NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is more than just an action drama. With liberal doses of humor, it's a show that focuses on the sometimes complex and always amusing dynamics of a team forced to work together in high-stress situations. NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), a former Marine gunnery sergeant, whose skills as an investigator are unmatched, formerly led this troupe of colorful personalities. Gibbs, a man of few words, only needs a look to explain it all. The team includes NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), an ex-homicide detective who may come off as the world's oldest frat boy, but whose instincts in the field are unparalleled; forensic specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), a talented scientist whose dark wit matches her Goth style and eclectic tastes, NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), an MIT graduate whose brilliance with computers far overshadows his insecurities in the field and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), a former Moussad agent who shares a bond with Gibbs over the death of his arch nemesis, Ari, the terrorist who killed former NCIS Special Agent Kate Todd. Assisting the team is medical examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum), who knows it all because he's seen it all, and he's not afraid to let you know. Rounding out the team is NCIS director Jennifer Shepard (Lauren Holly) who has a romantic history with Gibbs. From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, these special agents travel the globe to investigate all crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties.
The fourth season of NCIS
begins with one of the investigators being charged with assassinating an Iranian prisoner. Former Mossad intelligence agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), who was introduced last season, has been framed, and there's only one man who can clear her name. Unfortunately, lead investigator Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) has retired to Mexico. But since Harmon is the star of the show, Gibbs returns to the United States to help out his colleague. While most of his former team is happy, Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) has mixed feelings (During Gibbs' absence, DiNozzo became the de facto head of the team, and going back to being Gibbs' underling doesn't sit well with the usually easygoing special agent.). Like William Petersen on CSI
, Harmon is instrumental to the success of NCIS
. Low-key and sarcastic, he injects humor and drama into a role that could've come off as dull. And while other cast members may come and go, his presence makes even some of the weaker storylines forgivable. In general, this season--which originally aired from 2006 to 2007--is full of well-developed plot lines that drive each episode along at a good pace. But there are some subplots that are trite: When agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) reveals that that book he's writing is based on his co-workers, it's not much of a reveal. Also, the serial-killer storyline in this season overstays its welcome by at least one episode. As NCIS director Jennifer Shepard, Lauren Holly makes a sometimes unlikable character come to life, especially when Shepard's motives are questionable. As the show's name suggests, the majority of crimes featured revolve around military personnel, but some of the show's best moments occur when they touch of the personal relationships between the characters. All 24 episodes are included in this six-disc box set, which also includes commentaries, a Q&A session with cast members answer fans' questions, and a surprisingly interesting look at the props used on the show. --Jae-Ha Kim