NCIS: Dead Man Walking
Not that there is anything wrong with that. NCIS does as good a job as anybody at mixing the two facets. As the story moved along though, there was something of an ongoing story that continued to develop. I'm referring to the ever evolving relationship between Tony and Ziva. Their bickering and fighting has proved quite entertaining in the past, but as season four has progressed, things have slowly been changing. It's a nice bit of writing the team is doing as they've taken their time to let this all come out.
It really started to become more prominent with Ziva's suspicion about Tony's recurring absences. The way that was played it could be read as a few different things. Just the crazed curiosity brought about by her Mossad training, jealousy because she is carrying a torch, or, given the hospital story that was floated, genuine concern over his welfare. Tonight we got to see the flip side. When Tony saw what the unexpected feelings for Sanders (Matthew Mardsen) were doing to Ziva, and how she was struggling it was like a switch was flipped. Smart-aleck, always has to push a button Tony disappeared and grown-up, concerned Tony took over. It was a nice moment, made more so by the way things have played out between the two since Ziva joined the team.
But I'm getting off on a bit of a tangent there, so moving back to the story of the episode... I really liked the Ziva/Sanders budding romance angle. Credit for a lot of that goes to Cote de Pablo and her performance. It was fun, and true to the Ziva character, how she reacted to the feelings. Given the situation, you have to feel for her. I could have gone for a little more solid an ending though.
As they left it, I'm really not sure what is to come of Lt. Sanders. The admission from Holly that she just wanted to make him sick suggested that there may not have been a lethal dose, but that moment between Ziva and Sanders could certainly be taken the other way. If I had a vote, I'd like to see Sanders make it. Of course, once he recovered I'd be perfectly fine for him to head off to a foreign land to do some inspecting. I'm much more interested in how the relationship changes Ziva than in actually seeing the relationship.
The case itself fooled me. I was on Diane (Kate Norby) as the jilted lover from the get go. And nearly convinced of it when she was handling the water in the hospital room. I dismissed Holly (Erin Torpey), even though I did catch that look from her when we first met her. I was chalking that up to building the red herring case against Sadowski (Marc Vann, CSI).
We should give a tip of the cap to Diane Dilano (Northern Exposure, Popular) as Dee Dee, the gun club manager. Her offer to help Tony with his stance was a little creepy, but also the comedic highlight of the episode. "I could correct your stance." She's always good. There were a couple other funny bits this week too. I liked the whole McGee's coat thread. From the Ziva/Tony argument, "I will kill you 18 different ways with this paper clip.", to the strip scene, right through to Abby cutting a big ol' patch out of it. Tony referring to McGee as Aqua Smurf was good. And I got a chuckle out of Abby lamenting the end of her first Big Gulp of the day.
I will say that the Palmer/Lee inappropriate liaison story is starting to wear a little thin. I'm counting on there being a good payoff at the end of it, but at this point we are just seeing the same scene over and over again. Time to fish or cut bait on that one I think. Overall, I'm calling this a solid episode. Pretty good mystery and some really nice Ziva character stuff. Nothing to complain about there.