NCIS “The Artful Dodger” Review (Season 12 Episode 17) – Dueling DiNozzos

NCIS The Artful Dodger Season 12 Episode 17 02

In this episode of NCIS, called “The Artful Dodger,” Tony’s dad comes back into town after a break-up and lends a hand on a case.

Tony’s relationship with his dad was something we heard about before we ever met him. He was a cruel, cold, heartless man who abandoned his young son in boarding school after the death of his wife and then cut his son off when Tony decided on a career he didn’t approve of. That was the story we had for many seasons and, dare I say it, many of us fans enjoyed it. We needed DiNozzo Senior to be that monster because it helped define who Tony was.

Then the writers decided to actually bring the man to the show and they embodied him in a charming, wonderful actor known as Robert Wagner. I don’t know about anyone else, but that made it harder for me to hate him. Over the years, it seems like the struggle on the show has been to give Tony that angsty background with his dad, while delivering a character that was simultaneously likable.

In this episode, it felt like they were trying to dump the bad dad label, perhaps once and for all. From a character point of view, I could see how Tony could have been using the past to create an image of his father that was no longer correct. For years, ever since Senior came back into his life, Tony’s had these wonderful moments where they bond – only to have it all tossed away as soon as his dad made some stupid mistake. So why wouldn’t Tony expect that his father was going to do the same thing this time? Why wouldn’t he be jealous that McGee got the chance to have a “nice talk” with his dad when he himself never seemed to have that without – as he put it – two days of torture?

Yet, what I found interesting to see in the end was how Tony came to realize that maybe he had been too harsh on his father. He had assumed the worst of his dad, but maybe he needed to let the past go and look at Senior as the man he was now – not the man he was then. It was interesting because I felt as though I was right there with Tony and needed the same reminder. I’ve been picturing Tony’s dad as cruel and heartless for years, is it time that I drop that same assumption as well? The truth is I don’t know, but I am willing to try. After all, how can Tony grow up (something I’ve been wanting his character to do for years) if he doesn’t at least open himself up to the idea that his dad isn’t the man he thought he was?

My favorite bits:

Tony comparing Bishop to Edith on All in the Family. I know some people won’t get that, but I thought it was hilarious.

Bishop asking if “making bread” was a euphemism.

Finding out that Ducky will be called “Grand-Ducky” by Victoria. So. Cute. I. Could. Die.

Tony realizing that McGee distracted him when he was down. Now I seriously want to see the Star Wars wallpaper in McGee’s place.

Tony: “We don’t really take lunch breaks here.”
Senior: “Isn’t that illegal?”

Gibbs telling Tony to give his dad an activity, and the look on Gibbs’ face when Tony asked his dad to re-caulk his tub. Ha!

Okay, now I really want pajamas like the ones Abby made for Tony’s dad. They were awesome.

Gibbs telling Abby to make a pair of her skele-pants for “the Grand-Duck.”

Finding out that Tony had an entire moisturizer drawer.

Tony and his dad both answering to Gibbs’ call of “DiNozzo.”

Tony’s real-life facepalm.

McGee’s face when he found out Tony’s dad always introduced his son as a catalog model.

McGee trying to pull off a pose. That is all.

Jimmy: “There was a lot of crying. I cried a lot.”

Jimmy’s speech about being a dad. Aw.

Tony: “You’ve got it all, Gremlin. You’re kind of my idol.” – Jimmy’s reaction to that line was fantastic.

Bishop reporting that there was a cockroach in the dumpster, and he brought backup.

Tony: “Thanks for getting us a probie, boss.”
Gibbs: “Welcome.”

Tony theorizing on what McGee might be doing after prolonged exposure to DiNozzo Senior.

Tony introducing himself as “Timothy McGeekerson.” Ha!

Gibbs playing Senior’s accountant.

Poor Gibbs getting stuck between the dueling DiNozzos.

Gibbs’ entire speech about his friend who once paid his dad’s hotel bill. Wow.

Gibbs: “There was more love on his face than I ever saw.”

Abby: “Did you hear that? Elizabeth Palmer’s father is a hero.”

Senior getting to see “the look” on Tony’s face that Gibbs had been talking about.

What did you think of this episode of NCIS? Got any favorite bits or least favorite bits of your own? Sound off in the comments below, I love hearing from you guys!