Tag Archives: David McCallum

NCIS – Bête Noire

I’ve been relaxing with some top-notch season one NCIS. Well, someone has to!

Having previously complimented them on the line ‘I can’t wait to weigh your liver’ there is no reason to mention it again, except I just did, and for the reason that it’s a terrific line. They might not have fully worked out where NCIS was going back then, but they knew how to get there. It’s for stuff like liver-weighing lines and the plot of Bête Noire in general that the early fans were quite so fervent.

I can’t stop being fervent even now, but only as regards the older seasons.

And if part of the reason for writing Bête Noire was to get rid of Gerald, he certainly got a good start to his send-off, without having to be killed. At least, I’ve heard there was someone they couldn’t wait to write out, and Pancho Demmings is the only one who fits the bill. Shame, as I liked him (but clearly slackers can’t be tolerated), but then he was replaced by Palmer, and we like Palmer.

Gerald and Ducky

The plot is very good. The writing and the acting likewise. Kate has warmed up as an agent, and how perfect her love affair with Ari would have been had they both not, well… you know. Gibbs talks about ‘his people’ which is only slightly clichéd. Abby gets to be weird, but she has to do that every now and then. And several of the recurring agents like Paula Cassidy and Pacci have cameos.

Not only are they beginning to show Gerald the door, but for Ari the door opens a little. Enough to invite him back in later. He’s crazy and violent, but in a nicely restrained and almost British way. The type who ‘gets’ steam trains and old cars.

Can’t help but wonder if Gibbs would have got on better with him had Kate not been in the middle.

But we know how that ended.

What’s worse, we now know what they are like today. As Son said recently, when he’d finally caught up with season 14, he wondered if they are ‘taking the piss’ and he has no interest in getting to know the new people. He’s lasted this long, but I agree; it’s not new people we don’t like. It’s having these particular new ones thrust at us in one fell swoop.

So, taking a leaf out of Gerald’s departure, maybe someone could be swiftly despatched elsewhere. No need to kill them.

(Photos © CBS)

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How to introduce new NCIS team members

The most disappointing thing about the lack of a new NCIS episode this week was how little disappointment I felt. Where once I would have waited for a new episode with baited breath, and would have been quite upset at a delay (I’m guessing we might have to miss next week too, for some reason…), I barely minded. All I felt was that I had expected to watch something that evening, and I had a slot to fill.

So I watched Silver War, episode four from season three. It’s where Ziva becomes the new member of Gibbs’s team. We’ve already met her, but this is when she starts work.

Ziva

Silver War was never a popular episode with me, so I’ve watched it less than many other episodes. But hindsight is a beautiful thing, and it was amazing how great I thought it was. Well written, and reasonably well acted. It has a lot of little sub plots, which give it some depth. And whatever you thought of Ziva, she was well introduced. She behaved like a creditable addition to the team, albeit a foreign newbie. No particular hang-ups that disturb the pace, and the viewer isn’t left wondering what on earth possessed them to create Ziva, or to hire Cote de Pablo to play her.

NCIS was still having to prove itself back then. Presumably that’s why they took care in choosing a replacement for Kate. They needed to persuade fans that this was good.

It’s a pity they forgot this. I’m almost tempted to say we need Donald Bellisario back.

I love the way DiNozzo comes into work to attend to his morning ablutions. Jenny Shepard’s reaction to Gibbs giving her his coffee. The involuntary ‘bath’ for McGee and Ziva. The latter’s dangerous driving. The way Ducky actually doesn’t remember the beautiful doctor, or falls into her trap.

Abby © CBS

OK, there were inconsistencies. Clearly DiNozzo Sr has never been into Civil War Reenactment, but it fitted the plot, so he was. Abby has been given orders to dress properly. She is devastated, but recovers unusually quickly after that. And you knew from the fact that Gibbs handed Ziva her weapons back that they’d be needed.

But, looked at from the height of season 14, this was one fabulous episode. The way things are going, I’ll be sticking to season three.

(Photos © CBS)

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.

Delilah

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.

Gibbs

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)

Treadmilling Gibbs

When I think back to the early days of NCIS, I know I only watched for the sake of David McCallum, and he didn’t disappoint. I found the writing pretty good and enjoyed most weeks’ viewing. Going away on holiday, however, I didn’t feel the need to catch up on missed episodes.

