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NCIS “Hereafter” 

Photo Credit:CBS
Photo Credit:CBS

NCIS is classified as a crime drama, and while many of its episodes are focused on a particular case, a good deal of them showcases a particular character or sometimes just raw emotion.  Tonight’s episode was about grief, particularly about Director Vance’s (Rocky Carroll) handling of the loss of his wife.  At the same time, we did still have a case, and ironically, the end result of that case was about grief as well.  The only difference is that it highlighted the consequences of handling the loss and the grief in a very unhealthy way.

On the surface, the week’s case appears to be quite boring.  Lance Cpl Gabe Crowe (Steve Rummenie) collapses during a routine training exercise, and the autopsy shows that the cause of death is a brain hemorrhage due to multiple blows to the head.  What’s more, bruises and cuts are found all over Crowe’s body, indicating that he had been beaten and on a regular basis.  After one of the men in Crowe’s unit, Private David Holland (Joseph Fuhr), comes forward, we learn that Crowe had been involved in illegal fighting, probably to earn some extra cash to help his mother in need but possibly just to let off some steam.  That would certainly explain all of Crowe’s injuries – well, all except one.  There is one gash in Crowe’s side that appear to have been inflicted over and over again, in the exact same place.  In illegal fighting, the likelihood of that happening is slim to none.  It turns out Crowe’s death had nothing to do with the fighting, but instead with his Captain’s sick way of dealing with his own brother’s death.  Captain Jonah Ellis’ (Jeff Denton) little brother, Caleb, had been tortured and killed while deployed, and Ellis’ method of dealing with the loss was inflicting the same wounds on the men in his unit.  He claimed he was just making them stronger and more prepared for the horrors of war, but seeing the tears well up in his eyes, it truly was all about him and how his own wounds had failed to heal.

This is in contrast to Director Vance’s loss and how he decides to handle it.  Vance has been on leave for nearly two months, and just when he is about ready to come back, he finds some very disturbing items while going through his wife’s things – a statement to a separate bank account, a key to a safety deposit box that contained legal documents for the separation of property.  Just what secrets did Jackie have?  Like any other widower, it’s driving Vance crazy, but instead of just sitting at home and let it eat away at him, he returns to work… well, sort of.  To Deputy Director Craig’s (Greg Germann) dismay, Vance isn’t quite ready to return to the Director’s chair yet, and instead, wants to work in the field.  Awkward!  Sitting next to McGee and working almost as a subordinate to Gibbs (Mark Harmon), all of it is very strange, but it’s what Vance needs, and so, Gibbs lets it slide.

Once the case is finally solved, Gibbs steps up almost like a father or best friend to Vance, and Mark Harmon delivers yet another breathtaking performance, as he has done in so many other NCIS episodes.  Vance had asked Gibbs about Shannon earlier, but Gibbs cut him off then.  Gibbs now explains that on one of his deployments, Shannon had increased his life insurance.  Why?  Because she needed to prepare for a life without Gibbs in case something should happen, just like Jackie had to.  Vance had almost been killed on the attack on NCIS in the season premiere, and the possibility of losing him became very real.  So, she did what she felt was needed to prepare herself, and her children, in case a future attack is successful.

I always thought I’d go first, which is how it should be – Vance

The way it should be isn’t life – Gibbs

Now, here I am, here you are, in this basement trying to carve out a life for yourself – Vance

You have 2 beautiful kids who love you and need you to be OK.  Leon, you get up every morning and you put one foot in front of the other, without her – Gibbs

I just wish she’d told me – Vance

Couldn’t.  Then, you would have left a job you loved – Gibbs

I still do, you know – Vance

This was a beautiful dialogue and exactly what Vance needed to hear.  If you think about it, besides the newlywed, Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), no one else at NCIS really has a family.  Gibbs had one, but he lost them all, including his child.  But, Vance still has his children, and while the pain may seem unbearable now, he needs to move on, if only for them.

Like nearly all NCIS episodes, this was another top-notch episode.  It was beautifully written, had some fantastic character development for both Vance and Gibbs, but at the same time, still had a case that was linked to the emotional issues Vance was dealing with, but in a very subtle way.  And, of course, we finally have Rocky Carroll back, or at least we are pretty close.

You have a suitcase packed, Deputy Craig? – Vance

Yes, always – Deputy Craig

Then, hang tight, you’ll be hearing from me soon – Vance

Welcome back, Vance, whether as Director, Agent, or Probie.

Most memorable quotes and random thoughts

  • Oh, Dinozzo, I’m lots of things when I’m not babbling on and giving you dysentery – Deputy Director Craig
  • Another fun-filled night on ass-kick avenue! – Tony
  • Is he Agent Vance, or does that make him Probie Vance? – Tony
  • Kids…this is way above my pay grade – Tony
  • Saying that Deputy Director Craig isn’t groomed for management is an absolute understatement.  This guy is definitely not a people person, and I wonder how in the hell he ended up as Deputy Director.   However, the character provides some good comic relief for the show, is growing on viewers, and I actually hope we see more of him in the future.
  • The “Jaws” scene with Tony, Ziva and Vance’s kids was fabulous.  Tony and Ziva got along great, even with kids in the picture.  What does this tell us, if anything, about the possibility of Tony and Ziva as a couple in the future?  All you Tiva fans, chime in below in the Comments, and let us know what you think!


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1 Comment

  1. Karen

    Loved the “Jaws” scene. Wished there was more, there was an opportunity for both drama and comedy with them in that situation

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