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NCIS: Judgment Day (season finale) - VIDEO

by Allison Waldman, posted May 21st 2008 12:25AM
logo NCIS(S0518/19) Well, the previews didn't lie. For weeks now, we've been told in previews and commercials -- not to mention numerous stories in the press -- that one of the principals would die on the finale of NCIS. The producers delivered; someone died. In one way, the death of Jenny Shephard, NCIS director, is the least painful loss, and also the most obvious. If you had Lauren Holly in the NCIS pool, you're the winner. For most of the episodes since the return from the strike, viewers have known that Ducky had determined that the director was sick. Jethro knew it; so did Jenny. But Jenny didn't know that Jethro knew. (Can you follow that?) Anyway, what it means in the big picture is that before tonight's two-hour finale, Jenny Shephard was the most likely candidate to bite the dust.

Gallery: NCIS finale

NCIS 1NCIS 2NCIS 3Cote de PabloNCIS 5NCIS 6Michael WeatherlyNCIS 8NCIS 9NCIS on the setNCIS 11NCIS 12NCIS 13NCIS 14NCIS 15NCIS castPauley PerretteMark HarmonNCIS 19NCIS 20Michael WeatherlyNCIS season oneNCIS 23NCIS 24NCIS 25NCIS 26

Fortunately, the way the show chose to kill her off was pretty creative. It was kick-ass, if you ask me. Instead of wasting away from a disease that was never identified -- but would have resulted in severe pain and loss of motor skills according to Ducky -- she went out guns blazing. And kind of like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you don't see her getting riddled with bullets.

As the episode began, Jenny was in L.A. attending the funeral of a former NCIS agent named Decker. The cause of death was a heart attack, but Jenny knew better when she overheard a code word -- Oshimida -- which was key to an op she, Jethro and Decker had worked nine years before in Paris. She knew Decker's death was connected to a loose end and she would be the next agent targeted. She reached out to Jethro's mentor, Mike Franks, to track down Decker's "insurance" -- a McGuffin to the very end of the show -- and in some ways, to make sure he would help her achieve her ultimate goal. That goal was not self-preservation; it was protecting Jethro.

Franks, wonderfully played by Muse Watson, was a welcomed return for this two-parter. In a show last season, Jethro helped him to clear his son's name and get away to Mexico with his grandchild. His loyalty to Gibbs and knowledge of the spy game comes in handy. As a plot point, he's also one of the only characters with whom you could imagine Jenny sharing her real feelings about Jethro. She told Mike that she gave up Gibbs and regretted it. He wasn't part of her five-point plan. When Mike responds, "You're still young," the look in her eyes revealed that she knew she'd never live long enough to fix the mistake she'd made by losing Gibbs. Franks knew it, too, because he'd found her pills.

The first hour was mainly Jenny's case, culminating with the shootout at the diner and her death. Ziva and Tony had blown it big time by allowing her to get away from their detail; they were assigned to protect her. It seemed throughout the show, they were always a step behind -- and in the end, Tony was beating himself up for his failures. It reminded him too much of his failures with Jean and the Frog.

Back at NCIS headquarters, Abby and McGee were doing the procedural stuff, analyzing the data as they usually do. Abby, in her Abby way, sensed something was wrong. When Ducky received Gibbs' call about Jenny's death, it was up to him to break the news to them. When he turned to McGee and Abby, they looked like two kids about to hear the worst news ever -- it played that emotionally.

Gibbs went to the diner where he crossed swords with Vance, the acting director. With Gibbs pulling the strings, meeting with Franks behind the scenes, getting Ziva, Tony, Abby, McGee and Ducky to do the work without consulting Vance, breaking all the rules to tie up the loose end responsible for Jenny's death, he smokes out the killer. Jenny's legacy is protected when the killer (Natasha) is killed -- by Franks -- and her body burns up in the director's Georgetown home. The news reports that Jenny died in the fire. Everything would seem to be tied up in a neat bow.

Not so fast. Gibbs, Ziva, Tony and McGee are called on the carpet before the new (no longer acting) director -- Vance. He lets them all have it for "going off the reservation" to solve the case. Ziva is told that the liaison with NCIS is being terminated; she's going back to Israel. McGee is reassigned to cyber crimes unit. Tony is being sent to sea, agent afloat the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. And Gibbs? Vance handed three confidential folders and told him, "Meet your new team."

Whoa! What the hell? Didn't see that one coming. What will this mean for next season, if you want to know, check out the spoiler at the end. If you don't want to know, stop reading after the other points of interest.

Overall, this was a good finale. Lauren Holly was a good foil for Mark Harmon, and the sexual tension between their characters and the allusions to their past, brought something extra to the show. She'll be missed. There will be no sexual tension between Vance and Gibbs, I promise you that. But Jenny's exit does create a lot of conflict and that's good for drama. So, I'm not happy Shephard's dead, but I see why they did it.

