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Recap / NCISS 13 E 24

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Season 13, Episode 24:

Family First

NCIS, FBI, and MI6 continue an international manhunt for an escaped British spy who is targeting current and former agents. Trent Kort has revealed his true colors as a traitor and killed many colleagues. His latest apparent victim, Ziva David, has touched off outrage at headquarters, and leaves Tony with the surprising news that there was a big secret she didn't tell him about. Tony seeks justice, and the rest of team plans to make Kort pay up.


  • Asshole Victim: Trent Kort, responsible for the murders of Tom Morrow, Jessica Terdei, and the attempted murder of Tobias Fornell, and possibly Ziva David, finally gets killed by NCIS and friends.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Just as Team Gibbs finds out that Ziva's farmhouse has been ambushed and burned to the ground, there are reports of a survivor. This is assumed to be Ziva, until Orli arrives with Tali.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Abby and Tim are the ones to come to Tony following news of Ziva's death. Tony knows almost immediately why they've come and only asks if it's been confirmed.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There is some gratuitous Hebrew in the episode; it appears Tali knows little English. Beyond the Luke, You Are My Father scene listed below, there is also a scene in which Tali asks Tony for her "kelev," causing some distress for both when he doesn't know what that means. "Kelev" is Hebrew for "dog," though Tony has to figure this out by digging through the go-bag.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Tony has found purpose and direction in his life, something he has struggled with all season. But it has come at the expense of Ziva's life, leaving their daugther motherless and Tony raising her alone.
  • Bus Crash: Apparently Ziva died in the explosion that destroyed the farmhouse.
  • Call-Back:
    • A photo of Tony and Ziva in Paris is found in Tali's go-bag.
    • Ziva's scarf is also in the bag.
    • Tony carries Ziva's necklace with him for the episode, before giving it to Tali.
    • Gibbs looks at the wall of fallen agents while holding Ziva's badge and ID.
  • Dead Girl Junior: Ziva and Tony's daughter is named "Tali", after Ziva's deceased sister.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: The answer is "yes." At least in Israel in season 11.
  • Doting Grandparent: Senior appears to be this way.
  • Fiery Coverup: The explosion at the farmhouse.
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  • Happy Flashback: Lots of Ziva flashbacks, mostly by Tony, but at least one by Gibbs.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tony has one in the bullpen upon hearing of Ziva's death.
  • Inferred Survival: There are a lot of holes in the plot surrounding Ziva's death, which was pointed out pretty quickly by the fandom. Word of God says that the wording and lines for the episode were written very carefully, suggesting that these holes were meant the be there. It's implied at the end of the episode that Tony does not believe she's dead. He tells Gibbs that he is taking Tali to Israel to search for answers, and then to Paris, because "Ziva loves Paris" (present tense).
  • Improbable Infant Survival: According to Orli, Tali's room wasn't harmed in the fire and she was able to survive. Mortar-fire. That destroyed the rest of the house and was classified as a terrorist attack. And Tali has no burns or smoke inhalation.
  • Language Barrier: Tony finds there is one between him and Tali, whose first language appears to be Hebrew.
  • Leitmotif/Love Theme: Tony and Ziva's leitmotif plays in the background during Tony's flashback scene after he finds Ziva's scarf in the go-bag. "Aliyah" plays in the background when Tony gives Ziva's Star of David to Tali. Ventures into Simple Score of Sadness territory in both scenes.
  • Love Confessor: While strolling Tali with Tim in the Park, Tony tells Tim that he always had a thing for Ziva.
    Tony: I loved her, Tim.
    • Abby tells Tony that she knew that Ziva loved him.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Mossad Director Elbaz tells Tony that there was a survivor among the ruins of the David farmhouse, a little girl, Ziva's daughter and presumably Tony's. Tali later confirms this while looking at a photo of Tony and Ziva in Paris:
    Tali: (points to Ziva) Ima. (points to Tony) Abba.
  • Man Hug: Tony with Gibbs, Palmer, and McGee.
  • More Dakka: Kort gets taken out by six guns at once.
  • Never Found the Body
  • New Child Left Behind: Tony finds out Ziva had been pregnant when he left for the US in "Past, Present, Future."
  • Nothing Personal: Kort tries to justify to DiNozzo the death of Ziva.
    • It's Personal: McGee's rebuttal to Kort's justification because he was responsible for killing Ziva.
  • No, You: When Gibbs says that DiNozzo can't help with the search for Kort as Ziva "was more than an agent" to Him, an angry Tony shoots back that Ziva was like a daughter to Gibbs, and a sister to McGee and Abby.
  • Passing the Torch: DiNozzo declares McGee as "Very Special Agent" as he resigns.
    Tony: I have five words for you, "Very Special Agent Timothy McGee".
  • Promotion to Parent: Tony finds himself taking custody of Tali, his and Ziva's lovechild, after Ziva dies. It's one of the reasons why he decides to retire from NCIS.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against Trent Kort.
    • Vengeance Feels Empty: Played with. Tony spends much of the episode seeking revenge for Ziva's death. The rest of the team is happy to help him out. McGee even calls him once they track Kort down to make sure Tony is the one who is able to take him in. Tony gets his revenge by killing Kort, but tells Gibbs later that when McGee called him, he no longer wanted revenge—he wanted to take care of his daughter.
  • Shipper on Deck: After years of "Rule 12," it's revealed that Gibbs understands and is accepting of Tony and Ziva's relationship. When the news reports there's a survivor, Tony tells the team he can't stay. Gibbs says he knows and tells McGee to get Tony a plane to Israel. Later in the episode, he tells Tony during his meltdown in the bullpen that this wasn't an ordinary agent death, as Ziva was more than a fellow agent to Tony.
  • Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood: Tony suddenly finds himself the sole parent of a toddler.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Tony gets flippant towards Gibbs for not doing enough to track down Kort, who ordered the hit on Ziva.
    Tony: We've lost agents before, haven't we, and when we do, it's ALL! HANDS! ON! DECK!
  • Strong Family Resemblance: It's noted several times by different characters how much Tali looks like her mother.
  • The Dreaded Pretend Tea Party: Averted by Senior, of all people. He not only holds a tea party with his granddaughter, he insists Tony brew actual tea for it.
  • Title Drop: Ducky drops the episode title while talking to Gibbs, reminding him not to forget his priorities.
    Ducky: Family First, Jethro.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Ziva's Star of David appears again in this episode. First with Tony holding it as he looks at news footage and worries, then again when he pulls it out of his pocket to pass it on to their daughter.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Tony turns in his badge and gun to Director Vance and resigns from NCIS to take care of his daughter.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Abby tells Tony that she's going to miss him, tearing up as she does. They hug.
  • Wham Episode: Emotional roller coaster from start to finish.
  • Wham Line: "Tali is Ziva's daughter. And your daughter, Tony."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tony calls Gibbs out for not being (or at least appearing to be) as concerned as the rest of the team about finding Kort or about Ziva's death.

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