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NCIS/NCIS: New Orleans - Sister City (Parts I and II) - Review: "Crossover fun"

The NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans teams worked together to solve one big case that spanned across both cities. Even though this crossover is somewhat overshadowed by the sad news that came out a few days ago, here is my review of both episodes. Since the episodes are so intertwined and there is no reviewer for NCIS: New Orleans on our site, I decided to include part II in this review as well.

NCIS Episode 13.12 "Sister City (Part I)" recap
The case starts when all communications are lost with a private airplane going from New Orleans to DC. The plane, which was chartered by the military tech company Blye Industries, needs to be stopped as it will run out of fuel somewhere above New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The pilots are dead, so the plan is to remotely shoot down the jet. However, Abby instead takes control of the satellite, which causes the plane to crash land in a reservoir. Pride from New Orleans, who has tracked down the flight manifest, takes a moment off-screen and calls Gibbs to inform him that Abby's brother Luca Sciuto was on board since he is the chef of Jenner Blye, who owns Blye's Industries. Abby does not believe that the brother she grew up is dead. Besides Luca, four other persons were on board: the pilot, the co-pilot, the Senior Vice President of Blye Industries and a Commander Lively. The team finds five bodies at the crash site, including a badly burned Luca. Abby comes to autopsy to identify her brother, but quickly notices the body has its earlobes attached, which Luca doesn't have. Meanwhile, in NOLA, Percy and LaSalle search Luca's apartment and find a bag with two guns, a high-tech bug and a large amount of money. McGee discovers that Commander Lively was supposed to have a meeting with the Secretary of Defense, but the latter has no clue what it could be about. Also, all the passengers on the plane were poisoned by batrachotoxin on the utensils, and the last person to be seen with those utensils is Luca.

Gibbs and Bishop head over to Blye Industries and talk with CFO Dalton Greenbrick and Blye's head of security Blake Huxley. Huxley tells them that Jenner Blye went missing after a meeting with Command Lively in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Abby and Tony head to the Colossal Fun Amusement Park in North Carolina after Abby had earlier received a text from her brother, which hinted that he was at the park. After searching for Luca the entire day, Abby finally finds him in the haunted house. Luca tells his sister that he woke up in a motel with no memory of how he got there. As Tony also enters the scene and Abby introduces him to her brother, Tony arrests Luca. It turns out Luca met a woman named Eva at a prayer group at church, and she looks quite suspicious since she uses different cell phones all the time and Eva wouldn't allow Luca to take pictures of her. It is likely that Eva used Luca to gain access to Blye's technology. Fortunately, Brody and Percy find a cartoon at Luca's apartment of him and Eva, which Abby uses to identify her. Her full name is Eva Azarova and she raises flags in five different databases, including the NCIS database. Eva works for Russian diplomatic counselor Anton Pavlenko, and she is likely a sleeper agent. Luca doesn't believe that, but when his phone rings, Eva wants to talk with Gibbs. She figures she has been made and asks Gibbs not to contact Pavlenko through official channels. She also tells him that things aren't always as they seem.

Abby locates the call to a certain block, and Luca remembers a Russian restaurant there. Gibbs and Tony head to the restaurant and find Pavlenko. He reveals that the man who took Luca's place on the plane was one of his agents. That agent would take Pavlenko's place in the meeting with the Secretary of Defense. Pavlenko deosn't know anything about the murders and claims that the Russian government stole technology that Blye Industries developed and he spent two days in New Orleans to confirm his suspicions. Pavlenko says he is trying to prevent war and asks Gibbs if he has ever heard of Project Manta Ray. However, before Pavlenko can further explain, he collapses and dies. Turns out that bottle of vodka he was drinking had a poisoned cap. Since Pavlenko's body is the only clue to his whereabouts and Project Manta Ray, it would be best to keep his body out of the hands of the Russian consulate. Meanwhile, Luca tells Abby that he has decided to go back to New Orleans and that he still believes Eva is doing the right thing. Innocent until proven guilty, Luca says.

