Tony's dad came to town in honor of the 250th installment of NCIS. And then he watched his son shoot a guy.
NCIS Season 11 Episode 16 featured a scummy private detective, an earnest senator's assistant (ultimately, her dead assistant), an AG investigator and a troublesome father with some important news for his son.
The hour began with Tony and son meeting outside a hotel. When Tony spotted a uniform inconsistency on a passing Navy officer, he tried to halt the man, who turned and fled. Tony Senior followed his son as he chased the man into into an alley and saw him shoot the man dead.
Only the now-dead Navy guy wasn't who he appeared to be: he was disgraced private detective Nick Bodeen, who had just killed a man in an effort to cover up an elaborate bribery scheme involving the closing of some Navy ports of call and a plan to re-prioritize which ones would remain open before the Senate could vote on it.
As it turned out, one of the Senator's assistants - Jennifer Morrison - was in on the scheme with Bodeen and she was heartbroken after Tony shot him.
I must admit: I'm not fond of episodes featuring Tony Senior: he often comes across as an overgrown child who thinks nothing of intruding into his son's life, as if the welcome mat's always out and there are no consequences to worry about.
This one was marginally better: the childish nonsense was diminished, although the usual "I'm going to turn my phone off so you can't get hold of me" business was tiresome. Granted, Tony did the same, but at least he had a compelling reason (or thought he did).
I was amused when Tony started to sell his dad down the river with his explanation to Eugene Coyle that his dad might have been having age-related memory problems.
Speaking of Coyle... shame on him for the misdirection. When Tony told him that he pulled his gun out only after Bodeen did, Coyle said that his story didn't mesh with Tony senior's recollection. This was only because Tony Senior didn't recall exactly what happened at all.
He wasn't a witness. He was an anti-witness. Effectively useless in the investigation. Coyle has it in for Tony, obviously.
Abby isn't fooled. She knows the score with Creepy Coyle:
Coyle: What is with you people? I am not the enemy. I am conducting a mandatory agent-involved shooting investigation.
Abby: Well I don't like it when people mess with my team.
As for the case itself, it was good to get back to the basics of NCIS: a murder and a set of facts that need to be collated and made sense of; Abby doing her magic; Ducky and Palmer doing their dead body routine; the pieces coming together and a conclusion finally reached.
And now we have a probie being picked on once again too. Although she's getting off easier than McGee ever did. I think she might be getting better treatment even than Ziva did as a probie. Picking up a bunch of feathers doesn't seem that onerous. Notice that she didn't roll her eyes in disgust like Ziva often did. She merely frowned.
- As irritating as Coyle is, I think we need to see some more of him. Clearly he's a misfit - which means he'll make great fodder for Tony's humor.
- We never got to see Tony Senior's fiance. Seems like a mistake - rather than talk about her, we should have seen her and have had the mystery of the pregnant young woman (her daughter) cleared up that way.
- Tony as the noir detective was fun to see. That hat of his and the use of the word "dame" was perfect.
- I'm glad Tony went against Gibb's orders and started doing some investigative work. It would have been a waste having him sit at that desk all episode.
- The end scene was touching, with both men professing their love for each other. It looked as though Tony junior might have been a bit misty-eyed too.
- The next episode of NCIS will be in two weeks, on March 18.
What was your take on Tony senior?
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.