Michael-Weatherly-Cote-de-Pablo-tony-ziva-NCIS.jpgFirst up, in the interests of blood-pressure management, people died in the conclusion of the “NCIS” season premiere, called “Past, Present and Future,” which aired on CBS Tuesday (Oct. 1), but no good guys. So, sit down, take a deep breath and have a glass of water. All will be well.

We’re still following a two-track story, which begins in May (when last season ended) and picks up in October (which is today). Nice how that works out, huh? Agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) is in Israel, trying to track down his favorite fellow agent, Ziva David (Cote de Pablo).

Meanwhile, back in DC, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Agent Tim McGee (Sean Murray) are trying to locate members of the Brotherhood of Doubt — OK, that’s a strange name for a terror cell, because terrorists are usually pretty darn sure at least about what they DON’T like, but maybe they can’t agree on a lunch order — and keep it from killing a terror-fighting businessman, Tomas Mendez (a still-disturbingly-tanned Costas Mandylor).

And replacing the Secretary of the Navy who got blown up last week is former business executive Sarah Porter (Leslie Hope, aka Mrs. Jack Bauer from “24”). She seems like a cool chick who can get things done. Here’s to hoping we see lots more of her.

The leader of the Brotherhood of Doubt (hereinafter referred to as the “BoD”) is still Pakistani national Denim Parsley (that’s not really the character’s name, but still can’t figure out the name they’re saying, so it’s close enough). In the picture, he looks vaguely like a Eurotrash model in shades, so expecting he’ll show up in a future episode. A good-looking terrorist is hard to find.

With the help of Mossad Director Deanna Troi — actually Orli Elbaz, but she’s played by Marina Sirtis — and handsome Ziva ex Adam (Damon Dayoub), Tony trails Ziva hither and yon, winding up digging into her childhood, meeting old frenemy Dr. Deena (Lena Georgas) along the way, and eventually, after several months, finding her in the house where she was born.

No reason to make you all wait for that one, since the Tiva smoochies in last week’s previews made an encounter inevitable.

The terrorist trail in America takes its usual 368 twists and turns — “NCIS” loves its quick cuts — before leading straight to Mendez, who has nefarious reasons for not trying to fight terror after all, and who is actually blowing people up.

So, having SecNav Porter be from the business world might be an attempt to offset bad businessman Mendez, since “NCIS” and CBS still like lots of ad buys from big corporations.

Also, although Pakistani Parsley is the head of the BoD, all their thugs are Americans, including members of the U.S. military. At this rate, if Gibbs finally gets the BoD — and of course he will, because, Gibbs — it’ll be composed entirely of disgruntled U.S. veterans plotting to overthrow the government, or steal from Fort Knox, or attack the White House, or TP the VA. Take your pick.

Because, apparently, our active-duty soldiers and veterans are the most serious threat we face in America today. That’s obvious, right?

Oh, and Mossad can see everything, everywhere. Director Deanna said its job is “to see.” So, the Mossad has basically become the NSA … or Google.

By the way, the terrorist calls all come from Florida. See, if CBS hadn’t axed “CSI: Miami,” we could put Lt. Horatio Caine right on that. Poor planning, EyeWeb.

Anyway, in the end, Ziva tells Tony she must stop being at the centers of bloodbaths and start over, on her own, of course. But Tony finally gets some Ziva-love and a satisfying, “Casablanca”-style liplock before getting on a plane with a wistful look back (and Ziva’s Star of David necklace in his pocket, which makes him smile. Awwww).

Despite being beaten up by a BoD thug and left with a nasty black eye, Gibbs saves FBI BFF Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) from Mendez’s latest bomb by shooting Mendez, destroying his iPhone and perforating Tobias’ posterior in the process.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the resolution of the cliffhanger from last May’s season finale, showing Gibbs seemingly pointing a sniper rifle at Fornell’s head. Come on, that never would have happened. Who would Gibbs watch eat banana pancakes if Tobias wasn’t there?

Best bits:

  • Ziva’s childhood bucket list: “I WILL be a ballerina, ride a horse, live in a castle, visit Iceland and America, have a boy and a girl,” all Xed out with “STOP THIS FOR HIM” written in. Who’s him? Not her dad, not Tony … Gibbs. She calls him at the very end, and he answers the phone, “Hey Ziver.” Squee!
  • Dr. Ducky (David McCallum) surmising there might be partial thumbprints on the contact lenses in the eyes of a strangulation victim, and then tech whiz Abby (Pauley Perrette) finding one. This would have been an entire pivotal plot point on “CSI: Miami,” but on “NCIS,” it’s just all, whatever, it’s Ducky and Abby.
  • Tobias curing stress with banana pancakes and extra-extra bacon. Why did Gibbs’ ex-wife divorce him, anyway? The man knows the value of bacon, for Pete’s sake.
  • Tobias to Gibbs, “I just can’t believe it; you shot me in the a**!” “It’s a surface wound, through and through.” “In the a**!”
  • Ziva: “Tony, you are so …” “Handsome, funny, what?” “Loved.” Double-squee!

Maybe at the very end of “NCIS,” when Tony is facing mandatory retirement, he and Ziva will settle down in a little beachside condo in Haifa. One can dream.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare