Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Media: NCIS – Navy Criminal Investigative Services - “Requiem"

“Requiem” first aired Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seven episodes deep and following a most disappointing one, ”Chimera”, NCIS grandly hits its stride with “Requiem,” the most intensely personal and character revealing episode thus far. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) faces full on the gravity of the deaths ten years prior of his wife Shannon and daughter Kelly.

”Requiem” is an episode that cagily begins with the end a technique that jars the viewer lulled into languor by the typical NCIS introductory procedural. The episode opens with Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) running through the open doors of a harbor hanger, shooting and killing two armed men on either side of the exit doorway before diving into the harbor water to liberate Gibbs and a yet unidentified girl from a sinking car.

Gibbs, still consciousness, motions for DiNozzo to break the windshield and extract the girl first, who DiNozzo hauls the dock before returning for Gibbs. With the girl and Gibbs both on the dock, DiNozzo begins resuscitation on the two without apparent success. Gibbs and girl are dramatically laid out with arms splayed, their hands almost touching.

The episode then breaks to 24-hours earlier with the headquarters’ elevator doors opening, and exiting Gibbs denying Abby's request for a photo for her mobile phone. Special Agent Timothy "Tim" McGee (Sean Murray) notifies Gibbs that a young woman is waiting for him in the cafeteria. Her name is Maddie Tyler (Cameron Goodman), a name Gibbs fails to recall.

McGee tells Gibbs that Tyler claimed her desire to see Gibbs was personal. Gibbs proceeds to the cafeteria to meet this mystery woman and after some prompting, she prompts Gibbs to recall that"[She] used to come over to [his] house: [She] was Kelly's best friend." Maddie's father, a marine, is dead and she is apparently being stalked by a man she once dated, Marine Sgt. Rudi Haas (Nick Spano), and believes Gibbs to be the only one to help her.

Gibbs and Tyler make their way through headquarters where Gibbs inspects her for injury, noting bruising on her upper arms. As the two arrive at the exit elevator as NCIS Director Jennifer "Jenny" Shepard (Lauren Holly) arrives demanding face time with him stay and address the East Africa threat assessments. Gibbs ignores the Director and leaves with Tyler.

The team speculate on the Gibbs-Tyler relationship. Knowing her name, McGee searched Facebook and finds Maddie Tyler’s page where she identifies her best friend ever as Kelly Gibbs. This clears up Gibbs intense manner and focused intent. Gibbs and Tyler arrive at her house where the stalker emerges from her house. Gibbs manhandles the intruder and warns him to leave Maddie alone.

In her apartment, Gibbs with Tyler looking through a photo album documenting Tyler’s childhood. She opens the album to a photo of Maddie and Kelly aged 8, just before Gibbs left for the 1991 Iraq conflict. Maddie admits she no longer knows who took the photo. Gibbs flashes back and tell her it was he who took the photo. Maddie reveals to Gibbs that on that day, she and Kelly were burying a time capsule in Gibbs’ flower garden. Considering Kell, Maddie wonders what Kelly would be like today. Gibbs responds, “Like you.” Gibbs leaves Tyler’s house and finds that Haas is still there, but spots Gibbs and quickly drives off.

Gibbs returns to headquarters and sets his team on investigating Marine Sgt. Rudi Haas. The Director enters and immediately questions Gibbs if this is a private matter for Gibbs. She asks whether it is personal: Gibbs says private but not personal. Gibbs describes Haas as a stalker and notes that Tyler didn’t file a complaint. Gibb’s continues by informing the Director, “Are you asking do I know her, the answer is yes. Is it personal? No.” The Director directs the team to do as Gibbs asks.

Gibbs returns to his home, goes to his garden and digs up the time capsule. He takes it with him to his boat-building basement. Gibbs begins to thaw holding an abject that his dead daughter had held. This caused him to recall memories with Kelly, particularly. He recalls Kelly crying "Daddy, don’t go" [to Iraq]. This thought was interrupted as Gibbs receives a call from Maddie informing him that Haas is back. Gibbs goes to her house to find it trashed and Tyler being squirreled away into car and taken away. Gibbs suspects the abductor to be Haas and heads back to headquarters to press his team to find a connection with Haas.

Gibbs briefs the Director and the Director notes that Gibbs is concentrating on Haas. McGee accessed Haas’ phone log which reveals Haas was recently in contact with a private security mercenary firm (read: Blackwater] that has operations in Iraq. Gibbs and the Director call in the security firm head who reported that Haas turned down a job offer. The mercenary director explains why a logistics expert is worth more than a soldier in the field and Gibbs begins reacting very poorly to the mercenary’s lack of forthcoming.

The Director questions Gibbs on how long he has known Maddie Tyler, "how long? 5 years? 10 years?" and Gibbs just softly responds "15." The shoe finally falls for the Director. McGee reports that he has tracked a location that Haas uses frequently by monitoring the towers processing Haas’ phone signals. DiNozzo finds Haas work record and tracked and address to a warehouse in the area identified by McGee.

This knowledge leads the team to the warehouse. Johnny Cash is playing (“Big River”) on the boom in the warehouse. Ziva gets her Mossad vibe and hears something. They turn off Johnny Cash singing "until I die" and hear flies. The teams summons an elevator only to find Haas crucified on the floor. Ducky arrives with a dissertation on crucifixion as. Ducky then reports to Gibbs that TOD was approximately 12 hours previous and thus before Maddie could have been abducted. The team searches Haas' and discovers a GPS locator that is still active. It appears that Haas was also being stalked.

