Season 1 Episode 5

The Curse

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 28, 2003 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
324 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A Navy lieutenant who was reported missing nearly ten years ago has been found by a deer hunter. When the NCIS team arrives at the scene to investigate, they see that his remains have been mummified. Now, they have to find out what happened to him and what happened to the one million dollars that he had on his ship.moreless

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  • Team work

    Good episode with an interesting case. Good interaction with Agent Wilson, liked the tension between him and Gibbs. The ep. also illustrates the investigative skills of the team. They really worked together, especially in the end when even Agent Wilson joined them. THAT's what's missing in season 11, writers, that everyone in the team brings in something, and not one clever girl solves it all and is oh-so-smart! Apart from the things I mentioned in the reviews before it's still an episode I like.moreless
  • Old murder

    So.. a body is found in aircraft carrier cargo (what's the right term?). Anyway.. they have old case, old investigator who did not do his job well, and some interesting suspects. And did I mentioned there was big sum of many involved? So, that all created quite intense atmosphere and it's always tricky to figure out those old cases. And the whole mummy thing added to it. The talks about curse and the tension there was between Gibbs and that old investigator. But I totally understand it.

    But.. in the end.. from the minute we saw that woman.. we knew it will be her.. so.. it was only to figure out how to connect her to the evidence.. Maybe expected something more.moreless
  • An interesting mystery solved ten years later.

    Another piece to the Tony puzzle – he's been with NCIS two years. I find it interesting that we've gotten info about Tony in every episode so far, whereas not for anyone else, even Gibbs. Can I hope this is leading up to a proper revelation about how Gibbs met Tony? Why else would they be dealing out clues?

    Owens is an embarrassment as an agent – his entire investigation consists of one line and a really fast two day search of a carrier.

    Kate is showing a disturbing tendency to jump to conclusions – this isn't the first time and I'm disturbed to say it won't be the last.

    I think this is the first episode where Tony starts calling Gibbs 'boss'?

    Now this was a fun episode, an old mystery which has to be pieced together.moreless
  • Not the best, but still worthwhile.

    Well, for starters, The Curse did provide some great quotes, most notably:

    Tony: Radar Intercept Officer. Also called a GIB's, one B. Stands for Guy In Back.

    Kate: Why do you need two B's?

    Gibbs: Second one's for 'bastard'.

    Well, apart from the great quotes that this episode provides, the episode was quite suspenseful and quite interesting. If you have a queasy stomach or have just eaten, I don't recommend watching this episode because of the mummified body!

    The story to this episode was not my favorite, but I still enjoyed watching the NCIS team in action.

    This episode is truly one full of great quotes, and I felt that mentioning one was necessary, to really show you my opinion of this. I would highly recommend reading this episode's quotes, because there are some great ones!

    To conclude, add a more interesting case, toss in the great humour of this episode, and you produce pure magic!moreless
  • A mummified body of a Navy Lieutenant is found in a F14 cargo pod in the middle of a forested area. NCIS is tasked with finding out who and what this body from ten years earlier was doing in the pod and why he was killed before being dropped in the pod.moreless

    Great comeback episode from the prior week. This was one solid show with great performances all the way around. Especially cameos by David Ramsey as Special Agent Owens and Melora Hardin as Ensign Erin Toner the Black Widow.

    What a great job of deductive thinking and presumptive work to put together the intricacies of this case. Everyone except Ensign Toner was dead at this point and without a little bit of slight of hand they never would have got her. Agent Todd especially bluffing about the call back to duty to testify was a brilliant bluff that got her to come voluntarily. The faking of the print on the murder weapon in Mexico was the coup de grace in this case. She confessed in front of six NCIS officers without being coerced. I would say that would hold up in military court.

    Also the clearing of Navy Lieutenant Mark Shills whose body was mummified can now be cleared and his wife and daughter can be properly compensated for his loss as well as the changing of his dishonorable discharge to died in the line of duty is huge. What a terrible thing to have had to live with when it wasn't true all of that time.

    The only hole in the story I could see was why Ensign Toner thought she could hide from the authorities using a fake winning lottery. You would have to think they would follow up on that kind of lead. Of course you know what they say about criminals. If they were all that smart they wouldn't get caught. A wonderful episode with great dialogue, well written, and a terrific ensemble cast. Episodes like this would have to make real fans out of the viewers of this show.

    Thanks for reading...moreless
Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Sasha Alexander

Sasha Alexander

Special Agent Kate Todd

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

Special Agent Tony DiNozzo

Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette

Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto

David McCallum

David McCallum

Chief M.E. Ducky Mallard

David Ramsey

David Ramsey

Special Agent Richard Owens

Guest Star

Lauren Bowles

Lauren Bowles

Mary Wiles

Guest Star

Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin

Erin Toner

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • TRIVIA: The villain of this episode, Erin Toner, is named for the casting associate for NCIS; this practice is not unique to shows produced by Donald Bellisario, who has a tendency to name some of the characters on his shows after people he knows. Erin Toner (the character's namesake) receives on-screen credit as the casting associate beginning with Season Two's first episode, "See No Evil."

