Last night marked the return of post-strike NCIS with the first new episode in almost three months. While the characters themselves might seem a little off their mark, it’s the drama behind the scenes that has everyone wondering what is going on.
In “Stakeout” we find our heroes on what appears to be a boredom-filled stakeout. Or is it a scene from a movie? At least Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) thinks so. If we needed proof that she’s embracing American cinema, then look no further than her pranks on Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).
But it’s the whole gang that gets duped when high-dollar classified equipment gets stolen under their noses. It’s not often the highly skilled and unflappable Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) gets fooled.
The case was interesting. But it was easy to guess that the BMW the inquisitive Tim McGee (Sean Murray) fixated on during the stakeout was going to be the key.
But despite the intriguing story, I was still scanning the show for clues as to who would be exiting the show, news leaked by TV Guide yesterday.
I eliminated Gibbs off the bat. The show just wouldn’t be the same without him and besides they got show creator Don Bellisario to step down last season to keep Harmon.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary with Ziva or McGee. And I can’t imagine the show without the quirky goth lab tech Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), so that’s three more down.
But DiNozzo was quick to jump on the city’s murder case, even before he found out that it was part of the NCIS investigation. Is he possibly he’s missing life on the homicide beat? Will he leave to go back to the police force?
No, I don’t think so. TV Guide called the cast departure a “major freakin’ twist.” DiNozzo leaving for another job is not a major twist.
Maybe DiNozzo leaves for another reason. He did seem to find his perfect match in Detective Andrea Sparr (Gretchen Egolf). The confirmed bachelor DiNozzo resigning from NCIS to begin a life as a married man would shock us all for sure.
Then I thought maybe the mild-mannered medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard might be leaving do to an illness or even – gasp – death because throughout the show he was running a secret medical evaluation on someone.
But at the last minute we learn his covert actions weren’t a self diagnosis, but a favor for Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly).
The director, who was out of the country, was conveniently absent from this episode (could that be what TV Guide meant by “NCIS star goes AWOL?”).
If indeed the story of the cast departure broke because of Holly’s absence, then it makes sense Shepard’s days on the show might be numbered.
But I don’t think Shepard is sick or dying. Ducky never said that the blood was the director’s. Instead I still think that she is investigating her father’s faked death and his location.
I hear that Shepard’s nemesis La Grenouille will turn up in another episode later this season. I suspect that if Shepard leaves the show, it’ll be a result of a run-in with La Grenouille and/or her father.
What did you think of the episode? Who do you think is leaving the show and why? Will the show be able to survive without him/her? If it is the director, who should replace her?