Up front I love cliff hanger episodes, but only if we know the series will be back for another season. I really dislike a cliff hanger season ending that turns out to be a cliff hanger SERIES ending. This is not the case for NCIS! We know it comes back, on Tuesday and in its current time slot.
Yeah, I'd like it to be fall already, but . . . such is life . . . hopefully, the break will give the writers time to come up with not only more delightful ways to use Toby from the West Wing (Richard Schiff), but to give our brave family additional fun (yeah - the double meaning (from tonight's episode), and also personal growth and development. I love how they're developing each character slowly and thoughtfully. May this continue for years to come.
I really appreciate a story line that isn't over in 60 minutes (with commercials), because it means I get to think and really savor the story like a good glass of wine or a succulent piece of red meat. I'm not saying I want the story to go on forever, I don't, but I'd like to see it last several episodes. In this case, yeah, I want it worked out, but it would be OK, if it was to take the first four or so episodes.
One thing I do ask, though, is for a clear outcome for each character and not a .. is (s)he alive or dead, will we see him/her again or not. You can always bring someone back from prison or not . . . Of course, someone who we think is dead, but isn't can give you an interesting story in the future, but hey, there are other ways to accomplish the same goal with different story devices.
As for the ending, I find it so cool that the writers are giving a hats off to the West Wing, while Richard Schiff (Toby) is on the show. For those who don't know, The West Wing ended its six season in a similar manner, as tonight's NCIS season finale. (In The West Wing, Leo McGarry suffers the heart attack at Camp David.) I wasn't sure if this meant they were writing Ducky out of the series or just giving him a new plot line. Obviously, the writers have been working up to something what with his new found money, will, new home, etc. Plus given David McCallum is 79, he might want to retire. YET, in April 2012 David McCallum and CBS extended his contract for an additional two years, so like Leo it looks like he'll be back.
(Side comment / plea to David McCallum: Please don't take this similarity with Leo and John Spencer to the same conclusion. We'd like to see you around forever, our wonderful Man from U.N.C.L.E. and NCIS M.E.!)
Bottom line: This is a really fun, exciting, enjoyable, and outstanding episode on so many levels. May we continue to have this quality of episode for years to come from these writers and producers.