Moment of Goodness: McGee Interrogates his Grandma, NCIS “The Penelope Papers”
Love Lily Tomlin coming onto NCIS and playing McGee’s grandma Penelope Langston with gumption and a spark that was very refreshing. Her scenes with Sean Murray‘s Special Agent Timothy McGee were adorable as we found out more about the agent through his conversations with her. We probably found out more about McGee in this one episode than we have in the last five years put together. And while that’s a long time coming — I do have one complaint — I wish this McGee intel had been spread out sporadically over the years; we should have learned the things we learned much, much earlier. However, it seems like in Season 9, we’re finally going to learn a lot about the regular characters and that’s what fans like me have been waiting to see happen.I think what I enjoyed the most had to be the interrogation scenes. Family members of NCIS agents tend to find their way to the interrogation room opposite Gibbs — it’s become a requirement. This was just Penny’s turn. And, admittedly, I always love when powerhouses like Tomlin and Robert Wagner (Anthony Dinozzo, Sr.) get to play opposite NCIS’ resident powerhouse, Mark Harmon. And as Gibbs questioned McGee’s grandmother, you could see how uncomfortable Timothy was getting with the questioning. At a certain point, he had had enough and told Gibbs as much:
“Go home, McGee, you can’t be professional. Go home.”
“Boss, I won’t let you treat her like that; she’s my grandmother.”
“She’s also the lead witness in a murder investigation. What do you want me to do, needlepoint my questions?”
“She had nothing to do with Lt. Booth’s death.”
“I never said she did.”
“What are you going to do? Are you going to break her down until she cracks?”
“That’s how it’s done, Tim? I don’t like this any better than you do. I know that she’s a family member.”
McGee made the decision that he’d be the one to get the information out of his grandmother (which, naturally, made dad Gibbs proud). Tim determinedly walked in and sat down in front of her and got direct. She ended up telling him the story about how she was the first female analyst to work on something called The Anax Principle. However, instead of it being something used for good, it was turned into a weapon of destruction. He also managed to let her know what she’s meant to him and his life:
“You inspired him, you taught him so much — about how to stand up for himself. About how to be exactly who he was no matter what anyone else thought. Especially his father. I’ve always loved you for that.” “You never told me this before.” “It’s the truth.”
I definitely hope Tomlin will return to the show some day. It was awesome how at the end of the episode (the same episode where Ducky admitted not having been in love lately), Penelope went on a “date” with the medical examiner. Like I said before, her character was also useful in helping us learn more about McGee, specifically his estrangement from his father. Seriously, can Gibbs, Dinozzo and McGee start a support group for men with daddy issues? I was shocked to learn Tim hadn’t even spoken to his father for seven years; a streak broken at the end of the episode when he called his dad. Now, we just need to learn what event so awful happened to cause such a rift in the relationship. It’s now clear they always had issues but to not speak for such a long time, there had to be one big thing that tore their relationship to shreds and caused McGee to think his dad didn’t love him.
Any thoughts on casting for McGee’s dad? James Brolin? Richard Dean Anderson? They so set it up for us to meet him some day, don’t you think? Wonder when that’ll happen.
Some Other Thoughts
- I really wish we could have gotten an Abby-McGee scene talking about the grandma/father situation; or even Abby meeting Penny. That would have been great to see Pauley Perrette share a scene with Tomlin.
- I loved how Penny had a bit of a crush on Tony. Don’t blame her one bit. Michael Weatherly just seemed in awe in every scene he shared with Tomlin, didn’t he?
- McGee’s daddy issues further validated the case that Gibbs is the father figure everyone wants on this show. Tim even talked about how Gibbs and his dad are sort of similar.
- And Tony called McGee “Tim!” I mean, sure he called him McMeachum too, but the fact he called his friend/partner “Tim” is pretty epic. Yes, this is what passes for epic on NCIS.
- Again, I can’t stress how grateful I am that the whole team is acting like a team and that they care for each other. They tease, sure. But they care too. It’s such a pleasure to watch NCIS this season.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
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