NCIS, Ep. 10.18, “Seek”: Taking a look at unlikely heroes continues the season’s emotional arc

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NCIS, Season 10, Episode 18: “Seek”
Written by Scott Williams
Directed by Michael Weatherly
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS

There is no doubt that Michael Weatherly is a showman. Along with acting, singing, and the occasional comical impression, Weatherly is also proving to be a capable director, returning to the helm for the second time, having directed the eighth season episode, “One Last Score”. Once again, Weatherly brings the same energy usually seen onscreen with him behind the camera.

The opening and closing scenes with Dex, a bomb-sniffing labrador, and his handler provide powerful bookend moments, depicting the loyalty of service dogs to their working partners and their families, shown here as one and the same. The handler’s death is made all the more devastating through witness statements that express his love and respect for the dog in his charge. The episode is a testament to the importance of canine service members and shows just how much marines value these dogs. To emphasize this, Abby, the resident animal lover, is mostly absent, giving Gibbs all of the scenes concerning Dex’s work. That Gibbs considers Dex a hero is the most rewarding acknowledgment, since he knows all too well the sacrifices made by those who serve and he recognizes the same courage and nobility in Dex that define a marine. Dex is both man’s best friend and a brother in arms. Weatherly drives this point home with a fantastic closing shot of Dex sitting by his fellow soldier’s grave, solemn, and silenced by the fulfillment of his purpose.

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Looking beyond the primary investigation, the scattered scenes dealing with personal matters continue Ziva and Vance’s stories from earlier in the season, either setting up events for the finale or bringing closure after the loss. Abby’s piqued interest in Ziva’s affairs reveal that Ziva has not quite moved on and that she has revenge on her mind. Director Vance’s approach of tending to his broken home by searching for a nanny starts off as a goofy concept, all of the candidates being cartoony dramatizations, but the wake-up call Vance gets at the end is worth enduring Tony’s silly movie references. Both in the state of mourning, Vance confiding in Ziva despite her secrecy may lead to an interesting partnership similar to Tony’s work with Director Shepard a few seasons back. How far either of them will go to catch Ilan Bodnar, Mossad’s former director and the man behind the attack, depends on their ability to operate without jeopardizing the trust the agency (mainly Gibbs) has in them and the security of their home lives, significantly less of a deciding factor for Ziva.

His first attempt being an homage to the 80’s cop dramas definitive of the Bellisario brand, Michael Weatherly directs “Seek” with a more mild hand, presenting the action through the constant movement of the scenes, whether emotional or lighthearted, rather than through adrenaline-charged car chases and shoot-outs. On its own, it’s a loving tribute to the special canine members of the armed forces. As a canon piece, it plays its part in building up to the inevitable finale showdown.

-Amanda Williams

2 Comments
  1. shalinid says

    It was indeed a fantastic episode with brilliant direction by Micheal Weatherly. Actually, I wasn’t aware of the service performed by canines in war times as although I have dogs at home, they are not used very much in the military here in Asia, except maybe for bomb sniffing.
    The side story was a little silly with Vance interviewing people in his workplace to work at his home, which I thought was rather odd.

    Thanks for your review and indeed, what a great tribute it was to service dogs.

  2. Mel says

    I enjoyed this episode too, and love how Dex stole the show away from all of his human co-stars. I agree that Michael Weatherly did a great job,and showed a more assured hand this time around in the director’s chair. Also agree that the opening and closing shots were framed beautifully with great effect. And I like your comparison of Vance and Ziva with Jenny and Tony in S4. Hmm, this could be very interesting.

    Thanks for sharing your always interesting perspective.

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