‘NCIS’ Season 8 Finale Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 18th, 2011 at 8:47 am,

ncis season 8 finale cast NCIS Season 8 Finale Review & Discussion

The eight season of CBS’ Navy cop show NCIS concludes tonight. Does the season finale “Pyramid” live up to those of past years?

NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service has been following an uncharacteristically intense multi-episode arc as of late. It centers around the infamous “Port to Port” serial killer, who the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has been looking into for the last four episodes. The CIA, via Ziva’s boyfriend Agent Ray Cruz (Enrique Murciano), is also assisting in the investigation. E.J. Barret (Sarah Jane Morris, Brothers & Sisters) is a guest field agent who’s been tracking the killer for months.

Considering this is the finale review, expect spoilers for ‘NCIS’ Season 8 as well as the finale. Read on at your own risk.

At the conclusion of last week’s episode, we learned the identity of the Port to Port killer: former Lt. Jonas Kobb (guest star Kerr Smith).

After being discharged from the Navy, Kobb was handed off to the CIA for intensive experimental training – for undercover mercenary ops, dubbed “Operation Frankenstein”. (Man, those military industrial types love their portentous code names.) Several NCIS agents are murdered at the hands of Kobb, including Mike Franks as well as Gayne Levin – and E.J. is taken hostage with moments left to live.

“Pyramid” opens right where the previous episode left off: with Agents Gibbs (Mark Harmon), David (Cote de Pablo), and DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) breaking off pursuit of the killer to tend to their wounded and dead. E.J. is rescued and recovers, and the entire team must band together to stop Kobb before he murders again.

ncis season 8 finale Kerr Smith NCIS Season 8 Finale Review & Discussion

Kobb is certainly the best villain that NCIS has seen in its eight years. Like John McClane gone rogue, he runs circles around the investigation team, coming and going through DC military facilities as he pleases, leaving ominous clues and kidnapping agents only to mysteriously let them live. Kobb creates a feeling of real fear for the characters that stems from the murders he’s already committed. It’s rare to see a procedural devote this much time and effort to a singe “big bad” and the tension in the finale is a worthy pay-off.

And what’s more, he’s a sympathetic villain. Kobb was driven into an intense state of post-traumatic stress disorder after his vicious training and service, and seeks to strike back at those who “made” him – including Navy Secretary Davenport and NCIS Director Vance. While I wasn’t exactly rooting for Kobb, I was intrigued to see how his story ended.

Which was the only real downer of the episode. Kobb spent five episodes running around the team like a murderous Roadrunner, and the end his story is concluded in an extremely anti-climactic fashion. You can take it one of two ways: either the NCIS was slacking off for the last few weeks, or Kobb simply allows himself to be beaten – neither of which is very satisfying.

The other fun character that’s been an essential part of the arc is Trent Kort (David Dayan Fisher). Now possessing only 50% of his maximum number of eyeballs, Kort is still up to his weaselly tricks, leaving the viewer to wonder whose side he’s on this week. As in seasons past, Kort steadfastly refuses to die.

ncis season 8 finale funeral mark harmon NCIS Season 8 Finale Review & Discussion

There’s still plenty of time to spend investigating the characters in the squad. NCIS does a good job of juggling a tense atmosphere with romantic entanglements and a tangible feeling of loss. Most cop shows have a hard time showing genuine grief at the loss of a character, but surprisingly it’s Pauley Perratte’s flustered performance that drives the point home. The funeral scene at the conclusion is tastefully done, with some nice call-backs to meaningful moments from previous seasons.

While the “Port to Port” storyline is concluded, it wouldn’t be NCIS without a summer cliffhanger. The nugget at the end of “Pyramid” is well-done. It leaves viewers wondering at the allegiances of key characters – without diminishing the emotional ride that they’ve been on though the last 200 minutes of showtime. Look for the secret, and Tony Dinozzo’s involvement therein, to be a major arc this fall.

