One of the best pairs. The kind that really left us snapping for oxygen over the summer. More so because the strike during the winter of season five meant we went several episodes short.
They made up for quantity by writing some real quality episodes to round off season five. You can argue that they only ever kill off the women, but Director Shepard was ready to go. Lauren Holly might not have been, but we were done with her character, and she went out with all guns blazing, which is the best way.
Wasn’t just guns which blazed, come to think of it. That was some funeral pyre Gibbs and Franks came up with, as the solution to all their problems. They killed a lot of birds in the final double episode. We got a western, as well as a California beach dream, followed by a grieving team. But after Kate, we could cope with anything. And Vance had already been eased into the role of taking over.
We were used to him. Almost liked him, despite that awful toothpick. So they had to go and make him temporary bad guy over the summer. I don’t think I ever saw so much fan speculation as that year. People screen-capped the shredder, to try and see what Vance was shredding.
We hated him. Bad or good, no one comes and splits up our team.
And then we returned to a new but still totally old set-up. New agents. Old roles. The ‘real’ team had new jobs. Some where happy. Others not. But it was done so well!
Gibbs and Vance cornering Palmer is priceless. The way the scriptwriters mixed silly humour with the deep sadness of losing an agent and friend takes a lot of skill. You went from giggles to tears to fury and back.
Not everything got sorted, but we were on a journey once more.
(Photos © CBS)