The new girl on “NCIS” is an employee of the National Security Agency who seems to possess the mental acuity known as “hyperthymesia,” which is the extremely rare ability to remember virtually everything she experienced on any given day, no matter how long ago in her life.
It’s the autobiographical memory exhibited most notably in real-life by Marilu Henner, who revealed that she possesses this “gift” in 2010 on an episode of “60 Minutes.”
On “NCIS,” the new operative, Ellie Bishop (played by Emily Wickersham), demonstrated her own ability when she was confronted with a report she wrote two years earlier. She not only remembered the entire 25-page report, but also recalled the cereal she ate that same morning for breakfast.
The new character is the replacement for Ziva David, the long-running character who was written out of the show earlier this season when actress Cote de Pablo decided she was ready to move on to other things.
Reaction to the new character on-line seemed mostly positive. “Home run … bases loaded, bottom of the ninth. … really was not sure what to expect … outstanding introduction to the team … great choice for new character,” wrote one commenter here, on the Entertainment Weekly Web site.
“Absolutely loved her. I didn’t know they would find Ziva’s replacement so quickly,” wrote another fan of the Bishop character. “Loved her,” wrote one person. “She is a perfect replacement and addition for the team.”
“A huge improvement over Ziva. I don’t miss her dismal countenance one bit,” said another commenter.
There were detractors, however. “Don’t like her,” wrote one viewer. “She tries to act and talk like Ziva. She seems awkward. [She] looks like a blonde Ziva wannabe. Not impressed.”
Our take: In keeping with this show’s customary proficiency, the introduction of this new character was handled competently. She figured into the episode’s principal storyline, and played a major role in it, but the entire show did not revolve around her. Nor was she entirely competent either, as she tried the patience of the more-experienced agents she was thrown in with.
She is attractive (of course), and perhaps a little too brilliant and a little too spunky, at least in this, her first episode. Perhaps the show’s writers will tone down these traits going forward, along with her affected preference for doing her work while seated cross-legged on the floor with her paperwork arrayed around her. That behavior is more befitting a harried undergrad than a homeland security professional.
Our advice: Get this girl a desk and make her sit in it.