NCIS Critiques by suspense Authors


NCIS  Critiques by suspense Authors

ExFed authors of High Velocity Suspense bring their expertise as a former Special Agent with NCIS and as a former Federal prosecutor, to write critiques of weekly NCIS episodes and to encourage discussion from NCIS fans. Diane and David Munson are authors of seven Christian thrillers, which like NCIS  episodes are "stand alone" and in which the cast of characters reappear.

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Latest Activity: Jan 8

2012 Jul 10 – New comments of NCIS episode, Enemy on the Hill


About Authors Diane/David Munson

It's been said of Diane and David Munson, that "he nailed 'em...and she jailed 'em." David was an NCIS Special Agent and an undercover DEA Special Agent and Diane was a Federal prosecutor. Now these ExFeds write high velocity suspense novels that combine their exciting cases into factional fiction by changing the names and places. When a millionaire drug-dealer wrote a memoir that became a movie staring Johnny Depp, Diane decided the good guys wearing white hats should be the ones to write memoirs. As a former Federal prosecutor, she knew the back story. She asked David, a former undercover DEA Special Agent, to join her in writing about David's arrest of Johnny Depp's character in Chicago and other criminals. Now, this husband and wife weave the thrills of back alley deals and major courtroom drama into international suspense novels that are enjoyed by men and women alike.

Diane Munson is an attorney of more than thirty years who transitioned from writing briefs for judges to writing inspiring fiction for readers.

David Munson was a Special Agent with NCIS and later the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As an undercover agent, he infiltrated international drug smuggling organizations.

Diane and David have co-authored together ten suspense thrillers: Facing Justice (2005/2009), Confirming Justice (2006/2009), The Camelot Conspiracy (2008/2009), Hero's Ransom (2010), Redeeming Liberty (2011), Joshua Covenant (2012), Night Flight (2013), Stolen Legacy (2014), Embers of Courage (2015), and The Looming Storm (2016)

Discussion Forum


Started by Nora St.Laurent. Last reply by Vickie Jameson Jan 3. 26 Replies


Tags: NCIS, Attorney, Special, Agent, GIVEAWAY

2016 Jan 05 NCIS Critique of “Sister City”

Started by Diane and David Munson. Last reply by Diane and David Munson Dec 23, 2018. 2 Replies

We’ve written in the past how we don’t enjoy NCIS episodes that are so long they have to be continued on another night. The writers accommodated us last night as the main NCIS show continued over…Continue

2012 Jul 17 Critique of rerun of NCIS episode, “Safe Harbor”

Started by Diane and David Munson. Last reply by Diane and David Munson Jul 18, 2012. 2 Replies

We have some great news for NCIS fans. Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, and Sean Murray have each signed contracts to reappear on NCIS this fall! The whole team will be together once again for…Continue

Tags: Diane, and, David, Munson, authors

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Comment by Diane and David Munson on September 20, 2016 at 11:30pm
2016 Sept 20 Critique of NCIS episode “Rogue”
Tonight’s episode of ‘Rogue’ was the first in Season 14, and we are pleased with the plot, the drama, and the portrayal of the dangers for federal undercover agents. That being said, before we get more into the substance, let’s deal with something we’ve said about every past season. Many aspects in the episodes are not realistic of NCIS agents or NCIS cases. First, a vehicle accident in Alexandria, Virginia would not be investigated by NCIS, even though there were military officers in the car. The local police would investigate and the County Medical Examiner would do the autopsies. But in order for there to be enough drama for fourteen years of episodes, the producers must go outside the military base for scripts. Also, it is unheard of for an undercover NCIS agent to go for eight years without a break being in the field, time spent with colleagues, and/or reassignment as in tonight’s episode. We won’t point out these shortcomings again in the coming weeks.

