on February 28, 2007
NCIS is one of those hidden gems you always hunt for and so rarely find. A great ensemble cast headed by Mark Harmon (as special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs) makes the whole show look so effortless. As with his other productions, Donald Bellisario has created a great group of characters who are so down-to-earth that you immediately see them as almost real. The stories can be far-fetched on occasion, but the real interest in the show is the cast of characters. Ably supported by Michael Wetherly (as Agent Tony DiNozzo), Pauly Perrette (as forensic expert Abby Sciuto) Cote de Pablo (as Mossad Agent Ziva David) Sean Murray (as Agent Timothy McGee), Lauren Holly (as Director Jenny Shepard), and David McCallum (as Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard) Harmon acts as team leader and sometimes, stern father to the younger agents under his command.
Harmon and McCallum, the two old pros, often show up the younger actors with their seamless, believable performances, but everyone on this show is great. The characters all interact with one another more like a family than a working group, and the loss of one of the main characters at the end of Season Two gave everyone a chance to show their acting chops in dealing with the death of a friend who was more than just a co-worker. If there is a weak spot in this third season, it has to be the addition of Jenny Shepard as the new director. And old flame of Gibbs, there is entirely too much time wasted on fuzzy out of focus flashbacks of their evidently red-hot love affair in Paris, only hinted at (far too much) and never really explained. Although Ziva took some time to become more of a fleshed out character, she made a more than adequate replacement for the lost character, bringing a toughness to the group, and more humor with her mangling of English expressions.
There is a great deal to like about NCIS, and sadly, CBS has never really promoted this show, spending far too much time on their CSI franchise. NCIS handles odd murder cases, a la CSI, but the humor that rests in the characters interactions (you've gotta love a hero whose name is Jethro, and a co-worker with the nickname Ducky) and the actors performances bring a humanity and warmth to a crime show that is sadly lacking in the glitzy world of CSI. You really start to think of these people as someone you'd like to meet and talk with (particularly listening to one of Ducky's stories all the way through, since he usually gets cut off by Gibbs) and that you'd have something in common with them. It gives the show a touch of realism that you so rarely find in TV these days.
This series has been a class act from the first season. The proof of depth in this show is the loss of a major character at the end of the second season and replacement in the third. This is a great example of an ensemble cast. The actors have created believeable characters. Dialogue sounds like real conversation. Couple this with some really tight writing spiced with some fine humor and you have some excellent television. Story threads run through episodes giving a greater sense of continuity but it is not necessary to view in strict order. I have both season 1 and 2 and look forward to the release of season 3 with great anticipation.
on July 6, 2007
It was rough enough for the fans of NCIS to lose Kate Todd by having Ari Haswari snipe her at the end of Season 2. So, starting Season 3 off by showing Kate's murder from Ari's POV is a little rougher. But the two episodes that start off Season 3 of NCIS--the two part "Kill Ari" episodes--really bring up a subject in this series that hadn't been fully fleshed out. Obviously, these two episodes allow the regular characters to come to grips with the loss of Kate--the irony of Kate's ghost talking to Ducky and Ducky not talking back to the ghost, the overall story of how the survivors all see Kate. McGee seeing a superwoman, Abby seeing Elvira, Tony being Tony in seeing Kate (That schoolgirl outfit), and Gibbs seeing Kate as he last saw her--with a hole between her eyes. Just as obviously, "Kill Ari" allows for the introduction of Cote De Pablo's Ziva David, the Mossad/Masada agent liased to NCIS in the wake of Kate's death and Lauren Holly's Jenny Sheppard--Gibbs' former partner/lover who rose beyond working the field to the NCIS director's job.
But my observation after a couple of viewings of this box set is that the underlying story of the season is the revelations about the history of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. For much of the first two seasons, Mark Harmon's "tough, no-nonsense investigator" (To quote the liner notes on the set) has always had an understated sense of humor that has allowed him to smile quitely at the office interaction between the members of the team while presenting his harder face. But that exterior begins to crack in the "Kill Ari" episodes; the mystery surrounding Jethro's background begins to unfold as Ari murders Kate, then takes his shot at Abby and captures Dr. Mallard. This is what starts leading Jethro to being close to Ziva--maybe no one notices, but because of the information that she uncovered about Jethro and fed to her half-brother Ari, Officer David feels partially responsible for Kate's murder.
