Season 7 Episode 16

Mother's Day

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 02, 2010 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
315 votes

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Episode Summary

Gibbs is forced to revisit his painful past when his ex mother-in-law turns out to be a witness in a murder investigation.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Assasination of a much beloved show!

    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!moreless
  • This was a travesty to what is normally a great show. This is not the first time that Gibbs has let someone go, the last one I remember was Tribes in season 5 but that was very different circumstances.moreless

    As soon as the connection between Gibbs and the woman revealed as his ex-mother-in-law was made, Vance should have excercised his authority and excluded him from the investigation. He should not have relied on Gibbs to make that decision. This was not revenge in the heat of the moment but cold calculated murder after many years of careful planning, murder to which Vance was an accessory afte rthe fact. This extremely devious plan is surely beyond her capabilities or is she a secret mastermind of some intelligence agency that she was able to fool two naval officers. Or is this an indictment of a low level of intelligence neccessary in the US Navy and that's not likely.

    Further, Gibbs manipulation of Ms. Hart would surely anger her knowing she had been used and thus ending any possilbe relationship between them. Very poor by the writers.

    On a separate note, is it only me who is getting fed up with DiNozzo's buffoonery? It's defintely worn thin.moreless
  • Well played Gibbs!

    It has taken a long time for something from the root cause of Gibbs' nature to come back and bite him in the proverbial butt, however, I think its long overdue.

    I have been surprised that more of this kind of episode in the life and work of Leroy Jethro Gibbs has not arisen in this series; given the line of work, and given its the reason he is there in the first place. Questionable procedures aside, and lets not pretend we don't know this happens...a LOT, there is something bigger going on with this case than Mommy-in-Law-Dearest as an avenging angel.

    Vance knows it too, or he would not have played along. B**ch lawyer "Hart" thinks she played Gibbs, but baby, she is the one being played by the biggest and baddest pro in the business. And its she and her South American friends who are the big fish NCIS is after...methinks leastways...Hart of course, being a barracuda! :opmoreless
  • Come on Gibbs!

    Leroy Jethro Gibbs has been a tough, minimal nonsense agent for 7 years on TV. But this was just so unlike him, to purposely disobey the regulations so as to get his mother in law off the hook for murder. Excusing a woman for murder? Come on Gibbs, you would never do that.

    This was a pretty average NCIS overall, but this just irritated me to no end. I also could care less about the autopsy loser going on a date, although I will admit to being surprised when he ended up being with a hot girl.

    Average NCIS, I expected a little bit more.moreless
  • You gotta be kidding me!

    The past never seems to stop to affect Gibbs: The murder of a Navy Captain forces the team to investigate on Gibss's mother in law; old feelings and past tragedies are brought back to memory, and Gibbs's having a hard time trying to keep his emotions at bay.

    Not my favourite type of episode, it had the potential to turn either predictable or even pathetic, but it still managed to stay on a good level.

    I'm beginning to feel worried about Tony and Ziva's storyline: it seems like the writers are throwing in some random references every now and then but without a solid plot beneath. bring the good old UST back!moreless
Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo

Special Agent Ziva David

Sean Murray (I)

Sean Murray (I)

Special Agent Tim McGee

Rocky Carroll

Rocky Carroll

Director Leon Vance

David McCallum

David McCallum

Chief M.E. Ducky Mallard

Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette

Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

Special Agent Tony DiNozzo

Gena Rowlands

Gena Rowlands

Joann Fielding

Guest Star

Adam Kaufman

Adam Kaufman

Homicide Detective Philip McCadden

Guest Star

Bryce Johnson (I)

Bryce Johnson (I)

Navy Lieutenant David Shankton

Guest Star

Brian Dietzen

Brian Dietzen

Asst. M.E. Jimmy Palmer

Recurring Role

Rena Sofer

Rena Sofer

Margaret Allison Hart

Recurring Role

Sean Harmon

Sean Harmon

Young Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • GOOF: When Gibbs goes to see his mother in law (20:36 in), she has her glasses in her hair; however, her hairstyle often changes from one shot to another.

    • TRIVIA: As in two previous NCIS episodes, the "Young Gibbs" portrayed in a flashbacks is actually Sean Harmon, the eldest son of star Mark Harmon. And the woman in the photograph is actor Mark Harmon's real life wife, Pam Dawber.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Hart: Do you really want to talk to her?
      Gibbs: I want some answers. I want the truth.
      Hart: Law school 101: Truth is overrated.

    • (Tony walks in laughing)
      Ziva: Let me guess. A date?
      Tony: Lets just say that something very special is happening to very special agent Anthony DiNozzo today.
      Ziva: Who are you seeing?
      Tony: Kurosawa.
      Ziva: Really? I did not know you were into Asian women.
      Tony: Kurosawa's a dude.
      Ziva: I certainly did not know you were into Asian dudes.

    • (Talking about ring sizes)
      Detective McCadden: What size are you David?
      Tony: She wouldn't know that.
      Ziva: Five, every girl knows her ring size just in case.

    • Tony: Aren't you hot?
      Ziva: Been told that before.
      Tony: Talking about temperature.
      Ziva: Okay, stop complaining, this is what winter feels like in Israel.

    • Tony: (watching a Kurosawa film online) You want to learn about being a real man, McGee, you got to study the Japanese samurai. These guys are like Gibbs, with even bigger stones and less to say.
      McGee: Is that even possible?

    • Ziva: My citizenship test is coming up, and I wish to pass with swimming colors.
      McGee: Flying colors.
      Ziva: Any colors will do, McGee.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Featured Music:
      "Murder In My Heart" by Sheryl Crow (as Gibbs tosses Joann's file in the fire)

    • Original International Airdates:
      Canada: March 2, 2010 on Global
      Australia: April 20, 2010 on Channel Ten
      Sweden: April 20, 2010 on TV3
      Spain: September 3, 2010 on LaSexta
      Germany: September 5, 2010 on SAT 1
      Norway: October 5, 2010 on TV3
      The Netherlands: October 26, 2010 on SBS 6
      Finland: December 28, 2010 on Nelonen
      Czech Republic: March 14, 2011 on TV Nova
      Slovakia: June 23, 2011 on Markiza