NCIS: Murder on a plane

Tuesday night’s episode, entitled “Jet Lag,” may have earned a place on my Favorites List. Why? Because finally, after being teased that the Tony/Ziva relationship would actually evolve sometime this season and then having The Powers That Be change their minds (kind of) and backtrack, we got some quality Tiva moments. Oh, and there was a decently compelling case, too, although my mind was a little preoccupied with the Tony/Ziva moments to really get into it.

The episode opened in an empty, non-descript apartment as a cleaning woman came in carrying a mop. For all intents and purposes, it seemed a fairly normal day. Well, that’s until the black cat showed up (never a good sign in TV shows — I guess all writers are superstitious?) and Cleaning Lady found a body in the bathtub. I’m sure that wasn’t included in her job description. I briefly reconsidered staying away from bathtubs in the near future. And then wisely changed my mind.

Cut to Ziva and Tony. In freaking Paris! A cute little coffee shop conversation and a shared ride on a moped later, and this episode’s already won me over. Their banter over whether or not their little sojourn to Paris was a vacation or not (Tony was firmly in that camp, while Ziva pointed out that they were in the City of Love only to bring back a witness for a federal case) reminded me of the good, old-fashioned Tony/Ziva moments that had been missing from recent episodes.

Back to NCIS headquarters and the dead guy. Oh, right, I’m supposed to be concerned about him. Sorry. Well, the team arrives at the crime scene. Ducky’s doing his gruesome autopsy thing while also performing an adorable impression of Tony. His reference to “Psycho” made me love Ducky more, which I didn’t think possible (for me, he just pushed it over the edge when I realized I’d get to hear his lovely accent every week). Apparently Dead Marine has been, well, dead, for 24 to 36 hours, and that no one had noticed because the assailant had sprinkled cat litter into the bathtub to absorb the smell. But back to that case later.

Now aboard the plane, Tony and Ziva are escorting Nora Williams, an American living in Paris, back to the U.S. She’s a witness in some federal case, apparently an important one if she requires to agent escorts — normally the amount of skills in Ziva’s arsenal would be enough to defend a single person. So, basically, Nora’s a big deal. And she needs to get to the United States alive. They talk with the U.S. Marshal aboard the plane about the security issue, and he agrees to help.

It turns out that through the course of the flight, Nora proves to be as much a Tony/Ziva lover as I am. She told the story of how she and her fiancé, David, met, and the tale is eerily similar to the story of Tony and Ziva; they hated each other in the beginning, a lot of tension, etc. Nora, like me, delights in moments such as this one — finding out that Tony and Ziva, due to a booking problem at the hotel (hello, plot device that I love for once!), the two were forced to share a hotel room. But nothing happens, Ziva promises. Tony looks at her. And it’s beautiful.

As the flight goes on, things become more complicated. Through the air phones, Tony and Ziva find out that Dead Marine was a hit man, and that he was actually killed by another hit man. How ironic. Anyways, the team finds out that Dead Marine had purchased an unused airplane ticket. And yes, it just happened to be for the flight on which precious Ms. Witness, Nora, is currently aboard. Tony and Ziva realize that Nora is now a target, and things get dramatic. Evidence initially points to the air marshal, but once he’s found in the plane bathroom with a stake stabbed in his neck, he’s (understandably) cleared.

We go through a list of suspects over the course of the show after the air marshal’s death. First it was a madam, accused of funneling money into an account to pay the hit man (she makes a plea deal in exchange for giving up information). Then it was Nora’s boss, Mr. Barringer, who apparently had to kill her in order for her to not discover a secret account. Even Nora’s fiancé was a suspect. The real whodunit? Um, well, there were two of them: Barringer and Nora’s fiancé. Apparently, Barringer was stealing from his company, which made the fiancé mad, so he stole from Barringer. And somehow a hit man was involved in all of this. Yeah, I was a little confused, too.

This episode of “NCIS” was filled with great one-liners and great character moments. Here are some of my favorites:

Tony (when he realizes he has to delete one of his Parisian pictures): “It’s like Sophie’s Choice. I can’t choose!”

Nora (talking about fairytale movies): “I like happy endings.”
Ziva: “Tony prefers ‘Bambi,’ where the mother dies.”

I loved how the writers made a “Phantom of the Opera” reference as a way to segue into cause of death. It’s one of the few Broadway shows I actually like. Bravo, writers, bravo.

The reference to the airplane magazine, Sky Mall, only served to remind me how much it sucks to be stuck on a plane with only that to entertain you. I’ve been there. It makes for one really, really long flight.

Oh, and then there was this little treasure courtesy of Tony: “I just finished the Twilight Saga. I’ve been recommending it to her. Just finished the fourth book. [points to self] Team Edward!”


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