Tag Archives: Lauren Holly

NCIS – Catching up with the past?

I suppose it’d be too much to ask that more recent scriptwriter recruits sit down and watch the 350 odd episodes of NCIS they haven’t been part of? Just so they know what they are supposed to work on? Ten a day and you’d be done in a month. Almost.

Daughter and I tore NCIS to shreds on the phone a couple of days ago, and this is something we don’t do lightly. We love it too much, or have loved it too much, to want to do it. But what are they doing? Her theory for the lack of old favourite recurring characters not – well – recurring so much now, is that they don’t want to.

The actors, that is. They can’t all be too busy; Borin, SecNav, and so on. Fornell was there this season, but his part is getting too ridiculous, and maybe he only joined in out of kindness.

If there are some serious issues to do with Mark Harmon and why Pauley Perrette left, then it would explain a lot. Give rumours – or truth – enough of an airing and no one will want to touch what was until recently such a successful and happy show. Or was it?

We’re assuming there will be no season 17.

There could be. Get rid of Gibbs, tell McGee to mature back to where he was before, and give him a shave, and find a new boss. Borin, maybe. She’d work well with Torres.

I think I know why the acting is bad. The longer serving actors can’t be bothered, and perhaps neither can the directors. And could it be they no longer take on really good writers, or that there aren’t so many like that to choose from?

If this is the end, there’s probably no point in killing people. Otherwise I’d say kill a few to spice things up and have them replaced. Currently my favourites are Torres, Bishop and Kasie. Palmer when he’s allowed to be Palmerish rather than a pale copy of Ducky.

The threat against Vance; has it been forgotten or are we building up nicely to something magnificently bad? Two threats now, but not even a reminder of what might be coming, if only as a hint.

Kill Gibbs. That way Mark Harmon can keep his civilian hair, and I’m sure the man can negotiate enough money without actually appearing.

NCIS cast season 16

Almost forgetting

I’ve done that summery thing and watched old episodes of NCIS every now and then. Somehow it gets boring when all current shows come to an end every May, and there’s only so much Good Wife-watching a witch can do in one fell swoop.

I’ve been quite lucky, remembering the odd old episode that I’ve barely, if ever, watched a second or third time. This week I misremembered which episode I was after, meaning I got to watch both of them, and both were great, especially for not being worn out.

And then, as I was seeing the credits flash by, I suddenly remembered Quinn. It’s amazing how both season 14 and Jennifer Esposito had totally slipped from my memory.

I need some more oldies. And it seems as if the later episodes of most seasons are the least likely to have been watched too much. Take season 12, episode 21. It was one I was reluctant to return to for various reasons, but when I did, I discovered it was virtually perfect!

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)

It’s the hair

I suspect it’s the hair. I feel we have lost Gibbs and he has morphed into Mark Harmon over the summer. I know that sounds stupid, but however nice Mark might be, he’s a Hollywood actor and not a federal agent of any kind.

Did Mark grow tired of not growing his hair? I hope it will be cut at some point soon, like in season four. Although that time he was still Gibbs. A Gibbs who’d changed a little, but still basically the same man. The imposter we’re seeing now is an elegant actor, with far too good a haircut. In a crisis you tend not to become better groomed because you look at life differently. You might let yourself go, but not this.

I know it should be about other things, but for me it all comes down to the hair.

And Penny’s hair in the Big Bang Theory? That’s grown too. Admittedly after having been cut short last year, but still. I don’t mind which it is, but back in May we saw her and Leonard going off to get married. And now they started off by getting married, only with longer bridal hair.

It was a bit like the day in 2007 when NCIS Director Shepard’s hair grew several inches in a few hours.

An NCIS for every year

Well, almost. For some reason I skipped season one. I felt we knew all the episodes by heart, and more. But once I’d started picking from NCIS season two, Daughter and I worked our way through one episode for every season during our second holiday week.

It was meant to soothe us and keep us happy. And it did. I think I might have chosen one that Daughter Really Did Not Want To Watch, but who cares? Not me, obviously.

Abby and Jethro

The odd thing was that I picked at random, sort of. Episodes which I felt we’d watched less often. But there was a pattern to them. One day Daughter asked if I was in a Fornell mood. Well, one is always in a Fornell mood, but I hadn’t noticed he kept popping up.

Then there was the stupid, unhelpful police officer they clashed with one year. I didn’t realise he’d turn up a couple of seasons later, in the exact episode I chose. I have less eye for detail than I thought I did. But I have Daughter, and that’s what matters.

If anyone wants to know what we watched, it was Vanished, Deception, Escaped, Dog Tags, Nine Lives, The Inside Man, Ships in the Night, Enemy on the Hill, Phoenix, and Under the Radar.

Now I’m too busy to relax with more of the same, or I would.

NCIS beginnings and ends – Judgment Day and Last Man Standing

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.

Ziva and DiNozzo

Shepard and Franks

Gibbs and Ziva

Ziva and DiNozzo

Vance, Ziva and Gibbs

Gibbs

McGee, Vance and Gibbs

Gibbs, McGee and DiNozzo

Palmer, Gibbs and Vance

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)

NCIS beginnings and ends – Angel of Death, and Bury Your Dead

Hindsight makes me dislike more about season four than I noticed at the time. Probably because I didn’t actually like the Tony DiNardo disguise. I wasn’t dead keen on Jeanne, but hated the way she was being used, which once you know, is pretty upsetting if you watch again.

But, we are still talking good writing, and a strong end to one season and a very good start to the next one. Once you stop having qualms about Jeanne, that is.

NCIS - Angel of Death

We haven’t watched Angel of Death very often. I used to think it was a mixed up episode, and my co-watcher isn’t too keen on the druggie’s sister in the morgue. Well acted, but disgusting. Her boyfriend is deliciously clever and crooked and very Irish.

