The first NCIS Christmas episode and I thought it was an excellent one - but then I confess I do love Christmas and am more than a tad of the romantic variety, but even so. I thought it was jolly good. A nice case that had some moving moments, in fact the whole thing was moving, an obvious non-guilty person, an obvious 'up to something' person and a 'oh, look, I'm here as light relief and I just might be the guilty party' person, but that rarely matters if the episode was good, and this was. And some lovely team interaction and nice moments. Good characterisation throughout, and for me a nice amount of Ducky and Gibbs/Ducky, and some other shippy moments for various pairings too.

So we begin with a man delivering things in a van to the sound of Jingle Bells in the background and he's one the phone. He gets out at this big, clearly very expensive looking, house and tries to deliver a wreath. However, there is no answer; so he looks through the window and see two dead bodies and seconds later the face of a man looking out at him.

At HQ Vance and Ziva get out of the lift, they have been shopping for 'Toys for Tots'; Vance picks up one of the games already there - Battleships - and says how much he used to love it; Ziva admits she did too, although her mother preferred she played with dolls. Vance thanks her for her help with the shopping and she says she's always happy to spend money when it's not hers.

McGee reports that a metro cop - Detective Justin Kemp - is on his way up and DiNozzo admits to having dated his wife at one point (now I thought he meant while she was married to Kemp, it took a little while to work out it was before she had married Kemp). Ziva and McGee quiz him as to how many dates and it turns out that it actually lasted for four months, which from DiNozzo's own reaction is a long time for him. Kemp is there because of a double homicide, but as yet they don't know why it involves NCIS and then Gibbs appears to say Kemp didn't want to discuss it over the phone.

Kemp appears, virtually ignores DiNozzo (who tells Ziva to close her mouth). He reports that the fingerprints found at the house of the dead couple (Mr. & Mrs. Avery Taylor) belong to a Ned Quinn, a former Petty Officer who is a Vietnam Vet. However, Quinn apparently died in 1991 and is buried at Arlington. McGee is looking something up on the computer and calls Gibbs over, saying that he won't like it.

Meanwhile down in Autopsy Ducky (once again sitting) is showing Abby a silver sixpence. She wants to know what it has to do with Christmas and he explains how that one sixpence had been in every Mallard Christmas Pudding since the 1850s (now at that second I was shocked, because Ducky would know you can't make the pudding on 23rd December, it's made much earlier, however, all was revealed) and that it brings good fortune and luck for the year to the person who gets it. He has, due to the lack of extended family, let the tradition slip. Abby promises him that next year she and he will make Christmas puddings. Ducky says he'd like that very much (cue Ducky/Abby fen squee). Abby says she likes everything about Christmas and then starts on the exceptions - one of which is Christmas shopping as she never knows what to get people. For example Gibbs; she asks what do you get the man who has nothing and wants nothing; Ducky sees around her and sees that Gibbs is about to enter Autopsy and suggests a pair of squeaky shoes.

Abby (without looking round): "Hey, Gibbs." And she holds up her hand for him to slap. He ignores her and walks straight past her to Ducky. After a second, Abby realises Gibbs wants to be alone with Ducky *g* and adds: "Bye, Gibbs," and duly scampers off.

Ducky: "Something wrong, Jethro?"

Gibbs then tells him about the fingerprints of the meant-to-be-dead PO at the crime scene.

Ducky: "Oh, dear, someone's in trouble." (Ooops, and we know who that someone is, don't we?). Gibbs hands Ducky the file and Ducky looks at it. "I signed it?" Ducky is rather surprised by that.

Up in the squad room we learn that Quinn graduated with honours from Virginia state university and had an offer to go to Med School, but instead became a Marine and a Corpsman. He returned from 'Nam in 1972 and suffered from PTSD and became addicted to Meth; he went into rehab and got divorced in 1980. He ended up on the streets and supposedly died in a half-way house, house fire in 1991. Gibbs then sends McGee and Ziva to talk to Quinn's daughter.

