NCIS Round Table: "Alibi"

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Our review of "Alibi" broke down last week's NCIS Season 11 Episode 8 in detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Christine Orlando have assembled for a Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from the installment.

Join in as we analyze the twisted murder plot, Tony's surprising reveal and more!


1. How would you describe this week in one word (or two, or three, or four)?

Doug: Tony's hidden quest.

Christine: Strangers in an AA Meeting.

Steve: More than meets the eye.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

2. What was your favorite quote or scene from the episode?

Doug: I liked the interchanges between McGee and Tony, mostly because McGee didn't get it. Tony's behavior has thrown him for a loop and he can't quite parse it all out. The one exchange in particular involving McGee's questioning him about riding the bus strikes me as the one scene that typifies everything in this episode regarding Tony's evolving outlook. "Best of all, I get to watch people." That's a dynamic that's completely foreign to McGee. He just doesn't understand how Tony can even use that phrase: it's a character dichotomy that's at odds with how he's seen Tony act and think in the past.

Christine: McGee: "You ever going to get a new car?" Tony: "Well, firstly I never buy new cars. Secondly, I need something that ignites my passions. It's like a woman: I need to be in love before I commit." McGee: "You've never committed to a woman." I just thought that said an awful lot about Tony. I hope he finds a way to commit to both sometime in the not so distant future.

Steve: I have to second Doug on the bus discussion. The look on Tony's face when he said he enjoyed people-watching was classic because you could tell he was actually serious, and that Tim had no idea what to make of it. On an unrelated note, I'm hoping we get a major Abby episode one of these weeks because I feel like she's been just a little sidelined so far in NCIS Season 11.

3. What, if anything, didn't work for you?

Doug: I think that in real life, if a cop gets a lead like Gibbs got about the shooting of the bookie, he's going to react right away to let the investigating police know so that he can make sure their investigation proceeds. I respect the reasons the writers chose not to let him do this, as it builds on the relationship between Gibbs and Clark. Then again, Gibbs, despite any protests to the contrary, has never - or rather, never lately at least - proven to be a strictly "by the book" kind of guy.

Christine: I think almost every procedural has done their version of Hitchcock's classic thriller "Strangers On a Train" and I feel like I've seen so many versions on this theme that I spot the premise in the first 10 minutes of the show.

Steve: Not a lot. I enjoyed the case and how it showcased Gibbs vs. Clark, and Tony was great. Maybe not in my top 10 but a solid installment as usual.

4. What did you think of the lawyer, Clark?

Doug: I like her for the same reason Gibbs does: She's more interested in justice than she is in helping her client cover up a crime. Other than that, I just don't know enough about her to make any sort of judgment. Her chemistry didn't grow on me for this episode, but then, we didn't see all that much of her, really.

Christine: I really liked her. She was ethical but with an edge. She walked the line between staying within the letter of the law and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs so that Gibbs and his team could put away a murderer. Speaking of Gibbs, I really liked her interaction with him. She really made him bring his A game and wouldn't mind seeing more of it.

Steve: I'd like to see her return to better answer that question. It was definitely a fun twist on a Gibbs-lawyer storyline that could've been formulaic.

5. Were you surprised that Tony has been attending a men's support group?

Doug: Yes, I was surprised. At first, I wrote in the review that maybe he was just trying to recover from the torment of finding himself in love with Ziva, only to lose her again. Having more time to think about it since then, I think that's still part of the reason he's at the support group, but not all. On the plane back from Israel, he began working on his own list of "I wills" - similar to what Ziva had done. I think Tony is into some self-discovery, which includes his sudden fascination with people, and his comment about learning how not to be judgmental. The contrast between him and Gibbs is so interesting. Both are strong guys, but Gibbs hides any pain he has behind a facade of inscrutability. Tony hides his behind jokes and smiles. The writing involved in both characters on this series is superb.

Christine: Yes, I wouldn't have expected that from him but I'm pleasantly surprised. It shows a lot of growth from his character. The Tony from the first few seasons would have scoffed at something like that. It also speaks to how much he's been hurting over Ziva's departure and that he needs to do something drastic to heal and move on.

Steve: I was, and pleasantly so, by how it was handled. It's refreshing to see such a beloved character - a man in particular - embrace such a thing when there's a stigma attached to counseling, depression and mental illness. Tony's been shaken up pretty badly of late, even if he puts up a good front (or a bad one), and the fact that he took action like this sets a wonderful example.

6. How do you think Bishop's arrival will impact the team?

Doug: I expect a bit of distrust from the team at the start. They can't make it easy for her to join up quite so quickly - I mean, look at the other possible candidates in the last number of episodes: no one wanted any of them to just jump in or even sit at Ziva's desk. Other than that, it's too soon to tell. I'm looking forward to seeing how they write her in.

Christine: I hope it shakes things up. That's the best thing about Ziva leaving... it has upset the status quo. I look forward to seeing how Bishop interacts with all of the members of the team. I'm really hoping that it's going to be fun.

Steve: I'm actually looking forward to it. I have a lot of faith in the producers and writers and am confident this will go over better than a lot of people think. Their challenge is to make a character compelling enough that we see her as Bishop, not Ziva 2.0. I think NCIS, going as strong as ever in its 11th season on the air, is up to that task.

What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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NCIS Season 11 Episode 8 Quotes

McGee: Tony what's going on? Do you have a drinking problem?
Tony: No. No, I just....I joined this men's support group. Meets in the church hall two nights a week.
McGee: You serious?
Tony: Uh huh. I know - it doesn't sound like me. But, with the past year I just wanted to shake things up a little bit. Meet some new people. This guy at the gym told me about the group and I thought it sounded like a good idea. And it is. It's fun. The Rev drove me to Quantico the other morning. Interesting guy. He's helping me be less judgemental.

Tony: Sgt. Dunne, Olivia Chandler and Wendell Kaiser all have one thing in common. They all go to AA meetings.
McGee: Probably where they met.
Tony: The sergeant and the trophy wife are lovers. The desk clerk at the Chevy Chase Lodge said that they were regulars. It's just like that movie "Body Heat". William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. God. She was really something, boss. A head turner. Anyway, they were young lovers and they wanted the rich husband's money and him out of the way.
McGee: On the other hand, you've got Wendell Kaiser who's deep in debt to his bookie and needs him off his back.
Tony: So they help each other and switch murders.
McGee: While Kaiser was in New York, Dunne killed the bookie with Olivia's help. She drove him. Her car was in the vicinity. Who would ever suspect them? I mean there's no connection, no motive.
Tony: Tomorrow, Sgt. Dunne is going to deploy. Olivia Chandler's off to Jamaica. And I'm betting that while they're away, her husband's going to have a terrible accident at the hands of Mr. Kaiser here - a man with whom he has no connection.