Worst episode ever!
What were the writer's thinking? Were they thinking?
The answer to that question is a very emphatic NO!
Firstly the plot, as it is seen onscreen, made no sense! ******SPOILER ALERT!****** The premise that Joann Fielding (Shannon's mother) spent some sixteen-plus years devastated by the loss of her daughter and grandchild before deciding to go after the people who were responsible is ludicrous.
Whilst the mother's loss and desire for revenge is understandable, the manner in which it unfolded here is ridiculous. No explanation is even tentatively given for why now, after so long, Joann Fielding decides to take such drastic actions.
We are expected to swallow the fact that suddenly she decides to hire a P.I. to track down the people responsible for her daughter's murder, and then plan an elaborate and devious revenge.
No clear connection is ever made between Shannon and Kelly's deaths and the two Navy drug smugglers in this case - and yet the mere fact that they operate with the same cartel responsible for those murders so long ago, is apparently enough for Joann to lure one bad guy into a relationship deep enough that he's ready to propose marriage before gunning him down, and frame his partner in crime for the death.
And as for the NCIS cover-up conspiracy? Are we actually supposed to swallow that tripe? Whilst it is perhaps explainable that Gibb's would feel unable to judge his ex-mother-in-law for her actions, as he had committed a similar crime - it is not the same thing at all!
Gibb's went out and killed the man who murdered his family, in the midst of intense emotional trauma. Any decent lawyer would have been able to get him off a murder charge by means of temporary insanity. But waiting well over sixteen years and then killing someone not directly involved, and framing another?
Back to NCIS and the cover-up. Both Ducky and Abby reveal independent evidence which strongly indicate that not only was Joann lying about the events of the shooting, but that she is the actual killer. I cannot believe that either of these character's would ignore such evidence in favour of going along with the party line and getting a man convicted of a crime he did not commit.
Since in previous episodes, both Abby and Ducky have shown strong moral fortitude, and would neither of them skew evidence to help Tony DiNozzo, their friend and teammate, escape his charge of murder; I find it extremely unlikely that they would do so for Joann Fielding.
And their evidence completely nullifies the inadmissible 'confession'. Gibb's may have purposefully orchestrated events to ensure that Joann's admission of guilt could never be used against her, but that makes little difference in light of the forensic findings.
The fact that the NCIS director would sanction such a blatant cover-up also leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It is one thing to step across the line once in a while; to see that justice is served, rather than the letter of the law, but quite another to completely disregard the existence of any such line.
Just because a man is a bad guy, involved in a drug smuggling operation, does not make it okay for him to be pinned for a murder he didn't commit!
The only way that this episode could work, is if a great deal more were going on than we, the viewers, get to see. Perhaps some sort of sting operation, or deeper plot arc that would resolve all the insanity of this episode. But that doesn't stop "Mother's Day" from being a confusing mess of claptrap.
Bad writers! Bad! No cookies for you!