Season 9 Episode 13

A Desperate Man

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 10, 2012 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • A Desperate Man

    Love is in the air and so is murder.

    Love in many manifestations permeates this episode: the non-rigid story arc of Jimmy's upcoming marriage and his musings about the grimness of "till death do us part" actually provides one of the episode's lighter moments. Ducky the lifelong bachelor -- chimes in with fatherly advice to Jimmy about looking beyond the grimness to the importance of being fully present in one's marriage. Juxtaposed skillfully against scenes of the bereft husband's raging grief over his murdered wife, Jimmy's romance and other team members' romantic relationships, past and present, are thrown into vivid relief. The undulating story arc of Tony's affaires de coeur is juxtaposed against McGee's lighter relationship with "the game girl," a serious truth emerging in Tony's jesting hug as he reminds McGee that people need human contact; one almost itches to say, "Look who's talking," except that the camera work and Weatherly's sensitive portrayal during that scene make it clear that Tony is abundantly aware of the irony. And the viewer is aware of Tony's loss of Jeanne, not mentioned aloud.

    Similarly, Tony's jesting acknowledges irony while it masks considerable depth of emotion (and wisdom) as he draws out the reluctant Ziva, torn by memories of her father's always having something more important to do than spending time with his daughter; she perceives in "C.I.Ray" the appearance of a similar near-fanaticism and fears committing herself to Ray for that reason. When the grief-crazed husband, a homicide detective, accuses Gibbs of not understanding what it feels like to lose the one you love, all Gibbs has to say, quietly, is "You're wrong" for the entire story of Shannon and Kelly to erupt into viewers' minds. Another kind of love compassion -- emerges when Tony, knowing how cops think, volunteers to meet with the grief-crazed widower. After a pleasant scene in which Ray dramatically proposes to Ziva, the familial love of her co-workers lightens the dreary work of finding a killer.

    [SPOILER ALERT] Ziva's agonizing realization of a hideous truth about Ray evokes yet more love in the face of her heartbreak, fatherly this time: Gibbs' gentle hand on the back of her neck as he asks, "What can I do?" and she answers, "Just drive." Once the murderer has been apprehended, the now sober and calmer homicide detective drops by NCIS to thank the team and at first mistakes Tony and Ziva for a couple; when they correct him, he immediately affirms the importance of true and dependable friends, since "you never know when you might need someone to hang on to," and the elevator door closes on two people who face painful reconstruction of their lives and one example of a truly staunch friend.

    Skillfully interweaving numerous types and intensities of love and affection, this episode weaves both character-driven choices and a tough-to-solve case to produce a sadly satisfying experience: one story arc closed, sadly and definitively, but perhaps another beginning, as Tony and Ziva move on in closer companionship?

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