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Season 9 Episode 1

Nature of the Beast

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Sep 20, 2011 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
357 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Gibbs and the NCIS team have to find answers regarding Tony's months-long assignment when an NCIS agent is found dead.

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  • The 9th Season Opens With Tony Recovering From A Gunshot Wound In Hospital. He Got The Wound During His Secret Mission. Gibbs Must Piece The Truth Together.

    Following the cliffhanger ending of the eight season, "Nature Of The Beast" was a confusing but solid season opener. In my opinion, this episode's plot had some similarities with the premiere of the seventh season as we saw what the team did in May, June, July and August. It was actually hard to guess who the "leak" was. Casey Stratton's character was great and hopefully this is not the last time we will see him. I hope the writers get rid of E.J. Barrett. I do not like her and she could ruin the show. I thought the scene where Cade, Barrett and Tony were shot was shocking. I also thought the "leak" was E.J. but it was revealed to be Cade. Another thing I did not see coming was Stratton's involvement in the case. Good season premiere. Hopefully next episode is better.moreless
  • disappointing, implausible episode in every way

    This story of Tony's undercover mission for the SecNav, the microchips imbedded in the arms of agents and the Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8 ends up being a pretentious, hollow tease which concludes abruptly and disappointingly, like practically all of NCIS's story arcs and season finales. They should stick to stand-alone episodes. (The arc of this episode's story ends pretty much in "Housekeeping.")

    Due to the show's past reputation and the cool characters, we dutifully follow this interesting story, not knowing the full plot, but hopeful none the less. There is a HUGE flaw in this story that regards the Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8, LEGITIMATE secret agencies set up within the US military -- spies to work against other countries' spy agencies. The HEAD of the agency (Latham) is illegally selling US government secrets. Members of the agency have microchips embedded in their arm so they can more easily get secret information from computers. Now, two of the members have left the secret agency -- Levin who joined EJ's team in NCIS, and Wright who has moved into the Pentagon. The big part of the story arc is that the head of Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8 is sending men to kill Wright and Cade and EJ (who have Levin's chip) in order to recover the two microchips. BUT WHY? Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8 are legitimate US government agencies. If Levin and Wright left, why shouldn't they simply return the chips? Why doesn't EJ just hand over the chip like she is supposed to? In fact, at the end of the episode Latham does get one of the chips (EJ's) handed over to him in the normal course of NCIS business. It's like the whole bit about the violence and intrigue over the chips was unnecessary.

    I have these further objections to the episode:

    why was Tony told to keep his mission secret from Gibbs and Co.? Why was Tony told to handle Cade anyway? Cade didn't even have the chip.

    silly the way Gibbs didn't tell the psychiatrist all about Tony in the first place. For example, Gibbs said Tony was shot in the chest -- not true really (bullet proof vest), and just to tease the TV audience.

    disrespectful (and worse) for Gibbs to barge into the SecNav's diplomatic function to demand that he be told about Tony's assignment.

    questionable for EJ and Cade to go into hiding, in my opinion.

    Stratton should have disguised himself when pursuing Tony and the others, and he should have finished off Tony and EJ when he had the chances.

    how could it be that Wright's arm was cut open to retrieve the microchip, but he was left alive to drive to the SecNav's diplomatic function and die in the arms of the SecNav?moreless
  • TIVA status.... & New Sec-Nav....

    After Gibbs,Tony is the next one to have gone through the emotional ringer than either of the

    rest of the team,so why not let Tony and Ziva slowly start a relationship....(it works in CSI:NY).

    But of course the writers have to do some excellent writing,which includes a changing or bending of Gibbs (re:rule 12)......Again is it just wishful thinking on my part or what ?

    I'm not over confident of the new Sec-Nav........ He's being the usual politician,or he's got an

    aggenda which if it's the latter he'll not be on the show for long.....there again I could be wrong about him but I don't trust him at all....!!!!!!!moreless
  • Could have been better


    If you compare this season premiere to any of the other seasons, i think it was far too complicated. there was just something about it. while i enjoyed the few tiva scenes, and the way tony dealt with talking about his mother etc... the episode moved so fast, and was so complicated, that i had to use all my energy to try and keep up with the flashbacks and current scenes, and make sure i understood it. has ncis got a new director or something? it just didn't seem like the normal ncis. to be honest, i was really not expecting that Cade would be in the picture, and i think the plot was too complicated. i would have liked to see the writers attempt to do something with the existing characters instead of throwing in new people, like Jarvis, and the FBI guy, because personally when i watch a season premiere, i expect there to be character stuff. another complaint: what happened to the team? i like rachel canston, but not that much that i could put up with her for so long. firstly, i think her introduction to the show is all wrong. the fact that she says she could never come to Kate's funeral is a pathetic excuse from the writers, and a really stupid way of introducing her to the show. there was hardly any abby, i think we saw her twice or something. and i swear palmer said like 3 lines and that was it.

