While we’re in the midst of the last leg of season 12 of NCIS, it’s been difficult to pinpoint exactly in what direction the show is going to go in in the final episodes of the season. Despite my fervent complaints about how the overarching plot of the season was handled (I can’t promise that I’m done complaining about that), it’s still clear that the show has the potential to get back to consistently shelling out well constructed episodes and plot lines. This week’s episode shows a glimpse of that said potential, but it still might take a while before we see that potential fully used.
This week’s murder investigation is not a typical one (which is a relief). A woman is found murdered in a garage of a home that is presumed to be hers. At first the team assumes that she’s the wife of a marine but when the husband comes home, it’s clear that he has never seen that woman before in his life. Turns out the woman was a thief and was trying to open a safe that was in the house and was living there in the mean time since the actual marine’s wife had declared on social media that her house was empty (apparently people are that stupid).
This episode gets a bit more involved with the return of Delilah, McGee’s girlfriend who’s been working in Dubai for the past six months. Her task-force in Dubai is tracking down a terrorist group named Dragon’s tooth that has a logo that was found at the NCIS crime scene, which makes it an act of domestic terrorism. The terrorist group is actually just run by one man, Omar Malik, and uses social media websites to choose his victims. Delilah and the head of her task-force come to Washington DC after NCIS informs them of the connection, and it’s discovered that Delilah made up an online alias in order to get close to Omar Malik and track him down.
Bringing Delilah back was a smart move, especially since most of us were probably wondering what she was up to at this point since there hadn’t been any real mention of her recently. It also allows the show to focus on McGee a bit more (which is always welcome). It’s difficult not to compare Delilah and Bishop, and while doing so it’s pretty clear that Delilah is a much more interesting character. Which begs the question of why the writers didn’t do with Bishop what they did with Delilah. She has more personality, a certain charm, and is also smart and can obviously take care of herself (despite being confined to a wheelchair). Bishop even says it herself at one point that Delilah is “a badass.” Then I ask again, why isn’t she, or at least someone like her, the main female lead in the show? It’s a bit baffling, especially since someone like Delilah would have been a great follow up to Ziva. But nope, instead we’re stuck with Bishop (perpetual grumbling).
The episode itself is interesting enough and slightly goes back to what the show was trying to go for in the beginning of season 12. The terrorist, Omar Malik, has a thing for breaking into houses of military families and films himself wandering through the house (which is just enormously creepy). He hadn’t killed anyone until the woman in the beginning of the episode, and he killed her with a blunt knife (ouch). This storyline sets a pretty dark tone, reminiscent of past cases from earlier in the season. It was a good strategy, but the episode still falls a bit short. The rest of the episode revolves around McGee and Delilah’s relationship. While the two are a good pair, it’s clear that the apparent “problems” they were having were going to be solved. And lo and behold, their relationship remains intact and Delilah ends up transferring back to Washington DC.
Of course it’s nice when good things happen to the characters we like (it’s actually a nice reprieve from the other shows I watch). But in order for those nice things to be more rewarding, it needs to be balanced out with actual risk. Yes McGee and Delilah do face risk in this episode, but we all know how it’s going to turn out. Maybe it’s not the best example because something bad already happened to Delilah, but it just shows that the writers need to expand their horizons. It’s clear that the writers are capable of bringing things to the next level (i.e. Diane’s death), so that’s why I have hope that they will step up their game when it comes to the end of the season (despite the mishandled Sergei Mishnev storyline). All in all, this episode is a reminder of the potential NCIS has to produce thoroughly good episodes and to end the season with a bang (so to speak). It’s not entirely clear yet if that will actually happen, but there’s always hope.