NCIS: Season 4, Episode 20

Cover Story (10 Apr. 2007)
"NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service" Cover Story (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Comedy | Crime
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 227 users  
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While processing evidence from a crime scene, McGee is shocked when he discovers a link to his newest/unfinished novel. When the team finds 2 bodies, the race is on to find the killer and ... See full summary »



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Title: Cover Story (10 Apr 2007)

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Episode cast overview:
Lyndi Crawshaw
Landon Grey
Todd Ryder
Nynno Ahli ...
Rick Green
Johnny Smokerson


While processing evidence from a crime scene, McGee is shocked when he discovers a link to his newest/unfinished novel. When the team finds 2 bodies, the race is on to find the killer and his link to McGee's work. McGee finally admits he based his characters off his co-workers. Written by Jesse Sanchez

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

10 April 2007 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The author photos in the publisher's office include Donald P. Bellisario, Tom Clancy and Stephen J. Cannell. See more »


When the team is in Abby's lab Tony has a blue drink in his hand. Abby takes the drink away but it is now red. See more »


Officer Ziva David: [talking about their characters in McGee's novel] Was no secret he was writing about us.
Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo: Oh, come on, it's not about us. I mean, the whole part about Lisa and her broken heart?
Officer Ziva David: And the memento she keeps from a relationship that never had a chance to happen?
Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo: Yeah. Where's he gettin' that? Or the scene between Lisa and Tommy, where they, pour out their hearts to each other and spill their secrets?
Officer Ziva David: [chuckles] When he tries to explain the profound nature of his identity crisis?
Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo: Yeah, I mean, the ...
See more »


References Coyote Ugly (2000) See more »


Cyclical Torment
Written by Dominic Kelly
Performed by Dominic Kelly
Courtesy of Screw the Pooch ASCAP
See more »

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User Reviews

A favorite episode
1 September 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

NCIS became one of TV's all-time hit series due to cast chemistry and excellent writing. Both attributes are on view in "Cover Story", one of my all-time favorite episodes.

On IMDb only a single review is posted, spending its entire length foolishly complaining about a technical error. This is a symptom of our trivia-obsessed current culture, where a clown who finds continuity errors and goofs in major films has a huge website following, but in which young buffs no longer look up to an incisive role model like Pauline Kael or Andrew Sarris the way we boomers did while cultivating our motion picture obsession.

An ingenious script by David North grabs the viewer by the throat early on when McGee discovers that his sense of déja vu at the crime scene stems from the victim so closely resembling one of the fictional characters of his latest novel. He's stymied at Chapter 7 with writer's block, but the other NCIS crew stop mocking him when they discover that they are all potential victims, since Timothy has been using them as the close-to-the-bone models for his invented protagonists.

This element of jeopardy for the team was a clever device to extend the episode beyond its obviously McGee-centric premise. And like many a latter-day episode of "Castle", it permitted the viewer to revel in the comparison of "fictional" vs. "real" (just as fictional, however) characters as the descriptions in the novel-in-progress became clear.

This gimmick was terrifically developed, and the fact that the clue to catching the killer was a goof did not spoil the episode at all. As I watched I fleetingly was aware of the much-used nature of a typewriter ribbon, but my mind glossed over this fact and accepted the twist -such is the want-to-believe nature of a fan. Ordinarily a nitpicker, I wanted to enjoy this episode, and I did.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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