“NCIS” has a history of beginning and ending seasons incredibly well and the season 12 premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 23 was near the top as far as this show’s premieres go.
“Twenty Klicks” is certainly one of the more action packed “NCIS” episodes in a long time with a helicopter crash, threatening wolf, Russian baddies, Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) badass sniper skills and a tense hunt through the Russian wilderness.
The whole story begins when NCIS Special Agents Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) go to Moscow to escort a NCIS tech member who believed he was being followed while there to take care of an uncle’s death back to America.
Early on in the episode we learn that there is a Russian mercenary for hire by the name of Sergei Michnev, who has a long-simmering desire to kill Gibbs because Gibbs killed his friend and terrorist Ari Haswari nine years before (early on in season three of the series).
Michnev shoots down the helicopter carrying Gibbs, McGee and the tech guy somewhere in the Russian wilderness near the Finnish border. The entire crew of the helicopter is killed, two on impact and one a short time later, with Gibbs, McGee and the tech guy surviving and having to outrun the bad guys into Finland, 20 kilometers away, where they will presumptuously be safe from harm.
When Gibbs, McGee and the tech guy near the Finnish border Gibbs sends McGee and the tech guy along to reach Finland, while he goes back to finish business and ensure they make it OK. This is one of those quintessential Gibbs moments that continue to show that he’s one of television’s greatest heroes.
The ensuing gun battle between him and the Russians with him picking off each of them one by one was one of the best shootouts of the series in recent memory culminating in a final standoff between him and Michnev.
Gibbs, of course, guns Michnev down, and is rescued by Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), who perhaps got from D.C. to the Russian/Finnish border a little too fast for my liking. They flee the scene, but when they arrive back at NCIS headquarters they realize there is one little problem … when officials went to clean up the scene back at the border they find that Michnev was merely wounded and escaped. When the premiere episode ends the crew is preparing to find Michnev before he’s able to find them.
I really enjoyed the season 12 premiere, but can’t tell you how thrilled I am that the villain was spared this time so we could have an arc where our favorites from NCIS are able to hunt him down. “NCIS” is at its best when dealing with these types of story arcs and I have a feeling that Michnev could potentially be one of the show’s best villains, a la like his buddy Ari whom he’s trying to avenge.
Things were good in the premiere, but thanks to Michnev’s survival you can be sure they are about to get even better.