Tonight we had an opportunity to observe the vetting and selection of the agents needed to fill Tony DiNozzo’s absence. In the end, we see how uniquely Gibbs interacts with Special Agent Alex Quinn to find a qualified and acceptable agent for the team. Quinn, played by Jennifer Esposito (from Blue Bloods), is a training agent from FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) where NCIS agents are trained in Georgia, ostensibly to help Gibbs determine exactly what kind of agent he needs to replace DiNozzo. Does anyone besides us suspect he was really hoping Quinn would eventually see that she could best fit the bill?
The episode featured undercover NCIS agent Nick Torres who has done nothing but undercover work for eight years. Besides not developing the investigative skills that would permit him to compete for promotions with the likes of Ellie Bishop and Tim McGee, Torres has missed out on having a wife and family, and the camaraderie of a team. Having worked undercover, David can attest to the sense of desertion when having to associate with criminals whose values are direct opposite of the agent while other investigative agents are at home with their families. After solving a complicated case where he put his life at risk, Torres discovers what he really needs is to work with caring team members. Gibbs also realizes he needs a new agent with Torres’ devotion to duty. Gibbs spoke from his personal experience when he told Torres not to seek revenge on his own, to stay with the mission, and to keep his badge. It was one of many powerful moments.
Are any of you JAG fans? We are and found it great to catch up with Bud Roberts, a JAG attorney who is now a Navy Captain. Bud hinted Harm is alive and well, but never had a chance to give any details. So we suspect Bud may return another time during Season 14. We also understand that Robert Wagner will make an appearance, so that may prompt Tony to reappear as well. A fun light moment happens when FBI agent Fornell asks Gibbs to pick up milk and cereal as he’s recovering from injuries sustained last season. The team is back in fighting form. We can only imagine the difficult cases Gibbs will lead them to solve in coming days.
Share your thoughts about tonight’s show. Are you as happy as we are to have Gibbs back?
Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson
Comment by Diane and David Munson on July 2, 2016 at 3:17pm

Happy Independence Day!

To all those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, and to those who have served, we pray you will have a blessed Independence Day! Thank you for your sacrifice and dedication to bring us freedom.

The break from our all time favorite TV show, NCIS, is speeding by fast. Season 14 will air on September 20, 2016. Are you as eager as we are to see the new team assembled to pursue the bad actors who mean to harm us? According to many news accounts, a new actor is being added. Are any of you familiar with Wilmer Valderrama, from ‘ That 70’s Show’, where he played Fez from 1998 to 2006? Whether he is a permanent replacement for Tony DiNozzo remains to be seen.

NCIS has inked a deal for two more seasons, and as have Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Rocky Carroll, and David McCallum. You will have a chance to watch Michael Weatherly in his new show on Tuesdays after NCIS, and before NCIS New Orleans. It is probably not our cup of tea, so we will stick to writing our blog about the main show.

And to all of you, we send a greeting for a wonderful 4th of July!

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on February 9, 2016 at 11:01pm

2016 Feb 9 NCIS Critique of NCIS episode “Decompressed”

The writers of tonight’s episode deliver a case of a questionable death in a decompression chamber and a mixture of Valentine’s Day references. Several nice things occur in tonight’s episode. Abbey spreads cards and flowers to her teammates and we are treated to more of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. We have missed his gutsy courage in difficult times. The rest of the team, Tony, McGee, Ellie, Abbey, and Ducky all play a critical role in a more balanced way than we’ve seen. The final results are solving the brutal case with some twists and turns.  


David especially enjoyed the plot because a sleazy lawyer is exposed as being totally corrupt. So justice is achieved, which many times is lacking in life. Law enforcement is always frustrated when a witness ‘lawyers up’ and refuses to be interviewed. It happened on tonight’s episode, but in the end, the NCIS agents achieve victory over the depraved lawyer. It was interesting for David to see the ultimate motive for the death was to prevent the victim from exposing a cocaine smuggling scheme, which used technology that had failed for it’s intended Defense Department use.


We don’t want to discuss the episode too much for the sake of those who will watch it later. We also want to know what viewers think of this week’s disclosure by the producers of NCIS, that they are looking to introduce as Tony’s replacement, a female federal agent named Tess, and described as “quick-witted, sarcastic, shrewd,” and “two parts bulldog, one part sweet kitten.” Apparently, she is being transferred from New York’s Counter-Terrorism Unit. She will be introduced in Season 13 before Michael leaves the show. What will be the effect of the addition of a second female, and a tough one at that? What will happen to Ellie’s character?


We will see how Gibbs and McGee handle melding the team without Tony. Avid viewers can look forward to two more episodes this month. “React” airs on February 16 and will feature Joe Spano as Senior FBI Agent T.C. Fornell as the NCIS team helps the FBI solve a kidnapping case. Then on February 23, Scottie Thompson returns in Loose Cannon” along with Jon Cryer, who plays Doctor Cyril Taft. So there are some dynamic shows coming up to enjoy.    


Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on January 6, 2016 at 12:33pm

2016 Jan 05 NCIS Critique of “Sister City”

We’ve written in the past how we don’t enjoy NCIS episodes that are so long they have to be continued on another night. The writers accommodated us last night as the main NCIS show continued over into NCIS New Orleans, where events are completely resolved. These were two complicated episodes for two consecutive hours, but it’s clever how the writers merged both the Washington, D.C. squad and the New Orleans NCIS office. We like writing about espionage in our thrillers, and it takes us about three hundred twenty pages to write a complex espionage novel. In Part 1 of Sister City, we find Abbey’s adopted brother Luca deep into a complex Russian spy plot involving the theft of U.S. Naval secrets. His statement, “Let your faith be bigger than your fear,” runs through the plot. Part 2 resolves who is behind the theft, where the NCIS agents use sophisticated technology to track down Russian agents. We won’t elaborate on the show’s twists and turns as viewers have to see the shows to believe them. Yikes!


The one thing we did learn is that “Very Special Agent” Tony DiNozzo has broken up with his girlfriend Zoe, the ATF agent. Okay, that fits into the news that we read in several articles, including Hollywood Reporter, just prior to NCIS being aired.


Drum roll … Michael Weatherly is leaving NCIS at the end of Season 13! Will he be the last of the original cast to leave? Will the “Legacy Show” somehow merge with NCIS New Orleans? Recent comments from CBS officials make it sound as if the show will continue on past Michael’s leaving. Tony has always been a great character, but it seems like the writers have struggled to find a place for him this season. They are not using one of the best actors on the show to his full potential, choosing instead to highlight Ellie Bishop. So we guess we shouldn’t be at all surprised Michael is looking to develop other projects. We would like to see him take a supervisory role for NCIS in Spain or in one of the other foreign offices so he could reappear next year, at least once! We read one online article suggesting Cote de Pablo will appear on an episode to send Tony off. Will she, do you think?


Speaking of novels, David McCallum who plays Ducky so ably, is on a new adventure. He penned a crime novel entitled “Once A Crooked Man”, which releases January 7th. We wish him well as an author and we wish you Happy New Year!

 Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on December 15, 2015 at 10:11pm

2015 Dec 15 NCIS Critique of “Spinning Wheels”

Tonight’s show was not a typical investigation for the NCIS team. While the death of a hero marine is the basis for their search for killers, this is their Christmas show where they feature the hopes and dreams of various team members. In doing so, the show’s writers use a technique we actually employed in two of our thrillers showing how the past intersects with the present as well as the future. In “Stolen Legacy,” we weave in true events of WWII to solve a modern case involving Federal Agent Eva Montanna when her grandfather is threatened. And in our following novel, “Embers of Courage”, the courage of Federal Agent Montanna’s ancestors in generations past give her strength to save a fellow agent who is taken captive in Egypt.


In this episode, we learn more of what has motivated Dr. “Ducky” Mallard throughout his life.  Without spoiling the episode for those of you who tape the show, we’ll note only that during the investigation Probationary Agent Ellie Bishop’s life once again comes into focus. Certain painful events of Ducky’s past are also visited. When we read the previews, we were suspicious this show would be dark, but we were pleasantly surprised with a warm story, a worthy complement to the Christmas season. Watch it and enjoy!


Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on December 7, 2015 at 10:18am

Disappointed by Hallmark Channel’s “The Bridge”

Each Christmas season, when CBS chooses to run other specials in place of their most successful NCIS show, we delight in watching the many excellent Christmas themed two-hour specials on Hallmark Channel. Instead of paying special attention to the NCIS show so we can write our weekly critique (the next new NCIS episode airs December 15), we relax and enjoy the wholesome uplifting shows shown on the Hallmark Channel.


Last night we watched “The Bridge,” Hallmark’s newest Christmas serving, based on a novel by Karen Kingsbury. She writes excellent, family friendly books. We remarked while watching the movie adaptation that the writing was a notch better than some of those we’d seen already this year on Hallmark. What a shock we received when the two hours ended, but the movie didn’t. Let this be a warning to those of you who recorded “The Bridge” with the intention of watching it closer to Christmas 2015. You might want to save that recording and watch in December of 2016.


We’ve been disappointed in the past when the producers of Mark Harmon’s NCIS show have made us wait an additional week to see the conclusion of a bifurcated and continued show. We were flabbergasted when at the clumsy end of “The Bridge”, the following message flashed on the screen … “To Be Continued … Christmas 2016.”


