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October 23, 2014

Review: NCIS - Faith

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 16th 2009 1:50AM
NCIS_ralph_waite_mark_harmon
(S07E10)
NCIS Christmas. Is that an oxymoron? No, not really, although the death of a Muslim Marine is a bit of a downer. Presumably they had to have some case for the crew to work on, but all things considered, it wasn't much of a mystery and the show could have been just as good without it.

The real crux of the episode was the surprise visit by Gibbs' father. Ralph Waite was back as Mark Harmon's dad, and you have to like the casting. He's not only a good actor, he actually looks like Harmon and has a similar taciturn quality.

The death of the Marine related to his conversion to Islam, a fact that was seen by his Reverend father as an act of rebellion. The appearance of Corey Reynolds -- from The Closer -- as a Muslim Naval chaplin lent authority. I just half-expected him to start dealing with the forensics like he was on the job with Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.

In pursuit of the killer, Ziva and Tony encountered some bigots in a bar. "Red throats," Ziva called them. "Rednecks," Tony corrected. The fight scene felt obligatory. It would have been a surprise if Ziva had not kicked their asses all over the joint.

A better development was Gibbs making toys for the childrens' hospital in his basement. The handcrafted boats were cool, but toys are more practical and a good use of the Christmas theme. Getting his father to work on the project also got him out of the NCIS offices, which was Gibbs' idea in the first place.

It took a while to get to the truth of what really prompted Papa Gibbs' visit. He thought Jethro understood how to deal with death on the job, like he had the secret and might share it with his father. In typical Jethro fashion, he revealed there is no easy way to deal with taking a life. "It's not supposed to be easy."

The subtext between father and son also revealed a relationship that's not easy now and probably never was. They may both want to communicate, but that doesn't mean they do. Jethro is probably closer to Mike than his own father.

Other points of interest

-- Abby the good was once again doing a kindness for a friend. In this case, enlisting McGee to get a kid to see his mother via MTEC. It was hokey, but emotional nonetheless.

-- Ducky's analysis of Jethro's father was spot on. I was very relieved that he wasn't showing signs of Alzheimer's.

-- I would have rather seen Tony give Dolores the Fruit of the Month club membership. I didn't believe he would go into her personal file or that it would have revealed her not getting a gift as a child. This whole subplot felt very forced. The whole Secret Santa thing is overdone on TV these days.

-- The opening of the show in the frigid snow looked real, like it wasn't written for the show but the show was filming and it came down so they had to use it.

[Watch clips and episodes of NCIS at SlashControl.]

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14 Comments

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Tony

I didn't think it hurt at all, having a Christian portrayed in a poor light - it does happen you know? And it's balance from the "all Muslims are evil" that you seem to be more fond of. Incidentally, when you talk about other religions "knocking each other off" - we in the UK had that, not so many years ago, and some of them were funded by you lot!

"Faith" was a nice episode, nonetheless, with Gibbs Snr and Jnr finally chipping away at some of the barrier between them. Yes, it was good and heartwarming for both Gibbs to be making toys; there was a lovely few minutes between Ducky and Gibbs Snr, getting in the Christmas Spirit; and McGee is finally emerging from Tony's rather overpowering shadow -he isn't as easily intimidated, these days. Just remember, not every episode can be an "Aliyah" or a "Judgment Day"!!!

January 11 2010 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
City Gal

I look forward to a FAITH episode that is as warm & cuddly to Christianity as this FAITH episode was to Santa & Islam.
Looking like Law & Order more and more...

December 20 2009 at 12:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

Um, wasnt the most significant part of this episode the fact that we got to see the upstairs and front of Gibbs's house for the first time? :)

December 17 2009 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to David's comment
Jennifer

not the first time, we saw the upstairs when mike brought his daughter-in-law and grandchild to DC and they stayed with Gibbs.

Also, I live in DC, it rarely gets that cold here.

December 18 2009 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
johngaltx

Murder and Xmas----a perfect combination.

December 16 2009 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Europa

"The whole Secret Santa thing is overdone on TV these days."
It's overdone in real life as well if you ask me. Half the time the person you get stuck with you don't even want to work with let alone have to buy a gift for (especially in these hard economical times). Make a $20 donation to the local food bank in their name. ;-D

And I live in California and know to keep a pair of gloves, an umbrella, and at least an extra sweater in the car. Gosh, talk about lazy writing and plot device.

December 16 2009 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Meredith Eaton, who played "Aunt Carol", was married to Michael Gilden who played "Marty Pearson" on NCIS. "Marty" was a guy that was interested in Abby. Michael committed suicide by hanging at his Los Angeles residence in December 2006.

December 16 2009 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Gunter

The show is set in DC but not filmed there (there are no palm trees within 500 miles of DC,Va state police cars and license plates look really fake).I'm not sure where they went for the snow scenes but I suspect it wasn't a chance event it was a location picked that was snowy for the episode.I live 100 miles south of DC and was not surprised that someone in DC didn't have gloves with him all the time.Yes it snows there but no not regularly and for many months of the year.I picked up on Ziva's face after Tony gave Dolores the doll and it suggests...affection.

December 16 2009 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

It may have been part of a psych eval; tell us your worst memory and that was hers.

I was kind of annoyed in the open when everyone was prepared for the cold but Tony. As Ryan said it is DC and they do get snow. I live in the northeast and I keep a pair (or two) of mittens in my car and a pair of gloves in my coat. I would think that anyone living where it gets cold would at least keep a pair of gloves in their coat.

December 16 2009 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

I know it's probably hell on production, but I'd like to see it be winter in more then just a Christmas ep. Since they are in Dc and all.

All agree on the secret santa thing. Why was that info in her personnel file??

December 16 2009 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat

Why is it that in both N.C.I.S. Christmas shows,( N.C.I.S. L.A.) the Christians were shown as the heartless murders of innocent peaceful Muslims.
Save your politically correct liberal writing for C.S.I.

December 16 2009 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Pat's comment

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