This was another case whether the B-plot was far more compelling than the A-plot.
That's not a complaint, either.
The case of the week for NCIS Season 13 Episode 19 involved a scam cooked up by a failed law graduate and a woman who wanted to cover up the suicide death of her husband, so that they could collect the insurance money.
It makes sense that this story – as weak as it was – formed the core of the episode, if only to provide a stepladder to the more deep and involved story about Tony Senior and the woman who mistook him for her father.
Most who paid attention to the criminal case pretty much caught on near the beginning that the two women were conspiring together. Their fictions were too well constructed to allow any other conclusion.
As the evidence continued to support the narrative that either one of them could have killed the man, we came to the same conclusion as Gibbs and Vance.
Vance: Well, at this point we can't charge either one of them. Whoever we brought to trial...her defense would be that the other one did it.
Gibbs: I agree with you. There's so much reasonable doubt, a jury could never convict.
The portrayal of such bald greed made both women look entirely ugly. Too bad insurance fraud was the only charge laid. Surely there could have been more added to the pile. Obstructing justice perhaps?
The Tony Senior story, already pretty great, became absolutely beautiful by comparison.
It's gratifying and comes as a bit of a relief to see a Tony Senior tale that doesn't involve him putting his son in an awkward situation.
Instead we were treated to a heart-warming tale of a lost and ill woman being cared for by a man who in the depths of his heart just wants to be useful and kind to people.
At first, it was disappointing to see Tony talk to his father in a patronizing way, with his admonition about not asking Abby to break agency rules for a "personal favor." (So glad to see Abby nonchalantly put him in his place about that.)
Even that aspect of the storyline had merit though: we had to see Tony grow to understand and appreciate the depth of his father's caring for this lovely woman who was dying of brain cancer.
And we got to watch the woman grow from being a harmless bag lady to a respected member of the armed forces, dying of cancer, suffering from dementia and estranged from her real father all those years ago because he couldn't accept she was gay.
Bet there wasn't a dry eye in your house when Senior decided to play the part of her dad, apologizing to her and then telling her he loved her.
That was an amazing and touching scene. Kudos to whoever wrote this brilliant part of the episode!
- McGee is moving ever more closer to popping the question! Wonder when we'll see that one happen.
- The wonderful actor who played Susan Lowe is Melora Walters. You may recall she played a damaged woman named Claudia in the film "Magnolia." (Come to think of it, I think pretty much every character in that movie was hurt somehow.)
- We learned something else about Tony: he regularly has a lunch get together with his father every Tuesday.
- We saw a brief and sincere exchange between Tony and Gibbs, where Tony thanked him for giving his father a project. Wish Gibbs would have engaged him more though.
- The gorgeous song playing at the end was "Heal" by Tom Odell.
- Be sure to join us here on April 5 for a review of NCIS Season 13 Episode 20, entitled "Charade." In the meantime, you can always catch up on missed episodes when you watch NCIS online.
Now it's your turn. What are your thoughts on this episode? Let us know in the comments!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.