Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Episode Review. Season 6x20 - Dead Reckoning

My thoughts behind the cut.



I was looking forward to this episode as it had Trent Kort 'the CIA man whom everyone loves to hate'. I can't say I care for the man, but I do enjoy his interactions with Gibbs and what Kort wanted had to be fairly big, after all he was calling in the 'favour' Gibbs owed him after he gave Gibbs Ducky's file, so Gibbs could save Ducky.

I do hope that the baddie in this was always meant to be so blindingly obvious pretty much from the first second we saw him, but certainly from the first time Gibbs went into the interrogation room and the fact it got clearer and clearer and more obvious throughout. They meant us to get him straight away, didn't they? The whole thing was meant to be 'how do Gibbs et al' catch him out. That has to be it, yes? Otherwise . . . I thought I'd seen the most obvious baddie, but this was beyond being obvious. Not that that had an impact on my enjoyment, it just added another 'when will they realise? How will be screw up? What is going to happen?' layer - which was as good, if not better, as if he'd been a brilliant cover.

Lovely to see Jimmy in this episode, I always like Jimmy.

There was some good interaction between the team and also Gibbs and Kort. I can't say I really wanted to slap anyone (at least not hard) this week. The team banter was mostly just the normal sibling level, but DiNozzo still has a real edge to him and his 'Mcxxxs' aren't as friendly teasing as they used to be. However, we do know why; he still isn't over Jeanne. But at least the writers didn't make him the total fool this week and have him make inappropriate comments that Gibbs or someone else was going to hear - so that was much better to see.

We begin with a shoot-out at a construction site. A largish man is shooting at another man (who isn't shown, but who is clearly Kort - I recognised his jacket). Kort kills him and then another man starts shooting at Kort. Kort grabs the gun from the man he's already killed and duly disposes of the other man shooting at him. He then wipes the gun clean, puts it back into the hand of the first man he killed, pulls out his mobile phone and calls Gibbs. He's calling in his favour.

Gibbs goes there, and being the agent he is, pulls his gun as soon as he gets out of the car. He meets Kort and says he thought Kort was riding a desk and trying to stay out of trouble. Kort tells him that didn't work. And he tells Gibbs the two men shot one another.

Gibbs: "That the best story you got?"
Kort: "The one I'm sticking to." And he does, all the way through.

Kort tells Gibbs the first man he shot was Andre Vogal a man who was high up in the organisation of one Jonathan Siravo, a crime lord with links to kidnappings, drugs and smuggling, to name but a few. Gibbs knows who Siravo is; he's on NCIS's 'most wanted' wall. Gibbs comments that Vogal was killed with a .45 and says that is Kort's weapon of choice. Kort says he no longer uses that. There was going to be a meet with Siravo, but instead the two men are dead. He says he can't take Siravo down, but NCIS can do so legally. This is the favour he wants - the big favour, he wants Gibbs to take down a man Gibbs would love to take down. He's giving Siravo to Gibbs, he's in effect doing Gibbs yet another favour. Which in itself is interesting and already we know that there are things Kort is not telling Gibbs and there is far more to it than meets the eye.

In the squad room McGee gets out of the lift, holding a piece of paper and smiling to himself. DiNozzo calls him 'McTardy' and demands to know where he's been. McGee asks where Gibbs is as he needs a superior to sign his piece of paper; DiNozzo holds out his hand and says he'll do it as he's clearly superior to McGee. McGee doesn't even give him the benefit of a come-back he just again asks after Gibbs. Ziva tells him they thought Gibbs was with McGee (cue squees for Gibbs/McGee fen, no doubt). But McGee says he'd been at the firing range doing his annual required firing test.

DiNozzo then tells McGee to check Gibbs's calendar as he could have had an appointment at the doctor's or dentist's - er, DiNozzo, this is Gibbs, don't forget; he doesn't get sick or do anything remotely 'normal'. He won't be at either of those places. McGee refuses, saying if he does Gibbs will turn up as he's looking - nice one, Tim. Ziva decides she'll look, but quickly orders the other two to keep watch. Gibbs's calender for both February (which comes up first) and March is completely blank; Ziva thinks he doesn't even know how to use it. She's probably right :-)

McGee is concerned saying as Gibbs lives alone maybe something has happened to him. DiNozzo then launches into one of his 'plots' and talks about it being a case of a hobby turning bad. And says about Gibbs being crushed between a large boat and an even larger bottle of bourbon. Now what was so nice was that in every other episode Gibbs would have arrived at that second, but he didn't - which was good.