Through Season 3, we start getting clues to who Jethro is and what he keeps from everyone--the flask that we see at the end of "Under Covers", his continued attraction towards redheads (It certainly is no coincidence that Holly/Sheppard is a redhead), and the subtleties of his relationship with Ziva--forged in an oddly shared tragedy. Of course, much of all that goes on in the season comes to a head in the "Hiatus" two-parter at the end of the season. We find out why Gibbs is what he is, how many of his actions have prepared DiNozzo for running the team and prepped Tim for being an agent; and how the discoveries affect his relationship with Dr. Mallard and Director Sheppard.
As always since this series started, the performances are stunning. Mark Harmon continues to embody the toughness and instincts of Jethro, but also had to be very nuanced as Gibbs' painful history comes out.
Michael Weatherly's Tony DiNozzo continued being the second coming of David Addison (my usual Moonlighting aside), but Tony had to face growing up and being a decision-maker/leader ("Bait"), and had a difficulty through this season that he hadn't had in the previous two--ZIVA.
Cote De Pablo flipped the dynamic of the team. As Ziva, Cote brought a much more formidable presence to the squad. In the first two seasons, Tony could get Kate off-balance with his remarks and his stunts, offending her Catholic schoolgirl sensibilities. In the third season, Ziva--partially because of her background, partially because it was just HER--was able to get Tony off his feed more than he thought possible. An example of this--aside from her driving, or her mangling of slang--came up in "Probie", when she was able to get Tony to reveal why he was receiving calls from a sperm bank. De Pablo was able to affect a very cool and very canny customer in Ziva. Many viewers are always going to miss Sasha Alexander, but Cote is a wonderful fit.
Sean Murray's Tim McGee is still a wonderful work in progress; the nerd-boy field agent who continues to get tortured by DiNozzo in a big-brother/little-brother fashion. He still seems over his head at times, eager to please Gibbs (Or at least keep Jethro from popping him one in the back of the head--isn't it funny how The Head Slap has become one of the show's many trademarks?). Plus, there's whatever seems to be going on in his private life, whether or not it's with Abby.
Of course, what can be said about Pauley? Perrette is a scene-stealing wonder on screen, especially in Abby's lab when she's mainlining the "Kaff-Pow" or getting Bert to do what he does (Her stuffed hippo--YEAH, THAT ONE). Plus, we get surprised by Abby's ability with duct tape ("Frame Up") and her temper in general ("Bloodbath").
David McCallum's Dr. Mallard continues to be the second coming of Jonathan Quayle Higgins, though not as prissy as Robin Masters' major domo. Ducky continues to tell his stories while working his was through the cadavers. Plus, we get another visit from Nina Foch as Ducky's mom late in the season, getting a surreal moment when she's visiting the NCIS HQ.
Many people thought the introduction of Jenny Sheppard as fluff. Given the underlying story of the season, Lauren Holly's character was actually needed. Jenny became an insight to Gibbs' relationship issues and why he stays operating as an investigator--basically, she knows certain things about Jethro that his squad aren't privvy to--though as it turns out, she doesn't know the whole story (Until "Hiatus").
The good guest shots in this set have to start with Sasha Alexander, and her completion of the Catlin Todd storyline. Her ghost appearing in various forms to the team members was striking (Of course, her schoolgirl outfit in Tony's vision was typical Tony). Rudolf Martin's Ari Haswari was brilliant--slick, dangerous, deceptive and unstable. I found myself regretting Ari's storyline being completed--he could have been Wo Fat to Gibbs' McGarrett (Hawaii Five-O reference). It's always fun when Jessica Steen drops in to trade remarks with Weatherly as Paula Cassidy. Michael Bellisario's turn as Abby's lab assistant is a comical and dangerous turn. Finally, we can't forget Muse Watson's introduction in the "Hiatus" episodes as Gibbs' mentor when he joined NIS, Mike Franks. Franks' amusement at the changes--the female director in particular--are tempered by his having to fill in many of the blanks for Gibbs when Jethro is recovering from amnesia.