Back in Autopsy Ducky is looking at photographs from Quinn's death and listening to himself reporting on the case. Gibbs comes in and in his usual way with Ducky gets very close to him with a total lack of personal space and we have some nice smiles and looks. Gibbs asks: "Made a mistake, Duck?" Ducky tells him that the City ME at the time was unable to match Quinn with the body and called in Ducky to see if he could ascertain anything from dental records and other military information. However, due to Quinn suffering from Meth mouth, dental records were useless and all Ducky had to go on was the general height, etc. etc. of Quinn - added to the fact that the body was found in Quinn's room, plus no one turned up claiming to be Quinn and Ducky and the City ME decided that it was logical that the dead body was Quinn. Gibbs asks about DNA, but it didn't exist as a test in 1991. Gibbs wonders if in fact Quinn killed the man in his room and set the fire to cover up the murder. Ducky notes that in the file a Dr. Pryor treated Quinn at Bethesda and Ducky decides he needs to talk to him. It's a very nice touch when Gibbs hands Ducky his own mobile phone to make the call from. A very nice scene indeed, especially for us G/D fen, but as always it can equally be read as a nice scene as G&D friendship.

McGee and Ziva arrive at a house with what appears to be fake snowmen in the garden. Inside a younger woman is thanking an older woman (her mom) for babysitting while she finishes the shopping - clearly these are the ex-Mrs. Quinn (now Mrs. Wheeler) and her daughter (Melissa Wheeler Fox). Mrs. Wheeler makes it quite clear that she has no interest in her supposedly dead husband and even if he is alive she doesn't want him to know where they are, he ruined their lives and they now have new ones. She says he came back from 'Nam a drug addict, she did her best, but he wasn't interested. Melissa was raised by Mrs. Wheeler's new husband and in all intents and purposes is her father. All the time this scene was going on, I knew that whilst mom was saying one thing, Melissa was feeling another - in fact I did even wonder if Quinn had been in touch with his daughter.

Back in Autopsy Ducky is talking to Dr. Pryor who doesn't really remember Quinn, but he has his file with him and he knows he treated him for three years for drug addiction. While they are talking Abby comes in, like an excited little girl as someone had said Santa was in the building and the camera pans back to reveal Pryor in a Santa costume - and they choose very well, very well indeed; he certainly did look like the 'traditional' Santa. Abby wants to take a picture, but Ducky gets a tad testy with her, calling her 'Abigail' and her face drops. Pryor says that Quinn was suffering from 'survivor's guilt' as he had switched duties with another Corpsman who died. He then says he really has to go as he's playing Santa for the kiddies and gives Ducky the file - Abby does indeed manage to get a photograph of her and Santa.

Some time later Ducky goes up to the squad room to see Gibbs, going behind his desk and talking to him. He says that he's suffered for hours through the 'rambles of the good doctor' (hmmm, do all doctors ramble?) and there is nothing in Quinn's file to suggest aggressive or impulsive behaviour. During this Gibbs is looking up at Ducky - a rare thing that given he's six inches taller than Ducky, it's Ducky who normally has to look up (at everyone). McGee then appears saying he has Quinn's service record and that Quinn left 'Nam on 30th December, 1972. In all over 58,000 men were dead or missing from 'Nam' and in the week before Quinn leaving 70 were killed, including one Corpsman: Roger Lawrence Grant. Ducky now appears to be crouching down next to Gibbs's chair and tells him that Quinn always used to visit the Wall on the anniversary of Grant's death - 24th December. Thus if he is alive, that is where he might be on the morrow. Another really nice G/D scene, nice looks, smiles and very close.

We then have the next day with DiNozzo and Ziva at the Wall watching the people. Ziva wants to know more about Kemp saying he doesn't dress as a cop and DiNozzo tells her that he married money. She quizzes him about Mrs. Kemp and he admits she was perfect: pretty, intelligent and rich, but that was twelve years ago and after two children, who knows what she's like now. Ziva then asks if DiNozzo regrets not having a wife and children, especially at this time of year and says that Hanukkah is traditionally a time for families and asks if Christmas is the same. DiNozzo just ignores her and gets out of the car saying he's going to check someone out in a hoodie - the same someone Ziva had already declared was not Quinn due to height, age and gender! Quite a poignant scene; I got the impression that DiNozzo was thinking of the now Mrs. Kemp and also Jeanne and his lost chances there, as well as his own family and what went wrong and why he seems to be estranged from them.

