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Character Development: Gibbs and the Team, NCIS 

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Thanks to the presence of Dr. Rachel Cranston in “A Man Walks Into a Bar,” who turned out to be Kate’s sister, we learned a little more about our favorite team. And it’s about time:

Gibbs: Well, maybe we didn’t learn that much more about Jethro. He admitted he was stuck in his ways and he wasn’t going to change. He deals with things the way he deals with things. So, he wasn’t going to open up to her like the others.

Ziva: Ziva’s issues seem to be tied to men and a wish for something in her life to last. She’s lost a lot in her life: her sister; she killed her half-brother; her relationship with her dad has suffered; Michael Rivkin; her freedom; her country, her Dead Man Walking etc… She told Dr. Cranston she wants something permanent that can’t be taken away. Could this Ray fellow be the one to stick around? And what about Tony? He could be the thing that sticks around; if not as a couple, at least as a friend.

Ducky: The good doctor admitted to Rachel that at times, with this job, he gets melancholy. I think it’s only natural; being the medical examiner is not a happy happy joy joy kind of job. After all, he “quietly faces the dead every day.” Ducky flashed back to Kate laying in his autopsy; that was such a sad scene. But he also revealed he was not ready to call it a day. I was beyond thrilled with that little confession.

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

McGee: I enjoyed his time with the shrink. First, he got to take her with him so she could see him in action. While in the car, she took the opportunity to learn more about him. She mentioned how he had transformed himself over the years from a probie into a fine investigator. But what about relationships with women? He flashed back to Abby, the terrorist and the lie detector woman. Rachel thinks maybe McGee’s looking too hard. I wonder if he’s going to take that advice to heart? It seems like this episode laid down some clues as to what’s going to be happening in the future for the character.

Abby: The goth was not happy to have Rachel around. I actually would have loved to have seen a scene between Abby and Rachel after we found out she was Kate’s sister but there was no time for that. So while Ms. Sciuto displayed a major case of ‘tude with the shrinkola, we did get some insight into the forensic scientist. She’s all work and no play. And she hasn’t really hung out with anyone of the female persuasion since Kate. She flashed back to the time she and Kate were talking about going to the spa one weekend. Much like everyone else, Kate was on her mind. And she expressed how much she misses her late friend. I loved how Abby says she’s not a goth. “I’m a scientist.” And how she flashed back to the scene where they were talking about how she and McGee “slept” in her coffin.

Vance: Well, Dr. Cranston also turned the tables on Director Leon Vance. She wanted to know how he was dealing with certain things that had happened in his life, like the recent attempt on his life. He flashed back to the conversation he and Sec Nav had during “Cloak” about getting his house in order; that was part of the deal with being made director. The visiting shrink seemed to think he’s been terrified ever since almost being killed. I wonder what Vance’s role is going to be in however this season ends. He’s done unpopular things before like break up the entire team.

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Tony: I think it was interesting he flashed back to when Jenny offered him the Rota gig. If you’ve read any spoilers, you know that this point will be touched on again. I just want to know what it will mean for Dinozzo and if the team will finally find out about this job offer if they don’t know already. I love that he flashed back to SWAK as well.
Dr. Rachel: Even though she was a guest star, she had her own bit of character development. Other than assessing the dysfunctional Major Case Response Team, she was clearly there to meet the people who had been tight with Kate.

Photo Credit: CBS

Special Agent Caitlyn Todd

It was great how Gibbs tried to help Rachel achieve a certain amount of closure regarding her sister’s death. She didn’t get it at Kate’s funeral because she never attended her baby sister’s funeral. In Gibbs’ basement, he placed her on the spot where Ziva had killed her brother. Kate died at the end of Season 2. It’s pretty realistic that a family member would eventually reach out to her old team. Great decision on the part of writer and executive producer Gary Glasberg.
The ending to the episode was great with the montage of everything we love about this show. But it was also pretty ominous especially her talk about responses. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this psychological assessment. I think some of the issues brought up in “A Man Walks Into a Bar” are going to be dealt with as the season continues. And it might not be pretty. I really wish this had been a two-hour episode. It was THAT good.

Here are the words Dr. Cranston left in a letter to Vance.

Director Vance, spending time with your team has been — enlightening — to say the least. In clinical terms, they’re a disaster; but they’re selfless dysfunction is ultimately why it works. It’s clear to me we all react to life’s challenges in different ways; your people are no exception. Some fight death; and some embrace it’s solace. Some recognize their fate; and others do whatever is necessary to alter it. Sometimes we defy others’ expectations; and occasionally we rise to meet them. But the constant is being true to ourselves. We do what we have to when we have to; we react for better or worse. It’s why your team succeeds. But be careful. Eventually it might catch up to you.

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