DiNozzo

But the rest is pretty decent. The thread about the little girls on the loose in the hospital, who might be Shirley Temple, or not, is fun. Not so sure about leaving Gibbs in charge when the Director goes away. Why would he be? Nice cliff-hanger ending.

NCIS - Bury Your Dead

For a first episode, Bury Your Dead is one of the best. That car bomb is most effective. The way Abby and McGee have mirrored each other overnight, helping the Director and Gibbs respectively, works well.

La Grenouille and Kort

I love McGee’s comment to Ziva about how his parents raised a gentleman while Ziva’s parents raised a killer. La Grenouille gets his come-uppance, but by now we almost like the man. Kort is as bad as we want him to be.

Shepard

And overnight, Director Shepard’s hair grew a good few inches.

Shepard

Funny that not one of them thought to comment on that.

(Photos © CBS)

NCIS beginnings and ends – Hiatus and Shalom

Close on the heels of the death of Kate comes Gibbs lying injured in a hospital bed. I mean, as episodes Daughter tries to avoid watching because they are just so sad… Both parts of Hiatus are sad, but they are also funny and enjoyable, while being dramatic and quite upsetting in many ways.

Gibbs and Ziva

That’s what good writing is. I know I keep coming back to this, but it’s true. So once you overlook the sight of Gibbs biting back a sob when he realises (again) that Shannon and Kelly are dead, this is fun. The drama doesn’t feel synthetic.

As I’ve said before, Abby’s monologue in front of the ICU nurse is priceless. Director Shepard is good in the same spot, but Abby is wonderful. Ziva’s threatening the ship’s captain is just right, and our first look at Mike Franks wears well.

On to Shalom at the beginning of season four and we return to Franks and his Mexican paradise. Camila brings the phone a second time, mirroring the call in Hiatus. It’s the first time we have seen a relaxed and almost normal Gibbs, and he does another ‘Mark Harmon thing’ by being on the roof, mending it for Franks.

Seeing Ziva both vulnerable and strong works well, and I’m glad she called in Gibbs’ debt so soon. As for her girl-on-girl fight at the end, it was rated 18 on YouTube at the time, which is ridiculous, but shows how good it is. The mirroring of Kate and Ari when Ziva is lured to follow the motorbike is another excellent move.

Did I mention good writing?

And we like Gibbs with a beard. The shirt is borderline, but the beard is just right. Could we have the good old days back, please?

(Photo © CBS)

NCIS beginnings and ends – Bravo Yankee Echo to Kate

The end of NCIS season two and the beginning of season three are among the very best episodes, and among the hardest to watch. Even though we watched season two late, when we already knew how it would end, it still didn’t make it any easier, or even any more obvious what was going to happen.

So we knew Kate would die, but the way they set up smoke screens, pretending to kill DiNozzo with the plague, and then offering up snakes and bombs and the need to protect Gibbs, meant we were as confused as they wanted us to be. I saw an interview with Mark Harmon on the eve of the last episode, and he claimed not to know who was going to die. It could have been him. Or so he said.

Twilight is as strong an episode as any, and it stands the passage of time well. It’s still exciting to watch, despite us knowing how and who and why. That penultimate shot when we think Kate has died, quickly followed by the killshot is pretty good.

There is humour, despite the fear and the danger. That’s what makes NCIS; the plot as such might be mediocre, but the script and the dialogue is first class.

Kate

As for Kill Ari, I had to watch part one three times before I felt even vaguely normal. It’s the one that has affected me more than any other. Yet again it’s the strong writing which makes it what it is, more even than the acting, which is also fantastic.

The team are shattered in more ways than one, it is raining (it always rains when things are bad) and Gibbs is nice. DiNozzo is right, we don’t want a Gibbs who is too nice, but it was quite fun to see what a nice Gibbs might be like. He doubts his own abilities, while the rest of his team daydream about Kate, the way they each saw her.

They have Ari to chase, while fighting the FBI’s view of him as an ally, and Gibbs has his old partner return without warning as his new Director. Ziva turns up and confuses DiNozzo, and we have that priceless scene in Ducky’s Morgan, with the useless Gerald almost wrecking it.

You don’t often get a really bad bad guy who can also be as interesting and as charming and normal as Ari. We sense that he is ice cold and cruel, but there is still a sense of humour.

(Photo © CBS)

NCIS – Life Before His Eyes or This is your wonderful life, Gibbs

It was too sad, too introspective, to be a 200th celebration. I’d been afraid of confusion and a rush to get through all those old and ‘new old’ characters for NCIS’s milestone episode no.200. That part was OK. It’s nice to see old friends, and foes, for that matter.

Gibbs in his diner

I loved the diner where Gibbs goes. Very classic sort of place and just suited to someone like him. It’s a lovely idea to find the people you care about all gathered somewhere like it. But it got confusing, keeping track of who was dead. And the question is, considering what Gibbs learned through meeting both the obvious people and some unexpected ones, will he remember his lesson and be happier in future?

Is a happy Gibbs a good thing?

There was no question but that ‘his people’ love him. But would they have, in this alternate world? What was Vance doing playing chess with Ari? And Jenny Shepard and Kate were far too cardboardy. I know why, but it was almost scary.

One day surely Gibbs will have to ask the girl masquerading as Kelly whether she really is his daughter. Is that daughter number three or four? Having the young Gibbs carrying on with his Marine colleague also felt slightly inappropriate.

Ducky, McGee and Abby

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I need to get back to normal next week. And after all that psychoanalysis Gibbs will be more than ready for another woman.

(Photos © CBS)