DiNozzo tells McGee to call Gibbs. McGee again decline asking what he could say 'hey, boss, just calling to see if you're okay'. Ziva won't do it and nor, of course, will DiNozzo. DiNozzo then tells McGee to see if Gibbs's mobile phone is turned on. They all go to McGee's desk and he checks and it is. DiNozzo tells him to track where Gibbs is. McGee is still leery saying Gibbs will know, because he always knows everything. But he does and they see where Gibbs is. At that moment DiNozzo's phone rings - it's Gibbs who orders them to the construction site, telling them it is in respect of Siravo.

I thought this scene was an excellent one with some lovely banter and by-play between the kids, very much the interplay I like with no one trying to play one-upmanship games (the whole 'I'm clearly superior to you' from DiNozzo earlier and even that was okay, apart from his tone, which isn't that nice at the moment, but we can forgive him now we know about him still being in love with Jeanne). I liked the way he kept trying to get McGee and then Ziva to check on Gibbs or call him, when clearly he had no intention of doing it himself. And it was nice to see that neither of them rose to the bait - they've both got the handle on him now and good to see McGee pretty much ignoring DiNozzo's little 'digs' and 'superior' comment. All in all a really excellent and very much in character as I like to see them.

DiNozzo, understandably, is not happy to see Kort and has several digs at him and passes more than one less than respectful comment. Gibbs ignores it, letting him have his say and not stopping him, but quickly pulling it back to the case in hand. Kort tells them he got a tip, he called Gibbs and when they got to the yard the men were dead. DiNozzo doesn't believe Kort - Gibbs says nothing one way or another other than to tell them that isn't their concern; Siravo is and he sends them off.

DiNozzo and Ziva are in a car together and DiNozzo is still ranting about Kort. Ziva tries to calm him down telling him she doesn't like Kort either, but DiNozzo says he has more reason than her not to. Kort tried to kill him and he blew up his car. Ziva: "I'm sure he had his reasons." DiNozzo just looks at her.

Meanwhile in another car McGee spots a silver sedan turning into the area and calls Gibbs. Okay how did he pass that onto Gibbs? Gibbs didn't appear to be wearing an ear-wig and he hadn't got his mobile in his hand, so unless it was open in his pocket or something, how did he hear McGee? Gibbs and Kort pull their guns and go out to confront the man who was in the car and who is walking down to where they are. However, the man is not Siravo - well of course it wasn't going to be.

The man is Perry Sterling and he doesn't have a record, nor does there appear to be any connection between him and Siravo. We learn that Siravo had been involved in a motor-bike accident several years before, was taken to hospital, disappeared after surgery and a year later is a major crime lord with fingers in many things all over the world; he should have a paper trail, but he doesn't. And we get the obligatory Ziva-ism who says 'finger in many eyes'. In the early days these actually worked and were more logical than the actual phrase, but I think the writers are scraping the barrel now to give her things to say. It appears that Siravo's latest crime is piracy; a cargo ship carrying military parts with a crew of 27 has been hijacked by Somalian pirates.

Outside the interrogation room Kort is watching Gibbs and Perry and Vance comes in. He clearly wants to know what Kort's agenda is and Kort tells him simply that the CIA can't legally work the case thus he had no option but to call Gibbs. In the interrogation room Gibbs begins by giving Perry the silent treatment; he takes off his watch and fiddles with it and finally Perry starts to talk and talk. He goes on about his mind being full of business thoughts and how he'd taken a wrong turning and ended up at the construction yard and still Gibbs lets him talk.