    • TRIVIA: Mark Schilz, the dead lieutenant, shares his name with one of the producers of NCIS, who is presumably his "namesake.

    • GOOF: It's never explained how the thief got the $1.2 million off the ship leaving a loose thread to the storyline.

    • TRIVIA: We learn that the Navy term "TFOA" means "things falling off aircraft".

    • GOOF: Abby tells Ducky that she doesn't like to be called Abigail. However he continues to do so throughout the series.

    • GOOF: Kate says that the Eisenhower was a day out of Norfolk on Mar 4, 1994 after a six month deployment in the Mediterraneum Sea. Actually the ship spent most of 1993 in dry dock at Norfolk and wasn't deployed again until Sept 1994 off Haiti. Tony says that the pod was dropped off an F-14 from the squadron, VF-212 "Red Wolfes" on the Eisenhower. While there was a squadron VF-212 formed in 1948 it was disbanded a short time later. In 1955 it was reformed, but it's designation changed in 1956 to VA-212 and disbanded once again in 1975. Its name was the "Rampant Raiders." As for the name "Red Wolves" it belongs to squadron Helicopter Sea Combat 84 (HSC-84) and is "dedicated to Naval Special Warfare support and Strike Rescue."

    • GOOF: When Gibbs is questioning the investigating NCIS agent via video conference, he says two of the dimensions of the USS Eisenhower are "95,000 tons" and "1,049 feet long," both of which are incorrect, it's actually 101,713 tons and 1,098 feet long.

    • TRIVIA: This is the first episode when Gibbs hits the back of Tony's head.

    • TRIVIA: When Tony, Abby, and Gibbs are examining the cargo pod, Abby says something to Gibbs in sign language that is never voiced. She signs, "Tony's weird."

  • QUOTES (26)

    • Tony: Radar Intercept Officer. Also called a GIB's, one B. Stands for Guy In Back.
      Kate: Why do you need two B's?
      Gibbs: Second one's for 'bastard'.

    • Abby: (explaining how the cargo pod fell off the plane) Except, the mummy's curse was working, so the tips held on to the pod until they were over Maryland.
      Gibbs: I get it.
      Tony Abby, there was no mummy ten years ago, so how could there be a curse?
      Abby: It's kind of a chicken and egg thing, Tony.

    • Ducky: You know post mortem details can be extremely revealing. Remember that case four years ago, where the young marine was buried in an anthill up to his neck?
      Gibbs: Duck. It was eight years ago. (points to a body in the morgue) How did he die?
      Ducky: No, it can't be eight years. No, I know it wasn't! Four years ago your third wife hit you over the head with a baseball bat. I distinctly remember the ant eaten marine on that table there when I stitched you up.

    • Gibbs: Tony, you gas the truck.
      Tony: (sighs) Gibbs, you know most agencies have people who do that sort of thing.
      Gibbs: Mmmhmmm. So do we.

    • Abby: Sailor on the half shell!
      Ducky: Oh, Abby, please...
      Abby: Sorry.

    • Gibbs: That tank came off a Tomcat, somebody filed a TFOA report.
      Kate: TFOA?
      Tony: Things Fallen Off Aircraft.
      Kate: You're kidding?
      Gibbs: Nope, that's what they're called.

    • Gibbs: How could she not know?
      Randy: We met at Mark's memorial service.
      Gibbs: What'd you say? 'I was passing by, dug the music, decided to drop in'?

    • Gibbs: Where's the money? It's not in the pod, or Abby'd be up here screaming lotto.

    • Tony: Didn't become an NCIS agent yesterday, Kate. As a matter of fact, tomorrow -
      Gibbs: Will have been two years.
      Tony: That's kind of touching, Gibbs, remembering the day you hired me.
      Gibbs: Yeah, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

    • Tony: I'd say the fastest way would be to take the Beltway to highway 235 south, take that to route 50, and then...punch it into the nav system when we get lost.

    • Randy: I was afraid that if I told her I knew Mark, she'd ask a lot of questions...I didn't think I'd fall in love with her. And then, then when I did it was too late.
      Kate: Bounce.
      Randy: Yeah.
      Gibbs: Bounce?
      Kate: It's a film. Ben Affleck gives up his seat on this flight for a guy who needs to get home. Plane crashes, guy dies, he ah, looks up the widow, Gwyneth Paltrow. He means to tell her the story, but by the time they come around to it, they've fallen in love, and he's afraid if he tells her, it'll ruin it.
      Randy: That's what happened to me.
      Kate: I believe him.
      Gibbs: Of course you believe him, it's a chick flick. In a guy flick, you steal the money, you set Lt Schills up to take the fall, you murder him and you marry his wife.
      Randy: That is sick.
      Kate: It sure is!

    • Owens: You're right, sir.
      Gibbs: Don't 'sir' me, I work for a living.