Back in the squad room Abby comes down from the office party to tell Gibbs it is starting to wind down and says that Jimmy had to be sent home in a cab for the fourth year in a row (I do wish they'd have had Jimmy in this episode, it would have been a really nice touch, even if only for a small scene). She has egg nog for McGee and Gibbs, but when she sees the look Gibbs is giving her, she declares it's two for McGee. She then comes back to Gibbs and talks about McGee and Ziva and DiNozzo in respect to buying presents for them.

Abby: "What do you think Tony needs?"
Gibbs: "An attitude adjustment." (Ouch, I can already imagine the comments on various lists about the unfairness of this comment and how it spoilt the entire episode for some people. It was rather cutting).
Abby: "Gibbs. You're not helping."

And then McGee appears with Melissa. Gibbs gives Abby a hug and tells her to go home and this is observed by Melissa who has the 'I wish my daddy was hugging me' look on her face. Melissa has gone to see Gibbs to tell him that her mother doesn't speak for her and that she in fact would really like to see her biological father. She says her father was a good man and brought her up well and was caring, but she has childhood memories of Quinn and she always hoped she'd be able to reconnect with him. It turns out her mother didn't even tell her when Quinn died, Melissa found that out for herself when she turned 21 and did a search. She really wants to see her father. Abby is watching this exchange. And then Gibbs gets a call to tell him that Quinn is at the Wall.

Gibbs (of course) goes to the Wall himself and starts to talk to Quinn about no matter how many times he goes there, it always gets to him. He says you look at the names and sees a reflection in yourself; you are amongst the fallen. Quinn adds though that they get to leave, those on the Wall don't. This feeds in nicely for Gibbs to address him as 'Quinn'.

In the interrogation suite, Quinn is in the room and Gibbs is outside in the observation area talking to Ducky. Quinn hasn't spoken since they brought him in; Ducky observes that Quinn is clean, looks healthy, sober and has good hygiene and he lives down town in a small boarding house. Another nice little scene between the old friends.

Gibbs then goes into Quinn and says Metro are on their way to pick him up. He shows Quinn photos of Grant and he talks about Corpsmen, telling Quinn that one saved his life, hence letting Quinn know he too was a Marine. He then asks what happened at the Taylor's house. Quinn tells Gibbs how he had been out in the street with his sign asking for work and the Taylors picked him up and asked him to go and help them decorate their house. It is a tradition they follow each year, helping out those less fortunate than themselves - but in a way that isn't just charity. He says he was in the garage and came back to find blood all over the room; Mr. Taylor was dead, but Mrs. Taylor was still breathing and on the couch. Quinn says he got her onto the floor and started to administer CPR.

At that moment Ducky who is still, now with Ziva, watching the exchange says he must go, he wants to catch the City ME before he leaves for the evening; he tells Ziva to wish him luck and hurries off. Ziva, who clearly seems to think this is just one of Ducky's many idiosyncrasies, throws up her hand in a gesture of exasperation.

Meanwhile at Quinn's lodgings DiNozzo and McGee learn that Quinn has been there for over twelve years, he always pays his rent on time in cash and keeps himself to himself. Inside his room on the wall is a photo of Quinn and Grant and also McGee finds some very good sketches. DiNozzo claims he had big plans for Christmas Eve, but McGee disputes that - the fact that DiNozzo didn't go on to argue made me think that he actually did have plans for Christmas.

Back in interrogation, Quinn tells Gibbs that he wasn't at the halfway house when the fire broke out, nor did he know the name of the man who was in his room - he'd just told him he could stay there until he returned. When he returned and found the man dead and the place burnt down he decided that he could do something for his wife and daughter after all: he could be dead, that way they'd collect his military benefits. So he simply let them think it was his body and basically started a new life. He got himself back on track. And it was easy to disappear, everyone thought he was dead and he worked for cash and paid for everything in cash, thus he didn't exist. (Very poignant, indeed).

