Season 8 Episode 5

Dead Air

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 19, 2010 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
327 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The team investigates the death of a radio DJ and a Naval Officer who were both killed live on air, and their job becomes more difficult by the discovery of various suspects.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • A Politically Outspoken Radio Host Is Gunned Down, Leading The Team To Uncover A Terrorist Conspiracy Involving A Patriotic Organization.

    "Dead Air" is a great episode of "NCIS". This episode does a very good job in keeping the viewer's interest throughout and the suspense just doesn't let up. There is another excellent here and that is wide of suspects. It was very hard to guess who the killer was until the very final minute. The funniest scene was when Tony interviewed suspects in the suburbs. What added to the enjoyment here are the twists. They were plausible. The final scene was absolutely marvelous. It was great to see Jethro and Ziva playing baseball. After 7 seasons, "NCIS" doesn't disappoint. An excellent episode.moreless
  • Dead Air--My father taught me!!!

    As always I love NCIS. But by far this ending was great because of the interaction between Ziva and Gibbs.

    I would love to know the writers thoughts on Ziva's statement that "my father taught me!!!" I took it to mean Gibbs? I may be wrong, but I rather be wrong this time!!
  • Silly plot ruined it for me.


    There was precious little to offset the ridiculous plot. I doubt that there has ever been a case in the U.S. of rich people in a gated community becoming terrorists, and for such a silly cause. They objected to the federal government spending so much on foreign aid (and I suppose our military presence abroad), when the money could be better used on law enforcement domestically! Again, I'd willingly suspend disbelief if there were enjoyable characters and scenes, but "Nada."moreless
  • Dead on arrival.

    I'm disappointed this episode has the highest rating in season 8, we're not even at the halfway point in the season and practically all the episodes before this were better. It had an Interesting concept ruined by dodgy one liners and sloppy cohesion and metaphors. A live death on the airwaves could have been far more interesting and less predictable then this farce. The dialogue was the worst component, extremely forced one liners and dreadful exposition made for one grating hour of television.moreless
  • Oh, the horrors of badly written symbolism.

    Symbolism, in the hands of a master like Bronte or Dostoyevsky, expands the meaning of the narrative, giving the reader an instinctual awareness of underlying tensions, paints in the colors of the mood, and lets us understand, without being told in dialogue or description, the themes and characters of a work.

    Unfortunately, ham-fisted, banana-peel, in-your-face symbolism is the mark of unskilled pens, and writers who have no respect for their subject matter. They cannot be bothered to flesh out characters into whole people who hint at lives beyond their 43 minutes of screen time; they won't dig deep enough to find motivations and histories that are fully formed, that might inform the decisions and actions of real people, or that could possibly give the episode's action and plot-line any relevance or immediacy.

    One wonders why they bother to name their characters at all beyond "Justice Avenger," "Sinister Beauty," or "Village Idiot." Or, perhaps, I've been watching a 1950s comic book all along - or, since season 5.5 anyway.

    Baseball. Suburban blandness turned evil. Wiping out history. A return of weapons. Enforced silence. Blindness. Father figures. Dead Air.

    Cleverness is not a substitute for good writing, emotion-involving plot, well-formed character development, or humor. Ask Data. He wrote 'clever' poetry that bored the socks off people.

    I'm asking myself, did the writers finally come to the realization that Ziva's character has been so badly written/conceived that they must return to yesterday (!), wipe out their own utterly hopeless work of the past few years, and try to begin again? Have they turned to each other in the writers' room and said, "I can't come up with anything stupider, more idiotic, more thoughtless or less like a true federal agent for Tony to say, so let's make him mute?" Are they hoping that the fans, much like Abby, will be able to turn a blind eye to the down-grading of this once semi-intelligent show and hope against hope that they've turned the train around and it's finally on the right track?

    This episode convinced me of nothing except that the writers are still messing with the fans, fans who, they believe, will never blink twice at what the symbolism shows us. Gibbs/Ziva are father and daughter, bonded more deeply than anyone else, therefore she is excused anything, with Tony and Tim standing on the sidelines as the joke of the week. Abby will continue to turn a blind eye to her hero with feet of clay. Tony will chase after normalcy - and, even worse, Ziva - in a totally Marx Brothers, I Love Lucy way, and never quite catch it.

    These characters are what you have made them, Shane Brennan. Don't try to turn back the clock to when they made sense as federal agents, or when they had - or deserved - any respect for each other. As much as I'd love a return to ClassicGibbs who worked well with his team, SmartTony who solved cases and saved lives, HonorableTim who wasn't polished or urbane but lovable and humble, and QuirkyAbby who could do anything with evidence and still maintain her little girl charm, it seems all you're willing to give us is OldZiva in an attempt to erase the utterly vindictive and underhanded things she's done.

    I'd rather watch reruns or DVDs. I'm closing the book on this one. Turning out the light. Switching channels. What do you think of my symbolism?moreless
Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

Special Agent Tony DiNozzo

Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo

Special 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

Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • GOOF: The victims in the radio station were hit by five bullets in quick succession -- one for the board operator, one for the Commander, and three for Adam Gator, for a total of five shots. However, the Remington 7400 only holds four rounds, and the gun that was taken out of the back of the SUV did not have a spare magazine attached. However, it could have already had the first round chambered.

