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Moment of Goodness

Moment of Goodness: Tony Faces a Shrink and a Bleak Future, NCIS “A Man Walks Into a Bar” 

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Let me preface this by saying that “A Man Walks into a Bar” is one big moment of goodness. The characters all had to face sudden psych evaluations (courtesy of Dr. Rachel Cranston) because the Sec Nav was nervous about the Major Case Response Team, and I guess, their ability to do their job. The entire cast shined, didn’t they? But I’m going out on a limb and selecting one particular scene that just stood above all others to me. You see, all episode long, Tony Dinozzo had been either making an idiot of himself in front of the “shrinkola”; walking out the door she had just come in; or giving her just a hint of who he was so she would get off his case. But after Gibbs and company found out this week’s victim actually committed suicide because his career was almost over and he had nothing to live for; we got this scene between “Sigmund” and Tony in autopsy that was absolutely incredible.

This is Tony Dinozzo. You know that under the surface a lot of stuff is going on, but he never gives you time to think about what because he’s always deflecting with his humor and doing something ridiculously silly. At the beginning of “A Man Walk into a Bar,” he kept describing the horses that helped him win a lot of money by imitating their particular whinnies. The therapist witnessed this behavior so things didn’t get off to a good start. Same old Tony, right? Not exactly. As the investigation into the death of the CO continued, we got a serious dose of Competent Tony and all the relevant suspects coming up with alibis. So, in the final Gibbs/Dinozzo interrogation (there were two of them in this episode and they were both simply wonderful), they learned he took his own life and it was made to look like murder so he could go out with honor. The guy was facing mandatory retirement; he had been having an affair with someone for twenty years, but that person was married. So, he had no kids to go back to; no wife to go back to; I guess, he couldn’t  handle all that so he killed himself.

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Hearing all of that must have struck a chord with Dinozzo, and as a result, we got some major insight into the character. He was in autopsy in the very next scene, looking down at the dead naval commander. In walked Rachel who immediately asked what he was seeing when he looked at this man lying in the morgue: “A man works his whole life; dedicates himself to his job; and then has nothing to show for it.” He said that made him feel “afraid.” I don’t know why but I never figured Tony would have these kind of thoughts. The scene kept going deeper. Dinozzo told Rachel he was a really good agent and she said she knew. “And so do a lot of other people.” I loved that. I don’t think he knows that.
Here’s where things veered back to Kate, which was very interesting. Everyone seemed to have Kate on their minds when talking to Rachel. But, to me, most significant were Tony and Gibbs since they were the ones on the roof with her when Ari murdered her. And, in my opinion, Kate hasn’t been mentioned nearly enough over the years. So, the fact that the show kept playing the Kate card in “A Man Walks into a Bar,” I was ecstatic. And Tony flashing back to the two of them in “Eye for an Eye,” made me even more happy because I adore that episode. We even got a lost scene with the two of them on the rooftop. On, executive producer Gary Glasberg said Michael Weatherly suggested they unearth this scene and I’m so glad he did (well, he hadn’t named the actor, but now we know it was MW). It was so great to see. Kate may have been hard on him, but according to Rachel, she did it because she knew Tony could be more; she knew he could really be capable of being a great person; I don’t think many people have told Tony this in his life. At the end of the scene, Tony realized who Rachel was; and we soon found out as well: Rachel was Kate’s sister. Loved that twist. Loved Kate being remembered the way she was in this episode. And I loved the dynamic between the shrink and Dinozzo.

Wendy Makkena (she was the shy nun who blossomed into a powerful singer in the Sister Act movies) did a great job as Kate’s sister/the resident therapist. And Michael Weatherly blew me away all episode long, but especially in this Moment of Goodness. Sometimes with all the comedic goodness he provides, you forget he has the power to render you speechless with his acting choices. I actually teared up during the scene and that’s always a good sign.

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