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Review: NCIS – “Enemies Domestic”

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Last night, Gibbs and his band of lovable crime-solving misfits took on a dangerous case in the 9th episode of the current season of NCIS, entitled “Enemies Domestic.” It is the thrilling conclusion to the previous episode, “Enemies Foreign,” where we find the estranged father of Ziva, Eli David, in town for a conference with past directors of NCIS and a date with a would-be assassin. While there was some forensics work to be had, the episode primarily focused on the current agency director and series anomaly, Leon Vance, and his rise to power.

We learn much about the director’s past, flashing back nearly 20 years to an operation in Amsterdam, something long overdue since his debut in the series in season five. There have been hints dropped along the way about the enigmatic director, but nothing satisfying until this night. We now learn that Vance has a connection with Mossad director Eli David that has forged a bond not easily broken. We see the first connection with Gibbs and the woven lines between these two celebrated characters. And we also learn that there is a leak within NCIS, and the team must race to find the traitor before he has to succeed in his mission: to kill Vance!

The show has to be given extra credit for the truly phenomenal makeup job performed on both Vance and David. Both looked convincingly young and care was taken to not break the illusion throughout the episode using well-chosen costumes and a careful selection of body hair. Similarly, the jobs of both Rocky Carroll (Vance) and Michael Nouri (David) must be praised, as they expertly conveyed their purported youth through skillful acting that never wavered.

The conclusion of the episode felt a little rushed, but with two full episodes of effort already invested into the story, there was likely not a simple way to draw to a close such a complicated storyline. The intricacies of the plot were deep and found connections to multiple places within the cannon of the NCIS universe. There was even a much enjoyed explanation to the cheese danish that Vance presented to Gibbs near his arrival at the agency.

Overall, I would rate this episode a solid 8/10 and it offers a nice end the first half of the 8th season. I am excited to see what the team has in store for its return in mid-December after a brief break with “False Witness.”

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