I didn’t particularly like Gibbs. That lasted until towards the end of season two when I finally found I could like him.

Thinking back to those sentiments, I’ve felt I must have missed something. That I was slow. But I’m finding the same thing all over again.

I got myself a treadmill, which is a frightfully boring activity, so I need entertainment as I ‘go.’ My ambition is to walk my way through all thirteen seasons of NCIS, unless I walk so slowly that it’s fourteen by then. Or more.

Walking chronologically with the NCIS team, I have rediscovered my early lack of enthusiasm for Gibbs. And with hindsight, because I know how his character has developed, he is behaving illogically. He was happier at the start than he was later, despite him supposedly mourning Shannon and Kelly. (While kissing Mrs Bellisario as the mystery woman in many episodes.)

He’s quite a jokey man at times, and both he and Kate do the film stuff later left to DiNozzo.

The other thing that grates is how the whole team – including the experienced Gibbs – learn as they go. I assume this is for the benefit of the viewers, but with hindsight it feels nonsensical.

Still, it’s fun. I’ll tread on.

NCIS – Family First

Nature – i.e. the rain outside – cried with us as we watched the end of DiNozzo. As expected, a little bit bad and sad, and a little bit good. They can’t kill everyone off, but at least this way some characters won’t be coming back other than as ghosts. (I honestly didn’t think they’d do what they did.)

Abby, McGee, Bishop, Palmer and DiNozzo

I’ll miss Trent Kort. Why did they have to make him all right for a while? Think of the time he called on Gibbs as his only friend and ally, in Dead Reckoning. That was fun.

Fornell isn’t dead. He’s merely got beautiful toenails. Let’s see if they let him back again or not. I’m wondering if this Tess is intended to become the new Fornell? Though I believe the character is meant to have to prove herself in order to remain.

I quite like MI6, Clayton Reeves, who is going to be our next DiNozzo. Similar and different at the same time. They could – probably – not go for another female agent (except the loan of Tess from FBI), so they went black, and foreign.

Wonder if we’ll see DiNozzo Sr again? It’s odd when one actor’s decision to leave affects another actor’s possibilities.

DiNozzos Jr and Sr

The shrink is slowly growing on me, but I hope Dr Taft will return some time too.

As I said, it ‘rained’ a little in the house as we watched. Halfway, when we found out that … and met .., even I felt I might blub a little. It’s tough saying goodbye.

Ducky, DiNozzo and Palmer

So no summer cliffhanger, and it’s only through news articles we know about Clayton. Here’s to a peaceful summer break, with a few sniffles over Tony, but otherwise just looking ahead to what season 14 will bring.

Season 14! Doesn’t that sound impossibly advanced?

NCIS – Homefront

‘The scriptwiters are crazy,’ Daughter said after watching NCIS – Homefront, and after watching it myself, I have to agree.

Who?

Did they really kill..? OK, having looked at next week’s episode description, maybe not. Or at least not yet. But how very dare they?

No DiNozzo at all, which I suppose was meant to break us in for the time when there will be no DiNozzo. Thought I’d never say this, but it was actually a bit boring without him.

They upset a lot of fans by having the First Lady as herself (well, probably even more so had she acted some other part…), which I had no problem with at all. I’d been sort of looking forward to it after I heard, although I would have liked it better still if she had been sprung on us without warning. There is nothing quite like surprise. After all, the President himself had already been on the other end of a phone line, so the next logical step was to have someone in front of the camera. First the real Director of NCIS. Then the real SecNav. Twice.

I thought Mrs Obama did really well, considering she was up against real actors.

Michelle Obama

And I can understand why they did it. It’s a worthy enough charity and they obviously want to be seen to support it, which I agree with. But I would rather they had written a fun plot to support the support, so to speak. This was at most a rather pedestrian episode, with a weird child and not much else.

McGee

I can see how Gibbs’s house can’t be a ‘safe house’ much longer. Every villain in town must have heard they take people to his house by now. I recommend blinds. Possibly locks on the door. Caution, even.

Abby was too flaky, even for Abby, with her #LivingRocks. And nothing quite beats a setting in ‘good old England,’ pubs and all. Hard to distingush between England and Ireland, really. Sheep. Shotguns. Green valleys. That kind of thing.

Fornell and Vance

(Photos © CBS)