NCIS

Season 6 Episode 13

Broken Bird

4
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 13, 2009 on CBS
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
336 votes
18

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Secrets from Ducky's past are revealed when he ends up stabbed at the crime scene.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • When Ducky is stabbed it reveals his past.

    9.0
    I was surprised to see that Ducky got stabbed at the crime scene after NCIS had solved the original case in about a minute What was even more surprising is the things the attacker was saying about Ducky Only some of it was true which was that he killed but only stop people from getting tortured more Overall it was a good Ducky episode where we learn about his past.
  • While Investigating A Crime Scene, Ducky Is Stabbed By An Unknown Woman. The Investigation Leads Down A Path That Could Destroy Ducky's Career.

    9.0
    As a huge Ducky fan, I was thrilled when I heard that this episode would be centered to him. In my opinion it was great. This episode worked on so many levels. It had a great and very compelling story. I found myself hooked from the very beginning. The scene where Ducky got stabbed was terrific. It was well done. Ducky's past has never been explained so I was glad that we got answers. I was shocked about the accusation of the stabber. David McCallum was excellent and he gives his best performance to date in the series. I hope he is not forgotten when the Emmys are handed. Great episode! Do not miss this.moreless
  • Wait, when did NCIS become a quality show?

    7.5
    Don´t take the score wrong, here. NCIS is a corny procedural that I just happen to enjoy as a guilty pleasure. It's the kind of amiable cheese I need to explain to friends and family who often wonder why I bother with it at all. Elsewhere I already mentioned that the fun way the characters are built, almost to golden holywood support cast standards, is the main reason why I stick with NCIS. Even so, this show has no business building an episode around two old timer TV actors, much less doing it so well.



    McCallum and W. Morgan Sheppard share one scene, and it makes the episode. All the credit for it falls on the actors, as their dialogue is overwritten and on the nose. The two just elevate it. It helps that Ducky has been built as a rambling literate old man, of course, but making the lines they had poignant and honest is a feat. Sure, the episode has highs and lows, it's definitely not perfect, but unlike other procedurals, NCIS has survived an attempt at social commentary and, surprisingly, even managed to end it in a high emotional note. I guess the move from me-too CSI to a successful show in its own right has happened for a reason. I can't say I'm disappointed with that.moreless
  • Quintessential hypocrisy and angel complex.

    4.0
    Not for the first time I feel disgusted by Ducky's character...He always follows the same pattern: makes a difficult, but necessary choice, agonizes over it, then apparently reluctantly, but deliberately, finds somebody else to blame for what happened. Quintessential hypocrisy and angel complex. Why did he keep quiet for so many years? They tortured and murdered an innocent man. Now chickens came home to roost, and of course the good doctor allowed himself to be persuaded to give up someone else to take the blame. He submitted himself to the judgment of the victim's family (knowing they'd have to forgive him once they found the truth), so now he can go back being an angel and riding the high horse with everyone else.moreless
  • Confusing.

    6.0
    Sorry but this is not one of my favourite episodes although it has its moments.

    I thought that the premise of the woman who stabbed Ducky, recognising him after thirty years when she had been only eight at the time was stretching it a bit.

    The idea that it was Ducky who was being tortured psychologically I found confusing. Why? Just for the torturer's sadistic pleasure? It seemed a very strange idea to me.

    In fact, Ducky annoyed me intensely in this episode. All that fuss about the starling in the house - I liked the Corgis though!!

    Jimmy Palmer and his search for the explanation of why there is no J street in Washington was amusing and indeed we now know why. Capital J was too similar to capital I in the script of the day. So there you are.moreless
Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

Special Agent Tony DiNozzo

Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo

Mossad Agent Ziva David

Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette

Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto

Sean Murray (I)

Sean Murray (I)

Special Agent Tim McGee

David McCallum

David McCallum

Chief M.E. Ducky Mallard

Torri Higginson

Torri Higginson

Dr. Jordan Hampton

Guest Star

W. Morgan Sheppard

W. Morgan Sheppard

Marcin Jerek

Guest Star

Bernard White

Bernard White

Afghani Ambassador Qasim Saydia

Guest Star

Brian Dietzen

Brian Dietzen

Asst. M.E. Jimmy Palmer

Recurring Role

David Dayan Fisher

David Dayan Fisher

Trent Kort

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (5)

    • TRIVIA: When Gibbs says "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," Ziva recognizes it as a quote from Endmund Burke. Previously, in "Dead Man Walking," Ziva says that this is her favorite quote.