Overall it’s a solid end for NCIS. The ambitious story arc is a welcome one among other episodic shows that prefer the one-and-done approach, and the writers played it smart by giving the characters and the audience some closure during the hiatus. While not as action-packed as previous NCIS finales, “Pyramid” and its connected episodes are worth watching for the Kobb character alone.


Follow Michael on Twitter: @ MichaelCrider

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  1. I’m wondering what the writers are thinking. The episode was half of a good one. PTP wasn’t as interesting character as the Frog was from seasons ago. [and yes, I'm still bitter about how they wrapped that up.]

  2. What episode were you watching? Ziva wasn’t there with Gibbs and Tony in the beginning.

    Plus, Cobb is no where near Ari status.

    The finale fell flat and they’ve turned Ziva’s character into a joke.

    • I agree with you Jason about Ziva’s character, like the old Ziva
      much. much better!!!

      • i no I agree with u ziva needs 2 b more aggresive

    • I have to agree with you Ari is by far the best villian in NCIS’s history.Also they have softened up Ziva’s character to the extent that she is no longer the Ziva that we have come to love.Ziva needs to kick some a$$.

  3. I’ve been watching NCIS since the beginning, one of the best shows
    on TV in my opinion, but who got killed?

    • mike franks

      • Meridith, that saddened me to see Mike go out like that :(

  4. Mike Franks got killed. Shame in a way. I really liked the character.

  5. I’m begging the writers… please, please, please – no more “Mole Hunts,” no more “Serial Killers” or “Jason Bourne knock-offs, ” just some basic decent episodes. PLEASE

  6. Ziva need to get her awesomeness back the mussad ziva never would have made that mistake. Liked Cobb he was very good. Just started really watching the series and am going through every season on #4 so not best judge here. Also what was with Tony at the end?

  7. Michael Crider…Best villain goes to Ari, hands down my friend :) having a sissy looking actor play the Port to Port Killer was just weak IMO.

  8. Wow… just wow. What a disappointing, weak finale! A big death toll? Intrigue? HA! I was honestly shocked! Cmon, guys, that was a joke. The level of attention given to certain things was all off, the plot was all over the place, and the whole episode was not very believable and not put together well at all. And totally agree about Ziva’s character. A very sad end for season 8, in my opinion :(

  9. What a weak ending to the Port-to Port killer story!!
    So rushed & unclimactic! I guess writers were out of creative idea’s and needed to leave room for EJ leaving (big deal), and to make Ziva look like a mushy, unthinking FEMALE agent. She is not perfect but she is supposed to be a strong, wise, kick-ass agent!

  10. The finale was okay, I loved the SECNAV’s guilty involvement and Vance standing up to him for once, The New SECNAV seems to be a real pill so far, he’ll have to earn my interest, the actor is wonderful so maybe I will like him. Uh-oh for Tony undercover, he hates lying to Gibbs and the rest of the team catch on that he is secretive pretty quickly. NO TIVA, ever ever. Didn’t like the almost engagement scene with Ray, that’s not her style, but maybe she is feeling desperate. Ray is dead meat I think, between Kort and Eli David, he’s out manned and out gunned. LOL
    The casket was lovely and I am glad Gibbs knew Mike was already dying and went out in a fight, like he would have wanted to go instead of suffering in a bed being fussed over.
    There was no romance or any red-heads this season for Gibbs, he needs a bit on the side again.
    I will be there next season.

  11. ok so who is the ncis team member that is selling the secerts??? i think that is will be the secnav’s daughter. because she weanted to be alone with dead black agent to pay her last respects. she then cut out the micro chip out of his arm, put it in the jar and that was the end of that….why, why, why????

  12. Ok as i have read through these comments on the finale of season 8 i see a pattern of “Ziva’s character is weak” and “Kobb was a poor villain.” Well lets take a moment to remember that without adding depth to Ziva’s character, all she would be is a heartless killing machine. Now as much as i love to see a very attractive woman destroy men twice her size, its also nice to be able to empathize with her. In conclusion to this point i’m sitting on the fence about Ziva and i hope now the directors concentrate more on her “assassin” side that we so dearly love.