Until finally Gibbs mentions Siravo and Perry confesses to being his accountant. He launders money for Siravo and he's basically scared rigid of Siravo. Gibbs tells him about the ship, but Perry seems surprised by that, saying it isn't one of Siravo's. Gibbs pushes more and Perry says he wants to help, but he wants immunity. Okay, so as I said it was so clear this guy was the bad guy. I confess I thought that possibly he was Siravo with some kind of total facial reconstruction and new ID, etc. etc. but he was so obviously the 'baddie'. Did Gibbs swallow it? Or was he playing along with it to see who showed their hand next? After all at that point he had nothing on Perry, no proof, etc. other than he was guilty of money laundering. I'd like to think Gibbs spotted Perry straight off and was just waiting for the moment he could collect evidence. But . . .

Outside Vance says he'll call the attorney, it'll take some time and Perry will have to undergo a polygraph. He then asks about the shoot-out and Gibbs tells him quite honestly that it was over when he got there. He says he didn't take the team with him as he didn't know what it was, after all Kort was involved.

Abby and Ducky are talking on the intercom and Ducky is assuring Abby that a bullet, or more, hadn't fallen out when he'd stripped the body. Abby says in that case they have a disappearing act. Ducky has two bodies, Abby has three slugs which Ducky extracted, but she also has shell cases from a third gun that seems to be nowhere. At that moment Gibbs appears and turns of the connection between her and Ducky. He tells her to concentrate on Siravo. She's found nothing of use on Perry's laptop or mobile, all there is are lots of spreadsheets, porn and evidence he plays a lot of video games. She then goes on about the third gun again and says that means a third shooter and says it's Caf-Pow country, but there's no Caf-Pow. Gibbs tells her her evidence is inconclusive and suddenly she 'gets' it and says she'll double check her 'evidence' very, very slowly.

Kort is outside MTAC when DiNozzo goes up and DiNozzo launches into another verbal attack on Kort; he is actually quite nasty - but understandably so. He thinks it's insulting that Kort thinks they'll buy his story, but as Kort points out someone (meaning Gibbs) has. Gibbs then arrives and he and DiNozzo go into MTAC; Kort is about to follow but DiNozzo takes great pleasure in stopping him, getting in more nasty comments ending with suggesting he get a new personality from the gift shop. Ouch.

In MTAC is Vance and the ship has been traced to the Indian Ocean. However, it is fine. Instead is that the pirates own ship has been blown up and it seems to have been done remotely. Someone is taking out Siravo's crew.

Back in interrogation Perry is trying, and failing, to get the top of his pills. Gibbs obliges and as he's taking it off Perry is telling him all about his health issues. Gibbs says that stress can cause all the things Perry mentions. He shows Perry photos of the two men from the construction site and tells him about the pirates' ship being blown up. Perry says that Siravo is liquidating and that he should have seen it coming as Siravo got him to consolidate funds - funds of multi-million dollars. Siravo is closing up shop. He then asks for water, which Gibbs doesn't give him. Instead he asks for details of Siravo's accounts, Perry says he won't give them until he has immunity. Gibbs goes as Perry calls out he knows the name of Sirvao's number two, Victor Flores. Gibbs says he knows that, but just as he goes, Perry calls that he knows how to contact Flores. Naturally that brings Gibbs back and Perry asks if Gibbs has ever played 'Captains Of Industry 3' - er, this is Gibbs, the answer would be a resounding 'no'.

Abby and McGee are talking about the above mentioned game - they are not fans of it; in fact they are rubbishing it. Abby wonders why on earth Perry would spend several hours a day playing a game no one plays. McGee suggests because it gives him real time conversation in uncrowded chat rooms. Whilst he and others are 'chatting' they can also be sending coded messages but Abby and McGee can decode them.

McGee: "That's a lot of chat to decode."
Abby: "McGee. It's play time."

Another nice little scene.

Down in the squad room, Gibbs, DiNozzo and Ziva are looking at the wall and also wondering the two dead men. Kort chips in suggesting they might be lovers who could no longer live a lie. DiNozzo is not impressed with that; Gibbs sends DiNozzo and Ziva off to take Perry to a safe house and then he calls Kort over to him.

Kort: "You keeping me on a short leash, Gibbs?"
Gibbs: "Yeah. I'll get a muzzle if I have to."
Kort: "I thought we'd turned the corner in our relationship, You ask me for something. I ask you for something."
Gibbs: "I didn't ask you to dig up the dirt on Vance."
Kort: "But you read the file anyway."
Gibbs: "No. I don't waste time on fiction." (Is he lying to Kort, or has he really not read it?)

