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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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My biggest question is the motivation behind going after Gibbs. Over the past 10 years he (and his team) has done many things to "get their man" that can be considered illegal. Several come to mind besides the obvious Hernadez which has been over played so I do not think that is it. This arc reminds me of another fictional charactor from a now canceled show who did similar questional things - Brenda Leigh Johnson from "The Closer". She commited several cold blooded murders to close her case but was a well liked charactor and was never procecuted. Gibbs will also survive I am sure.

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I loved the episode. And I am so worried for Gibbs. The episode was pretty amazing. But I admit I could do without that Tiva, will they won't they. THAT for me has been done, done again, and again. Seriously.

Tiva

I felt bad for Tony he told Ziva he was was there for her and hurt that she still felt alone poor Gibbs is getting investigated once again. Colin Hanks does look Sean Colin looks like his father. I didn't like how they call Tony a car killer when 2 out of the 3 times he wasn't even in the his car went they got total one was stolen one the other was undercover car that La Grenouille body guard was driving, and the last one we all know why that happened.

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I'm getting fed up with this show. As someone pointed out, the whole investigating NCIS people has been done. However, this is the first time that I have agreed with the "bad guys," or the investigators. I don't think the team is behaving in an ethical manner, and this makes me angry with the writers. We all know it's going to get washed over probably by the first two or three episodes next season. They were wrong, wrong, wrong for going after the killers of Eli and Jackie in the manner than they did, and I'm not really sure that story line is very clear or entirely makes sense and that they actually got the people responsible. How can they ever truly arrest anyone ever again with a straight face? This show makes less and less sense and I am deeply disappointed with the writing.

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@liferealist
Apparently we are just supposed to believe what you are saying because you are privy to some inside knowledge? It is hard to have a mature conversation with someone when you do not know if they are blowing smoke in order to get responses on a message board. If you ARE privy to such inside knowledge, it would be more respectful to keep it to yourself instead or riling up people on a message board. So who really is the mature one? If you were truly concerned for a person in the cast because you knew something, you would remain silent instead of starting unsubstantiated rumors on a fan page.

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@gatorgal - I thought Mr. Murray looked great last season when folks were saying he was too thin. I read something about him saying he got into better shape by chasing his young child around the house - it happens! :-) I think he looks less thin this season due to wardrobe dept choices & possibly a little less activity - but still healthy! As for any other speculation: Funny how you can sometimes tell something's not right by just looking at someone's eyes...(the downside of big screen TVs and frequent past season repeats on cable...) Like I wrote earlier tonight, let's just keep sending positive thoughts & prayers... (PS: thanks for the mature conversation - it can get pretty wacky on comment boards!)

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I never said she did something wrong or that people should be angry at her. What I did say was that it wasn't as simple as, "Tony is mad at Ziva for sleeping with Adam". There was clearly more to it. To your second point, it's not just that Tony and the team just told her they care for her, they've spent years SHOWING it. What more do they have to do for Ziva to "feel it"? Obviously grieving people sometimes don't think clearly, but even before Eli died she rarely opened up and usually pushed them away.

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Once again, have you lost someone that you were extremely close too? When I lost my mother, I didn't know half the time if I was coming or going. I didn't make good decisions at times because my judgement was bogged down with the heaviness of grief. My best friend, who lost her daughter, had visions of driving her car into a wall or walking into traffic. Yea, you do and think crazy things in the midst of grief. Ziva was in the first days of losing her father. Perhaps you should be questioning the judgement of the man who took advantage of her vulnerable state (Adam) instead of calling Ziva the great betrayer of Tony. Someone telling you you are not alone does not mean you feel it. And your team or co-workers telling you that they are there for you does not take away the absolute desolation you feel when your whole family has been taken away from you, especially when each of them was taken in an extremely violent way. Who lost something here? Ziva did. Cut the girl some slack. Are you this understanding and empathetic with your friends in real life? (that is sarcasm) If so, I feel bad for your friends.

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It's clear that Ziva sleeping with Adam in and of itself isn't what bothered Tony. It doesn't matter how many one night stands Tony has had, or how many women he looks at because that's not the issue. What bothered Tony is what Ziva said about it. She said she felt alone. Despite everything Tony did in the aftermath of Eli's death to show her that he's right there for whatever she needed. Finding her in the Synagogue, letting her stay at his place, getting Schmeil(sp?) to stay with her and finally flat out telling her at the airport. Lets also not forget that the team has spent years SHOWING her they care.

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Ziva didn't sleep with some random guy. He was a longtime friend. It probably started out innocently. I hardly doubt "Adam let's sleep together" came out of her mouth. It's okay though because as usual if a woman sleeps with someone she's a h** but if a man does it, he's a player and gets accolades from friends. Tony slept with EJ the first time he met her. No matter what, when it comes to any type of situation with the two, Ziva is going to be rotten cabbage and Tony a bouquet of roses. For the record Tony doesn't follow Ziva around like a lost puppy. He does however, seem to be in heat a lot. That scene between them was sad but I didn't feel sorry for Tony. I'm sorry about the hitch but before the ep ended they seemed to be moving past it.

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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