Sign in or
NCIS Master of the Police Procedural 24/11/09
'NCIS,' master of the police procedural
And it's what the top-rated CBS show does best
By Tom Conroy - Media Life Magazine TV Critic
Nov 24, 2009
The two most recent episodes showed both the good and the bad “NCIS.”
To start with the good, last week the Naval Criminal Investigative Service team looked into the death of a Navy lieutenant who had been shot while she was trying to break into a web hosting company. The plot was a sturdy, serviceable mystery in which viewers had a chance to spot the real villain but likely didn’t figure out who he was until the end.
The team’s usual comical interaction revolved around a city-wide blackout that had left them unable to use their high-tech forensic tools. This gave Gibbs (Mark Harmon) a chance to show off his old-school skills and let Tony (Michael Weatherly) make a bunch of allusions to classic TV procedurals.
When Tony said to a witness, “Just the facts, ma’am,” the show’s older viewers were probably tickled to finally hear a pop-culture reference they could understand.
Both the dialogue and the plotting could have worked this angle more wittily, but the episode was otherwise satisfying and — in a good way — instantly forgettable. The ensemble cast is strong enough that any one of them can support a subplot; in this case, the lovable forensic specialist Abby (Pauley Perrette) got to step up and solve the mystery.
The main characters’ byplay was corny but comfortable in that veteran-TV-ensemble sort of way.
By contrast, the episode that aired two weeks ago felt seriously out of balance. The head of the NCIS, Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll), was pursuing his nemesis, Lee Wuan Kai (Kelly Hu, who had played the same character on a crossover episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles” three weeks before). She had been trained in a North Korean program that turned orphan girls into superassassins.
This premise was not played for laughs.
Poor Rocky Carroll actually had to keep a straight face while saying that he had been pursuing the assassin for 20 years and that she had killed his partner. (Do you think that in the nemesis training program, there’s a special section on partner killing?)
“In some ways,” Vance said solemnly, “I know Kai better than I know myself.”
Action movies can carry off this kind of absurdity because they usually maintain a consistent tone throughout. This episode, however, spent way too much time showing Tony teasing McGee (Sean Murray) about his new girlfriend. Though fans were probably happy to see McGee getting lucky, Tony’s interest in McGee’s private life got progressively creepier.
Meanwhile, the Vance-Kai plot went completely off the rails: It turned out that she wanted him to kill her because she was ashamed of the evil person she had become and he was her only long-term relationship.
“NCIS” should leave the mentally unstable supervillains and similar plot devices to Bond movies or to shows like “24.” Give this cast a clever but not too complicated mystery, and the hour flies by.
Latest page update: made by #1hotchfan
, Sep 8 2010, 8:29 AM EDT
(about this update
About This Update
Moved from: NCIS in the News
No content added or deleted.
- complete history)
Keyword tags: NCIS
More Info: links to this page
There are no threads for this page. Be the first to start a new thread.