVA after seeing the obvious chemistry between Cote and Michael in the elevator scene of the first episode this season. So sorry folks, it is not a figment of the imagination.

Gatorgal

@Stephie59: Please don't insult us by telling us to grow up. It's all a matter of opinion. We disagree with yours. Get over it.

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@MCAL
I agree with you, I don't think Tiva is just in the heads of the fans. I think it is also in the heads of some of the cast and crew. Also, I think both of these characters have had their fair share of moments not trusting each other or being completely honest with one another.

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I think Tony has feelings for Ziva. But I think that is not reciprocated by her. She doesn't respect Tony, never respected. He always treated her well, cared for her and she always snubbed him. I remember an episode that all dined at her house until the palmer and she doesn't invited him . He supported her when Eli died and she called McGee to help her find Bodnar. It's time for him to move on. she doesn't deserv him. She only sees him as a friend. Sorry for my english is not my native language.

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@Stephie59
Except I don't think its in the heads of the fans. Otherwise the word Tiva would never have been mentioned in interviews with the writers and directors (And even the cast).

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No to Tiva! Say it with me. No to Tiva! You can see how Ziva talks to Tony. And it's not like she doesn't like him, it's just that she sees him as her colleague and friend. I have male friends that I carry on like that with, but I'm certainly not in love with them or want to be with them. Ziva looks at other guys.Tony is always checking out other gals. And they do it in front of each other and neither looks hurt when it's done. Not like in the case of Kensi and Deeks when clearly Kensi was looking real jealous last ep. Not so with Tony and Ziva. People, please grow up!

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I haven't picked up on this Ziver thing as opposed to Ziva? Am I missing something? It sounded the same to me when Gibbs called her name.

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I will say it again. This Tiva relationship is in the heads of the fans. I don't even see that chemistry. I see Tony being hurt because he felt he had told her he was there for her, yet she said she felt alone and went with someone. It's not that he wanted her to have sex with him! He wanted her to know she was not alone. People are making this Tiva thing into something that isn't there. You can see it in Ziva's face that she sees Tony as a friend. Others are seeing it as more and I'm so fed up of this imaginary relationship that I feel will force the writers to bow to the fans and do it. I bet those same fans will complain soon after that they don't like the hookup, when it comes. Geesh!

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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