WARNING: This review is very anti-Dr. Samantha Ryan

So NCIS has scored a hat-trick, for the third season running they have ruined the finale arc by the introduction of a (or in the case of last season several) superfluous, annoying, caricature characters - and they have all been women! The end of season seven was spoilt by M Allison Hart; the end of last season was spoilt by E. J. Barrett, and the end of this season is being spoilt by Dr. Samantha Ryan. Why do they have to do this? Why can we not just have our team? Or is that a far too shocking suggestion?

And of course now Ryan is just being shoe-horned into episodes; yes, her first appearance was fine; the role wasn't a shoe-horned one, but now it is. Why do they need her to 'see if a person is lying'? And to 'read' them? Er, we have Ducky who is trained in that area and whom Gibbs has gone to more than once for him to conduct his psychological autopsies - have we suddenly forgotten that? And since when did Gibbs need anyone to tell him if a person he is interrogating is lying? How about never! So why, oh, why, oh, why is Ryan here? What is the point of her? Nothing - other than to provide antagonism and rile Gibbs.

I honestly do not mind if they give Gibbs a love interest, really I don't. But please give him one that is believable; give him one with whom he has actual chemistry; give him one who doesn't lie, keep secrets from him, do nothing but show him disrespect, go behind his back. I cannot believe that Gibbs would entertain being with a person who treats him like Ryan has and does, and despite the fact he's called her on it several times she still goes on treating him like he's nothing. She has no respect for him and his abilities at all; all she does is lie, sneak around and play mind games and go over his head. What right did she have to clear her involvement with the SecNav before she ascertained that Gibbs actually wanted her to be involved? Talk about being full of herself and out and out arrogant

And during that scene in Maple's office when she had the thought about exploding gun system after Maple had said one of the things Dearing could have been building with all the equipment he'd bought was naval artillery shells, she most certainly wasn't going to tell Gibbs - had he not badgered her into telling him, she was going to keep that to herself. She doesn't share - again it showed how little respect she has for Gibbs.

But is there something more? We are meant to think so; even before Gibbs said anything to her when we had the scene with her on the phone to the naval person I said 'I don't trust her'. After all how does she know all the things she knows? Is it all just because of her role in DoD? Or is there something more? Could she actually be involved? Or is this just a red-herring because Gibbs doesn't really trust her any more - if he ever did. He is uneasy around her; he can't read her; something about her is troubling him. And yes, maybe it's all just her and her mind games and her inability to show anyone respect - because she doesn't show anyone respect, everyone is just a puppet to her to be used and treated badly - and not to interfere in everything and to behind their backs. But maybe there is something more.

Her constant and unnecessary presence rather ruined what could have been an interesting episode for me. As it was it was an episode that had some good moments, some fun moments, some nice team interaction, some interesting scenes, we took another step forward, but also more than one back I felt, and it did set things up nicely for next week. But Ryan being front and centre when she had no need and no right to be just had me irked.

At least we got the 'mystery' that was Maple solved. I thought he was involved in something when we first met him last week and yes, did wonder if he was involved with Dearing - whom I'm still not sure we know the truth about and whom I'm still not completely certain is the actual out and out bad guy and not just someone who is playing with NCIS and setting them up for something. He really is man of more questions than answers and a very intelligent man too. And Maple this week just added to the whole 'off' feeling, so it came as no surprise that he had been up to something - even if it was 'only' embezzling.

And I must be a bad person but I rather like Dearing *g* Okay, so maybe part of it is because I liked another role the actor played (Toby in The West Wing) but that doesn't normally have an impact one me. There's just something about him that makes me unable to out and out hate him - maybe because we don't really know enough about him or even the truth about him.

And so what Dearing is up to is all Gibbs's fault, is it? How come? Please, please, please, don't tell me we are going to bring Mexico back into the equation somehow. I can't think how Dearing could have a connection to Mexico, but who knows. Or is it going to be something else that Gibbs did in 1991? After all, we haven't had that mentioned this season (or at least not as far as I can recall) and that is highly unusual. And we know 1991 was at least twice as long as any other year has ever been, so maybe in-between all the things we know Gibbs did that year, he did something else as well! Or is that just another red herring; is Dearing fixating on Gibbs simply because Gibbs is the lead investigator? Somehow I don't believe that to be the case. After all, why did he leave (and where did he get) a perfect model of the 'Kelly', the boat Gibbs built and gave to his god-daughter (Mike Franks's grand-daughter).

Of course if Dearing isn't acting alone or isn't even the main baddie, then it may be something Gibbs did to someone else, the person who is pulling Dearing's strings (if such a person exists) which brings me back to Dr. Ryan - is she to be fully trusted? Is she in some way involved? She knows so darn much, I could believe it. Was the break up with Parker's father really as bad as she's letting on? Was is bad at all? Or was Gibbs in some way responsible for his death? Or the death of someone else connected to Ryan? Was Dearing actually trying to warn Gibbs because Ryan was there? Yes, I know that is all rather far-fetched, but not beyond the realms of possibility. And far better than it turning out to be related to Mexico or 1991.

I knew something was going to happen in the garage when they had Freddie captured; I thought it might be an explosion so him being killed was quite surprising. And with his death we get another tie in with the black-black-ops team when the micro-chip was discovered in his arm.

It was obvious that when they thought they'd got Dearing or at least all the equipment he didn't actually order and they raced off to the storage facility that nothing would be there.

What game is Dearing playing? He wanted NCIS to find the micro-chip (did he kill Fountain or was it someone else?); he wanted them to go to the empty warehouse and meet Kozlov and question him to find out about the meet with Maple; he wanted them to arrest Maple and find out about the embezzling. He also wanted them to see him in the navy yard; he's at least one step ahead of them all the time at the moment - but why? What is he up to? Is he so cocky he believes he can take on Gibbs and win or is he not the actual hard and fast bad guy? Was getting to follow Maple just a way of distracting them from him for a moment or . . . ?

