Season 5 Episode 3


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 09, 2007 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
336 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Lt. Colonel Mann joins Gibbs in an investigation of the murder of a Marine Captain who had access to highly classified information. Things get very personal for Gibbs when one of the witnesses in the case turns out to be one of his ex-wives.

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  • An alright one.

    Only two things really.

    1. Why the hell would Fred tell Abby about the sniffer file if she missed it completely? I mean he only needed to wipe the files because Abby cracked the codes.. but Abby cracked the codes because he kept telling her how to do it.. If his plan all along was to get at the laptop it makes a bit of sense, but then him saying "I only wiped it because I didn't think anyone could figure it out" is redundant.

    2. Letting Abby punch Fred pissed me off. I get she was very upset, but you aren't allowed to do that. If he sues for assault all their evidence could get thrown out etc etc.

    Interesting episode though, the geek speak is cute sometimes, but after working there for like 5 years you'd think McGee would just get to his point. I like Gibbs at some point saying "you just can't help yourself". But it is still fun, making it seem all realistic.

    Jen/Steph/Hollis was funny.moreless
  • While Investigating A Marine Captain's Murder, Gibbs Is Stunned When The Only Witness In The Case Turns Out To Be His Ex-Wife.

    "Ex File" is a good episode. I found myself interested on where the story would go, but I was somewhat disappointed in the episode as a whole. The case was well written but it became bad from the moment Stefanie first apperead on screen. She was depressing and I just really didn't care about her. However, the scene with her, Gibbs and the Coronal was excellent. I also thought that this episode could not have made it without the side-story about Abby's purchase of the iPods for the team. Mark Harmon was excellent here. However, I thought the story as a whole was mediocre, but the reason why I'm saying it was a good one, is the end. The last scene was terrific It was and very sad and it is one of the best moments in the series. Good episode!moreless
  • deplorable constant sexual innuendo

    I'll probably get a lot of thumbs down with this review, but I can live with it. It was deplorable that every scene in the first half of the episode, and in most of the second half, was filled ENTIRELY with sexual innuendo between Gibbs and his current girlfriend, Colonel Mann. I got tired of the smirks, juvenile simpering and raised eyebrows, and the conversation of who was on top as they had to share the criminal investigation. Director Shepard, Gibb's old girlfriend, had to smirk and get jealous in EVERY scene she was in. Tony and Ziva were relatively civilized as they had to witness these antics. And then most of the Tim and Abby scenes reeked of simmering jealousy too as a security guy had to watch and flirt over Abby's handling of the evidence. Gibbs ex-wife was thrown in too. To keep the soap opera going, at the end of the episode Gibbs' ex-wife had to intrude on Gibbs and Mann, and then to end things Mann had to play Gibbs' tear jerker recording of his daughter as Gibbs sadly listened too. The writers and producers should be ashamed of themselves as they laid this on so heavily. Thank God most of the episodes are not like this. Let me add that I enjoy sexual content in stories, it's just that here it seemed so tiresome, juvenile, all involving and repetitious.

    Another thing that bothered me was the lengthy computer discussions that went too fast and over my head. I wish they could simplify the explanations. Idea: they could simply just say what the computer can do/show, and leave it at that without an explanation.moreless
  • An above-average episode.

    This was a great episode for Gibbs fans, but it was also great for Abby fans.

    The guy in Abby's lab was extremely sketchy from the start, and I didn't like Abby's totally disregard for McGee's jealousy in the beginning of the episode. Thankfully, he got what was coming to him, and the threat McGee feared was destroyed. (Gibbs should have allowed Abby to hit him the first time she asked!) It was still great when she finally did hit him as McGee smiled and said, "Sweet."

    Still, I thought the ex-wife could have revealed more about Gibbs' character than she did, especially since she was taking screen time from Tony and Ziva, who didn't get much screen time in this episode. The tape at the end of the episode served as enough of a reveal though, so it wasn't as though all insight to his character was lost.moreless
  • An ex-wife is just what the doctor ordered!

