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.
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