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.