I saw a few minutes of an old NCIS episode recently, one of several episodes that turn on the interaction of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service with Israel's Mossad.
Why does a show that seems to have started off as a "CSI in uniform" idea go back to that well so often?
I was wondering about this, and suddenly thought about the '60s show, Hogan's Heroes.
That show was conceived during the worst of a long period of nuclear tension between US and USSR as competing hegemons, but it was about a period when the two nations were allies against a common foe. In HH, there was a recurring character -- Marya, a flirtatious Russian spy. The screenwriters treated her with ambivalence: you understood she was on the same side of the war as Hogan, whom she called "Dah-link," but she was also trouble and he was rightly wary of her.
The figures from Mossad who show up on NCIS are treated with that same sort of ambivalence. For very different reasons in terms of the broader politico-cultural context, but it ends up much the same on screen.