Outside Abby takes Ziva out and asks if Gibbs has told Quinn about his daughter wanting to see him. Ziva says no and then when Abby says Gibbs should tells her that it's not some stray puppy Abby can save and tells her to stay out of it. I thought that was rather unpleasant of Ziva to be so hard. Okay, so they thought Quinn was the murderer (well Ziva probably did, I doubt Gibbs did) and yes, Abby was interfering, but I didn't think Ziva needed to be quite so cutting and bitchy.

Back up in the squad room DiNozzo and McGee return, DiNozzo is carrying a plate of food and saying that whilst they missed the party they don't have to miss the food. He offers something to Ducky who, very sensibly given what was left, declines. However, Gibbs appears and grabs a sandwich and in his very inelegant way (the man does not eat 'nicely') begins to eat it. He asks if they found anything at Quinn's place, but they tell him not anything related to the murder - McGee tells Gibbs that Quinn is an artist.

Gibbs then asks Ducky if he caught the ME. Ducky says he did and goes on to explain how Mr. Taylor died of blunt force trauma, having been hit over the head several times and Mrs. Taylor of a heart-attack and it appears her wrists had been tied, handcuffed, maybe. He also says that Quinn spoke the truth when he said he tried to save her as the bloody fingerprints are correct for someone who knows how to deliver CPR, as was the bruising, etc. plus Quinn knew to move her to a hard surface. And then Gibbs phone rings: Metro are there to pick Quinn up and he goes off with Ziva who leaps in and says she'll accompany him (Ziva seems to have taken a liking to Kemp) and he tells DiNozzo the food had better be there when he gets back. Once they've gone, Ducky looks at the food and wonders out loud just how Gibbs can eat it. And another nice scene for Gibbs & Ducky fen, more looks and closeness.

Up in Vance's office he is loading presents into a bag when Gibbs goes in. Vance praises Gibbs for having caught Quinn so quickly and Gibbs says he had a lot of help from Ducky.

Vance: "Same guy who declared him dead seventeen years ago." True, but not the nicest comment in the world to make, Vance. I don't think Vance really cares for Ducky - I said the same about his thoughts about Abby. I think he finds them both too 'quirky' and independent.

He goes on to say his wife is angry because he should have been home hours ago and gets the bags together to go. But Gibbs hasn't gone up to wish him a Merry Christmas, he is there because he doesn't think Quinn killed the Taylors and he's worried that Metro will stop bothering now they have Quinn and not look any further. Vance, actually showing that he is a good director, puts the bags back down.

Meanwhile Kemp is showing Ziva and McGee photographs of his wife, they are being watched by DiNozzo and Ducky who are both behind DiNozzo's desk. Ziva is really going overboard and saying how can a woman who has had two children have a body like that. I have to say that in this episode Ziva irritated me on several occasions, one being her 'obsession' with Kemp; I can't see her getting all 'girly' over someone who is married. It seemed very un-Zivaish.

Vance and Gibbs turn up and Vance tells Kemp they are keeping Quinn for the time being because of him faking his death and thus fraudulent benefits were paid. Kemp finds it hard to believe that fraud will top murder, but accepts that as it's Christmas tomorrow and as he has bikes and a doll's house to assemble he'll play NCIS's game for now and he'll be back the day after Christmas Day with a warrant for Quinn. Vance hopes none of the team had plans for Christmas as they have one day to solve the murder and he goes.

Abby asks what she can do and Gibbs says: "You and Duck go home and get some sleep. It's late." Abby then says she hasn't slept on Christmas Eve since she was four; she used to sit up waiting to ambush Santa. Meanwhile Gibbs and Ducky exchange a look and a fond smile over dear Abby. Gibbs says he'll need them both the next day and Ducky says he has to go and visit his mother in her new home and offers to walk Abby to her car, offering her his arm (another nice Ducky/Abby moment). As they are going Abby asks after Ducky's mom and he tells her she is driving the nurses crazy. (It's even more poignant as we know the actress who played Mrs. Mallard died recently).

So the field team talk about the case: Kemp was only focussing on the fingerprints, but they need to conduct their own investigation - which might involve going to the crime scene. DiNozzo seems particularly keen that this would really piss Kemp off. In the background one of the large plasma screens has a picture of a fire with stockings hanging over it. A nice touch - not necessary, but nice.

