Nature of the Beast (NCIS)
|"Nature of the Beast"|
|Episode no.||Season 9
|Directed by||Tony Wharmby|
|Written by||Gary Glasberg|
|Original air date||September 20, 2011|
"Nature of the Beast" is the first episode of the ninth season of the American police procedural drama NCIS, and the 187th episode overall. It originally aired on CBS in the United States on September 20, 2011. The episode is written by Gary Glasberg and directed by Tony Wharmby, and was seen by 19.96 million viewers.
In the episode, Special agent Tony DiNozzo is shot and unable to remember what it all was about. He must work together with Special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Dr. Rachel Cranston to identify the attacker.
Scott Wolf is introduced as FBI agent Stratton, while Matthew Willig's NCIS Special agent Simon Cade is shot dead.
Set over the course of several months, the episode follows a series of events surrounding the investigation given to Special agent Tony DiNozzo by SECNAV Clayton Jarvis (Matt Craven) in "Pyramid", culminating in the death of an NCIS agent. Secretary Jarvis assigned Tony to the investigation after a dead Navy Captain was found with an incision in his arm. After Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard discovers security footage of Special agent Erica Jane "EJ" Barrett removing a microchip from the body of Special agent Gayne Levin, suspicion falls on her.
The Major Case Response Team begin to suspect EJ is the target of Tony's investigation, but EJ confides to Tony that Levin asked her to remove the microchip. The team learns that the microchips provide access to a classified Navy fleet, known as the 'Watchers'. Tony is lured to a meeting with EJ and her buyer, revealed to be Barrett's other team member and the target of Tony's investigation, Special Agent Simon Cade, although he claims that he was framed. During the meeting, all three are shot. Cade is killed, Tony is knocked unconscious and Barrett is missing. As Tony recalls the meeting, he realizes they were set up by the shooter, an FBI agent in league with the Office of Naval Intelligence's Director of Special Operations, who places the microchips up for auction.
"Nature of the Beast" is written by Gary Glasberg and directed by Tony Wharmby. Glasberg thought about the main storyline at a hotel in Las Vegas, ending up with the idea involving Special agents Simon Cade, Gayne Levin, Erica Jane "EJ" Barrett and Tony DiNozzo: "Cade is the one in the picture, but he didn't do it. The audience needs to think EJ is the one in the photo, but she isn't the traitor either. Yes, she took the microchip from Levin, but what if she did it for well-intentioned reasons? What if the whole thing was a set-up?" About how to make Tony remember, "why not bring Dr. Rachel Cranston back? She could help Tony remember what he'd done. She and Gibbs could help him put the pieces together", Glasberg say. "I knew [...] Tony, EJ and Cade needed to all be innocent pawns in someone else's larger plan. And that's how Stratton and Latham (Scott Wolf and Phil Casnoff) were born. New villains for an exciting new season".
The episode includes a lot of recurring characters, some for the first time and some for the last time. Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), E. J. Barrett (Sarah Jane Morris), Rachel Cranston (Wendy Makkena) and Clayton Jarvis (Matt Craven) continue their participation on NCIS, while Scott Wolf's Casey Stratton is shown for the first time. Matthew Willig ends his recurring role as Special agent Simon Cade.
The arc between FBI agent Stratton, EJ Barrett and Tony DiNozzo continues in the episode "Housekeeping".
It is worth noting that Tony's reference to Angels with Dirty Faces is incorrect. He attributes the Priest's (Pat O'Brien) role to Humphrey Bogart, who portrayed the crooked lawyer in that film. This may have been a deliberate error due to Tony's mental state in the episode.
"Nature of the Beast" was seen by 19.96 million live viewers following its broadcast on September 20, 2011, with an 4.3/12 share among adults aged 18 to 49. A rating point represents one percent of the total number of television sets in American households, a share means the percentage of television sets in use tuned to the program. In total viewers, "Nature of the Beast" easily won NCIS and CBS the night, while the spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles drew second and was seen by 16.11 million viewers. Compared to the last episode "Pyramid", "Nature of the Beast" was up a bit in both viewers and adults 18-49.
Steve Marsi from TV Fanatic gave the episode 4.5 (out of 5) and stated that "the ninth season premiere of NCIS was slower-paced and more complicated than expected, but provided a compelling conclusion to Tony's mole hunt while setting up a new foil, and a new enemy, for Gibbs".
- Seidman, Robert (September 21, 2011). "Tuesday Finals: 'New Girl,' 'Glee,' 'NCIS,' DWTS Results Adjusted Up; 'Body of Proof' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
- Glasberg, Gary (September 22, 2011). "Season Nine: "Nature of the Beast"". CBS. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
- Seidman, Robert (May 18, 2011). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'Breaking In,' 'The Good Wife,' 'Body of Proof' Adjusted Down; 'NCIS,' 'NCIS: LA,' 'Glee,' 'The Biggest Loser' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
- Marsi, Steve (September 21, 2011). "NCIS Season Premiere Review: His Navy, My Team". TV Fanatic. Retrieved March 5, 2012.