'NCIS' Season 11 premiere - 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot': Boom, bang and a Tiva tease

Michael-Weatherly-Colin-Hanks-NCIS-Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot.jpgFirst up, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," the "NCIS" season opener on Tuesday (Sept. 24), is part one of a two-part episode, so if you're looking for a resolution of the Ziva issue, it won't be here.

We open upon Department of Defense investigator Richard Parsons ( Colin Hanks) -- who's been relentlessly pursuing NCIS Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs ( Mark Harmon) and his team, who resigned en masse in the Season 10 ender to protect the boss -- chatting up Homeland Security honcho Tom Morrow ( Alan Dale) in front of a hotel during a soiree with Secretary of the Navy Clayton Jarvis (a k a SecNav).

He's accusing Morrow of hiding Gibbs from him, but Morrow tells him not to cross a line in the sand (the color of said line is not mentioned).

Morrow walks into the hotel, which promptly explodes in a giant fireball. When in doubt, giant fireballs are always a good idea. And, sorry, Matt Craven. SecNav, we barely knew ye.

Theme music! New opening! Yes, Agent Ziva David ( Cote de Pablo) is still in it! No, that doesn't mean she's staying with the show after all!

Before long, Gibbs has been sent to Iran -- with Parsons hot on his six -- in search of those responsible for the irradiated head of Navy SEAL Chad McBride being delivered to his wife last season.

Dr. Ducky ( David McCallum) and Jimmy Palmer ( Brian Dietzen) waylay fired FBI IT guy Victor Chang as he's trying to hack into the NCIS databases -- uber-geek Agent Tim McGee's ( Sean Murray) firewall prevented him from doing it from the outside -- but not before he gets the cellphone records, particularly those of former agents. There's immediately fear for absent Ziva.

But Tony ( Michael Weatherly) is chatting online with Ziva, who's lonely in Israel, but he's nearly shot to death in his own apartment before he can get on the flight he immediately booked.

McGee's DoD computer-nerd girlfriend, Deliah, has a face at last, and it looks a lot like former "Big Bang Theory" cast member Margo Harshman. She's got a bit of intel on the hotel explosive, saying part of it was American. Tech Abby Sciuto ( Pauley Perrette) doesn't like her ... a lot. And Delilah's high security clearance doesn't impress her.

Considering recent headlines, it doesn't impress me either.

Gibbs discovers that his trip to Iran was a trap, so Parsons does a Lando Calrissian and shows up to save him, and ergo, is kinda, somewhat forgiven ... a little.

Anyway, here's the gist of it: the team, along with Gibbs' BFF, FBI Agent Fornell ( Joe Santos) -- yes, Gibbs was pointing a gun in Fornell's general direction last season, but this episode ended without really resolving that; maybe next week -- discover that terrorists (including a youngster whose name sounds vaguely like Denim Parsley) have teamed up with evil corporate CEOs to bomb targets and then reap the profits of rebuilding.

Fornell cites the Chicago Way and Al Capone; Gibbs reminds him we got Capone; I remind them both that was the IRS.

(And, BTW, Islamist terrorists have just killed non-Muslim innocent men, women and children in a mall in Kenya -- and let's not even talk about Syria -- and "NCIS" screenwriters are worried about corporate CEOs? Might they know something about new construction at drone-attack sites? Sigh. Whatever.)

Homeland Security -- along with injured but not atomized Morrow -- is aware of the scheme, but Morrow insists he would never condone an attack on NCIS. But he does know that Ziva's next.

Ziva is duly warned. Abby discovers, through amazing whatever-technology sand-grain analysis, that McBride was murdered in Arizona; and reinstated McGee and Tony turn to Ziva's ex from "Berlin," Mossad agent Adam Eshel ( Damon Dayoub), for help in finding her so she can have one too.

Gibbs and Fornell nail McBride's military superior for changing McBride's orders. That was a result of blackmail about sending infidelity pictures to his loving wife. Fornell again cites Capone, but again, that's not what Capone went to jail for. IRS, remember?

And then there's an incredibly well-tanned Tomas Mendez ( Costas Mandylor), a businessman who is part of a coalition working with the government to help track terrorists (perhaps this is to keep CBS' corporate sponsors happy). Surveillance cameras in one of his apartment buildings picked up Denim Parsley. Gibbs wants to know if he has property in Arizona.

Bits of the exploded bomb are traced to the signature of a shadowy militia group called the Brotherhood of Doubt, headquartered in Yuma, Ariz. Yeah, right, when in doubt, go for a shadowy militia, because they're in the headlines every day for acts of terrorism.

When Gibbs and Fornell burst into the group's headquarters, they find handcuffs (the better to confine McBride with) and pictures of just about all our NCIS heroes, along with Mendez, who's promptly snatched up and taken somewhere safe.

Wherever that is, it'd better be safer than Ziva's safe house, where an armed Adam and his team find blood and three bodies, none of which are Ziva's. And she's left her Star of David necklace hanging on a picture of her and her father.

Cut to sad Tony drinking alone at home, listening to sad music (Enya's " If I Could Be Where You Are"), looking a just-arrived picture of Ziva and her ... brother?

"Talk to me, Ziva," he says ... to be continued ...

He gets his wish, because the previews of next week show a scruffy Tony begging Ziva to come home; Ziva telling Tony, "You are so loved"; and a Tiva KISS!

Memorable moments:

Ducky getting gut-punched and then going medieval on Victor Chang's head with a metal bowl.

Tony dubbing the CEO/terrorist plot as "Gordon Gekko meets Bin Laden."

Tony feeding his goldfish, Kate, and talking about how there's now no professional impediment to Tiva romance. Awww.

The new IT tech sitting at Ziva's desk is named Murray (Sean Murray is, in real life, a big computer nerd).

Fornell walking into rich-boy Tony's digs and saying, "Who lives like this? Martha Stewart?" "Well," says Tony, "the towels are Martha."

Tony telling contrite Parsons, "Thank you, Dick."
Photo/Video credit: CBS