Other points of interest

-- The best one-liner was Abby's. After seeing the cellphone pictures sent by Jenny for identifying, she shows McGee the five bad photos and says of Shephard, "A great director. Annie Leibovitz she's not."

-- As if Jethro wasn't already torn up about Jenny's death, Mike tells him, "Her last stand was protecting you."

-- Before giving Ziva, Tony, McGee and Gibbs the new assignments, Vance takes from Shephard's locked files his own jacket. He removes one page and shreds it. Was the contents of the page something Jenny had over on Vance? Was he destroying something incriminating?

-- Decker's insurance is absconded by Franks from the annexed NCIS files. When Vance later asks Mike about the file, Franks tells him, "You can read it. I'll leave it for you in my will." I wouldn't be surprised if Mike uses this to help Gibbs down the line.

-- Working with Tony and Ziva, Jenny was no-nonsense. Even more no nonsense then Gibbs is. When Tony calls her fearless leader, she says, "Don't call me fearless leader" -- and she means it.

-- Mike asks Jenny why she called him. "I need someone I can trust and you're on the short list." He answers, "I didn't know you were a fan." Jenny explains, it's Gibbs' short list. "He trusts you with his life and that's good enough for me."

-- Abby showed her emotions more than usual considering the circumstances. When she said she regreted not telling the director that she was a snappy dresser, she managed to get a smile from Gibbs.

Spoiler Alert!
According to our spoiler diva, Isabelle, Tony, Abby, Ziva, McGee and Gibbs are in the new season premiere. No word on Ducky or Palmer yet. Also, it's still to be determined if the team is somehow back together in the premiere or if they'll be separated for a while. What do you think? Comments welcome!

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It's sad to see that Lauren Holly is not part of the cast any more, that's how acting works i suppose...tony, ziva and mgee will come back..there was no ending for the relationship between tony and ziva and neither for mgee...i have seen the "new" cast and if you look at them, it doesn't match the series, it just doesnt make you think about NCIS any more..it's like another series...there is defentely something weird about the new director and it will be found out by the team..think thats how the team gets back together and reinstalled..at the end of this season, gibbs may become director and tony the leader..but you never know...i think cote de pablo is very talented and perfect for this role....i like everyone in there but probably a little bit more Cote.It will be very sad when the series ends..I wish i could meet the cast one day...it would be great...best tv series..!!!!

August 15 2008 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whoops, sorry about the typo. I mean NCSI, not NSCI.

August 11 2008 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love NSCI. Hope it runs forever, unless they break up the team. In that event, I won't watch any longer. The cast is so good together, they make this show worth watching. Killing off Jenny was bad enough, don't get rid of the rest of them.

August 11 2008 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Shar's comment

I meant to type NCSI, not NSCI.

August 11 2008 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mimi B

If this cast is messed up-read changed or off the show- this family ( 4 households) will no longer watch the program.
We love JAG and NCIS! It is one of the few shows which are positive for support for military and defending the country.
PLEASE, don't lose Ziva, Tony, McGee and Abby!

June 21 2008 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had no problem with Jenny dying off but breaking up the team will destroy the whole program. The new director will make for an interesting series but the team must stay together.

June 19 2008 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this is not a commement it is a question .when and were can i see the season final? i missed the last hour of the show.

June 16 2008 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to irvb21771's comment

You can view it here, the entire 2 hrs of it is on this site. If you wait until just before the new season starts, they always replay the season finale. Not sure if they will replay it before then on tv. Check and see if someone has it on dvd maybe?! Just a couple suggestions for you, hope you get to see it soon.

June 17 2008 at 9:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Of course, they didn't show Jenny get shot, didn't show her riddled body, and when Palmer started to do the autopsy, that wasn't her body in the bag. Hmmm....I mena, they did kind a of leave it hanging. And WHO did shoot the Frog?
Don't buy it that they're busting up the team. Would be bad, unless Harmon Rabb joins the team. ha

June 11 2008 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe the new director won't be the new director for long and the team will be reunited. Perhaps the powers-that-be will decide that his decision to break up the team was a vindictive decision and can his a**. One can only hope.

June 10 2008 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The letter that the new director took out of Jenny's safe and shredded could probably hang him. I think Gibbs knows it was there and will use it to get rid of him.

June 05 2008 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NCIS exec producer Shane Brennan said he won't pull a "HOUSE" and relegate favorite characters to walk-on status. "It was time for a change, and to bring in a new director for Gibbs and his team." Brennan promises, "we're not leaving Tony, Siva and McGee."
TV Guide June 2-8 issue page12.

Now to see how they bring this back around and what they do with the characters.....hope it is a great new season, this is really about the only 'not to miss' show I watch since "JAG" went off.

June 04 2008 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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