    • Gibbs: Pilot and his RIO are dead. I don't want to hear the word curse out of your mouth, Dinozzo.
      Tony: Would I say that, boss?
      Owens: You said it to me.
      Tony: You said it first.

    • Tony: You got computers at Pearl?
      Owens: Yeah. But ours is on the beach so we can surf on breaks.
      Tony: Haha. Ha. So they can surf...on breaks.

    • Owens: You know, in Hawaii, it takes forever to get anything from the Federales.
      Tony: Same way here.
      Owens: Nooooo, no, no, guys, don't tell me that - that fingerprint match was faked? Okay. You guys are crazy.
      Gibbs, Kate, Tony: Yep.

    • Gibbs: Tony, what time did the schmuck's report say the dispersing office was robbed?
      Kate: What schmuck?
      Gibbs: Well, our schmuck, unfortunately.

    • Kate: I interviewed LT Schills's widow. They had a child, Alicia, nine years old and she's as pretty as her mom.
      Tony: I knew I should've taken that interview!
      Kate: She's remarried, Tony.
      Tony: Yeah?
      Kate: He does this just to screw with me - don't you?

    • Tony: You know Owens?
      Gibbs: Nope.
      Tony: Didn't think you would. He's considerably younger than you are.
      Gibbs: What would you consider 'considerably'?
      Tony: Well, the guy was young, Gibbs. Only 28. Makes him 37 now.
      Gibbs: Then considerably would not be an accurate description.
      Tony: I didn't realize, boss, how old are you?
      Gibbs: Doesn't matter how old I am.
      Tony: Well it is, actually, 'cause it gives me a reference point for the word that you were...
      Gibbs: Can I see the file?

    • Kate: Gotta be decaf.
      Gibbs: What?
      Kate: All that coffee you drink.
      Gibbs: Hi-test.
      Kate: Don't you twitch?
      Gibbs: Nope.

    • Tony: The F212 flew off the Eisenhower for Pax River the day before she docked at Norfolk.
      Kate: She? Tony, it's named after Dwight David Eisenhower, for God's sake.
      Tony: Maybe she was named for Mamie.

    • Tony: The golf clubs belong to his RIO, LT Lynch.
      Kate: RIO?
      Tony: Radar Intercept Officer. Also called a GIBs, one B - short for guy in back.
      Kate: Why do you need two Bs?
      Gibbs: The second one's for bastard.

    • Gibbs: Okay. We got a name, we got a serial number. TFOA'll find the plane and the squadron.
      Abby: And we'll crack the secret of the mummy's curse in no time.
      Ducky: Abby...
      Abby: What?

    • Old Guy: How'd you get in here?
      Kate: I showed these at the gate. (shows gun and Badge)

    • Tony: Was it something I said?
      Gibbs: Not yet.
      Tony: Well I'm afraid we have to go to Hawaii boss.
      Gibbs: Now it is.

    • Abby: Please don't call me Abigail.

    • Ducky: Look closely my dear.
      Abby: Of course my darling.

  • NOTES (6)

    • This episode appears to be "ripped from the headlines" of the case of Andrew Lee Muns, Ensign, United States Navy of the USS Cacapon. He was murdered in 1968 by Michael LeBrun when Muns caught him stealing $8,000. Muns received his deserved burial in a ceremonial casket covered with an American flag (which was empty as his body was never found, believed to have been disposed of by his killer in a bilge tank and later flushed to sea since no on knew to look for him) in Arlington National Cemetery 33 years after his murder.

    • Although they do not have any scenes together, this episode reunites David Ramsey and Robert Pine, who were co-stars in the made-for-television movie Chips '99, a sequel to the television show, which ran on NBC from 1977 to 1983. Pine, of course, was one of the stars of the original series.

    • This episode is also known under the title The Curse Of Ensign Schilz.

    • Original International Airdates:
      Croatia: August 05, 2005 on NOVA TV
      Finland: September 30, 2006 on Nelonen
      France: March 17, 2004 on M6
      Germany: April 21, 2005 on SAT.1
      Hungary: November 14, 2005 on TV 2
      Sweden: July 18, 2004 on TV3
      Denmark: November 11, 2003 on TV3

    • This episode was aired a week later than it was supposed to. According to sources, this episode wasn't ready to air so there was a special episode of JAG that combined their last year's episodes "Ice Queen (1)" and "Meltdown (2)" down to one hour called Navy NCIS: The Beginning.

    • Tommy Hinkley, a guest star in this episode, is married to Tracey Needham, who played Meg Austin on the first season of JAG.


    • Abby: Sailor in a half shell.

      Abby is paraphrasing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, "Heroes in a half shell."

    • Kate: Can you hear me now?

      Kate is making a reference to a series of commercials by the telecommunications company Verizon, in which a Verizon employee repeatedly asks "Can you hear me now?"

    • Kate: Bounce.

      2000 Film starring Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow is named Bounce. A man (Ben Affleck) switches plane tickets with another man who dies in that plane in a crash. The man falls in love with the deceased one's wife (Gwyneth Paltrow).