NCIS: “Prime Suspect” (Season 10 Episode 17)

ncisBroadcast date:  Tuesday, Mar. 5th, 2013

I wasn’t really feeling this episode. Gibbs tried to help his barber determine whether or not the guy’s son was a serial killer, while Tony took probie Dorneget to the Bahamas to catch a thief. I guess I really didn’t like the interaction between Dorneget and Tony, and I thought the serial killer story felt a little contrived. Meh. Maybe next episode…

NCIS: “Detour” (Season 10 Episode 16)

ncisBroadcast date:  Tues, Feb. 26th, 2013

When Ducky and Jimmy go missing while transporting a body back to the lab, the team sets out to find what happened to them. The pair are kidnapped by a trio of villains who want them to perform an autopsy in order to find something the dead man possessed. Realizing they are as good as dead when the autopsy is done Ducky hatches a plan to keep them alive while the team searches for them. The episode was not only enjoyable but informative, as Ducky gives the viewers some science lessons, allowing he and Jimmy to escape. There’s bound to be some fallout in the next few episodes over what Jimmy was forced to do. One of the best episodes of the season…

Person of Interest: “Relevance” (Season 2 Episode 16)

Person-of-Interest-person-of-interest-30429662-1280-1024Broadcast date:  Thursday, Feb. 21st, 2013

Wow. The best Person of Interest of the season, without a doubt.

Why is that, you ask? Under the surface, this is the heart of PoI. The episode was written by Jonathon Nolan, and it is his vision of the show that simply is amazing. Here we get to see the flip side of the story – instead of the “backdoor” portion that Reese and Finch operate from, we see the application of the system Finch built – to stop terrorist threats. Who knows how many teams are out there…but this week we see one team in action – Cole and Shaw. It was such a different start, that I had to wonder if I was actually watching PoI or some other show, as Cole and Shaw take out terrorists from the numbers that the machine feeds to them. But soon Reese appears, and we know it’s one of the agents that’s in trouble.

It seems Cole gets a little too inquisitive about where the numbers come from, and the machine’s handlers decide that Cole and Shaw have learned too much, which leads to Finch and Cole getting their numbers. In essence, it’s the machine protecting one of its own. Shaw turns out to be quite the warrior, and she’s not bad to look at, either. Even Root makes an appearance, still trying to find the machine’s physical location, and her capture of Shaw demonstrates that Root, who hardly seems threatening as a villain, has the intellect and planning capable of overcoming Shaw’s brute force and instinct. You have to question Nolan using 8 men tactical teams to take out Cole and Shaw – why not use a sniper or a single assassin? The show loses a little credibility for this, but it so awesome in so many other ways, that I’m willing to overlook it…

NCIS: “Hereafter” (Season 10 Episode 15)

ncisBroadcast date:  Tuesday, Feb. 19th, 2013

I wasn’t a big fan of this episode. I’ve never been enamored with Vance’s character, and he’s sent on a wild goose chase trying to figure out why his wife was hiding money. Meanwhile, marines are dying with similar wounds – stab wounds to their arms and sides. The thought that Vance could return as an investigator seems like a stretch. Also, when the marines are stabbed by someone who wants to make sure they are strong enough to survive combat…really? Let’s see, if this person dies when I stab them, better that then dying in combat? I felt this episode had some serious plot holes and inconsistencies…

NCIS: “Canary” (Season 10 Episode 14)

ncisBroadcast date:  Tuesday, Feb. 5th, 2013

This was an absolutely terrible episode. When the team captures Ajay Khan (played wonderfully by Vik Sahay of Chuck), they try to get him to crack and reveal the location of the man who took down their network. The smug and careless attitude from Khan is a delight to watch – someone who Gibbs can’t intimidate. It was a lot of fun to watch and the writers could have done so much more with this episode. Instead, they make several noticeable errors (Well, at least to a geek like me they are noticeable) when it comes to technology like the access to Khan’s hard drive and the IP address of Khan’s boss. The worst, however, was the laughable sequence in “Gitmo”. Khan’s character, as they had made him, would not have believed any of it and cracked. A (former) Moussad agent would leave a loaded assault rifle on the floor and use a mattress to barricade a door? It just seemed ludicrous to me. For contrast, I’m reminded of another episode where Gibbs tricked a terrorist held at Gitmo by setting a clock back and making the terrorist think the bomb had already gone off, getting him to reveal the location. That episode was smartly written and believable; this one, not so much. What a wasted opportunity…

NCIS: “Hit and Run” (Season 10 Episode 13)

ncisBroadcast date: Tuesday, Jan. 29th, 2013

I’m trying hard to get caught up on my TV shows, so this NCIS review is over a week behind. I’ve seen some reviews about how bad this episode was. I disagree. Although I didn’t have much interest in the “feuding families” story line, the highlight was a character-driven flashback of Abby’s past. The young Abby was played by a talented young actress and is the highlight of the show. What other reviewers are missing is the underlying message. Yes, the “modern” Abby was forced into an over-the-top melodramatic, almost child-like sequence, but the gist is there: after years upon years of catching killers, What’s the point? The stream of murders that Abby has to help solve never seems to stop. It’s only natural that at some point, a person in that situation snaps and wonders how they can be making a difference, when the violence never stops, and being stuck in a lab, Abby rarely gets the payoff of actually seeing how her work impacts people’s lives – it’s the field agents that have that moment. And all that death, in it’s various forms, has to weigh on your soul. Now, maybe a flashback to a childhood memory is not the proper vehicle to covey such emotion, but the message remains. I can see what the writers were trying to do, and maybe they didn’t think it through enough, but I applaud the attempt. The touching sentimentality of Gibbs’s discussion with Abby at the close of the episode was excellent…the saved fortune cookie message was a bit convenient, but not out of character for Gibbs. Sorry to all the dissenters, but I actually liked this one in spite of the uninteresting weekly serial murder mystery.

TV Shows: NCIS

ncisThere is a reason why this show is consistently in the top 5, if not the top-rated show year after year. It’s compelling, smartly written, and has a great ensemble cast. I appreciate that this is one of the few shows that doesn’t dwell painstakingly on character drama, other than an occasional issue like Donald Mallard’s heart attack or one of Leeroy Gibb’s ex-wives.