NCIS Episodes

2003, TV Show

NCIS Episode: "Dead Air"

Season 8, Episode 5
Episode Synopsis: A naval officer and the shock jock who is interviewing him are both shot to death during a live show.
Original Air Date: Oct 19, 2010
Guest Cast Nadia Bjorlin
Full Episode
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Season 8, Episode 5
Paid | iTunes
Length: 16:38:55
Aired: 10/19/2010
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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NCIS Episode Recap: "Dead Air" Season 8, Episode 5

To loosely paraphrase that old Limp Bizkit song: "I watched it for the squeaky." Squeaky Tony DiNozzo, that is, who turned out to be allergic to the suburbs in NCIS' "Dead Air" episode. Some fans worry that the character has gotten too silly, and these folks may have been mortified, not mollified, that DiNozzo spent much of the hour speaking in a scratchy-helium voice. Not everyone probably cottoned to the idea of hearing Tony, interrogating a terrorism suspect, half-shout "You want to spend the rest of your life in prison? Fine by me!" in a Mickey-Mouse-meets-Rod-Stewart voice. So you'll have to forgive those of us who couldn't stifle a laugh. There's always been a truism about how rare it is to find a beautiful woman who can pull off comedy, and this is a good moment to point out how equally unusual it is to find a beautiful man who'll go as wonderfully far out on the limb of ridiculousness as Michael Weatherly will.

And "Dead Air" was an episode in which the comic distractions from the central plot were particularly welcome. The particulars of Christopher J. Waild's teleplay couldn't have been any more tightly scripted, but there was no getting away from the fact that the premise itself was one of the most preposterous ones of late. The navy commander who was gunned down in the opening scene was basically a mere bystander who happened to be with the real target at the wrong time, and NCIS isn't at its best when its token dead sailors turn out to be completely incidental to a non-military-related plot. Also, if the shock-talk DJ who was the real target was broadcasting on 86.9 FM, he was broadcasting directly to Japan, which suggests a much deeper conspiracy than the team uncovered. And the less said about the unexplosiveness of the explosive climax, the better. Guest star George Newbern, a right-wing domestic would-be terrorist, was willing to pay $300,000 to buy a trigger for a bomb that ultimately does blow up and can't even incinerate a five-square-yard picnic area? I've seen bigger explosions when I accidentally poured too much lighter fluid on the coals.

But you're not tuning in to NCIS to see things blow up real good, anyway, are you? You're tuning in for the little moments that "Dead Air" still delivered in spades. It'd be hard to pick fewer than a dozen such bits from this agreeably weightless hour, starting with: McGee (Sean Murray) announcing his first career choice had been Imagineer. Smartphone-phobe Gibbs (Mark Harmon) barking, "Got an app for doing your job, McGee?" A pre-laryngitis Tony doing his best Harry Caray impression. Ducky (David McCallum) sniffing urine from "an adult doe" (but without Jimmy Palmer around to sing, "A deer, a female deer..."). Tony going to a housing division to interview "the entire cast of American Beauty" (and aptly citing the little-seen Arlington Road). Tony conveniently losing his voice altogether when McGee tries to make sure DiNozzo and Ziva were faking their affair when they pretended to get it on while undercover five years prior. Ziva (Cote de Pablo) reminding everyone that baseball is not just a great American pastime by showing off the fastball her dad taught her back in Israel.

If all that wasn't enough, we had the show's highlight in Abby's lab, when Abbs, describing the science of "active sonar" and "binaural audio," got an understanding acknowledgement from Gibbs, who pointed out, "It's like listening to 'Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida.'" "Yes!" said a moderately flabbergasted Abby. "Wow! Only it's like listening to gunshots instead of a drum solo." The way director Terrence O'Hara let Pauley Perrette take a few extra moments to recover from her admiring astonishment at Gibbs' Iron Butterfly knowledge was subtly priceless. In the world of NCIS, intra-team love means never having to say you're sorry for a left-field pop-culture reference.

Was "Dead Air" lively enough for you?

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To loosely paraphrase that old Limp Bizkit song: "I watched it for the squeaky." Squeaky Tony DiNozzo, that is, who turned out to be allergic to the suburbs in NCIS' "Dead Air" episode. Some fans worry that the character has gotten too silly, and these folks may have been mortified, not mollified, that DiNozzo spent much of the hour speaking in a scratchy-helium voice. Not everyone probably cottoned to the idea of hearing Tony, interrogating a terrorism suspect, half-shout "You want to spend the rest of your life in prison? Fine by me!" in a Mickey-Mouse-meets-Rod-Stewart voice. So you'll have to forgive those of us who couldn't stifle a laugh. There's always been a truism about how rare it is to find a beautiful woman who can pull off comedy, and this is a good moment to point out how equally unusual it is to find a beautiful man who'll go as wonderfully far out on the limb of ridiculousness as Michael Weatherly will.

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Premiered: September 23, 2003, on CBS
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (13,028 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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