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October 7, 2015

'NCIS' Season 8, Episode 12 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 19th 2011 12:15AM
bob_newhart_ncis_cbs_2011['NCIS' - 'Recruited']

It's always tricky to incorporate a big guest star in an established drama and keep the ensemble in focus and the stories on track. 'NCIS' faced that challenge with the high profile guest appearance of TV legend Bob Newhart.

Fortunately for us, 'NCIS' lived up to its high standards and delivered a moving episode that not only gave Newhart an excellent dramatic change of pace, but also presented a main story line that tackled the recently struck down 'don't ask, don't tell' military regulation. All in all, it was a terrific 'NCIS.'

Newhart's Dr. Walter Magnus was Ducky's predecessor, a veritable Quincy, M.E. for NCIS in the days before all of the bells and whistles in Abby's lab. As Abs pointed out when Walter toured her playground, the first fingerprint analyzer wasn't even in operation until the mid-1970s. Magnus was clearly a dinosaur now, but in his time, he was the man in autopsy. Walking the halls of NCIS were a comfort to the old man.

It was expected that Ducky -- Donald to Walter -- would treat his former boss with respect, but it was curious that Gibbs showed no great reverence. Perhaps it was the fact that they'd never really worked together, or Gibbs' mind was on other worries, but it was truly Ducky and Abby that were concerned with Magnus' impromptu visit and ultimate breakdown.

The Alzheimer's revelation wasn't much of a surprise, but Ducky's offer of closure for Walter was inspired. It was also sentimental and touching and I don't mind admitting that it made me tear up. Walter's future was not going to be a good one, but at least Dr. Mallard could give him a reminder of the meaning of his life's work.

It was all the more meaningful because Ducky has his memories, but he doesn't have the family that Magnus would have by his side for the rest of this life. Ducky's heart had to break a bit for his mentor, even as he wondered about his own mortality and what family he would have by his side. Gibbs, Abby and company will be there, I'm sure, and that will hopefully be enough.

Gibbs' mind wasn't only on the death of Navy Petty Officer Simon Craig; he was also worried about the director. After nearly dying, Leon was back on the job, but hardly 100 percent. If anything, Vance seemed shaky both physically and mentally. Gibbs advised him to suck it up, but that was easier said than done. It could be that Vance has returned too soon and isn't ready to take the reins of NCIS again.

The death of Craig was less a mystery and more of a situation to be discerned. Gibbs got it immediately and labeled it for what it was: a hate crime. Craig was murdered because he was gay and it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that Paul had been seeking counsel from the recruiter. Paul's father couldn't accept a gay son and blamed the recruiter. Trite, yes, but probably close to the truth in many instances.

As open as gay characters are on programs -- 'Glee,' 'Modern Family' -- on 'NCIS' the military regulation of 'don't ask, don't tell,' has always restricted the story telling. The regulation changed in December and kudos to the powers that be at 'NCIS' to tackle the subject with alacrity.

I loved the scene at the recruitment office at the end. Without judgment or endorsement, Gibbs took Paul there so he could choose to serve his country without having to lie about his sexuality. Gibbs offered support and wished the kid luck, and that was just what you would expect from Leroy.

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

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Michael S

I have to say that Bob did a great job playing Magnus. It was a little depressing, though, the early onset alzheimers. Overall it was a pretty serious and somber NCIS episode between Simon's death and DADT overtones and Magnus' health issue. But it still had it's lighter moments. Glad I recorded it on my DISH Network DVR. As both a customer and employee of DISH I can safely say that DISH has more HD channels than any other provider, and the DVR absolutely rocks. Oh, and Gina I'm with you. It was refreshing to see the support from Gibbs on this, especially on a show like NCIS. He really is just a big teddy bear, lol.

January 19 2011 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved Gibbs a little more when Paul (the kid) asked him what he would do if his gay son told him he wanted to join the military. Gibbs' answer was terrific and honest. Gibbs sees military service as a honorable thing and anyone who feels compelled to serve is honorable in his eyes. His answer was heartfelt and perfect and just what that boy needed to hear. Gibbs comes off as a hard case but inside he is a big teddy bear, it makes me sad for him that he never got to be there for his daughter, he was a great dad and would have continued to be one for his daughter.

January 19 2011 at 6:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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