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NCIS - Friendly Fire - Review

NCIS – Friendly Fire - Review

16.08 - "Friendly Fire"
Written by Jennifer Corbett
Directed by Tom Wright
Reviewed by KathM

Loved it.

The story starts out in what seems to be a straightforward manner: man is found dead in a river by an entitled kid doing some community service hoping to fluff up his resume for his application to Yale. The deceased has military ID, so NCIS investigates. They start out with credentials identifying him as a clerk at the Defense Logistics Agency, but when Ellie and Gibbs drop by, they find that the dead guy isn’t who we thought he was. Instead of a military employee he was Wesley
Moore, who had washed out of OCS several years ago.

So, what was he doing with the ID? Accessing the DoD’s database, that’s what. He’s been looking up information on a dozen dead marines in who had been killed in Afghanistan recently and is in frequent contact about it with a Captain Alicia Voit, who is stationed in Afghanistan. They were in OCS together and had stayed friends, so he was helping her out.

It seems to the team that Voit felt like something was going on with the deaths and asked Moore (a computer guy) to investigate, as she didn’t feel comfy talking to anyone in her Chain of Command. When they try to talk to Voit, however, they find that she was killed in Afghanistan on the same day as Moore. The mystery deepens…

What we end up with is a bewildering view on the politics and economic aspects of war that I can’t get my head around. Which didn't mean that I disliked the episode. Moore was killed by a psychopath (Black) so that Black could be reinstated as a defense contractor, and Kinneman wanted the war to go on so that his defense contractor business could continue to thrive. If I were Ellie and McGee, I’d have just walked out and left Kinneman with his fellow soldiers instead of arresting him. Did you see the way they were looking at him?

Colonel Park tricked me! Initially I thought that he was in a relationship with Voit, which is why he wanted to stay with her body, or that something was hidden in the coffin that he wanted to protect. He was so aggressive that it unnerved me, particularly in his interactions with Gibbs, and I thought that he was surely involved in the larger plot about the dead Marines. And I was sure that Gibbs was going to deck him after Park questioned Gibbs’s loyalty as a Marine when he wouldn’t release Voit’s body. Do not EVER go there! But Park was simply a good man doing a hard job, feeling guilty about helping Voit find a soldier’s life in the first place by recruiting her into the Corps. When all was said and done Gibbs drove out with him to Captain Voit’s funeral, which is exactly what I’d expect.

The episode felt cohesive and funny in the right parts with perfect bits of poignant sprinkled throughout. My biggest disappointment was that the episode wasn’t a two-parter. Things happened too fast for my liking, fell in line too quickly. The story was more than interesting enough to require extra time to unfurl. I mean, McGee and Ellie show up at Camp Russell and they’re told who is responsible for the murders and that they’ve already caught him. Then it’s all, “Hi Atwa, I’m Ellie and this is Ti…” “I’m working with an American, want to know how his name? Just set me free.” “No.” Then Atwa gets shot and things fall into place with annoying speed.

Hilights:

Torres says he doesn’t see how men and women (like Voit and Moore) could have a platonic relationship. He’s saying this while standing right next to his goat yoga buddy Ellie, which is wonderfully ironic.

Artist Jimmy is awesome! Nice to see Ellie keeping up with her painting and encouraging Jimmy to be a part of it. She seems to spend the most time with other characters (Torres, Reeves, Jimmy) outside of work, which I like and seems natural.

Ducky hanging up Jimmy’s pictures in Autopsy was an excellent way for him to pass the torch. And having Ducky rambling out and about the country was a great way to provide an excuse for his absences from the show. Send us some postcards, Ducky! I want to see you trying to be concise.

Mixing up the teams was a great idea. McGee and Bishop aren’t normally together in the field unless they’re part of the group, and Kasie never goes out as part of an investigation. And what does she get to do? Schlep around the icky river where they found Moore’s body, looking for clues. Ick! Does calamine lotion work on fly bites?

Meanwhile, Torres handles the land-based part of the search, which consists of watching Kasie work and keeping an eye out for snakes. He does manage to start questioning a random Waterworks volunteer, Xavier Blackburn, though, who you know has more to do with the story because he’s too attractive to be just a background player and has lines. And he did!

Kasie gets Torres back for his lack of assistance doing scut work in the river by casually threatening him with snakes she could hide in various unknown places to manipulate him into doing computer work, his least favorite thing. Nick is an action guy, after all. Good for you, Kasie! And props for keeping your theater set-up in your lab, BTW. Bishop looked really comfortable working away on her laptop.






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