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NCIS - Episode 11.08 - Alibi - Review

     With only one week left until the introduction of new series regular Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) NCIS decides to take a focus on the procedural, however this week's case is anything, but opened and closed.

     After a rather startling introduction, in which a man speeding down the road hits a jogger and drives off, the NCIS team is quick to work...all except for Tony. In the last few weeks Tony's character has suffered from a bit of post Ziva depression. It's obvious that the writers are attempting to balance the reflection on Ziva's character, with the burden that Ziva is not going to return. I think it's probably in their best interest to just move forward with as little reflection as possible because of this sad reality. It should be interesting to see how the longtime cast members, and specifically Tony, will react to Ellie Bishop's joining the team. While Tony's issue (car trouble) wasn't exactly because of Ziva it comes in a line of rather awkward focus story lines on Tony.

     Speaking of new characters, it would seem that NCIS has itself a new possibly recurring character in Carrie Clarke, who plays Staff Sergeant Dunn's double crossing lawyer. Her view of the law is just flawed enough for Gibbs to get along with her. While I'm not sure about her character's longevity as a result of her comfort in bending the rules, I can certainly say I already enjoy her character more than that of her season seven counterpart: Margaret Allison Hart. Rena Sofer's portrayal of a total bureaucrat, while very well done, was also very annoying back in the seventh season. Considering how long she has been absent from the show it's doubtful that she will return, but it would be interesting to see how the two would react to each other.

     What was very interesting in this episode was how the team reacted to Carrie. McGee likes her ok, Tony is infatuated with her, Ducky doesn't know her, and Gibbs.... well who knows what Gibbs thinks? The scene at the end was very reminiscent of Rena Sofer's last scene on NCIS. Who knows? Maybe, she will be this season's love interest for Gibbs or she could just be the first lawyer that he actually likes.

     While these parts of the episode were very enjoyable, the show was heavily weighted down by a rather boring procedural element. The show tried to spice things up some, but in many ways it just felt overly dramatically scripted. Sure, having the Sergeant's alibi be another murder was unique and a nice punch line for the promo, but it wasn't especially entertaining. It felt like a lot of technical talk jumbled in with some amount of coherence, but I don't really want to rant about the shortcomings of the episode because of the potential (and common delivery) that NCIS has for greatness.

Highlights - 

Gibbs screams at a suspect.
Hickory's son says hello.
McGee figures out that Tony is using the bus.
Dunn jumps over a wall right into McGee's line of fire.
Gibbs has dinner with Clarke at the end.
Gibbs gives his old friend a pocket knife for his steak.
Tony talks with Olivia Chandler.

Rating - 7.9/10

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