Kort then asks why he'd mislead Gibbs and he talks about in their line of work it's not easy and trust is illusive. Gibbs informs him it's impossible. But that he honours his debts. The only reason Gibbs is doing this, Kort, is because you got Ducky's file for him so that he could save Ducky - be under no illusions, he does not like nor does he trust you. They get into the lift and Kort says Gibbs isn't really sticking his neck out for him anyway, because he already knows what he'll say to Vance if Vance comes down on him; he has a fall-back position. He'll tell Vance he has the dirt on him.

Kort: "Lies are cheap. Action speaker louder. Or in parlance you understand: 'measure twice, cut once'." That does earn him a half Gibbs smile.

At the safe house Perry is being a pain; he doesn't like it, it smells musty, it hasn't been cleaned. When DiNozzo asks who'd been there last, Ziva tells him her and McGee - even the bed hasn't been made! Perry says he's hungry as he hasn't eaten all day but when DiNozzo gives him a load of takeaway menus he says he's on a  really strict diet. DiNozzo is fast losing patience with him - very fast.

In Abby's lab, Abby and McGee are 'playing' CoI3 and tell Gibbs and Kort about the messaging system and how they have the cypher so they know what certain perfectly normal-part-of-the-game terms mean. They are trying to trace Flores, but he uses multiple characters. However, a message then comes in with reference to a hospital which Abby and McGee decode as an emergency meeting in Rock Creek in an hour. Gibbs and Kort go off.

Back at the safe house Perry is washing up and talking to Ziva as she cleans her gun. He tells her he wasn't popular as a child and so his parents suggested he got a pet, but it turned out he was allergic to it. She tells him he is not a bad looking man, which surprises him and she also says she is surprised he hasn't got/had girlfriends *blinks* I assume this was just Ziva trying to put him at his ease and get him to relax and not drive DiNozzo mad, as it was very un-Ziva-like. He confesses he did have a girlfriend, until she got the grades she wanted; then she dumped him. He had thought money would bring him women, but it seems it will just bring him prison or death.

Perry: "Danger is a turn on for a woman, right?"
Ziva: "Some women."

DiNozzo returns with the food, but Perry is out of medicine, which he should take when eating, and tells them they do not want to be in a small apartment with him if he hasn't taken is pill.

At the park Gibbs and Kort see a car and assume Flores got there early, maybe they got the code wrong. They get out of the car and draw their guns and find not just one dead body, but two.

Ducky, Jimmy and McGee join them at the now crime scene; Ducky is checking one body, Jimmy the other. Both died less than half an hour ago; Ducky turns to Gibbs and mentions a coincidence, adding he knows what Gibbs thinks of those. Gibbs finds come cigarette butts and then he and Kort, watched by a fascinated Jimmy, go into a double-handed 'reconstruction'. McGee comes back and tells them the other dead man is Luther Rake, who is low level muscle for Siravo. It appears Siravo hired Rake to take Flores out, but Flores hit back.

In Vance's office Vance says there has to be a leak, which as Gibbs points out means Siravo knows they have Perry. Vance refers to Kort as Gibbs's 'buddy' and Gibbs says he's not. Vance tells him he'd checked and found that Siravo hadn't been on CIA's radar for six months and Kort is benched. He wants to know why Kort is digging; Gibbs says he has his uses. Vance then mentions the file Gibbs has and says that Kort gave it to Gibbs. He asks what Kort is interested in.

Gibbs: "God and country."

Vance implies Kort is the leak, but Gibbs says he has nothing to gain by leaking. Vance orders Gibbs to find out who the leak is because he wants the CIA out of his house.

In the safe house, DiNozzo is looking in the mirror and talking to Perry. He tells him the US Marshals are on their way to collect him (that was quick, Vance said it would take some time). Perry seems relieved, but DiNozzo points out he'll have to have a polygraph, he'll have to spill his guts to the US Attorney, he'll have to testify and he'll be in and out of safe houses for ages. Or, he says, Perry could just tell NCIS Siravo's account details.