    Secondly the villain of “L.T Jonas Kobb.” What i really like about the past couple of episodes is the steady increase in knowledge that we get of Kobb. I got a real sense of getting to know the information at the same time Gibbs and the team did which was enthralling. Most effective however was the use of all the cast to give you one of the broadest story lines i have witnessed on NCIS. It was fantastic to see tension between Leon and the SECNAV and Gibb’s and E.J. In comparison to other villains (such as: Ari and Le Grenouille) Kobb may have seemed a little reckless and maybe slightly predictable. However i believe that his character is performed well enough to give the audience a real feel of “loneliness” and “helplessness.”

    Finally i just want to say i’m very much looking forward to season 9 and the resolution of our new cliffhanger! My guess is “CI-Ray” but as stated, it is merely a guess. I hope you enjoyed the finale and remember a great character in Mike Franks. He will be missed

    Semper Fi

  13. I’m hoping Mikes death was an illusion throwing everyone off. And I (Also) want my old Ziva back. I still catch the old episodes on USA and its hard thinking the Ziva I loved to watch has gone industry. Not a make-up lover. Bring back the natural raw beauty in Ziva along with instinct and talent.

  14. Does anyone else think that Cobb looks like Leonardo diCaprio?

    Too many STUPID agent foulups here! Barrett looks at the toy. Come on, didn’t she read her own reports! Ziva runs into a room without checking first? ONE agent with the serial killer on an eleevator and Jimmy and Barrett discussing his wedding in front of him?

    I expect the writers to work harder than that.

    The whole serial-killer arc reminds me of Criminal Minds and The Mentalist Whenever they bring back Red John. I don’t like this type of show. I almost didn’t watch the last few epicodes, and normally I love NCIS.

    I also don’t think Mike Frank tried to fight off Cobb. He had a pistol and he know Cobb was out there. I think he felt it better than to die slowly.

    I don’t want another Mole in NCIS episode either. And that one ended with a sort of suicide by cop ending too.

    • @Ginny S. id just like to point there was 2 agents in the elevator, There was EJ and the guy behind Cobb.
      The final was decent enough, but i agree with the others bring back the old Ziva

  15. I am really disappointed in the final episode. First time I ever felt after an episode, what the hell was that crap. Story was all over the place.
    I don’t mind the ziva soft thing, or any of the character development. The port to port killer thing did not really grab me until swan song. Awesome episode.
    I dunno but they really seem to be dumbing NCIS down and leaving lots of holes in it. They may be covering these holes many many episodes later, but so much so, you would forget about the thing in the first place. Like when Ely David text Vance “we got him” many episodes ago.
    Huge NCIS fan, for me Season 8 has been a the weakest season so far. Sprinkle of excellent episodes, weak main story and a really stupid finishing episode.
    I predict Ziva’s BF is the mole that tony has to kill. He has been sent to Israel to kill the one eye teabag, you know the same guy that was just with them then they shot cobb? They must have just let him go so they can chase him down again, lol wut.
    So I think CIARAY is being sent there and tony will follow to kill. The agent Barrett thing, the chip? Another loose end i’m sure will be covered at the end of season 9 when we have forgotten about it.

    Please may I never see such a stupidly written episode of NCIS again, PLEASE!

  16. Has this show been renewed for another season, or is this it.

  17. I found this show in Season 4 and had to go back and watch the episodes from the beginning. Now I have watched them all and am familiar with the characters. The first 3 seasons weren’t that good because Kate was annoying. She was basically useless to the team unless you consider the “female distraction”. She was supposed to be a psychological profiler but failed miserably at that job. Ari did her a favor.

    Ziva was a blessed addition to the team. She brought an edge that no one else could have. Her chemistry with Gibbs was great. But ever since they rescued her from wherever she was being held she has been softened too much. She needed (very badly) to have taken EJ out back and put a round house kick to that blonde’s head and eliminated her early on. That would have been so sweet to watch. I miss Ziva being Ziva.

