CBS’ NCIS kicked off Cote de Pablo’s double-episode goodbye arc with an hour in which Ziva… did some instant messaging, and a bit of texting.
Rewinding four months from the point where we saw Gibbs fire a sniper rifle in Fornell’s general direction, the Season 11 premiere opened with SecNav Jarvis being killed in an explosion at a gala. Shortly thereafter, Gibbs, while following a lead to Iran, is nearly ambushed in the street (but rescued by, surprise, Parsons and some hired locals).
Then DiNozzo, after one of the aforementioned IM convos with Ziva — which ended with her inviting him to join her in Israel, smiley emoticon included — got shot at through his Martha Stewart apartment window. And McGee’s being tracked by his cell. Meanwhile, some hacker-for-hire is KO’d by Ducky, in the NCIS morgue, after trying to sabotage the data on shrapnel lifted from the bombing victims.
What. Is. Going. On?
Fornell to the rescue! The FBI Special Agent confides in Gibbs & Co. that an up-and-coming terror kingpin named Benham Parsa has been in cahoots with select American business tycoons to coordinate acts of destructive terror and lucrative rebuilding contracts — “MBAs and bad guys working together.” (Or, “Gordon Gecko meets Bin Laden.”) Parsa didn’t think NCIS would “play ball” if they got wind of the reprehensible arrangement — after all, Homeland knew — and thus launched an offensive against Gibbs’ team.
Later, in one of several nice scenes between Mark Harmon and Joe Spano — really, I would watch these two saunter around and gab for a whole episode — Gibbs asks Fornell how long he has known about the Parsa thing. Tobias assures, “As soon as I found out, I came to you.” Gibbs in turn promises to have Fornell’s back, if there’s blowback for him reading in NCIS.
Next on Parsa’s list: Ziva, since they worry that she, as her father Eli had, knows something. DiNozzo against his better judgement enlists Ziva’s Israeli friend, Adam Eshel, to track her down, but by the time he and his team get to her father’s secret cabin, all they find is a pile of dead bodies — and Ziva’s Star of David necklace draped by the mantle.
The episode closes with Tony, now with his badge back, beseeching his computer screen: “Talk to me Ziva…. Where are you?”