NCIS Season 14 Episode 8 Review: Enemy Combatant

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I guess it goes without saying that getting a flat tire in the middle of the night on an isolated road definitely can't be good.

Though the unfortunate Commander Reza ended up worse off than the random motorists in NCIS Season 14 Episode 8, which featured a couple red herrings, plus three extremely nosy Bishop brothers.

So, a show of hands: who predicted the identity of Bishop's boyfriend before the Big Reveal at the end?

Family Time - NCIS

Confession time here: I have four siblings. However, not a one of them are anywhere near as nosy (bordering on obsessive stalking) as Bishop's brothers, for which I am very grateful. That's not to say that people like that don't exist, or are even unrealistic, or anything.

Viewers have pointed out previously Bishop's rather, shall we say, gossip-mongering tendencies. Her brothers definitely shared the trait, relentlessly badgering her coworkers in an attempt to discover the identity of her boyfriend. While their tenacity was alarming, it wasn't exactly out of character.

Bishop's Brother [regarding Ellie's boyfriend]: We just want to make sure he's not a deranged serial killer!
Bishop's Other Brother: Or a vegan!

Next confession: when I saw the trailer for this week's episode, I was really, really unenthusiastic about the idea of delving into Bishop's love life, especially if it turned out that she was actually dating a coworker. The Tony-Ziva relationship was divisive enough.

All that said, I was actually glad that her boyfriend was revealed to be Qasim, rather than any of the main crew. A lot of folks had been predicting a Bishop-Reeves romance, so this actually came as a bit of a surprise. Maybe because I can't imagine I was the only person scrambling for Google to look up Qasim!

For those who are wondering, Qasim previously appeared in NCIS Season 12 Episode 21, "Lost in Translation," in which he was suspected in the murder of a Marine. Following Qasim's heroic actions (involving a terrorist and a hostage), Bishop and Gibbs ensured that Qasim received a special immigrant visa and a new job as a translator at NCIS.

Happily, I like Qasim, and I am actually interested to see where this relationship may lead.

Fear often makes people do things they shouldn't. But that's human.


I am aware that there is a significant number of viewers who intensely dislike Bishop as a character, so pretty much any episode focus on her will inspire harsh reactions. I don't hate Bishop, though I think that they went over the top with the way her brothers were harassing everyone about her dating life.

And that weird flirty thing she and Reeves were doing? That just came across as, well, weird. Though the expression on Reeves's face when Torres sicced the brothers on him was pretty funny, I have to say.

This episode did leave some rather large plot holes and head scratchers for me. Among them:

  • Regardless of whether or not Reza's death was an accident or not, Gareth Bainbridge apparently carted his body around for several hours before staging that fake car accident.
  • Related to that, did Bainbridge walk back to town after sending Reza careening down the road?
  • What did Ronald Ayers's defense firm have to gain by detaining innocent people like Amir?
  • Why was Abby in the field at the scene of the accident, when normally the team brings the evidence to her at the lab later?
  • How did Bishop's brothers get into her residence? Did she give one or all of them keys? And did she leave her lights on before she went on her date?

I did appreciate that the guilty party was not totally obvious. I even appreciated that Reza's death had absolutely nothing to do with Gitmo or vast government conspiracies or anything like that. Sometimes it comes down to simple embezzlement. Was his death an accident? Maybe, maybe not. I liked that this was left up to the viewers.

While I definitely enjoyed this episode, I can understand why some people would not, especially those who dislike Bishop. "Enemy Combatant" definitely skirted close to having its "Bishop's boyfriend" B-story overshadow the Case of the Week, but I don't think it actually crossed the line. It did help that there was some overlap with Qasim.

There is always a danger that the characters' personal lives drag NCIS into soap opera territory, but when it comes down to it this show has always mixed the personal with the professional. The writers just have to be careful that the relationships don't dissolve into plot tumors and take over everything.

A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you:

  • Ranger Burt and Abby are still apparently going strong! Pale Dale also got a name drop in this episode.
  • Bishop's brothers egged Jake's car. While I can't condone vandalism, I understand the sentiment.
  • Did I miss Reeves moving into NCIS at some point?
  • Check out our NCIS quotes page for some of the notable lines from this episode.

If you missed this episode, fear not! You can always watch NCIS online to catch up! NCIS is taking a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, so be sure to tune in on December 6, 2016 at 8pm on CBS for NCIS Season 14 Episode 9, "Pay to Play"!

Finally, I would like to wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving! Be sure to share your own thoughts on this episode in the comments section below!

Enemy Combatant Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (91 Votes)
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NCIS Season 14 Episode 8 Quotes

What, you guys want my lunch money, or...?

Torres [surrounded by Bishop's brothers]

Bishop's Brother [regarding Ellie's boyfriend]: We just want to make sure he's not a deranged serial killer!
Bishop's Other Brother: Or a vegan!