    I absolutely salivated at the thought of having one of Gibbs' ex-wives appearing in this episode, and I really enjoyed seeing her and Colonel Mann in the same room together, but it didn't quite become as awkward as I expected it to be.

    It wasn't the most interesting case, however, but I did enjoy the opening scene to the episode, which was remarkably done, in my opinion.

    Abby and her assistant was an interesting concept, and seeing McGee very jealous was just terrific!

    I also, once again, loved the ending, when Colonel Mann listens to the tape. Very emotional!

    A terrific episode, but I felt it lacked that little something for me to give it a ten. However, I still highly recommend this one!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

Lauren Holly

Lauren Holly

Director Jenny Shepard

Kathleen York

Kathleen York

Stephanie Flynn

Guest Star

John Mallory Asher

John Mallory Asher

Fred Rinnert

Guest Star

Lilli Birdsell

Lilli Birdsell

Jill Reynolds

Guest Star

Susanna Thompson

Susanna Thompson

Army Lt. Col. Hollis Mann

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • TRIVIA: A recurring theme is apparent in Bellisario-created programs, NCIS included. The tapes that Gibbs' wife and daughter sent to him while he was abroad serving in the Marine Corps, are similar to aspects of both JAG and Magnum P.I.. In these Bellisario-created programs the respective main characters Harmon Rabb and Thomas Magnum both received tapes from their fathers who were serving overseas and, like Gibbs, the main characters would listen to the tapes even after their loved ones had passed. The only difference in that NCIS' case is that it was Shannon and Kelly who sent tapes rather than Gibbs and this was simply done to reveal more about Gibbs' character.

    • GOOF: When Lt. Col. Mann is questioning Flynn and Flynn is shown through the glass we can hear Flynn saying "well that was then this is now" but her mouth is not moving.

    • TRIVIA: The Hebrew rap song Ziva listens to at the beginning of the episode is "Bela Belisima" by the Hadag Nachash. The song praises Bela Froind, an orthodox woman who stopped a public lynching of a terrorist on May 12th 1992. The Palestinian terrorist, Adnan Al-Afandi stabbed two Israeli teenagers in a market in Jerusalem, then the public attacked him. Froind laid on the body of the terrorist to prevent his murder until the police arrived.

  • QUOTES (38)

    • Tony: Crash and burn - only a matter of time.
      Ziva: What?
      Tony: Not a what, a whom. Colonel Mann, Gibbs, Army-Navy joint operation.
      Ziva: It could last a lifetime.
      Tony: Behind the torture techniques and the contract killing Ziva, you're really just a... (hesitates)
      Ziva: A whom?
      Tony: What? Whom? Not a whom, it's a... more... it's a what.
      Ziva: A what then?
      Tony: What then... aah, what? What then?
      Ziva: I'm still just a what?
      Rinnert: A girl.

    • Gibbs: (referring to a picture of Maj Sweigart with a spear gun, the murder weapon) You look pretty handy with that spear gun.
      Col Mann: Well, picture's worth a thousand words to a jury.
      Gibbs: Yeah. Or just one: guilty.

    • Tony: (to Rinnert) My acting boss says you're not going anywhere!

    • Mann: We've shared a lot right?
      Gibbs: Yeah.
      Mann: Divorced three times.
      Gibbs: Yeah I told you that.
      Mann: Married four. You never told me about your first wife Shannon... or that you had a daughter, Kelly. Why Jethro?
      Gibbs: They're dead. End of story.

    • Mann: How long have we been together?
      Gibbs: (pauses) Weeks.
      Mann: Months!
      Gibbs: .. which means, many weeks!

    • Abby: I work like 16 hour days.
      Rinnert: Wow! That's like... two eight hour days stuck together!

    • Jenny: NCIS and Army CID will be working hand in hand; (looks at Gibbs and Mann) I mean, side by side... co-operatively.

    • Ducky: Only the dead know the true meaning of patience Timothy... no more places to go, people to see... except me of course!

    • Abby: I put this year's tax refund to good use. (holds up iPod) I got one for everyone on team Gibbs!

