Put glasses on Michael Weatherly and it will make him look intelligent. I assume that’s the thinking behind ‘DiNozzo’ as a psychologist. I was – almost – convinced I wouldn’t watch his new show Bull. I don’t exactly need more series to follow.


But curiosity won, and the thing is; if you want to fill the hole left by DiNozzo leaving NCIS, you need Bull. At least for a while. I accept that this show might get boring and samey, but right now I think it’s fun.

Second-guessing juries in trials is an interesting concept. I’m thinking someone went looking for an angle on law to make another Good Wife without it being about lawyers.

What I can’t work out yet, is whether the concept will allow for failure from Bull’s team. If you get a new story every week, but he always wins his cases, some of the suspense will disappear. Or so I believe.

But I’m open to persuasion, so will hang on and see.

Mole in Los Angeles

Still hunting for the elusive mole, NCIS: Los Angeles is managing better than its big brother in keeping us entertained. Keeping the team together is one important factor in this. So, Daniela Ruah might have been pregnant with her second baby (right up until Labor day, of all days), but they have worked round this. No sudden introduction of two or three new faces to make up for the loss of a much loved one.

Daniela Ruah and family, on instagram

Sam, Deeks, Kensi and Callen

We could tell she was pregnant towards the end of season seven, and now they have hit on the clever solution of having Kensi badly injured and putting her in a hospital bed. How long for is another matter, but she is there. And out on jobs she has been replaced by Nell, without the need for a new actor.

The question is who will turn out to be the mole. I suspect that when they first thought of having one, they never decided who it would be. Maybe they still haven’t. (The first actor to want to quit, perhaps?)

Hetty is ripe for retirement. Will she go? Granger has improved and risen in everyone’s estimation, and he could replace Hetty, were it not for the interaction the two of them have.

To be honest, however, I am less bothered by the LA team, because I never loved them as much as I did their Washington colleagues.

NCIS – Love Boat

At last, an almost normal episode! Back on a ship, even if it’s called Love Boat. It sort of brought back the N in NCIS.

Glad to see Gibbs must have wrestled his leather jacket off Fornell. Made him look slightly less formal, but not necessarily more Gibbsy. And what’s the matter with all these people? They get seasick! They work for the Navy!

Palmer, Gibbs and Quinn

Good to see they actually had a female commander for once. Also that she wasn’t quite as barky as so many of the men have been over the years. And we had a small child, a celebrity, love affairs, as well as general sneakiness.

McGee really needed to get his act together, and I was starting to feel this would drag on all season, but luckily you can use that lift for almost anything. Great to have Delilah back. Much better than just talking about her.


Still not enough of Abby or Ducky, even if Palmer was allowed out on his own. It will be interesting to see if this is a trend, or a one-off. We need to make friends with everyone, and soon.


Facelift? I don’t know. Gibbs looks almost his old craggy self at times. But there is definitely something film star-ish about the man.

(Photos © CBS)

NCIS – season 14 start

‘What’s wrong with his face?’ Daughter texted me last week, as we both watched the new NCIS; same time, but separately. I wasn’t sure who the ‘he’ was, being busy wondering about McGee’s face. Seems she was mostly intrigued by Mark Harmon’s eyes, which appeared to have shrunk.

So, had I not been a regular viewer, but had stumbled onto an episode like the second one, I’d have wondered where I’d ended up. There are too many new faces for a show we come to for our long-standing relationship with the team. Old friends, as they have been for many years. Ziva leaving was tough, but she was one person.

DiNozzo was also only one person, but they have dealt with the loss of his mega-personality by giving us two new agents. It’s too much. They are very nice, I’m sure, but this feels like returning to the school or the job you left a few years ago, expecting – hoping – for everything to be the same and finding it’s not.

And it’s not. Not at all. Especially with both Gibbs and McGee as the old squadroom faces not looking quite themselves. Gibbs in a suit on an everyday basis is too formal.

Bishop, McGee, Torres and Quinn

I’m hoping things will normalise. So far we’ve had one introductory episode, letting us know who the people who joined are, except I don’t feel we learned anything much. Too bland, too handsome, no real background. And one episode that looked quite promising to begin with, but lost its zing about halfway.

This way I reckon we’d do better to concentrate on Palmer in jail.

And Gary Glasberg has died. He and his writing will be missed.

(Photo © CBS)


Watched a couple of random episodes of NCIS on this eve of September 11th, fifteen years on. The Resident IT Consultant is away for a few days, which is why I indulged myself. He is back in Moscow, which is where he was that fateful day in 2001 as well.

Russian station

It was a strange feeling, having him there, his brother near Boston, the rest of us somewhere in the middle, and all watching the same thing developing.

But that’s not what I wanted to say here. One of the episodes was Broken Arrow, the one where DiNozzo Sr assists the team in solving the crime, by staying at his favourite Washington hotel, running up a vast bill, having hitched a lift from Geneva on someone’s private plane. (Most likely one of the ones Daughter sees from her kitchen window.)

And then as we’ve got all sweet at the end and Jr and Sr finally see eye to eye, we have the older DiNozzo declining a taxi to the airport, because he just ran into Donald Trump in the lobby and has begged a lift home.

Six years ago that was amusing. Now, not so much. And I hope that whatever happens in real life won’t mean a repeat of that day fifteen years ago, just because someone was unable to do the right thing.

Happy 8th, dear Culture!

Yeah, it’s not quite the done thing to wish yourself a happy birthday. Even when yourself is your blog. But CultureWitch is eight today, and I almost forgot, because I’ve been masterminding some windows for a week.

And anything to get my mind off windows right now!

As is customary around here, a Happy Birthday to Mark Harmon as well. He is 65 today and by rights ought to retire, but it seems he’s good for a bit longer. After all, it was only earlier this year that he had the First Lady guest star on NCIS.

Michelle Obama and Mark Harmon

That is worth celebrating. The fact that Michelle Obama is an NCIS fan, along with the rest of us, and not afraid to admit it.

So, Happy cake eating to all!

NCIS 300th cake

(Photos © CBS)

Keeping us guessing

I don’t like uncertainty much. And when someone has spilled beans, I prefer for those to be the beans, and not red herrings. Or a side dish.

I’m fairly certain Clayton Reeves was introduced to us as taking over from DiNozzo, even though I felt it seemed unlikely on an immediate basis, what with him being MI6. But we had Ziva and Mossad and that worked. And they half offered us a female FBI agent in the spring, without saying on what basis. I assumed it was that DiNozzo has left big footsteps and more than one might be needed to fill his boots (if I am allowed to throw footwear around like this).

And then we learn they have Wilmer Valderrama lined up, seemingly for the same part; taking over from our annoying-but-will-be-missed agent. It’s cunning having someone who already is an agent with NCIS, but who has a reason for not ever having come up in discussions. Deep cover, indeed. I don’t know him from anything, but I’m sure he’s OK. Looks a bit too DiNozzo-ish, perhaps.

This appears not to be all. There is another regular (or semi-regular?) character on the way. Another female, Jennifer Esposito. Another name that means nothing to me. Again, she might be fantastic. But I hate having so many new people all at once. And I’d like a slightly less perfect looking woman to join; someone older, uglier, maybe shorter and fatter. Same goes for the men, obviously.

If these characters all turn up at the same time, it will be more the old team getting used to them, rather than the new ones having to fit in with an existing team. While not being all eggs in one basket, which can be good, I see a whole lot of baskets out there.

And I’m not that hungry.