This review contains spoilers.
Season Three of NCIS starts off in barnstorming fashion with the thrilling two-parter, Kill Ari. The story starts where Season Two left off with the shocking death of Agent Caitlin Todd (played by Sasha Alexander) and doesn't let up. The grief and guilt of the surviving members of the team are keenly felt, as is their need for justice, and revenge.
The scenes where Todd appears to each member of the team are moving and bitter sweet, the image each of them sees a projection of their own emotions. Forensic scientist Abby (Pauley Perrette) sees the friend who used to make her laugh, Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) sees a superhero, while Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) sees evidence of his guilt.
"Why me, Gibbs?" Todd asks. "Wasn't taking one bullet enough for you? Why did I have to take two? Why did I die instead of you?"
The NCIS team know full well who killed Kate, but have a hard time convincing their bosses. Their suspect, Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin), is an Israeli mole within Hamas whose double-dealing has caused the NCIS team trouble before. His handler, Mossad officer Ziva David (played by newcomer Cote de Pablo) arrives to stop NCIS going after Ari, but finds her work cut out for her.
Ari's vendetta against Gibbs is personal, not political. He hasn't gone native within Hamas, he's gone rogue. He knows about Gibbs' past â€“ the death of his wife and daughter â€“ and is trying to hurt Gibbs by killing off those closest to him. The wary respect between Ziva and Gibbs leads to the story's climax, when it seems that Ari has Gibbs in his sights. In the end it is Ziva who takes the killing shot, shooting the man who is her half-brother.
Kill Ari sees the introduction of two new female characters, Ziva David and Director Jenny Shepard (played by Lauren Holly). Shepard and Gibbs had a relationship some years before, and the blurry flashbacks to their time undercover are the episode's weakest point. (This is a pet peeve â€“ why does a woman in a position of authority always have to have a prior link with the lead male character? Babylon 5's weak last season had a similar set up, with Captain Elizabeth Lochley being a former wife of lead character John Sheridan. And then there was Stargate SG1's new doctor, Carolyn Lam, who turned out to be daughter of General Landry, a plot device which was never subsequently picked up on. Writers do seem to have a blind spot sometimes.)
NCIS redeems itself with its other female characters, eccentric forensic scientist Abby Sciuto and Officer Ziva David. Abby may have a strange fashion sense, but she knows her stuff, while Officer David is not someone to tangle with. She can certainly handle the often juvenile Agent Tony Dinozzo (Michael Weatherly).
Kill Ari finishes with Agent Todd's funeral, where the team pay their final respects in the sunshine. It's a sad yet oddly upbeat ending, which bodes well for the rest of NCIS Season 3.
Season Three NCIS Cast
- Mark Harmon â€“ Special Agent Leroy Gibbs
- Michael Weatherly â€“ Special Agent Anthony Di Nozzo
- Sean Murray â€“ Special Agent Timothy McGee
- Pauley Perrette â€“ Abby Sciuto
- Lauren Holly â€“ Director Jenny Shepard
- David McCallum â€“ Doctor Donald "Ducky" Mallard
- Cote de Pablo â€“ Officer Ziva David