    • Jenny: You pick up that look from Gibbs?
      Stephanie: I picked up a lot of bad habits from Gibbs.

    • Jenny: Colonel, I was just re-assuring Gibbs'... your witness that Agent Gibbs could separate himself from the personal aspects of this investigation.
      Mann: Well, I'll monitor him, closely, Director.
      Jenny: I'm sure you will.
      (Gibbs gives them all a look.)
      Stephanie: Is that the look you were talking about?
      Jenny: Yeah, that's it.
      Mann: Hm...yeah, we've all seen that.

    • Abby: Now you're thinking what I'm thinking!
      Rinnert: Yeah, but I was enjoying thinking what I was thinking before you asked me what I was thinking.
      Abby: Would I have enjoyed what you were thinking? (Rinnert smiles.) Don't answer that.

    • Stephanie: Can we at least finish one conversation?
      Gibbs: You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm married again.
      Stephanie: Well that's funny; I don't feel like we were ever married.

    • Tony: Who do you think's prettier-- ex-wife #3 or future ex-wife #4?
      Ziva: Colonel Mann is at a disadvantage because of her uniform.
      Tony: Hmmm...
      Ziva: Tell me you're not trying to imagine her without her uniform, Tony.

    • Mann: We have a little issue.
      Jenny: We?
      Mann: You wanna tell her, Agent Gibbs?
      Gibbs: No, not particularly.
      Jenny: Is this issue going to involve lawyers?
      Mann: It already did. It's his ex-wife. She's a material witness.
      Jenny: And which ex would that be?
      Gibbs: Stephanie.
      Jenny: What number is she again? Second?
      Gibbs: Third.
      Jenny: Oh, right. You lived in Europe with her for a while. Frankfurt.
      Gibbs: Moscow.
      Jenny: Two years?
      Gibbs: One.
      Jenny: Well, it's hard to live in Moscow... with anyone.

    • Gibbs: Stephanie Broadman Flynn?
      Sweigart: Yeah.
      Mann: You know her?
      Gibbs: Uh-huh. I was married to her.

    • McGee: Close your eyes, open them and imagine him gone.
      Abby: (closes eyes, opens eyes, sees Rinnert) Didn't work.
      McGee: Try again.
      Abby: He's not there, he's not there. Still not working, McGee.

    • Mann: Tony, review the witnesses statements.
      Tony: Yes, Boss. Ma'am. (salutes) Colonel.

    • Mann: Dr. Mallard. You got anything?
      Ducky: You do realize I arrived about a minute ago. The dead speak to me, Colonel, but give the man time to catch his breath, so to speak.

    • Ducky: To whom do I report?
      Gibbs: Her.
      Mann: Me.
      Tony: Better get used to that. (Mann gives him a look.) Spearguns. Very cool. Thunderball. Very James Bond... Boss. Ma'am. Colonel.

    • McGee: Is she...?
      Ziva: Still on top?
      McGee: Seeing Gibbs?
      Tony: Same thing. But an excellent question nonetheless.

    • McGee: Dead marine.
      Ziva: Army base.
      Tony: Her rock smashes his scissors, which puts the Colonel on top.

    • Ducky: You know, a man's heart often tells us how he lived. Sometimes, it might even tell us how he died. But contrary to popular myth, it never tells us how he loved.

    • (After talking about Gibbs' ex-wife being a material witness)
      Jenny: Do you think he should divorce himself from this case, Col. Mann?
      Mann: No, no no...
      Jenny: Nor do I, I don't see a problem if you conduct the interview. Do you have a problem with Col. Mann interviewing your ex wife, agent Gibbs?
      Gibbs: Do I have a choice?
      Jenny and Mann (Together): No.

    • Tony: (to Ziva, after Gibbs and Mann disagree on bringing in a witness) This never turns out well for the kids.

    • (Abby hits Rinnert.)
      McGee: (Grins) Sweet.

    • Abby: Gibbs, can I hit him?
      Gibbs: No.

