Two women accused each other of murder, while Tony Senior encountered a woman who believed he was her father on the heartwarming NCIS Season 13 Episode 19.
Below, TV Fanatic panelists David Taylor, Christine Orlando, Kathleen Wiedel and Douglas Wolfe discuss all this and more on this week's Round Table...
How would you describe this episode, in a few words or a sentence?
David: She said, she said....but Senior said it best.
Christine: Are you my father?
Kathleen: (Un)conditional Love
Doug: A new chapter for Tony Senior.
What are your thoughts on the insurance fraud case?
David: Well, the premise of each accusing the other was interesting, if a bit cliché, but when Gibbs mentioned reasonable doubt that would acquit them both, I knew something was hinky.
Also, the guy married his high-school sweetheart... who he ended up cheating on... and then committed suicide just to get away from. Doesn't say much for marrying your sweetheart.
Christine: If they only would have kept their mouths shut they probably still would have gotten away with it. And unless they already filed a claim with the insurance agency I don’t think they could be charged with fraud.
Kathleen: After it became clear that there was no way to prove either woman killed the victim, it was pretty obvious that either they both shot him or neither one did, meaning he killed himself. It was certainly cold of the two of them.
I have an bit of an understanding about the circumstances leading up: a neighbor of mine once hit it big, and the fallout was not pretty. Sudden huge influxes of cash like that sometimes make people loose their heads.
Doug: Christine makes a good point. If they had done nothing except provide the extra bullet holes, it would have become an unsolvable mystery. Maybe.
Early on in the show, I strongly suspected the two were conspiring together. It was the only thing that made any sense. I just didn't know the details.
What are your thoughts on Susan (the homeless woman)? Did you think she may have been Tony’s sister?
David: No. I just figured she was confused, probably mentally ill. It wasn't until later that we learned her alleged mental illness had a physical etiology.
Christine: The promos had me wondering but the moment she turned up on screen I figured had she just fixated on Senior and there was no real relation.
I was proud of Senior for stepping up and helping Susan. He’s come a long way since the first time we met him.
Kathleen: I really had no expectation that Susan was actually Tony's sister. I was more invested in her tragic circumstances and Senior stepping up to help her than anything else.
Doug: Given Senior's history of being a kind of lady's man, I suspected he may have had some unacknowledged offspring bee-bopping around the place. For a few minutes, I truly wondered if she was one of them.
What are your thoughts on Senior’s progression from curious stranger to caregiver?
David: I think perhaps Senior may have found his project, even if it isn't the one he expected to have: there's an understaffed shelter that might be in need of his help.
However, he needs to be careful and not "abuse" his connection to NCIS in an effort to help people.
Christine: It was great to see him caring about someone else and not trying to run some new scam or scheme. It would be amazing if he could focus on helping that shelter. I’m sure they could use him and it would continue to make Tony proud.
Kathleen: I volunteer at my local police department; most of my fellow volunteers are retirees looking to give back or simply have something to do.
Senior is a very smart and capable guy who means well and cares deeply enough to see poor Susan through to the very end.
It's been a long road for him from where he started all those years ago, and I think that his reunion with Tony and even up to this experience were important for Senior; he is still kicking, and he still has a lot to give this world.
Doug: His evolution came as such a welcome and heartwarming surprise. To add icing to the cake, I smiled when we saw him give a pair of new shoes to another of the shelter residents.
I agree with you all: he's found his new project, and it's one that will fully engage him as no other has done. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he became a volunteer at the shelter.
What was your favorite moment?
David: The final scene at the shelter...*sniff* HEY...who's slicing onions?!?!?!?!?!?!
Christine: I agree David but my favorite part was that Tony got to witness his father caring about Susan and helping her in any way he could. I think knowing that his father is capable of that kind of compassion and change can only help Tony grow.
Kathleen: Oh, that scene where Senior sat with Susan in the hospital and confessed his own shortcomings as a father... It's only dust in my eyes, really...
Doug: Yeah, I wept like a baby at that scene. Senior became the star of the episode through his selfless act of "becoming" Susan's father, even if it's only for a month or so.
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.