Season 5 Episode 15

In the Zone

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Apr 29, 2008 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
315 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Two members of the NCIS team are sent to Baghdad to investigate a mortar attack that turned into murder.

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  • One of the most boring episodes of NCIS!

    Horrible episode. Don't understand why an episode was wasted focusing on Jardine. No one in their right mind would send a germaphobe on this type of mission. Ziva would have been a more logical choice. Episodes should focus on the team, not recurring characters!
  • Awful episode for an AMAZING series :(

    Okay,now I ADORE NCIS (and when I say "adore," i mean it) , but this was by far, hands down, the WORST episode of the series so far... it had no entertainment value WHATSOEVER. It was dull and pointless and painfully SLOW! not only that, but to make it worse, they had that Nikki Jardin... she was just plain ANNOYING!

    Now, I understand that after that stupid writers strike, even the great NCIS writers were a bit rusty, but that was a HORRENDOUS episode... I am just happy that the episodes that followed were not that bad... i don't foresee myself watching that episode very much (if at all) even when I buy the season 5 DVD set. Two thumbs WAAAAAAY, WAAAAAAY down!!!moreless
  • A pretty good episode.

    While this episode did not exactly rank as one of the best of this past season, it was still a pretty good episode. Jardine accompanies Tony to Baghdad to help solve a murder case. The screen time between Tony and Jardine is pretty funny. In one part, Tony and Jardine are sharing a tent and Tony questions how Jardine can be so afraid of germs, and yet be such a slob at the same time. We get to learn a little bit more about Jardine and her past in this episode, and her reason for wanting to go to Baghdad in the first place. All in all, it wasn't that bad of an episode.moreless
  • Good episode with a lot of heart.

    I didn't mind watching an episode featuring germ girl Niki. I like to her, and find a lot of depth to her character. She makes a great reoccuring character.

    I wish McGee had got to go to Bagdad instead of Tony, because it would have been a lot more interesting. Tony has been to Bagdad before, and knows how to act. It would have been more interesting to see a fish out of water McGee deal with the climate; though, I do understand it might have been distracting from Niki story.

    As always lots of humour. Loved the keyboard trick McGee pulled on Tony. I will never get tired of watching the two interact with each other.moreless
  • Not as great as the last two, but still worthy of a ten.

    In my opinion, this episode's case is not worthy of a rating of a ten, but due to the great heart and great moments, I was powerless to rate it otherwise.

    I am a huge fan of the Nikki Jardine character, as she is hilarious and a germophobe, and I highly enjoyed an episode centred around her.

    I enjoyed seeing the team head to Baghdad, but I would've preferred it if the whole team had gone instead.

    I thought the episode was very emotional, and for that reason, I absolutely loved it.

    I would highly recommend this episode and I find it to be really touching, particularly right at the end. I certainly hope we get more of Nikki Jardine, and I absolutely loved this episode!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

Susan Kelechi Watson

Susan Kelechi Watson

NCIS Intel Analyst Nikki Jardine

Guest Star

Josh Stamberg

Josh Stamberg

Marine Major Ike Varnai

Guest Star

Rick Hoffman

Rick Hoffman

Kelvin Ridgeway

Guest Star

Rocky Carroll

Rocky Carroll

NCIS Asst. Director Leon Vance

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • GOOF: Nikki reaches for the scalpel and thermometer that are in Tony's hand, though in the last frame of the camera shot (facing Tony), her hand is nowhere near his (we just see her thumb come into view). In the next frame, we see her holding them equipment without ever showing the exchange.

    • GOOF: On top of there not being electricity readily available in order to use the laptop given to the child in Baghdad from Nikki, she did not give the child a power cord for the laptop. Therefore, it would be useless even if there was available electricity.

    • GOOF: When Tony is walking in a circle around the Marines at the crime scene, his identification is attached around his neck. Each change in angle of the camera, and his badge moves from being on angle, leaning on his pocket, to straight down along his sternum. Same thing is apparent when Tony and Jardine in the abandoned apartment.

    • TRIVIA: When Major Vernai says "Let's go we are Oscar Mike", he uses the NATO phonetic alphabet to convey his orders to fellow Marines; "Oscar Mike" stands for "On the Move."

    • TRIVIA: The dog seen in the picture licking McGee's face was the dog Abby pressured him into adopting despite the fact that he had previously mauled him in episode "Dog Tags." Incidentally, Abby named the dog Jethro after Gibbs.

    • TRIVIA: Marine Major Ike Varnai refers to IDF, IED and SAF. Those are acronyms for Indirect Fire (IDF), Improvised Explosive Device (IED), and Small Arms Fire (SAF).

    • TRIVIA: Despite Nikki's Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) of mysophobia, a fear of germs, Tony comments several times about her being messy and a slob, which she agrees is true. She overcomes her OCD in order to measure a dead man's liver temperature to calculate time of death, which required her to cut into him with a surgical scalpel.

    • TRIVIA: Abby's nickname for Nikki is Neat Nut Nikki.