    The writers need to get away from Tony and his guilt over Jean Benoit, all EJ was was a rebound from that. I thought the introduction of Robert Wagner as Tony’s dad had some serious potential. If they only use Wagner on a here and there basis in the show. Tony looks just like a young Wagner. They matched those two perfectly.

    Abby is annoying

    McGee looks like he is suffering from AIDS. Someone needs to bulk him up. It also looks like they are trying to get Abby and McGee together in a round about way.

    Leon is totally useless as a director. Jenny did a much better job. They need to find someone to be director that isn’t working for the CIA at the same time he is working for NCIS. You can’t trust him because you don’t know whose side he is on. Speaking of that…..

    The last scene of PYRAMID, you have to wonder who they are talking about. If you go back and watch that scene again,you are led to believe that Leon may be the person that the new SecNav was referring to. He refused Leon access to the file. Why? He’s the director. So is Leon on his way out? That would be an improvement.

    Trent Kort rules. He is useful as a character because that is Gibbs’ inside contact at the CIA. Kort is Gibbs’ go to guy a lot. Kort is also in Tel Aviv talking to Eli. Leon mysteriously mentioned Eli’s name in passing to the old SecNav.

    Mike Franks was a loss to the show, I hope they will utilize him in the future like they did in the next to last show.

    I have talked to a lot of people who think Kobb was a Jason Bourne knockoff. I tend to think that Kobb was nothing more than a rehashed, male version of Kai (if anyone remembers that episode). It had a lot more similarities to Kai than Jason Bourne, I thought.

    To me, the entire backbone of the show is the critical thinking aspect. Without that NCIS becomes nothing more than any other show. Gibbs requires bad guys that are at least somewhat as intelligent as he is. Without that what reason would Gibbs have to come to work? NCIS makes you think, but it looks iffy as of late. I hope they find their footing again.

    About 4 episodes into the 8th season I knew that the writers were at a turning point in the show. Good shows don’t last forever, because mainly the writers will change. They have been struggling the entire season trying to figure out which way they want to take the show. I hope they have it figured out by the open up of Season 9 because 8 was grueling. I felt like I was taking a beating this last season, glad it is over.

    Lose useless EJ, get Tony straightened up and have him swear off women for a season, send Ziva to a training camp, have McGee and Abby sleep together, hire a decent director for the team and get Gibbs started on another basement project. That should pretty much fix the problem.

    • I agree with you for the most part about the episode. I am not a big fan of Vance and wish they had a new director. I have to disagree about you with Abby, I think she is such a diffrent charecter and the reason she gets boring is because she has not been able to develope with not many episodes being about her so we only see her out of her lab two or three times. She has a very hidden past and I think it would be alot better if he saw more of that. Ziva is dissapointing and she does need to go back to the Mossad to get her attidue back. Tony is himself as always except for in the last secene where he is very shaken. I don’t think the person in the file is Vance I think it is probably E.J or one of the team. I was surprised Gibbs was not picked but there is no way it is him. I wish they had an episode between the Finale and the episode before so we could have seen the making of the coffin.

  18. Fantastic episode that rounded off the ongoing story-arc well. Fantastic final scene. Loved it. Well peeved that Mike Franks died and was completely horrified when Jimmy Palmer was taken. I was actually muttering nononononononononono whilst that was going on. (I’m a Palmerite)


    - I don’t like the E.J. Barrett character and whilst I hope she’ll not make another appearance the fact that she took something from Agent’s Devin’s arm hints she’ll be back.
    - Ziva is a fantastic character but please can someone give her back some of the common sense and just gut instinct she used to have.
    - Trent Kort – more please – one-eyed teabag and Tony in the same room? More chemistry that Tiva & McAbby put together!
    - Can someone sort Tony’s hair out he’s sporting Jack Klugman’s hairdo from Quincy ME – not a good look.
    - Please feed McGee up before start of Season Nine – he’s looked hollow faced this series.
    - More Palmer & Mallard please!

