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NCIS “Playing with Fire” 

Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS

“Playing with Fire” continues this explosive trend for the show that started in “Rekindled.” The stakes for the Navy and NCIS has been raised. The episode was pretty good. Very suspenseful and had some great comedic moments. It featured Abby and McGee cracking another code — this time a Korean code that turned out to be more simple than they thought. Ducky was definitely going through something that he ended up sharing with Gibbs. It was nice to see Dr. Mallard get some quality air time, especially so close to the end of this season. No Jimmy Palmer, unfortunately, but I’m sure we’ll get plenty of him in the final two installments of Season 9. The episode also showcased a return of a character we hadn’t seen since the first year of this show’s existence (yay!) as well as the introduction of a new villain. Some thoughts/observations:

  • Ruh roh. Gibbs is going into obsession mode. It’s been a while, but he’s back. He’s always dogged. He’s always determined. But there are the special cases that cause him to cross over into obsession. I’m not always the biggest fan of Obsessive Gibbs but I totally understand why he’s going to that place once again. The NCIS agent can’t stand that good people are dying on U.S. Naval ships. He’s taking this personally. And when Gibbs takes things personally, his one-track mind borders on the unhealthy. But, a terrorist is out there. And Gibbs is going to make for damn sure he’s the one to catch him.
  • I liked Ziva calling Tony, DiNosey. Very cute. But I also like the fact that Tony somehow, someway figured out what Ziva’s plans were for the weekend. Go Tony.
  • Poor McGee. He braved the rough seas to get to the U.S. S. Brewer. Unfortunately, he spent a good portion of his time on the ship in the sick bay.
Joel Gretsch
  • How good was it to see Stan Burley again? Last time we saw him, Tony was extremely jealous of Gibbs’ former teammate. He didn’t need to be jealous because we all know Dinozzo’s one of the best Gibbs has ever worked with. This time around, there was a tiny bit of jealousy, but that was just because Burley was paying so much attention to Ziva. Regardless, I hope we see Burley again and again and again. I love Joel Gretsch like nobody’s business. He was in the Steven Spielberg mini-series called Taken back in 2002; he played Tom Baldwin on USA Network’s The 4400 for four seasons; he was the priest in ABC’s short-lived V reboot; and, of course, he was in the Season 1 episode of NCIS called “High Seas.” Can this show keep bringing Gretsch back, please?
  • I would have loved to have seen Jason King back in this episode. As long as these thermite fires/explosions are going on, how great would it be to see him consult for NCIS? I just liked the way he interacted with the team in “Rekindled.” It would be great to see them all team up again. As it is, at least Gibbs and Tony mentioned him. Apparently, DiNozzo reached out to his his Baltimore contacts for any intel regarding their case and this included Jason.
  • It made me sad to see that Ducky was re-doing his will. I loved his scenes with Gibbs. Mark Harmon and David McCallum always share a good chemistry in their scenes. There’s real respect, trust and love there and that’s very cool. That’s why it’s natural for Ducky to ask Gibbs to be the executor of his will. It’s a morbid topic, but one that’s very important. Now, where did Ducky get this influx of money? Was it simply money he inherited from his mother and garnered from the sale of her house?
  • What is Abby planning for Jimmy’s bachelor party? A couple press photos have surfaced of this party but I can’t wait to see the whole thing. For some reason I thought it was going to be in this episode, but nope. We have to wait one more week. Boo.
Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS
  • I just love when MTAC gets a lot of use. And there was a good amount of it in “Playing with Fire,” especially since Ziva and Tony went to Naples, Italy, and Burley ended up getting stabbed for his troubles. Hope we see more of MTAC as the season winds down.
Richard Schiff
  • So, Richard Schiff is the big bad of this last part of the season, huh? His character’s been missing for a year? That’s never good. Harper Dearing will be in the final two episodes and it looks like he’s going to be a formidable foe because Gibbs instantly put the guy’s picture up on NCIS’ wall of the biggest baddest criminals out there. As for Schiff, it’s good to see him. He’s of course known for his Emmy-winning stint on The West Wing where he played Communications Director, Toby Ziegler. But, this latest TV season has seen him play King Leopold also known as Snow White’s dad on Once Upon a Time; and he’s had a recurring role on Showtime’s House of Lies. And, apparently, he’s going to be in the upcoming Superman flick, Man of Steel.

Some questions (some spoilers mentioned so be warned)

  • Will Jimmy’s wedding actually happen? Will he and Breena actually get to say their I Dos?
  • How much danger will our team face?
  • How far will Harper Dearing take his terrorist act? And, if this is truly his doing (and it seems like it is), then why is he doing it?
  • How does Agent Casey Stratton play into things? Word is, we’ll be seeing Scott Wolf again in the finale.
  • Pauley Perrette tweeted a picture of her and her stunt double. Why would Abby need a stunt double?
  • Is there going to be a cliff-hanger ending?

You just have to love the end of a season. Things get so exciting. Hopefully, this mystery will remain suspenseful and well written and Gibbs and his team will prevail without any serious casualties.

NCIS airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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