Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NCIS 8.14: Kate

A superb NCIS 8.14 - close to my favorite of this season - that fired so well on so many cylinders that the murder story, which was excellent, was not even the best part.

But let's start with that.  A Naval Commander is found shot to death on his boat.  The first suspect, a Korean journalist, turns out not to really be a journalist, and not the Korean we thought he was.  He's actually North Korean.  A spy.  Not only that.  He's not the murderer, either.  And that's because ... no one is the murderer.  The Commander took his own life.  As I said, an excellent murder story - the kind in which there is no murder.

Now let's get to the Kate part.  She was killed at the end of Season Two, one of the astonishing, series-transforming deaths in television, right up there with the killing of Jack's wife at the end of the first season of 24 and the killing of Tommy's brother in Rescue Me.  But that was a long time ago in NCIS-land.  So what does Caitlin Todd have to do with tonight's episode?

The back story, which becomes the front story, features Dr. Rachel Cranston insisting with Vance that she be allowed to proceed with a psych evaluation of the team - which, of course, the team is none to happy about.   As Rachel interviews each member of the team, in between their investigation of the not-murder, two things began to strike me.

One, many of the answers Rachel received involved Kate.   Ziva talks about replacing Kate, Ducky thinks about Kate on his table as he talks to Rachel, DiNozzo speaks about his competition with and affection for Kate ... You get the picture.

Now, Kate's death did affect the team profoundly, so it makes sense that they talk about Kate ... but then something else hit me:  Rachel looks a lot like Kate.   Maybe this coincidence was what got the team to talk and think about Kate so much in their interviews.

Except ... it turns out to be no coincidence.  About halfway through the show, I said to my wife, hmm, I wonder if that could be Kate's sister?  And that's just who Rachel is.   In a great final scene with Gibbs, he realizes who she is (DiNozzo did, as well, a bit earlier), and that she sought to have this series of interviews with the team so she could get some closure on her sister's death, by finding out just how she fit in with the team, how they regarded her and her work for them.  Rachel's questions were designed to elicit information about Kate - that's why she figured so prominently in the answers Rachel received from the team.

This fine episode also had some great footage with Kate from the two first years, and maybe a new piece of footage of her talking to her sister (though it could have been Kate talking back then in the story, with Rachel put in now - or maybe we saw that whole scene back then, I can't recall).  What I do know for sure is that it was great to see Sasha Alexander back on NCIS, even just in clips from the past.  Caitlin Todd was a much better character than Maura Isles.

See also NCIS Back in Season 8 Action ... NCIS 8.2: Interns! ... NCIS 8.3: Tiff! ... NCIS 8.4: Gary Cooper not John Wayne ... NCIS 8.5: Dead DJ, DiNozzo Hoarse, and Baseball ... NCIS 8.6: The Written Woman ... NCIS 8.7: "James Bond Movie Directed by Fellini" ... NCIS 8.8: Ziva's Father 
... NCIS 8.9: Leon's Story ... NCIS 8.10: DiNozzo In and Out ... NCIS 8.11: "The Sister Went Viral" ... Bob Newhart on NCIS 8.12 ... NCIS 8.13: The Wife or the Girlfriend

And see also NCIS  ... NCIS 7.16: Gibbs' Mother-in-Law Dilemma ... NCIS 7.17: Ducky's Ties ... NCIS 7.18: Bogus Treasure and Real Locker ... NCIS 7.21: NCIS Meets Laura ... NCIS Season 7 Finale: Retribution

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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