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'NCIS': Tiva tension + dirty talk with Gibbs + a plane plot = episode we'll enjoy watching in USA marathons

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Next to the “buried alive” episode of television, the “trouble in midair” episode could be my favorite TV staple. Which show has produced your favorite airplane episode? NCIS is a definite contender after last night.

Tony and Ziva went to Paris to escort a whistleblower in a major defense fraud case back to the States. They said there was a problem at the hotel, and they had to share a room. Ziva told the witness, who was even more interested in “Tiva” than your diehard ‘shipper, that she slept on the couch. Tony later told McGee that he took the couch — then he and Ziva called each other out for lying. Do you think they slept together or upheld Gibbs’ Rule #12? Would you like a definitive answer now, or, like me, or you content to let the show tease us and then one day, have an episode in which all is revealed? You know, like someone would recount what happened in Paris, as well as how far things really went in that Season 3 episode “Under Covers,” to their captor while being held hostage or something. I sorta love the idea that Tony and Ziva could have slept together once, twice or more and we wouldn’t have known about it because it’s in both their nature to enjoy an opportunity or “duty” and return to normal. (I also love that the witness compared Tony and Ziva’s compatibility to hers and her work boyfriend’s — and it turned out her boyfriend is the one who put the hit on her. Moral: Tony and Ziva would kill each other.) I suppose though that the two of them sharing the bed and just sleeping would’ve been something they’d also want to hide, since it shows a comfort level and tolerance for each other they wouldn’t want to admit to or have others lord over them. That’s what I think went down in Paris. What about you? PopWatch poll after the jump!

The cases in the air and on the ground linked nicely: Gibbs and McGee were investigating the death of a special ops Marine who moonlighted as a hitman. He’d been killed by another assassin who wanted the $500,000 payday for offing the witness. At first they thought it was the federal marshal on the plane — but he ended up dead — then they thought it was a shady-acting passenger, but after his EpiPen saved the life of the witness, he was off the hook. Turns out the witness’s pillow had been sprinkled with peanut dust — which meant it was the hot flight attendant. Cue the hot fight between her and Ziva. I did have two tiny problems with Tony and Ziva’s behavior in the air: (1) Before they knew it was the flight attendant, Ziva wondered how the killer got to the witness. Um, it could have happened anytime you and Tony left her in her seat alone, like when you went to check on the marshal in the bathroom or to check on the crazy man in row 16. (2) Tony said they had no other choice but to use that suspect’s EpiPen. I guess there wasn’t time to yell out asking if anyone else on the plane had one? Those issues, however, are easy to forgive when you have awesome little Tony moments like him covering for a snooping Ziva by telling the marshal that he just finished reading the Twilight saga and is Team Edward, and agonizing over the decision of which of his Paris photos to delete so his camera had the memory to take a picture of the murdered marshal to forward to Ducky.

Maybe you found the little hard-to-read glances Tony and Ziva gave each other throughout the episode to be a turn-on, but something else got me going more… And it was McGee in that black coat, collar up, facing the speeding car of the witness’s husband and firing. No. Well, yes, actually. But there was something else, something even hotter: That scene in which D.C. Madam Holly Snow (guest star Dina Meyer), who was somehow the middleman between the husband and the assassin, talked dirty to Gibbs. (Watch it at 6:07 in this clip.)

Holly: You like it rough, don’t you?

Gibbs: Oh, there’s a time and a place for everything, Holly.

Holly: I thought so. I’m usually pretty good at reading people, what they respond to… Role play?

Gibbs: No.

Holly: Too bad.

Mark Harmon played that perfectly. Gibbs is a man who responds to strong, sexy women — but he’s also a man who likes to be in control and knows when to get serious. (Though the fact that they were both a bit serious during that dirty talk is what made it kinda steamy, right? Man, that’s a good guest spot, getting to come on to Harmon as he grins at you.)

What was your favorite scene? Where does the episode rank on your list of TV’s top plane plots?

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS