Recaps

NCIS “Canary”

Photo Credit:CBS

Photo Credit:CBS

It’s Hammer time!!

Yes, it is, and what a show it was!  I’ve seen a good deal of shenanigans, but this one cooked up to get a suspect to talk blows them all away.  I’m still laughing, even hours after the episode aired.

In tonight’s episode we are introduced to Ajay Khan (Vik Sahay), #2 on the Most Wanted List for cyber-terrorism.  Khan is responsible for the death of Special Agent James Hunt after he hacked into the government’s systems and caused Hunt’s cover to be exposed.  It is also discovered that he is responsible for a security breach at the CDC, causing tainted Ebola vaccines to be labeled as flu vaccines and shipped to a warehouse in D.C.  However, in the big picture, Khan is only a pawn.  The person that NCIS really needs to apprehend is Khan’s boss, #1 on the Most Wanted List, and only known by anyone as “M.C.”.  Khan is the closest thing to finding out who and where M.C. is, and so, the heat is on him.

This is where things get interesting, and everyone is in on the “game” to get Khan to talk.  The first step is figuring out what is important to Khan, and in comes the first “player”, Dr. Mallard (David McCallum).  We have always known Ducky as an amateur psychologist, and tonight, he actually gets to use that skill.  He profiles Khan as a narcissistic loner, and so, the only way to get to Khan is make him truly believe his own life is in jeopardy.  Khan may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but it was going to take some work to make him believe he is actually going to die.  Now, the fun begins.

The big step is making Khan believe he is being transferred to Guatanamo Bay, where coincidentally some of his pissed-off former employers are at.  That doesn’t work.  So, the team takes what appears to be a long, bumpy airplane ride to Cuba, vomit bags and all.  That doesn’t work.  Upon arrival, Khan is escorted to cell 117 where screams of tortured prisoners are heard in the background.  But, that still doesn’t work, although they are getting closer.  It finally takes a staged security breach along with the sound of a mob trying to break down the door of Khan’s cell that makes him sing like a canary.

This episode was truly hilarious, and everyone on the team had a hand in it.  Ziva (Cote de Pablo) and Tony (Michael Weatherly) had the starring roles, especially with Tony’s memorable innuendos from music and movies.  Fortunately, Khan isn’t as versed with movies as he is with music, since he doesn’t recognize the entire thing as one, big performance.  But, if I had to pick a MVP of the episode, it would be Gibbs (Mark Harmon).  He actually doesn’t have a lot of lines in this episode, but his part was the most important and the most instrumental in making Khan fall for the plot.  The whole substituting “UP Address” for “IP Address” and making Khan think Gibbs was dumb “old-school” were the critical parts, and where Khan let his guard down.  That part wasn’t cooked up by Tony – it was 100% Gibbs, and Mark Harmon does a fantastic job.

In my opinion, it’s episodes like this that set NCIS aside from the rest of the crime dramas and why it pulls, on average, 20 million viewers every week.  How many crime dramas do you know could pull off an episode like this, focusing solely on the characters and the humor?  I can’t think of too many that could.  Most crime dramas on television today tend to revolve around murders and graphic violence, and they are counting on the shock value to attract viewers.  NCIS has had its share of episodes like this, like “Shabbat Shalom” from just a few weeks ago, but it sets itself apart by being able to flip to the other side and do an episode that really doesn’t even have a murder.  It takes some very talented writers to do something like that and still have the viewers pouring in.

Most memorable quotes 

  • Sounds like an Aerosmith album.  You’re old-school, Gibbs – Khan
  • From the ashes, McAbby will rise – Abby (Pauley Perrette)
  • You on Twitter, Agent Gibbs? Because your natural language speech pattern is less than 140 characters – Khan
  • In boxing, what’s the most important part?  The follow-through – Gibbs
  • What happens after they land?  Gitmo isn’t hotel you can just check into – Director Craig (Greg Germann)
  • Sleepy time, oldschool — Tony
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One Comment

  1. Loved this episode. In my opinion joins Shabbat Shalom and Shiva as the best episodes of the series so far. Kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s all just a game. It is all just a game, isn’t it? No, no it’s just a game. Hang on, is this just a game?! Part of me would like to have seen the episode continue into a ‘serious’ two-parter – in that it was just a game but now they actually are stuck in Guatanamo Bay and with an injured Tony how are they going to get out of it, but having said that as a stand alone, fun, episode it was great. And though it was all Gibb’s idea it was up to Tony and Ziva to actually pull it off, proving just how skilled Tony is undercover – his reaction to the security breach did have me going for a moment. Really refreshing to see him being something other than a complete goof ball for once. A glimpse of the intelligent witty DiNozzo of old. High hopes for the rest of the series.

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