Undercover cases don’t make usually good episodes because in real life the undercover operations last long term and don’t fit well into the forty minutes plus commercials of the average episode. In tonight’s episode, One Book, Two Covers, writer David J. North used a flashback to weave one of Agent Torres’ undercover cases to spin a really good tale. In the end, the episode could have been titled “Redemption” as it featured the redemption of Agent Torres, which in many respects parallels the redemption of the life of Leroy Jethro Gibbs after a misdeed early in his career.
In this episode, a young Marine joined a dirt bike gang who were robbing banks. He was killed when he was no longer of any use to them. Agent Torres discovers it’s the same gang he’d infiltrated years before as a new NCIS agent. Torres is reunited with Royce, a gang member who Torres flipped and who testified against the gang in exchange for being placed in the Witness Protection Program instead of prison. Drama escalates when Royce blackmails Torres because he knows Torres planted evidence against the gang’s leader. In the end, Gibbs confronts Torres to learn the details of Torres’ early career indiscretions. Unlike some supervisors, Gibbs refuses to report Torres’ mistake and exonerates him.
A huge error occurs when Torres’ is alone with Royce in Royce’s home to confront and arrest him. Gibbs and Agent Alex Quinn are outside providing surveillance. Royce knocks Torres out and escapes on a dirt bike. Gibbs and Quinn pursue Royce and nobody goes to help Torres. At a minimum, Quinn should have gotten out of the car to check on Torres.
David worked many undercover cases during his career and developed personal relationships with the criminals whom he later arrested. Some became protected witnessed. Some went to prison and later contacted Dave. There is a strange respect that develops between the hunter and the hunted. It’s not always hostile. This episode brought back many memories. Many of these experiences of David are highlighted in our suspense novel, “Facing Justice.”
Despite the one flub, we give the show 5 stars, not only for the exciting action, but also for the deep and personal connection that is achieved between Gibbs and Torres. What do you think?
Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson