NCIS Season 15 Episode 3 Review: Exit Strategy

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While the two previous episodes of the season were heavily character-driven, NCIS Season 15 Episode 3 focused more on the Case of the Week, which involved a Metro detective vanishing from a stakeout.

"An intriguing premise!" you say. And, hey, I'm right there with you. Too bad the story as presented required a series of mind-boggling poor choices from multiple characters over the course of literally years.

A Missing Partner - NCIS

Jack Conley returned as Metro Detective (now Detective Sergeant) Danny Sportelli, having previously appeared on NCIS Season 7 Episode 3, "The Inside Man," and NCIS Season 9 Episode 4, "Enemy on the Hill."

The deliberate choice to have Sportelli turn out to be corrupt came pretty much completely out of left field. He'd struck me previously as a jerk, sure, but turning him into the guy who deliberately murders his detectives? Uh...

If everyone who lost their retirement savings in a failed investment turned to felonious crimes such as kidnapping and murder, civilization as we know it would probably have collapsed long ago.

Of course, the writers pretty much hamstrung themselves: the only other obvious options were (1) Benny Sitano, (2) Omar Nitro, and (3) a random character introduced at the end of the episode.

The fact that Nitro (I can't believe that's his real name!) turned out to have reasonable answers for everything, including his tripled paycheck, amused me, though.

Benny's situation with his father's criminal legacy hanging over his head as he attempted to go legit made me wonder if the writers were lifting plot elements from Hawaii Five-0, whose newly-minted main cast member Adam Noshimuri has the same problem.

Given that both series air on the same network, it wouldn't surprise me, but it did raise an eyebrow. It did strike me as odd that as soon as the team determined Benny wasn't behind the kidnapping, they assumed he was a good guy and even arranged for him to meet his son.

Um... yeah... didn't he just say ten minutes earlier that he didn't want his kid associated with his family legacy? At all? And just because he didn't kidnap Landon doesn't mean he's not continuing his father's "business," whatever his protests.

Furthermore, why wasn't Landon all confused as to why everyone kept calling his mother by a different name? She's going to have some serious explaining to do with that kid and her poor innocent husband.

I seriously question her thought process from the initial boat explosion. She was worried about there being a mole in her department. Fair enough: Sportelli was indeed corrupt (grumble grumble gripe).

So for her, the logical course of action was to fake her death (at least go along with the assumption of her death) and start a new life under a false name? Was she leaving the supposed mole with all her genuinely well-meaning colleagues?

Here's a better idea: if you're worried about your own department being corrupt, go to a different agency. Like, I don't know, the FBI. You're in Washington, D.C. The Hoover Building is just down the road!

I guess it's just tough tugboats for poor Detective Higgins. At least Lane gets to go back to her happy life with her lovely husband and son! (After, you know, maybe spending time in jail for fraud.)

Speaking of Higgins, he earned a Fail Award for blowing off a stakeout and putting his partner (Torres) in serious danger from the suspect they were supposed to be arresting together. If I were I Higgins' boss, I'd have fired his sorry backside if he hadn't been tragically murdered.

Bishop [on a missing detective seen meeting a woman]: Is that… a booty call?!
Torres: Y’know, I could almost forgive that…

And that arrest... if I recall correctly, sleeper holds (choke holds) like the one Nick Torres used on the suspect during the confrontation are banned by law enforcement in the United States.

It's almost as if their technical consultant (the person who tells them How To Cop) took the day off when they came up with this episode.

Ducky's storyline, guest lecturing in Edinburgh, was far more enjoyable. It provided a reasonable (and not even depressing!) explanation for not having David McCallum in every episode this season.

Plus, Ducky spreading the wealth of his knowledge at John Jay and writing the definitive book on forensic pathology? That's just awesome. I know I'd love to read a book on his (unfortunately fictional) experiences.

And it will give Jimmy even more opportunity to step up and act as the competent and intelligent medical examiner we know he is, even as he's still being occasionally goofy.

Jimmy: Oh! Am I interrupting?
Gibbs: Nope. You’re right on time.
Jimmy: That’s unusual.

And really, I am pleased that poor Jimmy is getting more of the respect he deserves from the team (and even from Ducky). Yes, he can properly stock a supply cupboard, folks!

If you care to see this episode again, you can always watch NCIS online. And check back after NCIS Season 15 Episode 4, "Skeleton Crew," airs on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at 8/7c on CBS.

What did you think of "Exit Strategy"? Did Sportelli's corruption come as a surprising swerve or a tired cliche? Are you surprised that Ducky decided to take up the offer to lecture in New York?

Let us know your opinions in the comments section below!

Exit Strategy Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (73 Votes)
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NCIS Season 15 Episode 3 Quotes

Look at that! It’s not just a pen, it’s a Frisbee!

Torres

Well, some things never change. I’m nursing a hangover, and you’re studying

Cadence Darwin [to Ducky]