Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NCIS Season 1 Review

NCIS Season 1. I know that I am a few years too late with this, but I thought it best to start at the beginning before doing my recently purchased Season 5 review. I first came across this show when I was channel hopping. And you know what happened? I thought I read "CSI" on the guide. But the episode I watched hooked from from the word go.

Mark Harmon plays Special Agent Jethro Gibbs; a former Marine who is now working for NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Members of his team include Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Dark Angel's Michael Weatherly) who, at the end of the day, is a frat boy with a gun; Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd who, in the first episode, was in the Secret Service stationed on Air Force One. By the end of said episode (called "Yankee White") Gibbs offers her a place on the team. Pauley Perette plays Forensic scientist Abby Scuito, a goth who is really into her proffesion; and last, but not least, is Doctor Donald "Ducky" Mallard (played by The Man From U.N.C.L.E's David McCallum) whose vast career means that he always has a story to tell for every occasion.
The 2 pilot episodes were "back-door" pilots in another TV series called "JAG" (which I never watched) so this is effectively a spin-off. Now, this season is not bad. Let me make that perfectly clear. However, it is weaker than the rest of the series as is the way with most TV out there (DS9 anyone?)! You can tell the different music and camera angles that the production team try out before settling on a particular one.

One of the great things that NCIS can do really well (where most shows fail) is successfully mould comedy into drama, and create character that you genuinely care about. The banter is always a joy to listen to and the sexual tension between Kate and Tony isnt quite there yet, but just wait until season 2.

Supporting characters never fail to disappoint. Alan Dale makes several appearances as Director Tom Morrow. Patrick Labyorteaux reprises his role from JAG in one episode Joe Spano (Hill Street Blues), Jessica Steen (Armageddon) and Rudolf Martin (24) all provide great characters which have an impact on future episodes (and seasons) to come.

Best Episodes
Bete Noire: This episode was the first to break the format of the show's typical line. Instead of "Find Body/Investigate/catch who did it". Ducky, Kate and Gerald get held hostage by an unknown terrorist. After he escapes unharmed, it becomes a recurring theme throughout the rest of the season to have his picture running through the facial recognition program in the background.

UnSEALed: This is one of my personal favourite because Kate kicks some serious arse in this one. A man convicted of killing his wife escapes from prison. However, the team concludes that his actions are more consistant with a man trying to find answers than a man on the run, meaning that he was innocent all along.

Worst Episodes
Reveille: Season finale. Even though we finally find out the identity of the mystery terrorist, Ari Haswari, a Mossad Agent undercover in Al Queda whose acts in Bete Noire was part of his cover, it is still one of the most disappointing episodes. As far as Season Finale's go, this is the weakest of the lot! Despite Ari's revelation as being an undercover agent, Gibbs can't shake off the feeling that he is a bad egg and still doesnt forgive him for shooting him. Despite this, its still has one of the best scenes of the season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn1EuHzPyzo

Even though this isnt the season I would recommend, its a brilliant place to start. But patience is definately a virtue with this show.