In Autopsy Ducky and Jimmy are now doing a two-hander as they talk about the four dead bodies they have. There are a total of seven wounds from seven bullets and four guns, all of which are in evidence; they have the means and the murders. But Ducky says there should be a connection, but the bodies all sing a different harmony to the same song, like a barbershop quartet. Jimmy then sings "case closed." Ducky however hums a snatch of 'let the punishment fit the crime' and tells Jimmy it was Gilbert and Sullivan.

Jimmy suggests that opera wouldn't translate to a barbershop quartet and when Ducky looks at him hurries to say which of course Ducky would know as Ducky is a lover of opera. Ducky comments that Jimmy is a lover of the barbershop quartet. We then learn that when Jimmy was in college he was in a barbershop quartet, he was a tenor, called 'PB&Js'. He tells Ducky about it, talking with a great deal of pleasure and fond memories, tells him they modelled their look on the Dapper Dans of Disneyland and admits he still he still has the outfit they wore. And they talk about the fifth note, and Jimmy explains further it's also known as the 'ringing cord' and is the one that is only heard when all four men sing together. And they refer that back to the four bodies - they need to tell in unison.

Ducky: "We need a connection."
Gibbs (arriving on cue): "Horse manure." He hands Ducky a file.
Ducky: "Horse manure?"

Then he remembers they did find a substance on the hands and under the fingernails and Abby found some on the shoes. Ducky looks at the file and reports that the chemical breakdown implies that the manure all came from the same ranch. (I know nothing about horses, but is it possible tests can reveal that much detail? Wouldn't it all have to be from the same horse, or is it all linked with food and grass, etc? plutos_revenge?) Ducky suggests that if the four men had all been to the same ranch, then maybe Siravo did too; which is what Gibbs was also thinking as he agrees and goes. Once he's gone Ducky and Jimmy sing "Perfect harmony."

A very nice scene indeed. I love to see Ducky and Jimmy interacting and this was a particularly fun and interesting little scene> It's nice to learn another snippet about Jimmy's background (maybe that means we'll see more of him in the rest of this season and next *hopes*). And of course I have to get in my obligatory 'nice looks and smiles between Gibbs and Ducky' comment. Plus Ducky was back to being Ducky this week and not overly rambling, slightly worrying Ducky.

Back with Ziva who is on her way back to the safe house she spots two men getting out of a car and calls DiNozzo, telling him they have been compromised. She goes in through the back, but they don't take Perry away, she feels they are safer where they are. She tells DiNozzo to take Perry into the bathroom, then draws two guns, calls Gibbs and seconds later fires both guns as both doors open. She kills both men. Gibbs is calling her name, in a very concerned voice and she then calmly tells him all is well. In the bathroom Perry has been sick and DiNozzo asks Ziva if she is okay. She gives Perry his tablets and says it looks as if he needs them. Go Ziva! The US Marshals then arrive and take Perry away. A very good Ziva scene that showed her abilities to shoot with both hands and in synchrony.

Back with Abby and McGee she is her 'concerned' mode and is going on about how no one is safe until she finds the leak - McGee is trying to calm her down, but not succeeding. She's ran traces on all their phones, home and mobile - including her own and nothing. McGee suggests a virus or Trojan, but the firewall shows no breaches. Gibbs then arrives and gives Abby Kort's mobile and tells her to run that. McGee meanwhile has found a common location for the men, other than where they died, and they find the ranch.

In the garage DiNozzo and Ziva are getting into one car. Kort is there (in a rather nice suit) and asks if they could use another gun; DiNozzo tells him they don't have a spare vest but Kort can always go without. Gibbs tells him to get into the damned car as he gets into the other car with McGee, and DiNozzo does that very thing. Kort does now know Perry is with the Marshals.

At the ranch they sweep it in the same pairs and all go inside. And there they find in one of the rooms a man in a hospital bed, clearly unconscious and a nurse. It is Siravo.

Back in the squad room DiNozzo is talking to the wall and telling it it lied to him - there's no way Siravo was responsible for the crimes he was meant to have been responsible; he's never regained consciousness. But still they have half a dozen bodies (two of which 'belong' to Ziva) and nine more from the pirates ship. So who is responsible? We know, don't we?