    • Haha ” please feed mcgee up…” that has been an eyesore for me to ;)

  19. Well…if anyone says to me they would like to watch the Bourne trilogy but don’t have the time I will say…you’re in luck, NCIS has condensed it.
    Super soldier gone bad, calling his own shots, metal data chip cut out of a body, even the line “he’s just going home” i think was word for word. At least he didn’t fall into water and swim away at the end. when this comes out on dvd that will robably be the alternate ending.
    I only wish they would have went all the way with the crime and had Julia stiles guest star as the p2p handler, and added a few handheld car chases.
    Still…I enjoyed it because it’s NCIS.

  20. I think some of you are crazy. The lead up to the finale alone made the season worth it. I admit it was weak the way they found Ziva in like 2 minutes than you think they are pulling some big trick on the P2P Killer but all they do is shoot him. What the heck did EJ take out of that dead agent’s arm???? Is she the one selling secrets? Is Tony going to have to investigate his old fling? Anyone know what that was in that agent’s arm?

  21. Between the (unnecessary) death of Mike Franks and the rather easy disposal of the P2P killer, I didn’t think this was the best finale or arc for the series. Ari was much more interesting as was Gibbs amnesia/quitting. I did like the Crimson Tide reunion between Rocky Carroll and Matt Craven, though. Hopefully the new arc they alluded to will bring back the more serious side of DiNozzo. Also, I’m glad they didn’t sacrifice Jimmy Palmer.

  22. I disagree with almost everything you said. IMO this was the very worst finale this show has ever had. The P2P killer arc was Meh at best, mostly ruined by the involvement of the EJ character. I found nothing intriguing about Cobb, certainly not best villian, not even close. And the cliffhanger (if you can call it that) left me with absolutely nothing to look forward to next season. I could care less about Tony. He is my least favorite character. And another mole hunt just doesn’t excite me. So I probably won’t tune in for the premiere. Just doesn’t interest me. And that has never happened with this show before (for me).

  23. The demise of Mike Franks was sad but it was his style to engage a killer. I believe Ziva will get back into form come the 9th season. Whether she gets real serious with Ray, remains to be seen. I would think that after all the years that Tony has been with NCIS that he would grow up and not be the jerk that he has been with women. I still like the drawing that Kate did of him with his tongue hanging out looking at tight skirt. GROW UP TONY!
    Also the new SEC/NAV seems to be more of a politician than someone looking out for the security of the country and its armed forces.

  24. Help! I missed all the episodes (three?) after April 23, due to a computer breakdown – How can I watch these eps? Thanks, a frustrated fan.

    • I use this one: http://www.watch-ncis-online.com/

      It’s really good and keeps me going whilst I save up for the DVD boxsets or whilst waiting for the DVD boxsets to be released :)

      Have fun

      • Thanks. Is this site legit? My computer got messed up with malware, etc. from a “free” site with eps of Law & Order.

  25. The site is *not* legit. They use third party hosts in China.

  26. I totally disagree with almost everything said. It was boring, anti-climatic, a Jason Bourne knockoff, and included the most sad feeling Ziva I have ever seen. Really, let’s move one of the most dangerous criminals we have ever faced with 3 people, when 2 are talking about marriage. Get real. By the way, the cliffhanger sucked, period. I LOVE NCIS, the jokes, Tony and Ziva arguing, and the mystery. At most points in the finale, all I wanted was a good laugh.

  27. hey Its NCIS the best tv show on air, love the cast they do such a wonderful job, and the writters know how to bring the best out of everyone, love watch can not wait till season 9 .

  28. A very weak season. The show needs new writers. Mike Franks was an excellent character. He needs to come back in flashbacks you like to use. Ziva is too mushy. The writers have taken away her edge. She is now too typical Hollywood. Tony’s sillyness is now grating on the nerves. He needs to act more his age. Good humor was in the first seasons. Now their is too much humor and the story or plot gets lost in the joking around. I always like to watch NCIS because it had good story lines and you didn’t think of the audience as low IQ idiots. The last port-to-port episod was disjointed and hodpodge of writing. You need to get your first writers back, bring back the skillful writing. there is too much driffle and unmemorable writing on other shows. I hope next season will be better, or are you trying to end the series by bring down your ratings and audience approval?