Who would've imagined that NCIS would ever have a crossover with American Pickers? Because that's pretty much what happened in NCIS Season 15 Episode 17.
More accurately, Mike Wolfe of the aforementioned series made a glorified cameo as himself, coincidentally coming into possession of a Viking war club that was also a murder weapon in 16-year-old cold case.
Unfortunately, "One Man's Trash" came off mostly predictable and unengrossing, though it did introduce an entertaining new character in the form of Ducky's graduate assistant Kasie (Diona Reasonover).
I'm completely willing to overlook the original coincidence that started the episode, that Gibbs and Ducky just happened to be watching an episode of American Pickers that featured a weapon they both instantly remember from a cold case we never heard about sixteen (!) years ago.
(On a side note, given that we're in Season 15, that would place this case about a year and a half before the series began, and roughly around the time Tony DiNozzo joined NCIS.)
To be honest, I found a measure of black comedy in the fact that Clarence Wyatt's murder of Roy Baxter actually ended up drawing more attention to the case. For those keeping score, this is known as a "revealing cover-up."
One does wonder, though, why Wyatt didn't remove Baxter's corpse from the alley and dispose of it elsewhere, as he had done with the unfortunate sailor Finn all those years prior.
I will say this, though: much of the forensics work violates one of the cardinal rules of investigation. That is, to examine the evidence without bias or preconceptions.
After the team figured that Wyatt was probably the killer, Abby and company went looking for evidence specifically to support that conclusion. That's a big no-no in real life forensic analysis.
Not to say it doesn't happen, of course, because it surely does. And Wyatt was, of course, guilty. But they should be looking for evidence, not evidence that proves Wyatt's guilt.
Perhaps it's petty of me. It's just a TV show, after all! But being personally acquainted with a number of members of actual law enforcement gives me a bit of a different perspective than probably the average viewer.
One of the distinct highlights of the episode was definitely Ducky, who's been missing from our screens for far, far too many episodes this season. It was such a pleasure having David McCallum back!
Plus, he got quite a lot of interaction with Abby, who just so happens to be another underserved character this year. Seriously, she barely gets to appear in a minute or two in each episode.
And both Ducky and Abby did a lot with the previously-mentioned character of Kasie. Quick poll: who thinks that Kasie, with her forensics degree and easy connection with most of the leads, might be in the running to replace Abby next season?
(It didn't exactly say much for Jack Sloane's observational skills that she completely missed the painfully obvious apparent cold shoulder Kasie gave Abby!)
I'm a little bit mixed towards Kasie. It felt a bit awkward (like Gibbs being hugged by a total stranger!) for her to walk in and act so familiarly towards everyone, to the point where she and Jimmy are practically doing secret handshakes.
Kasie: It’s a long story. [beat] Too long. I was told not to waste your time.
Gibbs: Who told you that?
Kasie: Everybody. [Gibbs leaves the elevator.] The same ‘everybody’ that says you leave without saying goodbye!
The fact that Kasie gets along with everyone right away just didn't feel earned; neither did some of the shilling by other characters except for Ducky, who was literally the only person who'd known her longer than a few hours.
Not to mention Kasie found the key piece of evidence to throw the villain behind bars, and you got the makings of some possible Mary Sue accusations.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not accusing Kasie of being a Mary Sue (which is an incredibly broad term, anyway). And there's no obvious sign the character will ever pop up again, to my knowledge.
But I would never in a million years address a senior law enforcement officer by his first name without his express permission. That's just weird.
The case itself wasn't bad, but it did suffer from a measure of predictability. Mike Wolfe's appearance wasn't overly distracting, given its brief nature.
Overall, were I giving this episode letter grades, I'd probably throw a B its way. A fair to decent story, but not a lot to make it truly stand out and make it memorable, aside from Ducky, Kasie, and Abby.
A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you, fellow fans:
- The layout of the NCIS office building continues to confuse me. Apparently, Abby's lab is now one level down from the squad room, despite being in the basement. Magic elevators, maybe?
- While the story didn't excite me a lot, there were some fantastic lines of dialogue. Stop by our NCIS quotes page for some of the more memorable bits!
- I can barely remember what I was doing last week. Isn't the NCIS team asking a lot for a guy to remember something from sixteen years ago?
- Abby's either psychic, or the morgue has really thin walls, because she heard Jimmy's specific words before the doors even opened.
- One of the groups listed off towards the beginning was the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Roman Catholic fraternal service organization, founded in 1882.
While the series takes a brief hiatus, you can always watch NCIS online! The action returns on March 27, 2018 at 8/7c on CBS with NCIS Season 15 Episode 18, "Death from Above."
What did you think of Kasie? Did you enjoy her interaction with the various characters? Was the case itself exciting or dull? Did Mike Wolfe's appearance fit organically?
Let us know in the comments section below!