McGee tells Gibbs than until two days ago Siravo hospital bills were all being paid, but then as Perry said everything is being drained, all the accounts emptied. But the transfers were not made from outside of the bank. Only two agencies, according to International Banking Laws have the power to seize assets of suspected criminals or terrorists - Homeland Security and the CIA. At that moment Abby calls.

Gibbs goes down to see her and Abby is 'hiding' from him and asks him not to fire her of send her to jail, she thinks she'd prefer firing of the two. When asked why she confesses she aided and abetted in homicide. She and McGee misread the codes and they had been fiddled. The term 'hospital' meant 'hit' and Rake must have been monitoring the game and the messages, hence the double take out. Gibbs calls DiNozzo and tells him to get the car.

Outside he then calls Kort who admits to having drained the accounts, basically he wants to know who the real head of the crime gang is. There's a nice little scene when DiNozzo pulls up, gets out of the car to let Gibbs get in and drive. Kort says he never expected Gibbs to hand Perry over to the Marshals.  Gibbs says no one else will die that day.

Perry is then brought out and Kort pulls out his badge but the Marshals won't hand Perry over saying they'll shoot Kort. But before anyone can do anything Perry grabs a gun and shoots through the window of the truck hitting Kort and then putting a bullet into of the Marshals. He then goes nearer to Kort and demands his money back. He has a gun on Kort, at that second Gibbs pulls up, distracting Perry long enough for Kort to pull his gun and point it at Perry. Gibbs and DiNozzo also pull their guns and aim them at Perry. Gibbs suggests that as Perry is a numbers man he might want to think about the odds. Perry drops his gun and DiNozzo cuffs him. Gibbs goes to Kort to help him up and asks if he knew it was Perry, Kort simply replies that he knew it wasn't him.

McGee and Ziva are talking about how Perry did what he did whilst DiNozzo is putting a red band across Siravo to indicate he's been caught. And once again he refers to the only place Siravo would be seen was on the wall. But when he turns around McGee and Ziva have gone; he says the wall was the main victim - nice moment.

Vance, Gibbs and Kort appear. Kort wasn't after the pirate, but his treasure; the CIA gets to keep the money, NCIS has Siravo and a major threat has been neutralised - Gibbs and Kort exchange a look. Kort asks Gibbs if he really thought he'd shoot Perry (I would imagine so). He wants to get back into the 'game' Gibbs suggests he's even more dangerous behind a desk.

Kort: "If it makes you feel any better, Gibbs, I owe you one."
Gibbs: "No. We're even." Another look between them.

And Kort goes.

Vance: "The hardest thing about coaching is watching from the side-lines."
Gibbs: "Yeah. It looks a little different from over there. don't it, Leon?" And he asks if Vance would have done it differently.
Vance: "I would. I do." Pause. "But in the last two minutes your have to let your quarter-back call the plays. Nice win."

He walks off and Gibbs smiles after him. I assume that was a little 'nudge' about Mark Harmon who used to play American football.

OVERALL

I enjoyed it. I thought it was a good, solid episode with some excellent moments, good banter and touches of humour, but not OTT humour like last week's.

I don't like Kort, but I do like the interaction between him and Gibbs and they actually work quite well together.

Some nice team moments, exchanges and scenes.

No one was really irritating.

DiNozzo wasn't written as the total fool and butt of all jokes this week, which was really good to see. Even his 'relationship' with the wall stopped short of going OTT.

McGee was the McGee we saw at the beginning of the season and last week, more mature, not letting DiNozzo get away with stuff, but not being cutting and jaded.

I loved Ziva's double shooting.

Ducky and Jimmy's scene was wonderful. Just lovely.

Vance did his job and played his role as director as a good director should.

Perry was so clearly guilty from the off. Okay, so yes I was fooled as I thought he might be Siravo. But it was so blindingly obvious that Siravo or not he was the one arranging the hits and he was moving the money, etc. etc. But that didn't spoil it as it was 'when are they going to catch him'.

My top three scenes:

- Ducky & Jimmy in Autopsy.
- Gibbs & Kort doing their double-handed reconstruction, watched by a fascinated Jimmy.
- Ziva shooting with both hands and taking out the baddies as they came through a door each.

Storyline: 9.00

Enjoyment: 9.00
Tags: !creator: nakeisha, non-fiction: episode reviews, season 06
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