In order to prevent the body from falling into the hands of the Russian consulate, Ducky and Jimmy secretly take the body to New Orleans. The autopsy van is forced to stop, however, when a car stops in front of them and men with guns come out of the car, ending the episode in a cliffhanger...

NCIS: New Orleans Episode 2.12 "Sister City (Part II)" recap
...but fortunately the story immediately continues in the NCIS: New Orleans episode. The group orders Jimmy and Ducky to get out of the van, but they don't find Pavlenko's body there. Instead, Bishop has his body in the truck and his driven all the way to New Orleans. Wade is not too happy with an unannounced body, but does an autopsy anyway. Meanwhile, Gibbs and Pride are read in on Porject Manta Ray, which turns out to be a project that created undetectable warships. The project was too costly for the US, but now Russia is interested. The search for Eva Azarova continues as Pride meets Luca at a bar, where Eva also shows up. She tells Pride she hasn't killed anyone, but he says he has to take her in anyway. With Luca's help, Eva escapes. Pride tries to talk sense into Luca, but clearly he isn't listening and still believes Eva is not a spy. Pride keeps him at the office for protection. In the meantime, Wade has examined mosquito bites on Pavlenko's body and Sebastian uses that to find a location on where Pavlenko has been. He was at a place outside of New Orleans, which is owned by Blye Industries. Pride and LaSalle find a very alive Jenner Blye there, who has stayed there for his own safety. However, Blye drinks from his water bottle and collapses. The bottle was poisoned, but fortunately, Blye survived, though he is in danger of having permanent paralysis in his left leg.

Blye tells NCIS that Manta Ray was greenlighted for commercial use. It was sold to a Norwegian company for oil exploration, but the company was actually a Russian shell company. It is suspected that Eva was sent to kill everyone involved in the plot, including Luca, who was cooking at the meeting between Jenner Blye, Commander Lively and Pavlenko. Meanwhile, Sebastian and Wade discover a hidden listening device and transmitter hidden in Pavlenko's tooth, meaning they listened to every word that was said in autopsy. Patton traces the signal back to Paulina Kurteva, a former GRU agent who now works in the diplomatic core. Paulina and Pride have a history, but she denies knowing Eva and using the listening devices. Patton installed something on Pride's phone that enables them to listen to the Russians, and Brody and Bishop are tailing Paulina. Paulina and her bodyguards head to Eva's apartment, but then gunshots are heard. All of Paulina's bodyguards are dead, but Brody and Bishop find her in the closet. Eva has once again gotten away.

Pride questions Paulina, who says that Eva worked for Pavlenko and that she was spying on Blye. Russia became worried about Pavlenko's loyalties and they sent Paulina to investigate. Eva did not come in when Russia called her in. During the interrogation, Percy comes in with the news that Luca has escaped. Sebastian, who has made his way to DC, tries to calm down a furious Abby, but he badly fails. Abby and Sebastian instead track the serial number on Pavlenko's tooth to a dentist in Moscow. Pride then confronts Paulina and offers to work together by using Eva's tooth implant to track her down. She has reunited with Luca at the museum where they first kissed, but she knew Pride would follow her there. A gunman then starts shooting from the second floor and Eva pushes Luca to safety. Nobody is hit, but LaSalle identifies the shooter as Blake Huxley, Blye's head of security. Eva runs after Huxley and a fight between the two ensues. Just as Huxley is about to kill Eva, Pride steps in and shoots him dead. Eva is then taken in, and she reveals that Pavlenko was her mentor. He found out that Russia had stolen the Manta Ray project and Eva was working to confirm that. She used Luca to draw out Huxley, since he was killing everyone at that meeting. The only remaining question is: who does Huxley work for?

