© by Gerald So | G_SO at YAHOO dot COM | 4:45 A.M.
NCIS's fourteenth season—its first post-DiNozzo—began with a military family being car-bombed due to their relation to NCIS Special Agent Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), whose deep cover has been blown. Meanwhile, Gibbs's rejection of eight agents sent to replace Tony draws out FLETC instructor Alex Quinn (Jennifer Esposito), whom he may have wanted as Tony's replacement all along.
Since Michael Weatherly's January announcement of his departure, I'd been wondering how well NCIS would compensate for the humor and physicality Tony brought to the table. I've liked Jennifer Esposito since Spin City. As Quinn, she has a lot to teach McGee and Bishop, yet still a few things to learn from Gibbs. Torres strikes me as close to Shane Brennan's original vision of Callen in the Season 6 two-parter "Legend", but better executed out of the box.
The episode's most powerful scene was a physical confrontation between Torres—who wanted to go out of NCIS bounds to get revenge for his family—and Gibbs—who gained little if anything from his own act of vengeance.
NCIS can still deliver the goods, including an appearance by now-Captain Bud Roberts (Patrick Labyorteaux), one of the victims' JAG colleagues. In fact, Bud almost tells McGee what Rabb and Mackenzie are up to before Quinn brings him back on point.