And so Vance did away with his security detail (why do directors do that?) and drove himself home and has been captured, which it appears Dearing was kind enough to tell Gibbs (or did he, we only have Ryan's word that chess and Dearing are tied together). Actually, I do think Dearing was the one to tell Gibbs, but again why? What is that man's game?

I did find it, given the dire circumstances, a bit odd that Vance would have done away with his security detail and they'd have let him. Yes, I know it had to happen so he could be abducted, but it could have been written better. They could have found another way, like smoke bombing the car or something - I found it a little bit hard to swallow that Vance would do that. But putting that aside for a second and accepting that he did, who abducted him? Could one person have managed to abduct the director of NCIS by him/herself? Vance is an ex-agent; he's armed, how did one person manage it? Unless they smoke bombed his car or really caught him off guard or threatened to harm his family. But to me it implies Dearing is not working alone.

It was really good to see Dorneget, I like his character and I think he fits well with the team and his role in starting his whole thing was really good. It was good to see him working with the team and the fact that he's a floater and in and out of all departments thus the ideal person to bug was very believable. And his interaction with the team generally was excellent, he didn't overshadow them he fitted in and adapted very well indeed.

I really liked the 'fun' story-line of poor Jimmy trying to find out just what Abby had planned for his bachelor party and being so worried about it and no one telling him - because in truth no one knew, which was a nice twist. I actually thought it was all a wind up with Abby borrowing the Autopsy saw - not that I can believe for a second Ducky would have lent it to her - and all the other hints. But when we saw Abby in her costume with her cattle-prod - I'm not so sure! Poor Jimmy, he would have hated that kind of party and Abby would have known that, so why would she organise such a thing? Well, again unless even her being dressed up was part of the wind up and actually all it was going to be was similar to the one he actually had, which is far more Jimmy.

I loved the opening squad room scene when he comes in after Tim has taken his phone apart to clean it and Tony's been teasing him about it (lovely brotherly interaction) and then both Tony and Tim pick up their receivers and pretend to be talking in an attempt to avoid Jimmy asking them what Abby had planned for his party - but of course Tim's phone is in bits. So very good indeed - I loved it

His party was a lot of fun (but where the hell was Ducky?). It was great to see them enjoying themselves. I loved the idea that Dorneget had arranged for the drinks to be watered down, but Jimmy still seemed more than a little drunk. I suspect that was more a case of being drunk in the mind; he thought he was tossing back all those shots, so therefore they had to have an impact on him, therefore he was drunk; plus, of course, he was so happy to be there with Gibbs, Tim, Tony and Dorneget, so that also made him drunk with happiness. I'm not saying he wasn't tipsy and somewhat affected by the water-down drinks, maybe he's one of those people who get drunk on one or two drinks (we do know he has to be sent home in a taxi every year from the NCIS party, so maybe he can't hold them), but I don't think he was as drunk as he thought he was - he certainly got out of the way well enough when the agents drew their weapons and headed for the car. Maybe it's because he's a diabetic that a small amount of alcohol can hit him so quickly.

Anyway, it was a very good scene - except: Again where was Ducky? And no, I won't buy he was left out because it might not be 'safe', after all Jimmy was there and he's not a field agent. Ducky is closer to Jimmy than anyone, it was out and out wrong that he wasn't there - or at the very least it was wrong that we weren't actually given a reason for it.

I'm wondering if Ducky's comment about just having got his blood pressure under control was another throw away line or another red herring to tie in with him remaking his will last week and thus making us worry about his health. But again, if it was then I go back to the appalling timing about David McCallum's renewal of his contract coming out last week. Unless that was a red herring in itself and in fact he hasn't re-signed. Now that would be quite the surprise, but do I think the NCIS PTB have the imagination to come up with it? Sorry, no, I don't.

So not the greatest episode ever - there were some good moments and it leaves a lot of questions to be answered next week and it poses things to think about, it was interesting in parts; fun in parts, great fun in parts, actually.. But it was spoilt for me by Dr. Ryan's unneeded, shoe-horned presence.

Favourite Scenes:
- The opening squad room scene.
- Abby and Jimmy when Jimmy was trying to find out what she had planned for his party.
- Tony and Ziva in the car waiting for Gibbs when Ziva says now Gibbs and Ryan are an item they should stop talking about them and Tony being askance and asking her how can she not possibly be interested in other peoples' lives. It was so typically Tony and consistent as we know he has to know everything about everyone.
- Ducky, Jimmy and Gibbs in Autopsy when Ducky tells the story about the Germans and the buddy system.
- Abby, Dorneget and Gibbs in Abby's lab when it's Dorneget who came up with a really good piece of information - even if he didn't think of the final part of it. It was lovely that Abby made Dorneget tell Gibbs.

Things we learnt/had confirmed:
- Ducky has had blood pressure issues? Interesting.

Minor Irks:
- Far too little Ducky.
- Why wasn't Ducky at the bachelor party?
- Gibbs needing someone to tell him when a suspect was lying.
- Ducky lending Abby the Autopsy saw.
- Dr. Ryan (and that is not a minor irk).
- Why aren't they using Ducky's skills rather than bringing Ryan in?
- Ducky saying that others must find Dorneget more interesting than they are NCIS does - very un-Ducky!
- Vance, in the circumstances, doing away with his security protection. I know they needed it so he could be abducted, but again I would have thought they could have come up with a better plot idea.

Pairing of the week:

Character of the week:

Actor of the week:
Brian Dietzen

Storyline: 8.50

Enjoyment: 8.50 (mainly for the bachelor party scene



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