That turns out to be Jenner Blye himself, who sold Project Manta Ray to the Russians. He ordered Huxley to kill those involved and even poisoned himself. Jenner is arrested for treason. With the case wrapped, Eva says goodbye to Luca with a kiss. Paulina wants to take Eva with her, but Pride says she needs to go through DoD processing first, which will take a few months. Paulina hopes to see Pride again the next time and Gibbs calls Pride to wrap it all up. Manta Ray is about to hit an iceberg, and Gibbs and Pride boost about their team effort. Until next time!

Can they do more of these crossovers please? These two episodes were really enjoyable. Sure, the story was a bit too complicated for its own good, but it did keep up the tension throughout the episodes. We immediately started with a crisis as the plane's communications were down and then the action didn't stop. The two teams worked really well together. Even though they hardly know each other, they are comfortable discussing their personal lives. The interactions between Wade and Ducky, Sebastian and Abby, Brody and Bishop, and Pride and Gibbs in particular were pretty fun. The episodes also flawlessly flowed into one another. My main criticism of the episodes is Luca's portrayal. That guy is just so naive and I don't even get why. Abby, Pride and Percy all tried to talk sense into him, but he wouldn't listen and kept believing Eva was doing the right thing. He seriously deserved a head slap from Gibbs. Luca was all right in part I, but in part II he just looked dumb. Luca was either delusional or madly in love. Anyway, I liked the relationship with his sister and when Abby was confronted with the possibility of having lost the brother she grew up with, I felt sad for her. Killing off Pavlenko was rather soon, I like these uneasy allies that the team has. Fortunately, the new Orleans episode introduced us to Paulina Kurteva, who is also quite an uneasy ally. She was one of the best parts of the second episode and I hope to see more of her in the future. She has awesome chemistry with Pride and she herself said he is fun to spar with. All in all, this was a great crossover and I hope to see more of that in the future. If they could just include NCIS: Los Angeles next time as well, it would be completely perfect. Just imagine Gibbs, Hetty and Pride working together, that would be amazing.

A few other notes from both episodes:
-The entire New Orleans team knows about Bishop's recent divorce, and she opened up about it a little to Brody. She said she doesn't feel very different, so I assume she has closed the book on it. I would have loved to see Pride and Bishop's conversation thought, seeing as both have recently divorced.
-Tony broke up with Zoë, and he said they parted amicably. With Michael Weatherly's upcoming exit, this means Tony is available for whoever wants him.
-Also, Percy, a transfer from ATF, revealed she trained with Zoë.
-There were two Star Wars references in the episode: both Tony and McGee said at the same time they were talking about Star Wars when Bishop asked them what they were talking about (while they were actually talking about the former's break-up) and Abby made some reference to the force. (Side note: I have never seen Star Wars.)
-Vance refers to Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man and Gibbs has no idea what he's talking about. Hilarious!
-Speaking of Gibbs, his haircut is back to normal. He told McGee he didn't need it anymore.
-Another Trent Kort reference! Can we get this guy back please? If we're talking about uneasy allies, he might have topped the list as the biggest one of them all.
-Gibbs and Pride referred to a Miami operation that apparently caused an international incident. Lol, of course they did.

What did you think of the NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans crossover? Did you enjoy the character interactions? What do you think about the case of the two episodes? How do you feel about Luca? Do you agree that this guy is just too naive? Does the break-up with Zoë mean Tony will possibly reunite with one of his former lovers before his exit? And lastly, do you have any ideas for the next crossover? I would love to hear your thoughts and theories in the comments below.

The next NCIS episode airs January 19.

About the Author - Daniel van der Veer
Daniel van der Veer is a Dutch university student studying Psychology. On SpoilerTV he is a reviewer of NCIS, The 100, Madam Secretary and Quantico. He also enjoys LOST, Arrow, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Nikita, The Blacklist, Scorpion and How To Get Away With Murder.
Recent Reviews by Daniel van der Veer (All Reviews)

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