Yes, there are those who warn that our society is hooked on ‘instant gratification,’ but Hallmark Channel has taken the alternative to an extreme. Because of circumstances in our lives, some will not see the ending in 2016. Can we trust Hallmark in the future? They could have advertised that last night’s airing was the first installment. But, then maybe some with very hectic schedules would have taken a pass, knowing they may never see the conclusion. We feel like we were deceived. Kudos to the actors who really did a fine job; however, we think the producers of “The Bridge” are deserving of a ‘lump of coal.’


We know there are serious issues facing our nation at this time and we are going to save commenting on those for another blog posting. For now, we’d love to know what are your favorite Christmas movies!


Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on November 24, 2015 at 10:33pm

2015 Nov 24 NCIS Critique of “Blood Brothers”

In this episode, Gibbs and his team launch an effort to locate the only surviving sibling of Navy Lieutenant Alex Quinn who needs a bone marrow transplant. Lt. Quinn’s mother has already lost two of her children in the military service of their country, thus the SECNAV insists NCIS locate Sean Quinn, her only non-military child who has been out of touch for six months, to provide the bone marrow to his brother Alex. It occasionally does happen, when government agents are asked to conduct extraordinary tasks by higher ups. The search for Sean leads the NCIS team into the criminal world and unexpected results. Tony and McGee find incriminating evidence in Sean’s apartment. Because the landlord let them in, they display the evidence in front of him, which turns out to be a mistake leading to disastrous consequences. In reality, these two agents would have known better.


Meanwhile, Special Agent Eleanor (Ellie) Bishop seeks the solitude of her family home in Oklahoma, following the upsetting discovery last week that her husband Jake was having an affair. The script for tonight’s show is well written. During their efforts to find the missing brother, Gibbs and his talented team discover Sean is deeply involved in a counterfeit money ring. As the investigation progresses, it is determined he is not a possible donor for his brother.


One donor is found, but there is a serious catch. He’s a U.S. Marine convicted of shooting two Afghan terrorists and he is imprisoned at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Bishop is tasked to go from Oklahoma to Kansas and offer the marine a possibility of parole from his life sentence, in exchange for contributing his marrow. He refuses the deal, wanting to be released immediately from prison. Leroy Jethro Gibbs is undeterred by the marine’s rejections. Gibbs buys a one-way ticket, flying to meet Bishop and her family in Oklahoma. There he meets Ellie’s mother, played by the former ‘Bionic Woman”, Lindsay Wagner. Gibbs’ also encourages Ellie to ‘talk’ about her hurts. She objects. After all who is Gibbs to suggest to her that talking helps? Then we discover the first evidence of touchy and feely in Gibbs, when he admits that since his recent shooting, he has been counseling with Dr. Cyril Taft, (played by Jon Cryer), the surgeon who saved his life.


The investment Gibbs is making in Ellie’s life, might discourage some viewers who commented on this blog that they hoped Bishop seeking refuge in Oklahoma might signal her departure from the show. It’s our guess that she’s here to stay. We would love to see more of Lindsay Wagner as she is a fantastic actress in whatever role she plays. She has the kind of persona to match that of Mark Harmon. However, Ellie’s mom lives in Oklahoma so that is unlikely. Do you also enjoy having FBI agent Tobias Fornell back on the show? Joe Spano is also talented and adds a much- needed spark to the show.  


As Thanksgiving is days away, we give thanks for our family, and also the freedoms in this country. We thank the men and women who serve in the military. May God bless them and keep them all safe.


Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on November 17, 2015 at 9:51pm

2015 Nov 17 NCIS Critique of “Day In Court”

Once again, this episode went outside of NCIS jurisdiction, but we are getting used to that. The writers wrote a really good episode about Navy Petty Officer Kyle Friedgen who demands that NCIS investigate his alleged murder of his former girl friend, after his case was dismissed due on a technicality in a Baltimore court. This part of the show was well written. The evidence that is developed during the investigation is material and believable.


Abby plays a pivotal role as does Ducky in evaluating the coroner’s report. As the case develops, it is discovered that someone has actually substituted evidence from an earlier crime involving the same victim. That same thing happened in several cases with which we are familiar. This would have been an enjoyable show, except that in an effort to having a parallel plot, the writers create a plot where Ellie Bishop suspects her husband Jake is having an affair. What a bummer! Whereas many viewers have never liked Bishop, we were happy that she at least was one member of the team with a normal married relationship. Even Gibbs agrees, telling Bishop how ironic it is that she’s asking him for marital advice. In the end, she goes home to Oklahoma, leaving her husband a note not to contact her.


