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October 6, 2015

'NCIS' Season 8, Episode 10 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 14th 2010 11:46PM
mark_harmon_cote_de_pablo_NCIS_cbs['NCIS' - 'False Witness']

A happy holiday on 'NCIS' was an episode that only touched on the festive time of the year in the finale. Otherwise, it was business as usual and the case at hand was a particularly convoluted mystery. The other twist was the addition of actress Annie Wersching as Arlington D.A. Gail Walsh.

Best known from her stint on '24' as Renee Walker, Wersching was given a nice change of pace with this role. Nobody tortured her. She didn't have to shoot anyone. In fact, since she's a red-head, I expected Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to be attracted to her.

Alas, that wasn't in the cards. Still, it was a very good show for a completely different reason. For more on that character-oriented subplot, read on.

Week in and week out, Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) is the office comic relief. He's got a pop culture reference for every situation, loves pranks and provides the release needed in a show that often deals with deadly crimes and nasty murders.

So for Tony to appear as a buttoned-down Jack Webb-type in 'Dragnet,' who was all work and no play, was a shocker. McGee (Sean Murray) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) were thrown by the transformation. Over two days, the nuTony drove them to distraction, and even Gibbs was curious. He didn't ask Tony what was going on, but Gibbs' expressions said it all.

The D.A., meanwhile, discovered that once you invite NCIS into a case, don't expect them to follow your lead. Gibbs is in charge and as Walsh learned, he doesn't necessarily work and play well with others.

But Walsh didn't deserve total candor from the team because she wasn't totally candid with them. Her line about meeting a romantic partner on the job was revelatory. The D.A. was banging a C.I. (confidential informant), a.k.a. a criminal. That showed a remarkable lack of judgment on her part.

The witness that they were protecting, Petty Officer Jerry Neisler (Ben Toplin), was an intriguing character. His parents had been psychologists, so Jerry was continually profiling whomever he met.

Looking at Gibbs, he got under Jethro's skin by pegging him as a very sad man. He also thought the killer, Hayes (Jamie McShane), was a very sad man. Did he ever see a person in a positive light? He even made Mr. Palmer (Brian Dietzen) cry.

Ultimately, the finale was a bit too ham-fisted. The killer, who'd been released from prison because of the D.A.'s screw-up with the C.I., was confronted by Matthew (Joe Adler), the brother of the girl he'd shot. It was a very holiday-inspired scene, with the snow falling and Hayes admitting he was consumed with guilt.

Gibbs convinced Matthew not to throw his life away by getting payback by shooting Hayes. In that setting, there was no way he would pull the trigger. Just a bit too pat for 'NCIS.'

The best of the episode was when Ziva finally broke through to nuTony and learned what had transformed him. Brenda Bittner. Tony's guilt over treating her so shabbily had caused him to pull a 180. Ziva gave him good advice. She recognized that the 14-year-old boy in Tony was growing up and what he needed more than anything else was balance.

Balance ... that's something that 'NCIS' is very good at achieving. Whether it's Neisler getting under Abby's (Pauley Perrette) skin by letting her know about McGee's infatuation with her, or Mr. Palmer's assisting Ducky (David McCallum) in updating his Facebook page, or the inspired finale that celebrated Christmas and returned Tony to his throne as king of the class clowns, 'NCIS' usually knows exactly how to deliver the goods in each and every episode.

'NCIS' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on CBS.

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I thought that the character played by Annie Wersching, was the Red-head from WINGS! But I kept wondering if she had been put in one of those cryogenic chambers, because she still looked like she did 20 years ago.

December 16 2010 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This season has been great for creating wonderful sungle-episode story lines. Sure, those of us who are addicted knew Tony was a little off from the start but everyone caught up. I like that Gibbs did not pry once he asked if Tony was alright. Great leadership. And yes we all knew the final scene was coming. I do not thinbk the perp should or will plead guilty, but that's me. Suicide by society (execution) is not a good alternative.

Wonder how he made Palmer cry?

December 15 2010 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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