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Character Development: Tony loses his partner, NCIS “Baltimore” 

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

There were high expectations for “Baltimore,” after all, it was Tony’s origin story. We’ve only heard little bits about his life over the eight seasons so to finally see how he joined NCIS was a supremely satisfying experience. Props to writer Steven Binder as well as Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly. “Baltimore” was just a damn good hour of television from flashback hair all the way down to the very first head slap. Some thoughts on the episode and on what we learned about the former cop (warning: some may be incoherent):

  • Losing his partner absolutely affected Tony, what I think did him in the most, was hearing that voice mail message. He had lost his phone so he missed the call. Maybe he could have gotten some closure with Danny. Their partnership ended badly. Tony had it good at the Baltimore PD. The guys seemed to love him; the only reason he left was finding out his partner was dirty.
  • Tony telling Gibbs — the dirtbag — to freeze. I felt like I was watching Starsky & Hutch. Great moment.
  • Tony was engaged to his high school music teacher? She asked him out? I love “Baltimore” for this insight into Tony. They’ve set up things they can tackle next season. Like OMG he was engaged! What happened to end things? It must have been bad because at some point he transformed from fiance guy to total player. Must. Find. Out.
  • Also, the ring he was getting re-sized for his fiancee: Why was he having it re-sized? In my world it’s because that was his mother’s ring and it didn’t fit Wendy.
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
  • My Moment of Goodness — other than the entire episode — would probably be the last flashback Dinozzo and Gibbs shared. It’s when they were walking down the hall and Tony told his future boss how he left the Danny thing alone. However, he quit the Baltimore PD because he just couldn’t go back there. Then Tony said: “Maybe being a cop isn’t for me.” And as a result, Gibbs gave him his very first head slap. Tony’s in shock, he can’t believe he was just physically assaulted. He told Gibbs not to make it a habit. I really love the vibe that went on between Gibbs and Dinozzo back in the day. Tony wasn’t Gibbs’ loyal St. Bernard yet. He was antagonistic but not in a vicious way; it was was much more playful. Tony didn’t back down, he was funny and kind of obnoxious but he was good at his job too. But you could tell there was some respect already building there. It was wonderful to witness. Especially when he called Gibbs devious.
  • Love the two new rules. Rule #5: You don’t waste good. When Gibbs told Tony this and then said he was good. I almost melted. Rule #35: Always watch the watchers. That Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is so smart and so very fierce. Not to mention adorable. How cute was 2001 Gibbs, huh? Loved his look.
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
  • Guest Star Goodness: ER doc and Band of Brother Scott Grimes did an awesome job as Tony’s ex-partner. In the present, Danny was a mess. We learned he was an alcoholic and it makes sense after finding out he was a dirty cop. I’m glad he wanted to make things right. Too bad it killed him. Also, Supernatural alum Chad Lindberg did an excellent job as Joey Peanuts. Best. Character Name. Ever. Chad’s been doing well this season having also guest-starred on Criminal Minds and The Cape. Hope to see even more of him in the future.
  • The origin of Tony’s Mighty Mouse stapler was also revealed. It was his prize for winning some pool tournament — it’s all his boss could afford. I’m wondering if Tony’s going to retire his precious stapler now he knows the guy who gave it to him killed his ex-partner.
  • I almost cringed when Tony mentioned he found his cell phone at E.J.’s place. Awkward.
  • I wish Tony could have met Abby and Ducky in flashback as well.
  • Can we talk Tony’s style? Back in 2001, he was Mr. Casual wearing t-shirts, jeans and tube socks. His partner’s the one that dressed up for the job. Danny encouraged Tony to do the same. I’m wondering what eventually caused Tony to don the designer suits. Did he think he was losing his looks? Did he start off dressing casually at NCIS? I’m trying to think back to Season 1. Tony was a bit more casual then, wasn’t he? These days, I would love to see Tony dress casually more often.
  • I really liked the way Gibbs and Dinozzo met in Baltimore. It probably didn’t take Gibbs that long to know he was going to steal Tony from his police job. Could he have made the decision during that scene at the precinct after Tony and Danny “arrested” Gibbs? I think so. Later, Gibbs had Pacci (Pacci!!!!! Such a nice touch on the part of writer Steven Binder) pull the cop’s file. Things seemed comfortable between them the moment Tony walked into into the squad room and made that comment about not liking the orange or the skylight. Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly are just so completely in sync with each other. It really was a joy to watch.
  • Another scene I liked was when Tony with Gibbs having his back walked into his old precinct to arrest his former boss for killing Danny. All his ex-coworkers were so happy to see him and he didn’t even acknowledge them. He came for business and that was all he was going to do. Go Tony.
  • There’s really nothing I didn’t like about “Baltimore.” I still can’t get over Tony being engaged. Or wearing tube socks. He dipped heavy in the pop culture pool mentioning Robert Mitchum movies and Donnie Brasco and he had this abundance of energy. It was great meeting Baltimore Tony. What did you guys think?

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