Knowing tonight’s show was airing during Halloween week, we expected something gory and it turned out better than we expected. Really, if the producers wanted something demonic and evil for Halloween, what better venue than New Orleans? Based on the “ghoulish” preview, we’re skipping that one. In this episode of NCIA, the banter about costumes and Abby’s moving hand were funny. A new ATF agent surfaces in a sting operation gone bad. NCIS and ATF both stung each other, something which David has encountered many times (even one is too many). It is dangerous when this happens, as evidenced by Tim’s bruised ribs. In David’s opinion, they were all lucky no one was shot.

The plot over the murder of a SEAL’s wife proved penetrating and compelling. Tonight, the writer, Jennifer Corbett, really kept us guessing until the last few minutes as to who shot Val Barnes, who was also a mother of Rachel a ten-year-old girl, and a therapist. The key question was if one of her prior clients shot the Commander’s wife at point blank range. Gibbs and Tony’s interview of the sociopath was realistic. He turned out to be one scary dude. David surmised early on the husband did the terrible deed (Diane didn’t), but when the husband confessed with ten minutes left to the show, we both figured David had it wrong.

We were so impressed with the writing and acting, as Gibbs protected and assured the child who’d lost her mother and was separated from her father. The drama was heavy as Gibbs remembered his mother’s death at his young age and the loss of his own daughter to an act of terror. His idea to build the child a fortress was so impressive. The drama couldn’t get much greater, but then to see the disappointment in his face and eyes. Enough said, without spoiling the show for those who might watch it later. Mark Harmon says it all with a look and a few words. It is no wonder NCIS is the most watched TV show in the world.

“I love Ziva, but she left us,” Abby tells Tony in her lab, with the doors sealed shut. She exhorts him to move forward from his past. “I miss my friend,” Tony said, with glittering eyes. Abby smiles and says, “Never forget we are your friends too.” Based on some other lines from Abby, Ziva most likely will not return, even in a cameo role. It was touching to watch Tony confronting his memories of Ziva, and meeting another beauty, now ATF Special Agent Zoe Keates, from his past. Do you think she will return and find a place in Tony’s heart? We love his funny-bone, and yet are ready for him to act more grown-up.

Great writing! Great acting! Great surprises!

Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson