NCIS: Cover Story
But then they went and did this. Bringing McGee's next book, "Rock Hollow," into the picture made for some great scenes. And those scenes were really what sold this one. The actual mystery was interesting, but more for what we learned about McGee and the new book than the actual whodunnit aspect. I thought they gave Landon away right off the bat when he recognized "Thom."
The suspicion surrounding Todd Ryder (Wilson Cruz, My So-Called Life) was a valiant attempt, but it came and went way too fast to really take him seriously as a suspect. Bonus points for the chase scene. Tony's reaction to Todd's running style was very funny. I didn't buy Lyndi Crawshaw (Jayne Brook, John Doe) as a suspect either. It's worth noting though that Brook also had a gig on Chicago Hope with Mark Harmon. It's a nice, small world bit of casting.
All of that though, was just the framework to watch the team react to McGee. There were so many good parts that it's hard to pick a favorite. I'll hit on a few that I really enjoyed. To start, Tony and Ziva ribbing McGee about his writer's block. I always like when they gang up on him. It's usually good for a laugh, and it has the bonus of highlighting the ever evolving relationship between Tony and Ziva.
I've actually enjoyed Tony's reaction to McGee's writing career every time it has come up. There is this strange mix of emotions. On the one hand, he's jealous of McGee's success. But underneath that there is a sense that he is proud of what McGee has done. And I think he's actually a little bit flattered to be the basis for Agent Tommy. The scene at McGee's with the free writing was great.
Tony had another great scene in the elevator with Ziva. As they recounted the story of Tommy and Lisa from the book it was as if they were feeling each other out to see if now would be a good time for that scene where they pour their hearts out to each other.
Gibbs got in on the act as well. I really liked the scene where he put his foot down with McGee. "You write the ending to this. Or the killer will." His questioning about the love interest for L.J. Tibbs was also very good. McGee looked like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar as he revealed that she is a lieutenant colonel.
And of course, we have Abby, staying with the bowling nuns while her place gets repaired. Placing Abby in peril automatically ups the stakes, because of what she means to McGee, and to viewers. It would have been terrible if Landon (Steve Braun, Twins) had targeted Ziva. However, even considering how much Ziva has grown on me, it's not the same as having him go after Abby.
The way the whole thing played out was very interesting. The line got awfully muddy there as to how much of what McGee was saying was Agent McGregor talking about Amy, and how much was McGee talking about Abby. It made for a bittersweet moment when Abby stopped him at the end to tell him that McGregor and Amy can't get married because they are all wrong for each other. It was a very cool scene.
Only four episodes left in what has been a very fun season. Our Tony/Jeanne answers are in there somewhere. Until we get to that, episodes like this are a welcome distraction. I give this one a solid 5 out of 7.