2013 Mar 05 NCIS Critique of “Prime Suspect”

Even though tonight’s gruesome episode was about a serial killer, it had its moments of levity. People might get tired of hearing us talk about (or seeing us write about) how well the writers of NCIS do on a particular episode. Let’s face it; the clever writing is what keeps this show as the most watched of the broadcast networks. The day the writers quit their string of good episodes, will be the day the show will go into syndication, like others we’ve seen. Hopefully, that will not be any time soon.

Tonight, we were treated to kindness and joy when Leroy Jethro Gibbs tries to help his barber and friend, Frank, who is concerned his son might be responsible for murdering a string of girls who are intravenous drug users. Gibbs sets about trying to eliminate the barber’s son as a suspect. This story thread is dramatic and suspenseful as we wonder if Gibbs will have to arrest his friend’s son.

Another subplot unfolds and NCIS Special Agents exhibit their idiosyncrasies. A Navy paymaster steals a ton of money and runs off to the Bahamas to meet up with his girlfriend. Tony DiNozzo scams a trip to Nassau to do surveillance. But because Gibbs caught Tony hassling McGee, Gibbs sends Special Agent Dornigan along to cramp Tony’s style. Tony is at his comedic best when he plays a dirty trick on Dornigan, by informing him NCIS is reinstating the comprehensive examination to be elevated to the journeyman pay grade level of GS-11. Tony points out that it has been twenty years since Gibbs and Vance were required to pass the exam. I (David) found this revelation almost as frightening as did Dornigan. Why? Because when I was with NCIS in its early days, we all had to pass that test. It required lots of study.

Back to the show. Vance confides in Gibbs that he’s bothered by Abby’s constant attention since the loss of his wife. Gibbs points out to Vance that Abby is gifted with compassion. In the end, the writers wrap the whole package up neatly, as both cases are solved. A touching scene is when Vance asks Abby to help his daughter with her science project and he accepts a hug from Abby. Wasn’t that tender? When Director Vance discovers Tony tricked Dornigan and Ziva into studying for the nonexistent GS-11 exam, Vance helps them find revenge by ordering an audit of Tony’s expense voucher for the Bahamas trip and for the previous two years. Remember what happened when Tony demanded an audit of his pay checks? He had to pay money back to the government.

All this fun, plus justice is done in part due to Abby’s good work. We do wonder why neither Vance nor Gibbs has mentioned tracking down the killer of Eli David and Jackie Vance. While ultimate judgment may be coming toward the end of the season, we think it would add real suspense to at least bring it up. What do you think?

Be Blessed,
Diane and David

By |2013-03-06T03:26:28+00:00March 6th, 2013|NCIS|8 Comments


  1. Barbara Amrhein March 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I love your comments and insights into the NCIS episodes. And, as a confirmed Munson junkie I wonder when is your next book coming out?

    • danddmunson March 7, 2013 at 4:29 am - Reply

      Thanks Barbara. You and others should sign up for our newsletter at our website, because periodically we send out a newsletter that tells about progress on our latest novel. But since we haven’t written a newsletter in a bit, we’ll tell you now that “Stolen Legacy” will be available in stores and on our website in November.

  2. Deb Ragno March 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    We are enjoying seeing the “human” side of Gibbs this season.

    As for your final question about tracking down the killer of Eli David and Jackie Vance — Ever since that episode, the shows have seemed to be a bit out of sync. I am thinking that perhaps the writers got too close to something real and have had to back off with that whole storyline. Little was said of Ziva’s time in Israel — it was almost as if an entire episode or two was deleted. It seems to me that the producers are playing it safe right now for some reason.

    • danddmunson March 7, 2013 at 4:32 am - Reply

      Deb: Ooh, you may be on to something here. We’ll all be watching to see how things shake out.

  3. Jane Ramirez March 7, 2013 at 2:02 am - Reply

    I always enjoy your reviews, especially your Christian perspective, but I need to niggle: It’s Dorneget, not Dornigan. Grace! –Jane

    • danddmunson March 7, 2013 at 4:35 am - Reply

      Jane has brought to our attention that we got Ned Dorneget’s name wrong. Sorry we called him Dornigan. That’s what happens when you watch the show on a small TV with teeny speakers. Thanks Jane. Be Blessed. D&D

  4. Anne March 14, 2013 at 6:02 am - Reply

    David and Diane, Would you tell us more about the GS exam? I thought they said it was GS31? But whatever, can you find out if they still give it. And I’m curious – are there other exams that agents on the show would have taken? ( I have a hard time imagining that Gibbs would ever sit for any exam. lol)

    And I’ve looked at the FLETC website and see that there are a number of courses, some emphasizing certain specific skills and others more advanced courses. Are there any which any of the NCIS agents – or Abby – might have taken or taught.

    Thanks a lot.

    Anne in Pittsburgh

    • danddmunson March 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Anne asks an interesting question about the training of NCIS agents. She also make an insightful statement about Gibbs not being able to sit still long enough to take the required GS-11 exam, which was required to reach the top pay grade for non-management Special Agents. It is true that the exam is no longer given for Special Agents. When I (David), like Gibbs was with the NIS (before the recent name change) we had to take the exam and it was brutal. We studied prep materials for months in advance. Regarding training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. When I and Gibbs (if he were a real agent) went through training there was no FLETC. Our training school was in Arlington, VA. Now many Federal agencies train at FLETC. The class curriculum to view is that for Criminal Investigators. Within the Government there are several classifications of investigative job, General Investigators (who do not carry guns and have arrest authority are referred to as GS-1810. Criminal Investigators, like NCIS agents are GS-1811. At FLETC, all GS-1811’s train together and then their respective agencies, i.e. NCIS, Secret Service, Immigration Customs Enforcement, etc, give them additional training specific to their agencies unique investigative jurisdiction. I don’t know enough about the laboratory sleuths like Abby, to answer that part of your question. I do know that Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency that I and many NCIS agent transferred to has their own Academy near the FBI Academy at Quantico, and it is there where they train all their Special Agents (GS-1811) and their laboratory personnel

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