Tag Archives: Liza Lapira

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 – Collateral Damage

It’s uncanny seeing Agent Lee walk again, but that’s revisiting older episodes for you. With hindsight I could see Gibbs was studying her even more than I did two and a half years ago.

Dwayne and DiNozzo

Dwayne Wilson

But what I really wanted to say after watching Collateral Damage again was that as we could do with some more characters to love, how about letting Dwayne Wilson return, as a fully fledged agent? He was one of those I would have liked to see more of back then. We didn’t, so an alternative could be a return for season nine.

Even DiNozzo couldn’t get the better of him, and despite being more of a Gibbs type, I think Vance liked the idea of him. Even if Vance wants more McGees than DiNozzos. Or as Gibbs said, people more like Vance than like Gibbs.

Good for Gibbs – and Wilson – that Ducky can analyse their best sides. And DiNozzo should leave his ears and the vending machine alone. No poking or banging.

The (NCIS) plot thickens

I’m not going to keep warning about spoilers, so don’t read this if you haven’t seen episode seven.

In the line of duty

Gibbs in bar

 

I’ve puzzled for a long time why Paula Cassidy never gets a mention, but after a year and a half she is vaguely acknowledged in a photo gallery of those who have died in the line of duty. Others are remembered, so why not Paula? This time she is joined by Agent Langer, so it would seem that Gibbs at least is waking up.

Agent Lee
Though why Agent Lee would be sneaking around looking so incredibly guilty if she really is, I don’t know. How come nobody has ever thought to mention Keating?

(Photos © CBS)