When Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) was written off NCIS this season, the show faced a huge challenge: how to add a new member that would appeal to both Ziva fans and those that were, well, not on the Ziva band wagon. In addition, finding someone that “Tiva” fans would accept would be a tricky task. So who could step into Ziva’s capable shoes? The answer was Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop, played by Emily Wickersham.
Of course, this choice is not without controversy, as many fans feel that Bishop doesn’t gel with the other members. Other fans have issues with her personality. So is Bishop the right choice for our beloved NCIS team? Let’s take stock of what Bishop brings to the table.
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Bishop is Not a Bad-Ass
If NCIS tried to add a new agent who was strong and tough, like Ziva, it would negatively impact the show. No one would like, want, or accept a second-rate Ziva. Yes, Bishop has some moves, but she doesn’t possess Ziva’s ability to kill you a million different ways with a pen. While Ziva had street smarts from her time as a Mossad agent, Bishop is sorely lacking in that department.
Bishop needs to think and reason out her responses, while Ziva trusted her gut. Bishop has been gradually improving in the gut-following department over the season, but at this point, Bishop needs to up her game.
Profiling is Bishop’s Talent
Bishop’s profiling ability, honed during her time at the NSA, is probably her best asset. She is extremely intelligent, and excels at this part of the job. Bishop is able to get inside the head of whoever she is profiling, and she demonstrated this with the Parsa case. This is the skill that makes her most valuable to the team.
Is Bishop Trust-Worthy?
Gibbs asked himself, and Bishop, that question when she hid the fact that she was the NSA’s Parsa expert during the hunt for the terrorist. Gibbs needs to trust the people that he works with, and for a moment it looked like Bishop may not be staying at NCIS. Bishop finally confided to Gibbs that Parsa had personally contacted her when she worked at the NSA, and that her superiors pulled her off the case for not telling them.
In the end, Gibbs’ gut told him to offer her a position as a probationary agent. Bishop clearly learned from this incident and doesn’t seem to be hiding anything else related to her work, at least.
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Bishop is Quirky
All the NCIS team members have their quirks, such as Ducky talking to the dead and Abby’s Goth style. Bishop is no exception. She thinks best sitting on the floor, or even an autopsy table, with her ear-buds in. Bishop also has one obsession, and that is food. If she is not eating, she is talking about eating or having a food craving. She even gave Gibbs one of her mother’s cinnamon coffee cakes at Christmas. Bishop is very serious and doesn’t always see the humor in things. She fits in nicely with a team that, admittedly, has some unusual characters.
Bishop Fails in the Field
Bishop is a probie, but her lack of field experience is detrimental to the team. In some episodes, she was reluctant to follow orders and seemed like she was a fish out of water. Her intelligence makes her book smart, but she has difficulty translating that to real life situations. She struggles with accepting hunches, and sometimes seems cold when talking with witnesses. Right now, her awkwardness in the field is the largest strike against her. We have seen Tony and McGee mature over the years, and hopefully we will see Bishop’s grow. Only time will tell.
Bishop’s Part of the Family
As far as fitting in with the team, Bishop has good relationships with everyone. Abby respects her, and Gibbs assumes a fatherly role. McGee and Tony treat her like their kid sister, but also offer advice and support. They teach her the most important part of the job — Gibbs’ rules. It is clear that Bishop wants to fit in with the NCIS family, and I think the personal dynamics between Bishop and her co-workers are slowly revealing more and more about the new probie.
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Bishop Has Secrets
NCIS creates such rich characters by letting us get to know them a bit at a time. Bishop is no exception. We know that, at Christmas, she was headed home to Oklahoma to see her husband, parents and brothers. We know that she likes to go to the batting cages to relax. We know that she has had some tense conversations with her husband, Jake, about being late because of work. That’s all we know so far, and the state of her marriage is a bit of a mystery. Still, I like that Bishop still has secrets to reveal.
My Bishop Verdict
Overall, I think that Bishop is a good fit. NCIS needed another smart female character that was different from Ziva and Abby. I think that Bishop fits the bill, but I also see why some fans haven’t warmed to her character. Perhaps, in time, she will gain more fan acceptance when her background is rounded out and she has more experience as an agent.
Do you think Bishop is the right fit for the NCIS team? Vote in our poll, and feel free to comment below.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 pm on CBS
(Image courtesy of CBS)