Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Media: NCIS - Navy Criminal Investigative Services - "Singled Out"

The plot of this episode of NCIS is secondary to the character development in this fourth season of the series. An abandoned SUV registered to one Navy Lieutenant Jennifer Murphy (Mieko Hillman) is found a bloody mess with said lieutenant MIA, bringing the NCIS team into the investigation.

The team discovers that Lieutenant Murphy has been profiling men in an effort to identify the perfect one for herself through a speed-dating service. The team discovers that Lieutenant Murphy had intended to attend a speed-dating function at a local hotel. Special Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) goes undercover, dressed as the somewhat geeky lieutenant, to try and divine more information. While undercover, Ziva is groped and angered. Dr. “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum), newly crowned as a forensic psychologist, performs a forensic investigation based on the missing lieutenant’s belongings and reveals among other things the reason for her profiles and her computer password, just in the nick of time.

That said, this interesting plot is but a vehicle for character development and fallout from last season. NCIS Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) offers Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) his own NCIS team to be deployed in Spain. DiNozzo is worried about Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and wants to stay on for a couple of months until Gibbs is completely with it. Director Shepard gives him 73 hours. This circumstance bookends the episode, adding a bit of tension to the mix.

Gibbs is certainly not his “old” self and everyone notices. Ducky is unusually cool to downright hostile to Gibbs, possible angry that Gibbs did not attend his graduation from forensic psychology class. Shades of Ducky’s displeasure with Gibbs is seen in the last episode, “Escaped.” It would be appropriate in assuming that residue from this anger will be seen in future episodes. Ducky may also be playing junior psychologist to Gibbs’ repressed Gibbs expresses little patience with his biggest fan, forensics specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), but begins to warm up to her and the others by the end of the episode. Tony expresses frustration with having Gibbs back in charge and is having a challenging time readjusting, much to Ziva’s chagrin.

It is unclear where the series is going regarding the revelation of Gibb’s having had a family murdered while he was on duty in Desert Storm. This offers grand fodder for Dr. Mallard’s snippy ruminations about Gibbs. Things remain more dissonant than consonant in the NCIS war room.

This review was first published in

© Copyright, C. Michael Bailey, 2006