Ducky in autopsy determines Haas’ actual cause of death as acute allergic reaction to seafood. Ducky and Gibbs discuss Gibbs’ motives, which he makes clear: He will help Tyler where he could not help Kelly. McGee proves the GPS on Haas’ vehicle was purchased by the mercenary company and Gibbs recalls the mercenary director for more questioning. The mercenary director calls the Pentagon where a colonel explains that this company has been employed help the army locate stolen Iraqi treasury. Haas was to have worked out how to smuggle the money from Iraq but they didn’t know how the cash was arriving in the United States. Haas was being watched him to find for whom he was smuggling money.

While the Director pulls rank on Gibbs when he blows a hose over finding that the army surveillance team watched Maddie get abducted while doing nothing. Gibbs abruptly departs, leaving the Pentagon brass to think he has scored a turf victory, ostensibly ending his further intention for conversation with, "I think we're done here." The Director promptly responds, "The hell we are" and proceeds to threaten the colonel, ultimately obtaining the intelligence Jethro was seeking, that was: exactly where exactly did the Pentagon lose Maddie’s abductor.

The Director Jen arrives as Gibbs is leaving and informs Gibbs that the abductor was last seen at a warehouse in DC docks district. Gibbs asks the Director to brief DiNozzo. The Director asks DiNozzo about Gibbs’ hurried exit. McGee checks Gibbs desk and notes that Gibbs’ badge and ID are still there: Gibbs is going off radar to deal with the abductors directly to negotiate the release of Maddie.

The Director Jen realizes that Maddie’s role in the case involved was related to the fact that a base-quartered marine does not have is a street address with a US Postal delivery. Ziva and McGee are immediately dispatched to pursue the mailman. DiNozzo and the Director discuss the fact that Gibbs has figured out Maddie’s involvement ahead of the team and was intending to handle the situation personally. Both DiNozzo and the Director attempt to contact Gibbs with no success. DiNozzo is even with the Director attempting to dissipate the team’s heightened concern.

The scene abruptly changes to Gibbs at Maddie's flat, where he is sitting and remembering Maddie and Kelly as he gazes at their photo. Gibbs awaits the mailman. Once the mailman arrives, Gibbs takes receipt of a voucher for luggage belonging to another marine. Back in Abby's lab, Abby identifies the material isolated from beneath Haas’ fingernails as blue fin tuna which is so rare in the area that the team can readily identify the dock warehouse location.

Meanwhile Gibbs makes contact with the abductors. They instruct Gibbs on where to meet them. Gibbs proceeds to the docks where he finds Maddie being held. Gibbs a single bag of the desired money and informs the abductors that the second one is downtown. A fight with the abductors ensues and Gibbs and Maddie escape into a car. The abductors begin shooting as Gibbs puts the car into reverse and backs at full speed from the shooting off the dock into the water. DiNozzo arrives just as this is occurring and the viewer arrives at the point of the beginning of the episode.

Added to the opening scene is Gibb's vision of Kelly telling him, "It's ok, daddy, It's ok. Go back daddy, go back. Its ok. I love you Daddy, I love you" and "It's ok, go back Daddy, it's ok. I love you Daddy, love you." Gibbs sees himself reaching out to the vision of his daughter and wife, he is smiling at them and they are smiling at him. Dramatically, as the vision ends, Tony has revived Maddie and she is touching Gibbs' outstretched hand. His hand responds to the touch, indicating his survival.

The episode ends with Gibbs in his basement inspecting the contents of his daughter’s time capsule. Gibbs smiles, closes lunchbox and the trowel and promptly reburies unopened lunchbox where his daughter and Maddie had buried it.

While “Requiem” is pregnant with the use of dramatic license, once the viewer heeds Coleridge’s advice to have “a willing suspension of disbelief” the viewer is treated to the most intimate NCIS episode since the murder and sequale of NCIS Special Agent Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander) at the end of Season Two. The episode title is significant and appropriately chosen because Gibbs finally finds a degree of closure in the emotional wound of his wife and daughter’s murder.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem. Exaudi orationem meam; ad te omnis caro veniet. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.


Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon)
Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly)
Mossad Agent-on-Loan-to-NCIS Ziva David (Cote de Pablo)
Special Agent Timothy "Tim" McGee (Sean Murray)
NCIS Forensics Specialist Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (Pauley Perrette)
NCIS Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum)
NCIS Director Jennifer "Jenny" Shepard (Lauren Holly)
NCIS Medical Examiner Assistant Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen)

Guest Stars:

Danny Coyle (Stelio Savante)
Shannon Gibbs (Darby Stanchfield)
Kelly Gibbs (Brenna Radding)
Mailman (Michael A. Shepperd)
Maddie Tyler (Cameron Goodman)
Marine Col. Stacey Radcliffe (Anne-Marie Johnson)
Army Major Max Bourdais, Ret (Mark Totty)
Marine Sgt. Rudi Haas (Nick Spano)

Writers: Shane Brennan
Director: Tony Wharmby

This review was first published in Blogcritics.org

© Copyright, C. Michael Bailey, 2007