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October 9, 2015

NCIS: Good Cop, Bad Cop

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 14th 2009 12:28AM
Ziva_David_NCIS(S07E04) First of all, let's get this out of the way quickly. This might be the best episode of the season. It was all character with just enough action to keep those who love gunfire happy. But most importantly, it cemented Ziva's place in the world of NCIS (the show and the organization). For that reason alone, this was four stars all the way.

Mad Men is the kind of show where allusions are made and words have meanings that are not always readily apparent. It's a great show to watch, sometimes difficult to comprehend. NCIS doesn't pretend to be poetic. It presents compelling, dynamic situations in which characters face tough decisions and loyalty is tested and burnished over time. And the words matter here, too.

Tonight the word was mishpocheh. It's Yiddish for family. Ziva used it in one scene referring to her mission on the freighter (the dead Marine was not mishpocheh), but it mattered more in a later scene with Gibbs. More on the complexities of the episode after the jump.

Ziva has been carrying around the guilt of what happened on the Damocles for weeks. And there was the guilt related to her being captured by Saleeme when she was supposed to assassinate him. It was only a matter of time before what happened on the ship came out, especially since it supposedly went down and somehow Ziva survived. How?

By applying for NCIS formally, not as the Mossad liaison, Ziva forced the issue. That and the discovery of Marine Daniel Cryer's remains. If Ziva wanted to hide what happened, why apply for NCIS; why bury Cryer at sea with his dog tags? Wanting the truth revealed and revealing, though, are two different things.

There were great scenes tonight. Ducky locking Ziva in the morgue with him was one. Ducky said the things the others could not say, but that merely prefigured the amazing one on one with Gibbs and Ziva. You knew it was coming because he wasn't going to let Vance do all the good cop, bad cop stuff. It was never established, by the way, was he good cop or bad?

Alone with Ziva, Gibbs wasn't either. He was Gibbs. Gibbs the mentor, the commanding officer, the surrogate father. To get Ziva to reveal that her father had sent her on a suicide mission. "At any cost." Gibbs touched her hand with one finger. After telling her the hard truth that Eli was evil, and even if he's an American ally, the head of Israeli intelligence, he was dirty. Ziva knew in her heart Gibbs was right; it was never her choice. Eli had turned his daughter into a lethal weapon and then he used her.

What did Gibbs whisper to her? It was like the end of Lost in Translation (the 2003 Bill Murray/Scarlett Johansson movie). We don't get to hear the words. I think he said that she was no longer part of Mossad and no longer Eli's daughter. NCIS is her family, her mishpocheh. He kissed her on the head, like a father. That was when Ziva cried ... and smiled.

Other points of interest

-- Movie references from Tony included a wonderful analysis of the three Alien films: the Ridley Scott film was creepy, the James Cameron pic overloaded with action, the David Fincher movie too sleepy. On the book front, there was Peter Pan and The Tell-Tale Heart.

-- Abby has more than one personal philosophy. Why am I not surprised?

-- Vance's toothpick fetish can result in mouth splinters. Ouch.

-- What a colorful mess, being a code blue, black balled, and red flagged all at the same time.

-- Gibbs practices tough love, but it's love just the same.

-- Did you catch it at the end, Gibbs called Ziva "probie" and told her to get to work. Does that mean McGee has moved up a peg?

[Watch clips and episodes of NCIS at SlashControl.]

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Louis Way

I really enjoyed the show but does anyone know where i can find the ending quote Timmy stated at the end of the show?

November 11 2009 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob Walley

This quality of this show has always been high, and I feel like it is still a very new thing for most viewers who have just come on in the last year. There is a very vocal group who have supported the show right here on TV Squad since the early days of the series and I have to take the opportunity to thank TV Squad for finally covering this show on a regular basis. NCIS hasn't just gotten good in the last year or so...it's been this good from the start.

October 15 2009 at 12:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Sparks

When Ziva said "never apologize, it is a sign of weakness" it was a sign that she was (once again) a full partner in the Gibbs squad. That is the most important rule to these particular scoobies. And the band is back together.

October 14 2009 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The episode had huge potential with an interesting story involving Ziva's activities over the summer. At the start of the episode, my expectations were really high, but by the middle, we knew Ziva was innocent and her loyalty was with NCIS. The episode might have been necessary, but it was a foregone conclusion what would happen. Full review of the episode.


October 14 2009 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"NCIS doesn't pretend to be poetic."

Thank you so much for those words. NCIS is a better show than a lot of people (particularly critics) give it credit for, and Mad Men (Look, I was created by a Sopranos alum!) isn't nearly as good as everyone thinks it is.

October 14 2009 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The scenes between Ziva and Gibbs were priceless, but the lack of interplay between Tony and Ziva is...perplexing and I'm thinking there is a bigger story behind the scenes. I hope the writers haven't succumbed to those boring people that complain about romance and relationships in shows. Peeuuu! We want some romance!!

October 14 2009 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also, Gibbs' former partner Mike (now living in Mexico) still calls him 'probie'

October 14 2009 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess calling Ziva "probie" means she is officially on the staff of NCIS, but under probation. You cannot be an very recent active serving officer of a foreign military and jump into a sensitive NCA+IS position very easily. It was also said that she should start the path towards citizenship. i.e. This being the final piece to show her commitment and where her loyalties are now placed.
The good cop, bad cop etc. was necessary not just to find out the truth (as they had to because a marine had died), but also to prove to Ziva that she had to finally cut ALL loyalties to her father and his organization and people. She is one dangerous asset! You think that her father, who knew he was sending her on an almost certain suicide mission, is going to be happy with he complete change of loyalties and eventually new Nationality? She knows the Mossad organizarion thru and thru.
There will certainly be more opportunities for Ziva to prove her loyalties b4 she becomes more than a "probie". And she will be a traget for retribution for sure.

October 14 2009 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ian's comment

All entry level positions in organizations like that are probationary, even local cops. All new employees are called "probies." It isn't because she was former Mossad. McGee was a probie when he started and Tony still calls him that even though he's moved on by this point.

October 14 2009 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Don't apologize, it is a sign of weakness"...is a phrase often used by Gibbs. Having Ziva repeat it was showing that she had bonded to Gibbs.

October 14 2009 at 8:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Gunter

Different people will see this ep very differently.What I saw was a show that,the day the show's makers found out it was actually doing well and was going to last,started trying,really trying not just making an ep of the week.They decided to build lives into the characters and give depth to the show's canon.This ep was a great example of that.Yes it was needed to flush out Ziva's story but that could have been done much more simply.Instead we got a tour de force and we got a foundation for the team's relationship going forward.I thought it was great and one of those eps that makes me look forward to the rest of the season.

October 14 2009 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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