NCIS “Dead Air” by Tina Charles
Photo Credit: Randy Tepper/CBS
The mailman goes postal; Dinozzo loses his voice; McGee outs himself as a baseball lover and Ziva and Gibbs play catch.
The case: A shock jock is murdered while on the air. The investigation leads Gibbs and the team to the ‘burbs where an extremist group becomes the next threat to national security. They want to ensure the American government keeps the focus on the various wars going on at home rather than spending zillions of dollars on international matters. This group dubbed MAH (Military At Home) tries to recruit the opinionated host of the radio show. But when he decides to expose them instead, they kill him.
"Dead Air" is very much a team-oriented investigation. McGee’s computer skills are at play; Dinozzo does some legwork around the gated community as well as an interrogation (more on that later); and Gibbs sends Ziva undercover to infiltrate the group, find the location of the bomb and its target. Ziva’s undercover gig has to happen quickly so she plays herself – five years ago. McGee erases the NCIS portion of her profile and suddenly she’s Ninja Chick circa 2005.
The MAH has somewhat good intentions but they seriously go off the reservation when it comes to the execution part. Well, not all of them. George Newbern plays a single dad who really wants to make a name for the group in a way that’ll get their message notoriety but doesn’t come with a body count. Pretty soon he becomes an obstacle that the mailman has to remove sending him to the hospital. His daughter finds out about her dad’s “activities” and now she’s pretty much lost both her parents because her father’s going to jail. His uptight neighbor with the preppy sweater was in on the radio host’s murder and the postman changes targets and looks to blow up a softball game where the kids’ powerful parents are the intended casualties. The explosion happens but Gibbs and the MCRT are in time and save the day.
- The vibe between Tony and Tim in “Dead Air” is exactly the way I want it to be with them every episode. I understand that they tease each other incessantly but I wish the show would come up with a happy medium so we can see Tony and Tim be the great friends I feel like they should be. So more of the “Truth or Consequences” or “Dead Air” Tony-and-Tim friendship, please.
- While I do think the writers hit the “Undercovers” references a little hard, I actually love anytime the show can pay homage to the classic episodes. And “Undercovers” is definitely a classic, one of my favorites. I was into Tony and Ziva back then. In the car, Tim wants to know if what happened between Tony and Ziva was real and Tony doesn’t quite answer. And then at the end of the episode, we get a recreation of one of the under-the-cover scenes when Tony tells Ziva not to be flattered, “it’s just my knee.”
- Poor Tony gradually loses his voice all episode long until he can only whisper or squeak. A Dinozzo that can’t express himself is a very funny Dinozzo. Although, I’m not quite sure why they let him interrogate that guy. Probably just for the comedic aspects. Still weird that they went there however. Tony squeaking and pointing to the preppy suspect and the bottle of urine back-and-forth was hilarious. And I really loved the fact that he drank some of Abby’s Caf-Pow which leads me to my next bullet point…
- I’m ecstatic because finally we get a good Tony/Abby scene. The last Tony/Abby scene came in that S7 episode where a hazmat suit-wearing Abby jumped in Tony’s arms. And that was only a moment. And that moment was the only Pauley Perrette/Michael Weatherly goodness we got last year. And that made me a pretty grumpy girl of Gibbs proportions.
- I adored Ducky hating on the shock jock and that type of (back)talk radio. Don’t hold back, Ducky! Ducky checking on Tony’s laryngitis was funny too especially when he had to tell Tony he’s not allowed to speak for 24 hours.
- Gibbs referenced a song. How cool is that? The fact that it was Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida is even cooler.
- I believe Tony actually called McGee “Tim” in this episode. I loved that.
- Even though I enjoyed the “Undercovers” recreation scene between Tony and Ziva the way they got themselves into that position was kind of bogus. I don’t think there was any need for Ziva to “save” Tony. It doesn’t seem like he really was in that much danger. But the show needed a way for them to get there so I guess suspending my disbelief will have to do.
- George Newbern is an actor that’s been in tons of stuff. But the three projects I remember him most are Fox’s short-lived series Reunion, and the movies Father of the Bride and Adventures in Babysitting. I checked out his IMDB page and apparently he was on six episodes of CBS’ Chicago Hope from 1997 – 1998. As we all know, NCIS' Mark Harmon and Rocky Carroll (not to mention Lauren Holly) starred on that series as well.
Photo Credit: Randy Tepper/CBS
- The hot bikini-clad neighbor Dinozzo flirted with is Nadia Bjorlin. She’s currently playing Chloe Lane on NBC’s lone daytime soap Days of our Lives and on the web soap Venice the Series.
- Something we learned about Tony: He once wanted to be a sportscaster along the lines of such hall-of-fame broadcasters like the late Jack Buck (voice of the St. Louis Cardinals), Vin Scully (the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers) and the late Harry Caray (the voice of the Chicago Cubs). I’m from St. Louis so I totally love the Jack Buck reference.
- I really liked the actress who played George Newbern’s daughter. She did a great job especially after she learned her father was a criminal.
- If Ziva were playing herself five years ago, I wish she had gone with her looser, wilder, less polished look.
- I do continue to enjoy Dinozzo’s references. Some of the ones he mentioned in “Dead Air”: Arlington Road, American Beauty, Stepford Wives, Leave it to Beaver, Top Gun and Urban Legend. This one’s particularly good since Tony also mentions that Rebecca Gayheart’s in it. Rebecca Gayheart used to star with Michael Weatherly on the daytime soap Loving back in the 90s.
- I’m cool with the phoofs in this one. Everyone except Ducky appeared in at least one. That’s how it should be done every week. But next time include Ducky and Jimmy, please.
- Love that we not only find out McGee’s an avid lover of baseball but he also wanted to be an imagineer which is as I found out, an engineer for Walt Disney. They design and develop for the various arms of Disney including the company’s amusement parks, hotels, resorts and cruise ships among other things. Does not surprise me to learn this about McGee at all.
- Of course McGee’s a fan of instant replay in baseball. And of course Dinozzo’s a traditional purist. I like that Tony was listening to Tim’s opinion, however.
- The entire episode Ziva makes it known she doesn’t understand Tony and McGee’s love of baseball. But by the end find out she does know the game. She and Gibbs ”have a catch” under the lights of the baseball field and she’s pretty good at it, apparently her dad taught her. The best part though? The smile on Gibbs’ face.
- I see Ziva’s comment about her father as foreshadowing for future episodes. We haven’t heard much about Eli David in a while. But pretty soon we will be.