Ducky is a complete badass who hates bow ties! Who knew?!?
NCIS Season 12 Episode 3 was all about excitement and adventure from the opening scene onward.
This story about a prostitution and smuggling ring could have run for a few episodes or more. Instead, they opted to contain it all in the one hour. That's probably a good thing.
More than the case of the week itself, this episode primarily devoted itself to Ducky and his university past. And what an engrossing story that was!
The not-so-inside ironic jokes abounded: a girl he secretly loved gave him a bow tie, which he hated immediately. And then he spoke about needing to get into obstetrics because he'd "had it up to here with cadavers," adding if I never see another dead body again it'll be too soon.
Amazing how life can change a person, isn't it?
Ducky has never really lost his coolness, has he? He may be older, but his ability to think fast hasn't gone either. His scene with the assassin was amazing and also a bit ironic: he saved Margaret's life (and his own) through the precise use of a scalpel - a gift he'd been given by his best friend and romantic rival.
Even if the scene suffered from the usual angst of the bad guy waxing eloquent about his plans while his victims figure a way out, it was still a delight to watch Ducky sitting there, all smug and confident. It was reminiscent of his days as the Russian operative Illya Kuryakin in the ancient series Man from U.N.C.L.E.
In fact, the actor who played young Ducky (Adam Campbell) closely resembled David McCallum's young Kuryakin character. The bet here is that this was no accident.
To add to that: when Bishop mentioned that young Ducky was "really hot" - the fact is that young David McCallum was actually well-received by female fans back in his "Man from U.N.C.L.E" days. He apparently had a huge female fan base and was commonly referred to as "the fifth Beatle" or sometimes "the blond Beatle."
Overall, I'm digging the writing direction of NCIS Season 12 so far. A story about a weapons smuggling ring, instead of the usual corporate espionage story is quite welcome, because it's so different from the norm and most importantly - far more interesting.
- Those who watched WKRP in Cincinatti may have recognized the poor victim in the opening scene. Peter Elbing - who played Samuel Colpepper - played a signature role as "Blood," a member of a violent rock band being promoted by Johnny Fever. The band name was "Scum of the Earth." I only recognized him at first by his distinctive and unforgettable voice.
- Now we know why Ducky hasn't pursued women all that fervently: he has watched his friend Gibbs suffer through many romances, all in an attempt to recapture the magic of his first love.
- At the end of the show, it looks as though he has given his long overdue invitation to Margaret - though not in so many words. While it's still early (I mean, she just lost her husband) the hope here is that she eventually migrates to the U.S. and the two take up their romance again.
What did you think of the case of the week? What went through your mind during the Ducky flashbacks? Watch NCIS online and then join us here with your comments!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.