    • GOOF: At the end of the episode, Ziva picks up a discarded baseball on the field to toss, presumably dropped during the scramble to escape the explosion. However, it was a girl's softball game that was being played -- the ball should have been softball, not a baseball.

    • GOOF: When Abby brings up the news article about Haskill's wife, the headline reads "Woman Killed In Home Invastion Shooting." That should read "Invasion" instead of "Invastion."

  • QUOTES (7)

    • (watching undercover Ziva bait suspect from car)
      Tony: How's Miss America doing? Who's she supposed to be again, anyway?
      McGee: She's playing herself, Tony. From five years ago, before she started at NCIS?
      Tony: Sassy, rogue Mossad agent. Sometimes I miss that little minx...
      McGee: Eh, it's only temporary until we find out what our suburban terrorists are planning.
      Tony: (watching through binoculars) ... she's not doing a very good job. Her body language is all wrong. Classic Ziva would have been more reckless; hair would have been more... wild. She was... very sexual then.
      McGee: You think Ziva's less sexual now?
      Tony: Compared to the Ziva I shared a bed with five years ago... Yeah.
      McGee: Yeah, but you guys were undercover... I mean, you were just putting on a show! (looks to Tony when he does not respond; Tony instead only stares with a yearning, reminiscent sort of look at Ziva) You were putting on a show, right?
      (Tony clears his throat loudly)

    • (Tony gulps down Caf-Pow for his sore throat)
      Abby: Just let the cherry ethol propenate coat your throat... You'll be okay.
      Tony: (grimacing) Wow... I forgot how strong this stuff is!

    • (Ziva tackles Tony to protect him from a bomb, ending up on top a la "Boxed In"-style)
      Tony: This is nice... I miss the old Ziva.
      Ziva: I can tell.
      Tony: Don't flatter yourself... That's just my knee.

    • Ducky: (about his throat, to Tony) However, to prevent further damage, I suggest that you refrain from talking for the next 24 hours. I understand it won't be easy.
      Ziva: But we certainly look forward to seeing you try.
      Ducky: (sarcastically) Yeah, well, let's hope there are no movie references that require your edification. I'd hate for your ego to write a check your body can't cash.

    • McGee: Who needs the radio when you got the internet?
      Gibbs: People who don't have the internet.

    • Ziva: (about Tony and McGee's agreement) I do not know which is more disturbing - the fact that you both agree on something, or that McGee is a fan of a sport.

    • (Tony testing Deter for bomb chemicals)
      Tony: Congratulations, I think you're pregnant!
      Deter: (sarcastically) Awesome.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Rocky Carroll is credited but doesn't appear.

    • Original International Airdates:
      Canada: October 19, 2010 on Global
      Australia: November 16, 2010 on Channel Ten
      United Kingdom
      : November 19, 2010 on FX/FX HD
      Sweden: December 14, 2010 on TV3
      Norway: January 4, 2011 on TV3
      Spain: February 11, 2011 on LaSexta
      Germany: March 13, 2011 on SAT 1
      Finland: April 12, 2011 on Nelonen
      Slovakia: August 24, 2011 on Markiza
      Czech Republic: January 30, 2012 on TV Nova

    • Guest star George Newbern previously worked with series regulars Mark Harmon (Gibbs) and Rocky Carroll (Vance) on TV drama Chicago Hope.


    • Tony: He seemed more like Ward Cleaver than Bin Laden.

      Reference to the genial father character played by Hugh Beaumont in the TV sitcom Leave It To Beaver, from 1957-1963. Bin Laden refers to Osama Bin Laden, the founder of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

    • Ziva: I find it hard to believe that anyone would risk this slice of cherry pie to become criminals!
      Tony: (reflecting) Oh, I don't know - Arlington Road, with Tim Robbins. The so-called Harvard militia's in Urban Legend ...
      Gibbs: Urban legends did not murder three people.
      Tony: Urban Legend was a movie with Rebecca Gayheart... rawr!

      References to two movies: Arlington Road is a 1999 movie staring Tim Robbins as a suspected terrorist living in suburbia near Washington, DC; while Urban Legend is a 1998 low-budget film that featured a killer who used urban legends of killings as a blueprint for planning the deaths of his victims. Also, Rebecca Gayheart appeared with Michael Weatherly on the ABC soap Loving.

    • Ducky: (reflectively) I remember as a child listening to my favorite radio program, Dick Barton, Special Agent (chuckling). "The Man In Black -- Mystery, Intrigue and Suspense!"

      References to two radio programs popular in Britain in the late 40s and early 50's. Dick Barton, Special Agent was a serial program that ran from 1946 to 1951. "The Man In Black" was a reference to the host of a British radio program Appointment With Fear, a spooky show that ran from 1943 to 1955.

    • Gibbs: It's like listening to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?
      Abby: Yeah -- wow. Only it's gunshots instead of a drum solo.

      Reference to a 1968 song by Iron Butterfly. The title of the song is often considered to be a muddled version of the originally intended title, "In the Garden of Eden."

    • Tony: If they build it, they will come. Allusion to Field of Dreams, a 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner, who plays a farmer encouraged to build a baseball field in the middle of his corn field by a whispering voice. (Actual quote is "If you build it, HE will come," but it is often misquoted.)