With Thanksgiving next week, this plot line is seriously messed up. On the heels of the letdown that another team member is joining the single or divorced ranks, we are given hope for the future when we see the preview for next week’s show. Will Gibbs become the show’s “Dear Abby” (the columnist, not the lab tech) and help Bishop through this difficult time? We won’t say more, for the sake of those who have taped this show and have yet to watch it. We are curious to know what others think about where the writers are headed.


Oh, and justice is done on the murder case.  We would like to see more instances of justice being handed out on the world stage.


Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on November 10, 2015 at 10:08pm

2015 Nov 10 NCIS Critique of “Saviors”

While tonight’s episode had no true basis as an NCIS case, we found it close to home. The Navy jurisdiction was based on Naval medical personnel volunteering in South Sudan who were killed and/or missing. Those of you who have read our novels know that there is a character named Wally in three of our titles. Wally is based on a friend who came to the U.S. as a  “Lost Boy” from Sudan, who had wandered for years from one refugee camp to another during raging wars.


As does the character Wally in the thriller “Redeeming Liberty,” our friend returned to South Sudan to marry a girl from his village. Because of his love for her and his people, he left the luxuries of the U.S. behind. He left here as a U.S. citizen and is now on staff of a small village hospital in South Sudan. As we watched this episode, which accurately reveals the levels of violence the people of South Sudan face daily, we prayed for our friend’s continued safety.


Did you enjoy seeing Scottie Thompson’s portrayal of Jeanne Benoit? Long-time NCIS watchers will recognize her as the former girlfriend to Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo when he was working an undercover case involving her father. Their relationship didn’t end well. Tony and Jeanne come back together tonight under difficult circumstances when her husband is one of those attacked in South Sudan. We were left with the feeling that this episode was written to permit their reunion. In many ways, the show lacked the incisive investigative techniques of this fantastic team. Gibbs’ is sidelined due to a continuing health issue. Is it all in his mind or does he need further medical treatment?


Because he’s in “home detention,” Tony goes in his place with Tim to South Sudan to search for the missing doctors. We are treated to a quick glimpse of Special Ops and Navy SEAL teams that arrive to help based on Gibbs’ connections; however they are quickly dispatched elsewhere.


It was nice to see Tony and his former love interest reunited and the hurt feelings restored. Also, the physical/mental ailment for Gibbs is resolved in a favorable way, although the writers seem determined to weaken the strong image Gibbs has perfected through these many years. Are they simply humanizing him and where do you think the show is heading with our hero, Leroy Jethro Gibbs?


With Veteran’s Day tomorrow, we say thank you to the men and women in this generation and in those past generations who have served and who are serving to keep us safe!


 Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

Comment by Diane and David Munson on October 27, 2015 at 9:48pm

2015 Oct 27 NCIS Critique of “Viral”

In tonight’s show, the NCIS team races to uncover whether the killing of a petty officer is traceable to the “Tri-State Serial Killer”, or if a copycat is on the loose. Margo Harshman returns as Agent Timothy McGee’s girlfriend, Delilah Fielding. Rocky Carroll, who plays Director Vance, gets another chance to direct an episode. How do you think he did weaving in the multiple plots?

This episode has a little of everything that we viewers like to watch. A “whodunit” is combined with timely victimization of women in the military. Plus a second plot examines what Special Agent Eleanor Bishop is made of. As the drama unfolds within the NCIS family, Ellie must face the terrible likelihood that her husband Jake was injured or worse in a terrorist attack in Dubai. As the team works to find out if Petty Officer Adam Meyer was killed by a woman who he admitted to victimizing or by someone else, we are entertained by Tony’s affliction with a bad case of poison oak. His line, “My skin feels like 10,000 suns” is astute and memorable. Ellie and Tim are smart enough to avoid the vicious rash.

As is typical with NCIS writing, we are sent down various rabbit trails, suggesting that first a female victim killed Meyer, then veering to his supervisor from the ship is the killer. In the end we discover the real killer is set up by a technique David used to use. Is the ship’s commanding officer willing to help the real killer avoid justice? The ending to this plot is superb in many ways. How many of you thought the ship’s Captain was really sympathetic to the killer? Then we discover he’s working in cahoots with Gibbs and Company.

 The final scene with Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Ellie says it all. He rocks as a team leader, and as a father to the entire team. We need more like him. Let us know what you enjoyed about tonight’s show!


If you have a comment, make it quickly, as we will be going dark for about a week, and won’t be able to respond. That means we’ll not be critiquing next weeks’ episode.


Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson


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