NCIS Season 17 Episode 6 Review: Institutionalized

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Kasie finally got her spotlight episode early in her second full season as forensic scientist.

She came to the defense of her hard-luck best friend who got accused of murder on NCIS Season 17 Episode 6.

It wasn't hard to feel bad for Dante, one of those many people who end up imprisoned for doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Kasie's Friend -- Tall - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

It didn't make sense initially that Kasie would go to bat for someone who appeared at first glance to be the poster child for recidivism.

But as we got to know Dante, it became clear what Kasie saw in him, especially after she explained that he went to prison the first time for protecting her younger brother from gang members.

Wrong Place - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

Dante meant well. It was just little dumb things he did that kept catching up with him.

Popping a wheelie to impress a girl shouldn't get you sent back to prison. But that happened to Dante.

Let it be said right up front that Trey, the victim, was a loser and the world was likely better off without him.

Related: NCIS Season 17 Episode 5 Review: Wide Awake

But since his aunt/guardian was a petty officer and the murder was on her property, NCIS ended up involved, another exceedingly tangential case.

The longer the franchises's series has been around, the more of those types of cases there are, I fear. How many times do you ask, "Why, exactly, is NCIS on the case?"

Into Prison - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

But such is the state of affairs in Seasons 17, 11, and 6 for NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, and NCIS: New Orleans respectively.

So "deadbeat ex-con nephew of a petty officer" it was. Close enough for government/military  work.

I'm liking the relationship that's been forming between Gibbs and Kasie. It was sweet how Gibbs helped her tie that tie with which she was struggling, only to find it it was for her friend's job interview.

Kasie has proven odd, just like Abby was. They are just different kinds of odd.

Kasie is that weird, nerdy kid who embraces knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Yet Gibbs has adopted her like a daughter, a similar relationship to that he had with Abby.

Damning Evidence - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

Boy, don't those stories about Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon clashing behind the scenes kind of ruin those memories?

Anyway, the only thing that saved Dante was that Gibbs trusted Kasie's gut that Dante was incapable of murder.

That and Vance calling her upstairs, seemingly to harangue her but actually to back up her instincts and to tell her to fight with whoever she had to to get to the truth.

It was a good thing that Kasie was in Dante's corner because he was the perfect fall guy for Trey's murder.

He and Trey were cellmates until Trey shivved him in the yard. And yet Dante was big-hearted enough to go drinking with Trey after Trey got released.

Prison Showdown - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

Why? Just so they could commiserate about how hard it is to fit back into society after prison? It would have been logical for Dante to have given Trey a wide berth.

So, when Trey ends up murdered, of course, his drinking buddy Dante, who he had stabbed not that long ago, was the natural suspect, with only his dog as an alibi.

Related: Watch NCIS Online: Season 17 Episode 5

Granted, Theo was probably the smarter of the two, but still ...

It was another good dog appearance this season, with Theo reuniting with his old temporary guardian Kasie and new friend Bishop and attacking Torres. That dog had good instincts.

It was evident that Theo was embedded in this mystery. After all, the murder weapon was found in his doghouse.

Making Friends - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

Also, Theo was an alumnus of the prison's dog-rehabilitation program which was at the heart of this case. 

Kasie's belief in Theo was the only reason this wasn't an open-and-shut case. Kasie's teammates had faith in her judgment, even though all the odds were against Dante, so they kept digging.

Kasie was right to waver once she discovered that Dante had lied about not being in a fight with Trey since lying to her made him look guilty.

But Bishop uncovered the audio proving that order for the hit on Trey came from inside the prison after Dante was already released.

The name linked to the order for the hit led to a contractor with a history of drug running.

Mentorly Chat - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

That, in turn, led to Kasie getting hair samples from all the dogs in the prison program to find which matched the hair found on Trey's body.

That dog's owner was the guard who smuggled the drugs into the prison and who killed Trey and framed Dante.

Related: Get CBS All Access via Amazon Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

Why Gibbs and company hadn't started looking into who besides Dante might want Trey dead is a valid question, since that effort came late in the case. Occam's razor isn't always the way to go.

In the end, Dante appeared to be getting the break he needed to go straight, and he and Kasie vowed to help others inside catch a break such as he did.

An enjoyable side storyline was Ellie almost becoming Tater Tot Potato Queen back home in Oklahoma.

Back for Evidence - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

Coming from a town where three Maine Potato Queens (based on age) get crowned each August, I can attest that these regional pageants can be too big a deal in rural communities.

Still, it was fun to watch Torres and McGee torment her about the title until finally her arch-nemesis, the local weather girl, made room in her schedule to accept the crown again, leaving Bishop relegated to being her security.

To review Kasie's evolution, watch NCIS online.

Nearing an Arrest - NCIS Season 17 Episode 6

How did you enjoy Kasie's spotlight?

Did you think Dante was guilty?

Should Bishop have been Tater Tot Queen?

Comment below.


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Institutionalized Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

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

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NCIS Season 17 Episode 6 Quotes

I see your friend's murder didn't affect your appetite.


Bishop: You know what they used to call me?
McGee and Torres: Scarecrow.