    The tiva was a bit confusing. i mean, who is ziva going to see on holiday? it all seems very interesting, and on the positive side, it will make an intriguing plot.

    ugh, she is still with ray. what is wrong with her? does she always have to date the ugly no-good men like michael? i don't know how other people would react, but personally, if i was given an empty ringbox by someone, i would probably throw it in their face and call them pathetic.

    it's a weird start, but maybe it will improve (hopefull)moreless
  • Ok start to season 9

    I've recently started watching NCIS, so i've watched the whole series in the last couple of months. It quickly became one of my favorite shows.

    The season openers are usually close to flawless, with the only exception being season 1 and 8 IMO. Season 9 unfortunately joins that group.

    This episode really did not fee like NCIS to me, the team dynamic was not present, and without that the show felt a bit soul less to me.

    Weatherly gave a strong performance, but Harmon pretty much phoned it in. The lack of the rest of the group also left a sour taste in my mouth. The story was predictable for the most part, and even the 'twist' was underwhelming.

    Still looking forward to next week, NCIS are usually better when they stick to case of the week.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

Rocky Carroll

Rocky Carroll

Director Leon Vance

David McCallum

David McCallum

Chief M.E. Ducky Mallard

Wendy Makkena

Wendy Makkena

Dr. Rachel Cranston

Guest Star

Matthew Willig

Matthew Willig

NCIS Special Agent Simon Cade

Guest Star

Scott Wolf

Scott Wolf

FBI Agent Casey Stratton

Guest Star

Sarah Jane Morris

Sarah Jane Morris

Special Agent EJ Barrett

Recurring Role

Brian Dietzen

Brian Dietzen

Asst. M.E. Jimmy Palmer

Recurring Role

Matt Craven

Matt Craven

Secretary of the Navy Clayton Jarvis

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • GOOF: Tony said he was watching Angels With Dirty Faces with his mom and stated that Bogart played a priest and Cagney was the bad guy. In fact, Pat O'Brien played the priest - being such a movie buff Tony would know this. Of course, Tony was suffering from memory loss and possibly concussion so this might explain this.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Dr. Cranston: Why do you think you keep getting involved with dysfunctional women?
      Tony: What?!
      Dr. Cranston: Well, the women you date are, well... messed up.
      Tony: I date all kinds of women.
      Dr. Cranston: You know, I think you're drawn to them because you want to help them.
      Tony: I am drawn to them because, usually, they're pretty hot.
      Dr. Cranston: Tony, admit it. You like hot girls who carry guns.
      Tony: Who doesn't like hot girls who carry guns?

    • SecNav Jarvis: Director Vance told me to expect some push-back from you, but you're being borderline disrespectful.
      Gibbs: That a compliment, sir?
      SecNav Jarvis: You'll get DiNozzo back when I'm done with him.
      Gibbs: What if he doesn't make it back?

    • McGee: See, that looks like a woman to me.
      Abby: No, it doesn't. It looks like a hairy pirate with a mustache.
      McGee: You mean, Tony's assignment is to kill Johnny Depp?
      Ziva: I like Johnny Depp.
      Gibbs: Let's get back to the case.

    • Ziva: I do not know what you are investigating, and I do not need to know, but ever since we lost Levin and Franks and EJ left... NCIS has been through a lot. We have been through a lot. We need some time.
      Tony: We... as in you and me?
      Ziva: That's not what I meant.
      Tony: Oh... well, what did you mean then, Ziva?
      Ziva: All I'm saying is... look out for yourself. Please?

    • Ziva: Tonight we should all go out and celebrate.
      McGee: You mean a wetting down?
      Ziva: No, there is no wedding. I mean, Palmer's not getting married till next spring.
      Gibbs: It's called a wetting down, David. Means you're paying.

    • Ziva: My probation is officially over?
      Gibbs: Done and done.
      McGee: Congrats, Special Agent David.
      Ziva: (about the badge) I will carry this with tremendous pride.
      Tony: Carry what? Ray's stones in a Mason jar?

    • Dr. Cranston: So, you're okay?
      Tony: I'm not dead.
      Dr. Cranston: Looks like the vest saved your life.
      Tony: You could say I'm well-invested. Invest we trust. (chuckles) Go vest, young man.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Along with having a Starring credit, Mark Harmon is now also billed as Executive Producer, a promotion from his Producer status in the previous seasons.

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Canada: September 19, 2011 on Global
      Australia: September 27, 2011 on Channel Ten
      Sweden: October 17, 2011 on TV3
      Finland: January 10, 2012 on Nelonen
      United Kingdom: January 13, 2012 on FX/FX HD
      Germany: January 29, 2012 on SAT 1
      Slovakia: August 9, 2012 on Markiza