Families in crisis provided a common theme for the Rocky Carroll-directed NCIS Season 15 Episode 13, which also heavily featured Carroll in a subplot involving Vance's daughter Kayla arrested for shoplifting.
The Case of the Week, meanwhile featured an interesting twist in that the case itself was solved in a fairly straightforward manner, only for a key witness to go on the run for mysterious reasons.
I confess I suspected at first that Genevieve and her family were in Witness Protection of some kind. The reveal that her parents illegally adopted her came as a bit of a surprise.
When you've been watching crime dramas as long as I have, it's definitely enjoyable to be surprised.
This thread, which took up the last twenty minutes or so of the hour, really could have stood on its own rather than being crammed into the episode with the hit-and-run and Vance's daughter.
Since it wasn't, the resolution rushed in with an unbelievably convenient solution to the problem with Genevieve's biological father signing over his parental rights within two minutes of meeting her.
Let's set aside the fact that this wouldn't work retroactively (the Bells still technically kidnapped Genevieve). Something tells me that it's not nearly so simple to give away a child like that.
Unless it is, which opens up a whole other horrible can of worms that I really, really don't want to think about too much lest I give myself nightmares.
Anyway, I guess meeting Genevieve convinced her felony scumbag father, who had literally a few moments earlier been pondering ways to get money out of the Bells over this, to give up his plans for riches and sign her over.
It's uncomfortable to ponder, but the Bells (in addition to kidnapping) are also guilty of forgery, fraud, and likely a slew of other related crimes. Yes, they had good intentions, but there's this particular road paved with them...
For the Case of the Week proper, I doubt anyone was shocked that Genevieve's friend Maya turned out to be the hit-and-run driver. What's left to the imagination, though, is what happens to Maya after the interrogation.
An interrogation, mind you, that provided my favorite line in a bit of black humor from Gibbs:
Welcome to the uncomfortable room with the one-way mirror.Gibbs
Maya faces charges of auto theft, vehicular manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident. As she's still a juvenile and the Marine's death was an accident, she probably won't face a lot of jail time.
Cold comfort for Lance Corporal Jenkins's family, especially since Maya's behavior towards NCIS when they first attempted to talk to her at the school showed little understanding of the situation.
Maya: Can we do this [questioning] after practice?
Torres: We don’t make appointments.
Someone died because two teenage girls decided to steal a car and take it for a spin at high speed in the fog. Tragic, stupid, and entirely avoidable. Worse, it's not unrealistic.
Not everything is a vast conspiracy or a plot by deadly criminals. Sometimes it's just criminal stupidity.
Speaking of criminal stupidity, there was Kayla, the wannabe-dogooder daughter of Director Vance.
I understand where she was coming from. Maybe her actions even make sense to a smart-aleck 17-year-old who wants to make sure her friend has a chance at college.
But what baffles me is that she thought that she would get away with it and that behaving the way she did towards her father was at all a good idea.
The real problem, however, rests in that not one of her actions at all convinced me that her shoplifting friend would not simply do it again at a later time.
Never did the episode explain why the friend stole the purse. Is she a compulsive thief? Did she plan to hock it for some extra cash? Was she jealous of her more-wealthy friend? How is she even attending the same school if she's that hard up for money?
So Kayla covered for her. Would she do it again? And again? Frankly, I don't blame Vance's reaction to this "friend" one bit. He's the head of a law enforcement agency, and this girl lead his daughter into confessing to a crime she didn't commit!
Kayla: I made a mistake.
Vance: No, a mistake is when you step on the accelerator instead of the brakes. You made a--
Both: Bad choice.
The audience is clearly meant to admire Kayla for her decision to take the rap to cover for her friend, without any sign that the friend had any intention of not shoplifting again.
And Vance just went along with it!
Now, I will take a breath and congratulate Rocky Carroll for the ridiculous amount of work he put into this episode. Directing an episode and acting in a significant subplot probably left him without any time to sleep, and I have the greatest respect for him.
There was a lot of well-acted emotion despite the less-than-exemplary scripting.
NCIS will once again take a week off and return on February 6, 2018, at 8/7c with NCIS Season 15 Episode 14, "Keep Your Friends Close."
You can always watch NCIS online if you want to relive the drama!
What did you think of "Family Ties"? Were you surprised at the reveal that Genevieve had been kidnapped as a baby? Did you suspect that Kayla lied about the shoplifting to protect her friend?
Let us know in the comments section below!