NCIS Season 21 Episode 8 Review: Heartless

Paging Dr. Trowbridge! Paging Dr. Trowbridge!

It was only appropriate that Parker used the name of a fictional doctor when pretending to be a cardiac surgeon on NCIS Season 21 Episode 8.

When his back was against the wall and he had to improvise, Parker hollered out the name of Chevy Chase’s Dr. Emmett Trowbridge from the classic 1985 film “Spies Like Us.”

It’s about time that Gary Cole had another turn in the spotlight.

Sure, fans still wait with bated breath for any mention of Gibbs.

But Cole’s Alden Parker has made for a smooth transition to the post-Gibbs world since he took over the team on NCIS Season 19 Episode 6.

Parker and Gibbs are near opposites. His bullpen is more collegial and less technophobic. If you must go in a different direction, go in a different direction. That’s definitely the case when it comes to team leadership.

But after a handful of episodes where Parker was front and center during his first season, Alden has settled into the background, a stable but subtle presence.

And this episode didn’t start too promisingly. Parker overdid it while playing league basketball with Nick and now had a stiff neck.

It was poking fun at the overexertion of an aging body. That’s bound to elicit some chuckles from the network’s older viewership. It’s also reminiscent of the lame storylines that McGee has been receiving lately.

That tired storyline didn’t end, with every character Parker ran into inquiring about his health problem until Nick fixed it in the end with a bear hug.

Fortunately, there was also an intriguing storyline about the squad having to investigate a prominent heart surgeon being abducted and killed. That’s where Alden eventually got his chance to shine.

The famed surgeon, played by Tim Russ, was kidnapped outside his hospital in southern Virginia, only to turn up dead the next day hundreds of miles away. (It’s always tough when a Star Trek alumni exits so quickly.)

Kasie played a significant role, whereas Jimmy had little to do, establishing that the surgeon was killed by a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Kasie was the person who figured out that the blood on the front of Harper’s scrubs came from someone who had been anesthetized, causing her to speculate that he had been forced to operate on somebody.

So, the race was on to determine who his illicit patient was.

Against, it was Kasie with the answer, as she rescued the audio from Harper’s digital recorder to point to the cartel leader El Viento.

There was also the mystery of why such a world-class surgeon had no appointments. It turned out he had lost his touch. Obviously, at least word hadn’t gotten out to the criminal underworld.

An added wrinkle was that Savina was responsible for the deaths of two NCIS agents. So, this case had taken on added importance for Director Vance. (It was good to see his arm still in a sling after the events of NCIS Season 21 Episode 7. No instant healing there.)

So Savina’s thugs had wasted time abducting a defective surgeon. But the team didn’t know if Savina was dead or alive after his encounter with Harper’s scalpel.

All of this set up Parker for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, questioning Harper’s partner, Dr. Sloan, about his condition.

Naturally, that was when Savina’s men showed up disguised as medical waste transporters to abduct her to finish the surgery that Harper had botched.

Alden thought quickly on his feet, assessing the situation and pretending to be Sloan’s associate who was necessary to do the surgery.

While stripping all identifiable items off his body, Parker also smartly thought to use his phone to record the kidnapping to give his team a place to start when it came to finding them.

Alden and Sloan showed good chemistry when handcuffed into the back of that panel van. Both were wise asses, and she even got his cinematic references.

Parker’s plan was flawed because he expected his squad to arrive long before surgery. However, despite his best efforts, things went awry when Nick and McGee chased down the wrong van.

Luckily, constructing such an authentic operating suite left a paper trail that McGee could follow, so the team eventually caught up with Alden and Claia … eventually.

The result of this delay was that Parker, the man who grew faint at the sight of needles, had to hold his own in surgery with a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon while at gunpoint.

Things were going OK until Savina’s lieutenant overreacted to Clara’s sudden movement and broke her wrist, leaving her to walk Alden through the procedure even more.

Before surgery went south, Nick, Jessica, and McGee busted into the surgical suite, setting up yet another standoff, with the lieutenant grabbing Sloan as a hostage.

Parker overcame his phobia long enough to inject and knock out the lieutenant, ending the abduction.

Sloan finished the surgery on her home field, Alden smartly gave Vance the honor of arresting Savina.

What was most inviting was that Parker and Sloan might yet become an item. However, do any team members have time for an outside life beyond Jimmy and Jessica?

Did you enjoy having Parker grab the spotlight?

Does he deserve the chance for a bit of romance?

How do you think the team did with him in peril?

Comment below.

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Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

You can view the original article HERE.

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