McGee has done some digging; he's Googled the Taylors and has found something. Gibbs goes over to McGee's desk to look (Gibbs/McGee fen have a teeny scene here with Gibbs leaning all over McGee). And it turns out that six months ago Mr. Taylor filed a suit suing Paradigm Industries for multi-million dollars over a patent. And lo and behold, DiNozzo informs them that Paradigm is owned by none other than Kemp's father-in-law. So we are meant to think that Kemp is a dirty cop, that he is in fact guilty - and he was a good red herring as I did believe it could well have been him, or at the very least he was 'just' guilty of shoddy police work.

We then see Quinn lying on a bench and remembering clearly his memories are not good ones. Meanwhile outside in the observation room McGee and Ziva have been playing Battleships. Ziva is concerned as to how they are going to get it back into the box without anyone knowing it had been taken out. McGee confesses that he is an expert at repacking and rewrapping and that as a child he always knew what was under the tree as he unwrapped everything. Naughty boy, Timmy. Quinn calls out for Gibbs and Ziva goes in; he asks why he is still there and Ziva plays the 'short-handed at Christmas' card. Quinn then asks for a pencil and paper as sketching helps to calm him and after he promises not to stab himself with the pencil she agrees.

The next day: Gibbs, DiNozzo and Ziva arrive at the Taylor's house and DiNozzo bets Gibbs $5.00 that he can crack the security code before Gibbs can pick the lock. Gibbs ignores him, but Ziva takes the bet. In seconds DiNozzo keys in four numbers and when Ziva expresses surprise he says the 1947 keys were worn and as people often use memorable dates for their codes he did his homework and learnt that Taylors were born in 1947. Gibbs continues to ignore this and you just know that something is going to go wrong and it's going to come back and bite DiNozzo - it isn't going to be that simple. Gibbs gets in and DiNozzo demands the money from Ziva, she catches his wrist and twists his hand back before handing over the money.

It is a very nice house indeed! They look around as Kemp did only concentrate on the fingerprints and Gibbs wants more - he tells them to search the house, also to concentrate on the sofa and the floor, as the cops wouldn't know about Quinn moving Mrs. Taylor.

Meanwhile back at HQ McGee is praising Quinn's work and asked where he learnt to draw - we learn it was in rehab. McGee goes on to say that there wouldn't have been much time for Quinn to take other classes when he was in pre-med. Quinn simply says that 'Nam changed everything.

Back at the house DiNozzo discovers that a chair has been moved and Ziva has found hair and a button. DiNozzo discovers the chair, inside a closet and on a shelf above is a safe - an empty safe. The killing and robbery was far more than just for Mrs. Taylor's jewellery and the odd bit of money they had in the house.

And then in swaggers a Security Patrol man (Hector). It turns out the security device was a double redundant one, i.e. you had to key the number in twice otherwise a silent alarm went off - DiNozzo had only keyed it in once. A fun touch and a good way of introducing Hector, better than the alarm having gone off when DiNozzo keyed in the wrong number. But it wasn't unexpected insofar as, as I said, as soon as DiNozzo cracked the code so easily, far more quickly than Gibbs could pick the lock, it was obvious there would be pay-back - and this was it. And it was another 'make a fool of DiNozzo' moment, given how cocky he'd been not only about getting to code in but how he'd 'figured' it out. Hector made me shudder when I saw him, he was so obviously an unpleasant man, very stereotypical of 'that kind of man in Hollywood. And he went on about how poor the pay was and did NCIS accept applications. I did not like him at all - he made all my spider senses twitch.

Meanwhile back at HQ, McGee goes into the observation room to find Abby there. She hugs him and says: "Merry Christmas, Tiny Tim," and he hugs her back (a nice Abby/McGee moment). He wants to know why she is there, and she tells him she'd been to Church and then as she had no plans wanted to spend time with her team. Oh, yes . . . And what else are you up to, Abby? McGee is also wondering that. She wants to know if Gibbs has mentioned Melissa to Quinn, McGee says 'no' and she confesses that Melissa is in the building and wanting to see Quinn. When McGee asks how she knew, Abby confesses to having phone her - oops, bad Abby. McGee says Gibbs will kill her, but Abby says he won't and goes on about how it is the best fairy-tale ever. Little girl loses Daddy only to be reunited with him years later, after she thinks he is dead, on Christmas Day. And she begs McGee to tell Quinn that Melissa is there, begs him to do it for her. And she says all will be well when he sees the sparkle in Quinn's eyes (and at that point I knew it was going to go horribly wrong). It was a very Abby thing to do.

So McGee does indeed go to Quinn, but as I expected, there is no sparkle; Quinn doesn't want to see her - he says that she was better off when he was dead. Poor Quinn; poor Melissa; poor Abby.

Meanwhile back at the Taylor's house Hector is still 'flirting' with Ziva and talking to her and wanting to know how she joined NCIS. Gibbs sends Ziva off to see if DiNozzo has finished in the garage, which leave Hector with him. Hector starts to ask Gibbs about applying to NCIS and just gets the infamous Gibbs 'look', so he ends with 'good luck with the case'. DiNozzo has found something in the garage: a hammer covered with blood. And at that moment Vance, a rather annoyed Vance, calls Gibbs - Metro had called him, and he is not happy. He tells Gibbs Metro are on their way to get Quinn.

Back at HQ DiNozzo and Abby go to Gibbs with the news about the blood on the hammer. The blood is Mr. Taylor's. but the fingerprints belong to both Mr. Taylor and Quinn (well I was expecting that, not because I think Quinn is guilty, but because it was obvious they were going to appear on them - they always do). At that moment McGee brings Quinn out of the loo and he and Gibbs lock gazes.

Back in interrogation Gibbs is asking Quinn about the hammer and other tools. Quinn admits he took his tool box to the Taylor's but when he left, naturally in a hurry, he didn't check to see if the hammer was there - the hammer that was found in the garage where Quinn admitted to having been. Gibbs says Quinn isn't making it very easy for him to believe him.

Meanwhile Kemp is waiting, again, and he makes a dig to DiNozzo about not having a family and then up pops Ziva with another question about Kemp's family, this time asking if his little girl liked her doll's house. She loved it and took it with her on the family trip to father-in-law's villa (where they always spend the week between Christmas and New Year). But Kemp's boss hadn't allowed Kemp to leave, but he hopes to be able to do so that night.

When Gibbs appears Kemp asks him why he broke into the house, and in turn Gibbs asks why Kemp didn't remove himself from the case. Kemp says he doesn't understand and he's told about the Taylor's case against Paradigm. Kemp takes exception to the implication and says that his father-in-law never talks about his businesses to him. He takes Quinn away, but Gibbs doesn't tell him about finding the murder weapon - well, as Gibbs said, he didn't ask.

Down in Abby's lab, Gibbs gives her another Caf-Pow and it appears 'they' have been putting nutmeg in the drink for the holidays. Abby has matched the hair on the couch to Mrs. Taylor and the button to a firm that supplies the military and the police uniforms. And on the safe is an unknown print. Abby then kisses Gibbs on the cheek (Gibbs/Abby moment) leaving a lipstick print and points to the mistletoe (Gibbs doesn't seem that happy with it, I think he's annoyed with Abby over Melissa). He asks if she's run the print through AFAS but Abby goes on to explain that the print wasn't a finger print, but a glove print - and she will be able to match it. He tells her she might have redeemed herself for calling Quinn's daughter and he leaves, calling McGee - still with the lip print mark on his face.

At McGee's desk McGee has what Gibbs wanted - he's found that the alarm was deactivated between the times Kemp sealed the house and Gibbs, he pauses.

Gibbs: "Broke in?"
McGee: "I was going to say 'gained unauthorised access'." Gibbs smiles at him and he smiles back (another Gibbs/McGee moment).

The alarm was off for four and a half minutes. Gibbs tells DiNozzo to call his ex-girl friend and tell her to tell her husband to meet them there and tells Ziva to get the car. DiNozzo (when will he learn?) tries to argue suggesting that Ziva could make the call and he could get the car - he earns himself one of Gibbs's glares and hastens to do as he was bid.

