The beginning of this season of NCIS hasn’t been an easy one, especially for longtime fans as they had to say goodbye to Cote de Pablo’s Ziva and prepare to meet her full-time replacement in Emily Wickersham’s Bishop, beginning with episode 11×09 “Gut Check.” Is now the right time to bring her in? How will she fit with the team?
Down a team member
Before the season even began, fans knew that Ziva would be leaving in the second episode, and one of the big questions regarded her and Tony’s relationship (or “Tiva” as they came to be called), and knowing she was going to be replaced, even though “Tiva” fans did get their moments in Ziva’s farewell episode, was something that some people weren’t sure they were ready for just yet.
Much like Bones has done with a rotation of squinterns, NCIS has had a revolving door of replacements since Ziva left, and it worked. Sure, the show is a bit different without Ziva around, but remember, the show was good before Kate was killed and she joined the team, and it is still good without. (Plus, fans can take comfort in the fact that Ziva was not killed off, so she can always return.) Gibbs, Tony, McGee, Abby, Ducky, Palmer, and Vance are still around after all, and that means you can still enjoy Gibbs head-slapping Tony, Tony and McGee’s brotherly rivalry, and more, just with a new addition.
Meet the new Probie?
Here’s what we know so far about Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop. According to CBS, she’s an NSA analyst who is “a mysterious mixture of analytic brilliance, fierce determination and idealism who specializes in international threat assessment and global preparation.” After they discover the Secretary of the Navy was bugged during a confidential briefing in a security breach Bishop described in exact detail two years ago, she joins the team for the investigation, and as the promo for “Gut Check” below shows, she is different, and that’s a good thing. I think that will help make the transition easier for viewers. Bishop is clever, she’s quirky, and she’s determined, and since we know Gibbs picks his team, him giving her that “NCIS” vest probably says it all.
Good move or terrible mistake?
Is now the right time to bring in a full-time replacement or should there have been a couple more temporary ones? While you could argue that it may have been better to wait a few more weeks—sure, November sweeps seems like the perfect time to do it—and continue to have Gibbs, Tony, and McGee working cases with an occasional fourth, the agents, like viewers, do need to move on, and it’s probably better to do it sooner rather than later, like ripping off a band-aid. As nice as it would be to see the three men working cases together, waiting a few more weeks or even months until a new face is added, let’s be blunt: there’s only so long that could go on before it could backfire.
Fortunately, there is one thing we don’t have to worry about, and that’s NCIS possibly setting up a new team romance. As revealed by TV Guide, Bishop is married and they plan to keep her that way, and her relationship with Gibbs will be a fatherly mentorship, while her one with Tony will be sibling-like. So “Tiva” fans, don’t worry, Tony won’t be trading in one female team member for another, and I think that may help how Bishop and Emily Wickersham are received by viewers. After all, if you’re still not quite over the sting of waiting years and years for something to happen on-screen definitively between Tony and Ziva, you don’t have to worry that they’re going to be setting up a new romance for Tony.
Also, like I said above, remember, before Ziva, there was Kate, and the show has only gotten better and improved in ratings since the first season. If you just watched for “Tiva” and in hopes of seeing that played out and you’ve decided to stop watching, give it another try. NCIS has never been about the romance. In fact, the show has done relationships best when it’s mostly off-screen, like it was with Abby and McGee in the beginning. Instead, it’s the relationships between team members and the way they do their jobs and solve these cases that should be bringing you back week after week, and bringing in flesh blood in Bishop means introducing new dynamics for the team. So if you’re only a casual viewer, now might be the time to start watching again.
So now I turn it over to you, readers. How do you feel about NCIS replacing Ziva now? What are your initial impressions of Emily Wickersham as Bishop?
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS
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