Ultimately, the season of change that is NCIS Season 3 is a storytelling wonder--full of the humor and action that has been the staple of the series since it's beginning, but also the undercurrent of melancholy that permeates this season. The loss of Kate really becomes the latest in a series of painful losses for Gibbs--but we never realize it until the end of the season.
on January 22, 2007
Can't wait get this season.I am a huge NCIS fan.I have watched the 1st and 2nd season aleast 10 times each.I am glued to the T.V.each week watching it and It is without a doubt my favorite show.
on January 26, 2007
I'm so glad that the release schedule is speeding up. This is truly the only current series that I simply MUST watch and will buy every season released on DVD. I do disagree wtih the lack of Bloopers, or as the NCIS cast and crew call it, the Michael Weatherly Show. C'mon, Don, Charles, John, please, please, please...for season 4?
on March 14, 2007
Wow, this series came alive in the third season. Personally, I believe the introduction of the character of Ziva made all the difference. I never liked the previous female foils for the male characters. But Ziva, the Israeli agent, is aggressive, mysterious and has tremendous charisma. This is a great ensemble cast headed by Mark Harmon. David McCallum is adorable as the medical examiner. This is a lighter weight program than the CSI's or Criminal Minds, but I never tire of it. I even watch this one in re-runs. Highly recommended.
NCIS changed in third season..and gotten stronger
At the end of season two, Kate was shot and died. Season three handles her death in the openning two parter "Kill Ari" which also introduces the audience to Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) and the new NCIS director (Lauren Holly).
The change comes in many ways, Gibbs seems harder after Kate's death and it shows during the season, which builds to the two part season finale "Hiatus"...a cliffehanger to open season four. all the character grew from Abby, Ducky, Mcgee and especially Tony.
Most say change is bad, for this show is GOOD and we the audience reap the benifits
Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
NCIS Season Three really set the table for the next two-three years with the introduction of the characters of Ziva David and new NCIS Director Jenny Shepard. Before we get there however, we have to deal with the aftermath of the death of Agent Kate Todd in a somewhat haunting episode complete with talking corpses. The transition of the new characters into the NCIS fold was done virtually perfectly as the team has to accept the clash of cultures or styles between Ziva and Kate and Gibbs has to move past his past with his new boss Director Shepard.
I thought that everything was done in a very realistic manner and new stories were opened up that apparently are still memorable years later since I remembered so many of them, even though I have not caught an NCIS marathon in years.
on August 18, 2013
The third season of "West Wing" is everything the first two seasons are--except perhaps a little more hard-edged. It begins, not with the season opener, but with a special episode named "Isaac and Ishmael," written virtually on the day after 9-11. In this show, a group of high school students is stranded in the White House cafeteria because of a bomb scare. Starting with Josh Lyman, all of the main characters enter to engage in the dialogue going on because of the lockdown. The show, instead of being sad and boring, is tense and exciting as they discuss "who" wants to "kill" them--and especially "why." Amazingly, this show is anything but a ripping apart of sensibilities or castigating those who executed the horrors of 9-11. In fact, 9-11 is never mentioned or even alluded to. Neither is it an exposition of, or an act of contrition for grievances against the United States. There is humor in this show, as well as its overall serious air. Toward the end, as the lockdown is lifted, the President and First Lady stop by, and she tells the Bible account of the two sons of Abraham--Isaac and Ishmael. Tradition says that Isaac became the father of the Hebrews, and Ishmael the father of the Arabs. The two brothers and their descendants fought each other bitterly down the centuries, as they still do. But the First Lady ends on a note of hope for an end to the conflict. She says, "But in the end, both brothers came together to bury their father."
The third season keeps getting better and better, until it actually can maker the viewer wish ardently that politics still had the level of integrity and dedication to duty portrayed in the series. Ah, if only . . .
The DVDs for Season 3 are like those of the first two seasons--strung out on a long accordion-fold shape, with tiny text that makes it very hard to read which side one is playing. The only problem--and it is in the show and not the DVDs--is the dark lighting of the show throughout, so that every scene looks as it is taking place late in the afternoon.
NCIS is one of my all-time favorite programs. The series is quirky and 'hinky' as their forensic scientist Abby Sciuto likes to say. The third season opens after one of their agents was killed in the line of duty. Revenge on the terrorist who killed her becomes a theme through part of the season. Plus, the agency gets a brand-new female director who just happens to have a prior relationship with Special Agent Gibbs, the leader of the featured NCIS team. Definitely an exciting show with a truly likeable and interesting ensemble cast. These episodes are well worth keeping and watching again!