    • TRIVIA: Nikki's brother, Eric, was a Marine wounded serving in Iraq. Part of her motivation for wanting the assignment in Iraq was to experience where he was when shot. During the attack a local man trying to help was mistaken for an insurgent and killed by American soldiers. She leaves her personal laptop with the family of the slain man to help them communicate with the outside world.

    • TRIVIA: NCIS Intelligence Analyst Nikki Jardine speaks Arabic and Kurdish.

    • TRIVIA: Tony stayed in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in Baghdad after its liberation. Ziva has stayed in one before its liberation.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Stenner: Rankin was going to investigate me! I would have lost my business, ruined my life!
      Gibbs: Just did that yourself.

    • Abby: Tony, is that really you? Move back so we can see your face.

    • (Talking about McGee volunteering to go to Iraq)
      Tony: McGee, you are looking very guilty over there. You didn't do that thing I told you not to do, did you?
      McGee: Why would I do that? Did you do that?

    • Assistant Director Vance: What you're saying is you've got a shooter with a security clearance. You have an insurgency problem in the Zone Major Varnai?
      Major Varnai: If that sniper picks off more of our men, I guess I do.

    • (In the Ladies room)
      Ziva: Nikki.
      Nikki: Ziva.
      Ziva: What do you have there?
      Nikki: It's nothing.
      Ziva: (reading) "Five reasons why I should be picked to go to Iraq." Ah, you've heard the rumors, too. You do know that Iraq is a war zone? Nikki, it is dirty there. Sanitation is very poor. And diseases - have you ever heard of leishmaniasis? It begins with a large, oozing sore, often in the face. And then it just. (makes slurping sound) Oh! I have photos I can show you.
      Nikki: No! Thank you for your concern, but I still... really want to go.
      Ziva: In that case, I hope you can handle competition a lot better... than you can handle... handles. (Opens door for Nikki)

    • Dina: My husband gets these um... gut feelings. You ever have one of those?
      Gibbs: Once or twice.

    • Ziva: Central Baghdad. Many of Saddam's palaces are there.
      Tony: I stayed in one of those palaces after Baghdad was liberated.
      Ziva: Me too. Before Baghdad was liberated.

    • Tony: (After seeing a picture of McGee being licked by Jethro, the German Shepherd) McRomeo! You should save that stuff for the bedroom!

    • Ziva: Well, it would not be the first time a murderer tried to throw us up that way.
      McGee: Off. Throw us off.

    • Ziva: If anyone is going to go to Iraq, I really believe it should be me.
      Nikki: It is my area of expertise. I have a lot of contacts there.
      Ziva: As do I.
      Nikki: My contacts are still breathing.
      Ziva: As are... most of mine.

    • (McGee assigns barking dogs sound effects to Tony's keyboard)
      Tony: (pressing several keys) That's very funny! Fix it!
      McGee: Um, you're barking up the wrong tree.

    • Tony: I'm guessing he's not complimenting my vest.
      Nikki: He seems to know your mother... intimately.

    • Tony: Wow. I never thought it was possible to hurt yourself with a wet wipe.

    • Stenner: Can I just, please go to the bathroom?
      Gibbs: No.
      Stenner: Okay.
      Gibbs: I'm kidding. You can go.

    • Tony: Aw yeah, it's just like home... if you live in an airport.

    • Tony: Jealous? What you're doing could be illegal in some states.
      Nikki: It should be. I think I need to wash.

    • Gibbs: At least you don't have to pay alimony, McGee.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Original International Airdates:
      Denmark: May 6, 2008 on TV3
      Sweden: June 29, 2008 on TV3
      Australia: July 1, 2008 on Ten
      United Kingdom: August 24, 2008 on FX UK
      Germany: September 21, 2008 on SAT 1
      New Zealand: September 21, 2008 on TV 3
      Italy: November 30, 2008 on RAI 2
      Spain: December 26, 2008 on La Sexta
      Norway: January 13, 2009, on TV3
      The Netherlands: February 17, 2009 on SBS 6
      Slovakia: October 8, 2009 on Markiza
      Finland: December 8, 2009 on Nelonen
      Czech Republic: April 12, 2010 on TV Nova

    • Lauren Holly is credited but doesn't appear.

    • This episode featured the song "I've Got Dreams To Remember" by Otis Redding.


    • Tony: Welcome to the Baghdad Hilton.

      This is a reference to the famous hotel chain "Hilton."

    • Tony: Jack Nicholson!
      Nikki: What?
      Tony: A Few Good Men. I knew he reminded me of someone.

      A Few Good Men, from 1992, tells the story of US Navy lawyers at a court-martial who uncover a high-level conspiracy in the course of defending their clients, United States Marines accused of murder. It starred Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, and was directed by Rob Reiner.

    • The murder victim was involved in a failed real estate property called Cloverfield, the same name of a 2008 movie directed by Matt Reeves which created a tremendous about of buzz through a viral marketing campaign.