'NCIS' Recap: Life After Ziva
'NCIS' Recap: Life After Ziva
Kim Stempel
Kim Stempel
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
NCIS hit us with an emotional goodbye last week to Ziva David, when she decided to put aside her badge and stay in Israel -- alone. Tony and Ziva shared a kiss before he headed back to DC.
This week gives some closure to devoted "Tiva" fans, but I still wish the episode had more actual Ziva in it. I, for one, will miss the hilarious way she managed to confuse the English language.

How will Ziva's departure affect the NCIS team? We'll find out with this week's episode, titled "Under the Radar."

The Big Bang

The show opens with a landlord entering an apartment to bring a registered letter to a tenant. Unfortunately, the apartment is rigged to explode if the door is opened, and the apartment manager is killed.

Tony questions Murray as to why he is at Ziva's desk. Murray is scrubbing Ziva's hard drive. Murray finds a picture of a teenage Tony, with a mop of hair and glasses, at Ziva's desk, causing Murray to question how close Ziva and Tony actually were. Tony places the picture in his desk drawer, next to Ziva's Star of David necklace.

McGee is frantically looking around his desk for something. It turns out that he lost his badge and credentials, which apparently is frowned upon. Tony advises him to see if he can find them before he has to report them missing.

May I See Your Badge?

Gibbs, McGee and Tony head out to the crime scene, where a police officer is carefully checking all identification. Tony shows his credentials, then waits to watch McGee get in trouble. McGee outwits the police officer by carrying tons of equipment in both hands and putting his wallet in his mouth. Tony is suitably impressed.

The apartment belongs to Lieutenant Terence Keith, who is on leave visiting his mother in Indiana. The team soon learns that Keith's mother has not heard from him in weeks. His cell phone is turned off, and there has been no activity on his credit cards.

When the phone at Ziva's desk begins to ring, McGee and Gibbs watch as Tony slowly answers it, and tells the caller that Ziva doesn't work there anymore. Gibbs tells the team that she wanted to move on, and that they need to as well.

"Hey, Probie!"

Suddenly, a woman's shrill voice yells out, "Probie," and Gibbs turns to see Special Agent Vera Strickland, who is Mike Frank's former partner. Vera is retiring soon and will be at NCIS headquarters until she leaves. When Gibbs tells McGee that they are headed to the Pentagon, McGee (gasp) lies to Gibbs and tells him that Abby needs his help in the lab.

Secrets and Lies

It turns out that Abby and McGee were at a concert the previous night when McGee lost his credentials. He shares his secret with Abby, who puts a scarf around his neck. It is Ziva's scarf, the one that she wore her first day at NCIS. It turns out that Ziva gave it to her since she liked it. Ducky even compliments McGee on the scarf!

He was a Strange Duck

Keith's commanding officer tells Gibbs that Keith has primarily administrative duties, and that he kept to himself and was odd. In the meantime, Abby finds a fingerprint on the bomb's trigger mechanism, which comes back to Keith. Apparently, he booby-trapped his own apartment. He was also repeatedly calling Lieutenant Junior Grade Dana Robbins, who is a former classmate in flight school.

Moving Targets

Abby once again works her scientific magic and determines that the explosive came from Pyrotechnic Engineering. Gibbs sends Tony and McGee to check it out, and McGee can no longer delay the inevitable. He reports to Gibbs that his credentials are missing, and so Gibbs sends Tony out with Vera. Vera is disappointed because she doesn't want to be anywhere near Tony, whose reputation of racking up near-death experiences is a cause for concern.

The head of the company, Mr. Frazier, reveals that Keith tried to buy some C-4 to blow up some stumps in his yard. Vera, who is not the type to stay silent for long, gets the name of the demolitions contractor that Frazier recommended. This is sort of like the odd couple, and I love it!

The demolitions expert, Larry, admits they may have sold Keith some C-4. He goes to check his records, and then comes barreling out of the building in his truck, nearly mowing down Vera, who is saved by Tony.

Gibbs meets with Lieutenant Robbins, who is deploying the next morning. She went to flight school with Keith. In her opinion, Keith washed out because he couldn't handle the pressure and was actually angry at her that she was going to continue on. Keith had called her a few days earlier stating that he needed to see her before she deployed.

From Bad to Worse

They bring Larry in to NCIS headquarters, and he admits that he sold the C-4 because he needed the money. Who decides to crash the interrogation? Vera, of course, on her brand new crutches.

The team is horrified to learn that Keith obtained 200 pounds of C-4, while the bomb in his apartment used only 10 to 12 ounces. It turns out that Keith was buying prescription antidepressants online, and that he had recently obtained a private pilot's license.
Tony heads out to interview his instructor, Kip Logan, at the air field. Logan saw Keith the previous afternoon when he rented a two-seater airplane that can be landed anywhere. The type of airplane that Keith rented can fly below the radar. It is a perfect storm scenario -- a plane loaded with explosives on a suicide mission.

A Profile in Terror

Vera, who is now able to ride out the rest of her employment at home recuperating, shamelessly flirts with Gibbs on the way out, asking if his front door is still unlocked. McGee is shocked when Vance returns his credentials, which were found at RFK Stadium.

Ducky profiles Keith, who most likely stopped his medication cold turkey so that he could obtain his pilot's license. Sudden cessation of this type of medication can lead to paranoia. Ducky theorizes that Keith is seeking revenge.

Just Tweet Me

This epic night at the concert may actually help the team locate Keith and the plane. McGee and Abby decide to ask the band's drummer to post a picture of Keith's plane and ask their fans to be on the look-out for it, and to post the location on Twitter. Gibbs is confused about what a hashtag is but, other than that, is on board with the plan.

While everyone nervously waits, the tweets start to come in. Keith's target is the aircraft carrier Benjamin Franklin. They are able to warn the ship, and Gibbs talks to Keith and convinces him to steer away from the ship. Keith then detonates his plane over the ocean.

McGee must face an IG investigation concerning his lost credentials. Vance pops by and tells the investigator that McGee's presence is requested at the White House since his brilliant idea about using Twitter to locate the plane has saved many lives.

I like how this episode of NCIS acknowledges that the team misses Ziva in small ways, and yet it has so much humor.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
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(Image courtesy of CBS)