After watching the past couple of seasons of NCIS in rapid succession, I had this post forming on Tony's character and his growth, or lack thereof. I kept debating on whether to actually post it or not, then I saw a couple of spoilers for upcoming episodes ( Not a lot of detail but cut for the spoilerphobic )
Anyway, my post is more about Tony as a good agent than it is about other stuff. Through all the seasons of NCIS we get glimpses of Tony being a really good investigator and having great instincts. Unfortunately, these moments tend to be eclipsed by his goofing around or his attempts to show off for Gibbs.
I'm going to lose my Gibbs/DiNozzo slasher card for this, but I think that him being around Gibbs is the problem. I also think this is somewhat intentional on the writers parts. When we see Tony in charge of a situation (rather than following Gibbs' lead) we get to see his analytical skills and leadership capabilities.
This is even evidenced in "Bait" when Tony has to take over when Gibbs ends up in the classroom with the kid. We also see it in "In The Zone" when Tony and Nikki (sp?) go to Baghdad. Once they're in Baghdad, Tony was the epitome of a seasoned investigator.
Back to "Bait" though. One of the things this episode highlighted for me was Tony's willingness to stand up to Jenny when he professionally disagreed with her. He stood up to her in a way I don't think we've ever seen him stand up to Gibbs. I don't think it was out of a lack of respect, but it felt more like him claiming his place as 'Senior Field Agent'. It demonstrated it clearer than all of the times he's spouted the words to Ziva and McGee.
Question is, why has Tony never been able to stand up to Gibbs the way he stood up to Jenny? When Gibbs returned to NCIS and essentially brushed Tony back into his place, Tony bowed back into his spot and deferred to Gibbs. I know that they showed the awkwardness of the transition, but I felt like it was mostly played for laughs. Though, I found the part of him turning down his own team for the sake of watching out for Gibbs heartbreaking. Again though, he was able to be honest with Jenny about it. I think if he'd been dealing with Gibbs in a similar situation he would have just played it off and made a joke.
My fondest desire for this season is that we finally get to really see Tony coming into his own, even when he's around Gibbs. And that we get to see some honest acknowledgment that he's not just the comic relief. I think it would be a natural outgrowth of what happened with Jeanne and Jenny. Situations like that are either going to break someone or make them stronger in the long run. I'd love to watch the process of the latter with Tony.
Any thoughts or comments from everyone else on this?