NCIS Episodes

2003, TV Show

NCIS Episode: "Worst Nightmare"

Season 8, Episode 2
Episode Synopsis: The team searches for a kidnapped girl, whose grandfather complicates the investigation.
Original Air Date: Sep 28, 2010
Guest Cast Sadie Calvano: Rebecca Mason J.P. Hubbell: Cdr. Nick Mason Jr. David Magidoff: Micahel Seelus Sam Anderson: Walter Carmichael William Devane: Nicolas Mason Rebecca Lowman: Lt. Lisa Mason Zack Lively: Conrad Zuse
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Season 8, Episode 2
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Length: 19:19:26
Aired: 9/28/2010
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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NCIS Episode Recap: "Worst Nightmare" Season 8, Episode 2

If ever you needed proof of just how different NCIS and its spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles are, consider "Worst Nightmare," this week's episode of the mothership show. On NCIS: L.A., the team operates under top secrecy at all times, to the point of even the headquarters building being disguised; the agents pretty much go undercover just to go to the bathroom. Meanwhile, the latest hour of NCIS centered around the not-so-secret presence of... interns.

Interns? Yep, NCIS had an infestation of 'em, and rather than break out a can of Raid, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) was intentionally encouraging the influx of college students, showing off his softer — softie? — side. Maybe this was partly a way to inject some youth into an episode that otherwise had as its chief wrinkle the wrinkled face of guest star William Devane. But it was surprising that the hour's denouement brought about the redemption of the most callow intern and even left the door open for the kid's return. The infusion of acolytes made for some decent comedy this time around, but if the producers have any intention of bringing the interns back, they'd be better off giving them their own spinoff — NCIS Junior, possibly coming soon to Nickelodeon.

Of course NCIS has a storied history of bringing in outsiders who briefly act as comedic substitutes and create jealousies for the main characters, like that movie-quoting cop who briefly replaced McGee in Tony's affections last season, or as goofy doppelgangers. So "Worst Nightmare" was very much in that tradition, with the "mini-McGee" whom Sean Murray got to order around ("Now you understand it," said a satisfied Michael Weatherly), and the lass who threatened Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) by bonding with Ducky (David McCallum) in Scottish song and talk of the Netherlands. Comic high point? Abby (Pauley Perrette) and her cheerfully paranoid insistence on keeping her intern in her line of sight at all times. At least she settled for reigning her worshipful charge in with telltale bells and not, you know, an electronic dog fence.

It was such a warm-fuzzy episode that Devane had a little trouble reminding us of the gravity of the main kidnapped-girl plot. When he pounded his fist on the table while being grilled in the interrogation room by Gibbs, it seemed pretty obvious that the character was acting. Pretty obviously wrong: Hard as it was to imagine, Devane was the good guy. (No Rolling Thunder flashbacks for this government secret-ops vet.) He was a deadly retired assassin AND the concerned grandpa as which he first appeared. And, also, defying media stereotypes, one tech-savvy senior. ("Actually he's got a lot of guts being over 60 and owning a Skype phone"... nice.)

That left the villain role to fall to Sam Anderson, of Lost fame, who we should have known would not be relegated to a mere pre-credits sequence. Turned out he was a disgruntled ex-employee out to make life miserable for Devane by taking his penitence over pass sins out on the entire team, slaughtering them one by one. (But not for a while, during this hour... This was the rare NCIS that didn't start off with a dead body.) Now, I will confess some ignorance on a matter more attentive readers can surely correct me on. Somehow I missed how Anderson gassed an entire military school so he could kidnap the girl, and was even seen passing out himself, and then carried out the kidnapping while unconscious. Maybe I was under the effect of some gas during the moment this seeming impossibility was explained?

"Worst Nightmare" was NCIS at its comfort-foodiest — an episode all about solidifying the base — and nothing wrong with that. If you live for the episodes that give equal weight to the entire team coming together for fleeting yuks and extended crime-solving, this was your best nightmare. If, like me, you favor the hours that tend toward revelations about one character in particular, we'll have to dig a little deeper into the season for those.

Not that this one was without some pleasing characterization. We got Tony telling McGee, in a moment of techno-geek triumph, "At least pretend you have a sex life." (One of the most promising developments in the first two episodes of the season is how much the writers are getting Tony right: consistently funny, but competent and aware and not quite Jerry-Lewis-funny.) And we did determine, courtesy of an observant intern, that if you have the choice of being fearful of Gibbs or fearful of Abbs, be most afraid down in the lab. Be very afraid.

What did you think of "Worst Nightmare"? Was it classic stand-alone NCIS? Or classic time-killer till we get to the deeper character arcs of the mid-season?

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If ever you needed proof of just how different NCIS and its spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles are, consider "Worst Nightmare," this week's episode of the mothership show. On NCIS: L.A., the team operates under top secrecy at all times, to the point of even the headquarters building being disguised; the agents pretty much go undercover just to go to the bathroom. Meanwhile, the latest hour of NCIS centered around the not-so-secret presence of... interns.

Interns? Yep, NCIS had an infestation of 'em, and rather than break out a can of Raid, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) was intentionally encouraging the influx of college students, showing off his softer — softie? — side.... read more

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Premiered: September 23, 2003, on CBS
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (12,741 ratings)
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Premise: A successful "JAG" spin-off about criminal cases involving Navy and Marine personnel, handled by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. For the second season, the series title was shortened from "Navy NCIS" to "NCIS."

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