    • TRIVIA: We learn in this episode that Jimmy was named after famed pitcher Jim Palmer. He prefers to be called Jimmy because he has no interest in baseball.

    • GOOF: The murder knife, when removed from the sailor, has very little blood on the blade. When seen lying at the crime scene, it has more blood on it, and when Mosuma Daoub picks it up to stab Ducky, the entire surface is covered with blood.

    • TRIVIA: Gibbs uses the quote "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." and Ziva recognized it as Edmund Burke. Interestingly, there is no known records of Burke actually using these words, the quote may be based on a paraphrase of some of Burke's ideas, but he is not known to have ever declared them in such a manner in any of his writings. It may have been adapted from these lines of Burke's in his Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents (1770): "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

    • GOOF: When Ducky is listing the many different historical rulers of Afghanistan, he omits the Macedonian King Alexander the Great and his successors in the region, the Seleucid Dynasty, who controlled the country from the 320s BCE to 10 CE. For someone with a classical education, this seems a very strange omission.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Ducky: If I kept him alive, he would have continued to suffer. Dying slowly, in excrutiating pain, at your hands.
      Jerek: So you became the 'Bringer of Death'.
      Ducky: What was the point in it all?!
      Jerek: Oh, how can you still not see?!
      Ducky: What did you want from him?!
      Jerek: Nothing. I wanted nothing from him.
      Ducky: (suddenly understanding that he himself was the one being tortured) Javid was not your target. He was your weapon!

    • Palmer: (when Abby arrives at the hospital to see Ducky) You are very, ah... calm.
      Abby: I am. If I keep going to crazy town every time one of you gets hurt, I'm gonna have to have my mail forwarded.

    • McGee: (seeing a large package on his desk) Oh, goody, they're here!
      Tony: Goody? Who says goody?!
      Ziva: What is it?
      McGee: (pulling out an old computer) This is my Mac SE. Got it for my eleventh birthday. (lovingly) She's my first!
      Tony: This is going to get really strange, isn't it?
      Ziva: Going to?

    • Abby: Ducky!
      Ducky: Abby? Ooh, how kind of you to visit.
      Abby: Oh, they gave you morphine.
      Ducky: Well, just a drop.
      Gibbs: Duck, anything you remember about the attack?
      Ducky: Oh, my, my glasses? (Gibbs puts them on Ducky) Oh, sweetie, you held onto them while I went under the knife! It's ironic that the solution to one knife should be... Mr Palmer, would, would you finish that thought for me?
      Palmer: Sure, doctor.
      Ducky: Oh, and you need to send for a substitute M.E.- aah, Jordan...?
      Jimmy Palmer: Dr. Hampton?
      Ducky: Yeah, on my desk you'll find her number, while I myself lay here getting much numb-er. (Ducky laughs) Nurse, more anesthetic. And don't spare the horses!

    • Palmer: The reason there is no J street--- because it looked too much like an I at those times. So they omitted it because they didn't want to create confusion.
      Ducky: Thank you, Palmer.
      (Palmer leaves, Ducky breaks down in Dr. Hampton's arms who cuddles him.)

  • NOTES (4)

    • Rocky Carroll is credited but doesn't appear.

    • Featured Music:
      "Promises" by Nitzer Ebb (2nd lab scene with Abby and McGee)

    • The younger Marcin Jerek seen in the old films was played by Mark Sheppard, who is W. Morgan Sheppard's son.

    • Original International Airdates:
      Denmark: February 8, 2009 on TV3
      Australia: March 3, 2009 on Channel 10
      Sweden: May 12, 2009 on TV3
      Germany: May 24, 2009 on SAT 1
      Norway: July 7, 2009 on TV3
      Spain: July 30, 2009 on La Sexta
      The Netherlands: September 1, 2009 on SBS6
      Slovakia: February 18, 2010 on Markiza
      Finland: April 13, 2010 on Nelonen
      Czech Republic: August 16, 2010 on TV Nova

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Tony: The alternative is that Ducky was Dr. Mengele.

      Dr. Mengele (1911-1979) was with allegiance with Nazi Germany in WWII as a German SS officer and a physician at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was infamously known as one of the SS physicians who overlooked the arrival of prisoners, deciding which ones would be killed, or a forced laborer. He would commit acts of human experimentation on camp inmates, and between them Mengele was known as the "Angel of Death."

    • Tony: Mr. Mom's story checks out.

      Seeing how Tony is a movie buff, he could be referencing the movie Mr. Mom from 1983, starring Michael Keaton. "Mr. Mom", has become a well known nickname used for men who are stay at home parents, derived from the movie, though the people who use it may not realize that it's a film reference.

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