At the Taylor's home the entire field team meet Kemp, who is not a happy bunny and demands to know what they are doing there. Gibbs says he's there to arrest the murderer which surprises Kemp as he says he has Quinn in custody. Gibbs explains that the home invasion wasn't just for the jewellery and odd bit of cash, but for what was in safe - the safe Kemp hadn't found. He explains that Quinn was trying to save Mrs. Taylor and Kemp was only interested in fingerprints; he also then mentions the murder weapon and says someone is trying to frame Quinn. He asks Kemp who else would have known about the alarm code other than the Taylors and the security firm. And lo and behold, Harvey turns up again, clearly Gibbs had told DiNozzo only to key the number in once.

Gibbs et al confront Harvey. The button Ziva found matches the one on Harvey's shirt and he used his handcuffs on Mrs. Taylor and his glove would have left a print. He then pulls out his taser gun, but DiNozzo tells him that only gives him one shot and there are five of them. Harvey, nonetheless takes the shot and shoots poor McGee who falls back onto the car in clear agony. Harvey takes off, but Gibbs dives at him and brings him down and then leaves it to Ziva to cuff him. Meanwhile poor McGee is still in extreme pain and DiNozzo tells him, in a not very friendly, but equally not unfriendly, way to 'breathe through it'.

Back at HQ Ducky and McGee are in MTAC and McGee tells Ducky that Harvey confessed and then the scene expands and we see Abby and Ziva too. Ziva is holding a bouquet made out of cotton balls - which Abby made for her. And Ducky shows off his cuff links which Abby made for him out of spent slugs. And then DiNozzo arrives carrying a bowl of caramel popcorn. He says they'll all share in the traditional DiNozzo Christmas Day of the popcorn and the greatest Christmas film ever: It's A Wonderful Life. McGee and Ducky settle down behind Abby and Ziva and they are about to start when Abby says they can't until Gibbs gets there; Ziva says Gibbs said not to wait and Ducky enquires as to where Gibbs is.

Well it's pretty obvious where Gibbs was going to be: driving Quinn to Melissa's house. Quinn doesn't want to go in, he said he ruined her life, he's poison, but Gibbs says he should give himself some credit and he says that whilst Quinn might not need it, Melissa does. He adds that if he had one Christmas wish, it would be to hug his daughter, but that can never be. Quinn, however, has the chance *sniffs* So Quinn gets out of the car and then taps on the window until Gibbs winds it down and hands Gibbs a sketch he'd done - it turns out to be of the team. And he thanks Gibbs.

Gibbs watches him go to the house, Melissa come to the door, Quinn go inside and pick up his grandson. Then Gibbs takes out his mobile phone and dials a number.

Gibbs: "Merry Christmas, Dad."
Gibbs Snr. "Merry Christmas, son."


I really enjoyed this episode; in some ways it reminded me of Call Of Silence with the survivors guilt, etc. It was sentimental but not soppy and over the top. It did what it set out to do, I think: showed the true spirit of Christmas.

It wasn't fast paced or full of shoot-outs or even dead bodies, but it was a poignant and really good episode. It showed how someone can simply disappear if they really want to, at least someone in the situation Quinn was in.

There were some lovely team moments and exchanges. And some lovely shippy moments.

Lots of Gibbs/Ducky.

A teeny bit of Abby/McGee.

Also smidgens of Ducky/Abby and Gibbs/McGee.

Nice that the 'family' (albeit sans Gibbs) were together in MTAC watching a film (I wonder if Vance knew! Gibbs must have done, as he would have got them in, but . . .)

And a lovely touch at the end when Gibbs calls his dad.

Vance was fine in this, very small role and just right as Director.

It was a real shame that Jimmy wasn't in it.

The only real negative I have about this episode is how much Ziva annoyed me. But overall, a top notch episode. At least equal to many we have had this season thus far, equal to 'The Marmite episode' albeit in a totally different way.

Storyline: 10.00

Enjoyment: 10.00



Go to NCIS Episode Guide Page

Go to NCIS Index Page

Go to NCIS Non Fiction Page

Go to Home Page