    • Abby: I'll be right back.
      Rinnert: (Checking out her ass) I hope so.

    • Rinnert: If I weren't so irrationally confident, I'd be afraid of you.
      Abby: Oh please.

    • Rinnert: Ever had one of these?
      McGee: I down six or seven of these bad boys a day. (Both start drinking their Caf-Pows down.)

    • Abby: Give it to me, baby, c'mon, don't make me beg! (McGee hears a groan)

    • (Rinnert is checking Abby out while she dances to the Elements song.)
      Abby: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
      Rinnert: I hope so.
      Abby: Steganography.
      Rinnert: Not even close.

    • McGee: (trying to one-up Rinnert in front of Abby) You know, in sixth grade I made a complete periodic table out of licorice and Junior Mints.
      Rinnert: (unimpressed) Cool.
      Abby: (also very blasé about McGee's comment) Yeah, that's, uh, impressive, McGee. (McGee looks at Rinnert as if he's shown him up and leaves)

    • Mann: How long have you known Agent Gibbs--Major Sweigart?
      Stephanie Flynn: Eight months, longer with Gibbs.

    • Abby: It's the newest version, Gibbs. It's 160 GB. You could download like 40,000 songs.
      Gibbs: I only listen to 5, Abbs.
      Abby: 5,000?
      Gibbs: No! Five.
      Abby: Oh Gibbs, we really have to broaden your horizons.

    • Mann: They know we're still seeing each other?
      (Gibbs merely smirks.)

    • McGee: I'll tell you Colonel, the guys like Fred they're a dime a dozen at MIT. Charming, funny, successful, good-looking..
      Mann: Women see right through that.
      McGee: Exactly!

    • Tony: Train wreck! I want to look away but I can't.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Denmark: November 13, 2007 on TV3
      Germany: March 16, 2008 on SAT 1
      The Netherlands: March 26, 2008 on Veronica
      Sweden: March 30, 2008 on TV3
      Australia: April 8, 2008 on TEN
      United Kingdom: June 1, 2008 on FX UK
      Italy: September 21, 2008 on RAI2
      Spain: October 17, 2008 on La Sexta
      The Middle East: October 29, 2008 on MBC Action
      Hungary: December 8, 2008 on TV2
      Finland: April 14, 2009 on Nelonen
      Slovakia: July 16, 2009 on Markiza
      Czech Republic: January 18, 2010 on TV Nova

    • The Elements Song from this episode is performed by comedian-musician Tom Lehrer.

    • The song Kelly played on the piano is Hush Little Baby Don't You Cry.


    • The title is a reference to the long running science fiction show, X-Files. Furthermore, Susanna Thompson (Lt. Col. Hollis Mann) was in the 1993 episode of the show, "Space," about the sabotage of NASA spacecraft by an alien entity.

    • Stephanie Flynn: We'll always have Moscow.

      This is an illusion to the famous line "We'll always have Paris" from the movie Casablanca.

    • Abby: ...Flesh-eating Foundation...

      Flesh-eating Foundation is an industrial goth band out of the UK that came together in the mid-90s. However, their debut album was just released in the summer of 2007.

    • Abby: Yes, because neither rain, nor sleet, nor any class of simple atomic substance will keep me from my appointed duties. Sir!

      Reference to the perceived motto of the U.S. Postal Service: Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds. However, the U.S.P.S. doesn't have a motto. The original saying was "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" and was said about 2500 years ago by the Greek historian, Herodotus. He said this adage during the war between the Greeks and Persians about 500 B.C. in reference to the Persian mounted postal couriers whom he observed and held in high esteem.

    • Tony: ...She's like that professional cleaner in Pulp Fiction...

      Pulp Fiction is a movie released in 1994 and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The movie had several plot lines that were interconnected in some way. This time though, Tony got his movie references wrong, because Pulp Fiction doesn't feature a professional cleaner. He is most likely thinking of Tarantinos later work Curdled.

    • Abby: ....Suicide Commando...

      Suicide Commando is a industrial goth music act that was created in 1986.