Tag Archives: Mark Harmon

Real life wives, rescue dogs and a screen husband

This is both late and early. I was going to muse on season 18 of NCIS, but took my time watching to the end. It wasn’t bad, but neither was it so riveting that ‘I couldn’t wait’.

To begin with I wondered if they were going to let the rescue dog be the way out for Mark Harmon, rather than just for Gibbs. It seems he’s staying, though, at least as someone outside the team. And the dog has already found another worthy owner. But seeing as it was Mark’s rescue dog that sort of did for the whole NCIS spirit, it made sense to introduce the loveable dog towards the end.

I think I mentioned that I watched the first two episodes of NCIS New Orleans, just to see how they dealt with Covid. And one way appears to have been to use Scott Bakula’s real life wife, Chelsea Field, to play his on-screen romantic interest. Means they can kiss.

When Pam Dawber wandered into Gibbs’s diner it looked like this was another Covid solution. So handy that actors marry other actors. If not for Covid, I feel there is unnecessary nepotism in this case. Shall we now wait for the younger Harmon son to turn up as well? But I like Pam. She’s a good match for Gibbs. And she has great post-Covid hair.

It’s definitely been a case of Ten Little You-Know-Whats for the team. With Bishop leaving and Gibbs permanently in his basement, it’s a team of two. It was rather obvious how they paved the path for Katrina Law to be the next female agent. But that’s fine. I like her so far, and there is the sympathy angle for Agent Knight. But it still felt like far too small a team, and McGee is no Gibbs. McGee is best as himself.

I’m assuming the news that Gary Cole is joining NCIS for a major role, means he will be the new Gibbs. Younger than Mark Harmon and older than Sean Murray, he looks right. I used to think Gibbs was irreplaceable, but this could be a working solution. I just hope Gary will be less rightwing than Diane Lockhart’s gun-loving husband.

The season end cliffhanger was less of a cliffhanger in those last few seconds. I feel we could have been deemed mature enough to wonder about Gibbs’s fate over the summer.

NCIS – And then there were, erm, not very many

left. At all.

The scriptwriters and those who decide what happens in NCIS ought to be ashamed of themselves. If the purpose is to remove as many characters/actors as possible before the end of season 18 and, one has to assume, the end of the whole shebang, there is no need to decimate the cast quite as harshly as this. Apparently they even omitted telling Emily Fornell that she was going to be no more.

Other – successful – television shows have ended after many seasons, with all or most of the characters still standing; some of them even living happily ever after. Or they could try repeating the bomb that that blasted most of the Navy Yard nine years ago.

But before that, please leave us with some characters left to watch. Even love.

One of the things that makes for a successful show, is the building up of many supporting characters; the ones who come back every now and then, and who we like and who add to the breadth of our NCIS family. The loss of three characters in as many episodes looks like carelessness.

We have devoted fifteen years to this. Yes, I know. It’s season 18, but we started late and went faster to begin with. Those years amount to a quarter of my life, and half Daughter’s life. Yes, we’ve done other things as well, but it’s a long friendship.

To start with we also rewatched many episodes. Less so now, because we are busy with other stuff. Returning to older episodes has always been an enjoyable pastime. But it’s harder to have fun with characters in the past, when you know that there will be a sad, or completely wasteful loss of their lives, later on. You can’t laugh at the ridiculousness of someone, if you know something that you’d rather not know about.

And to think that just the other day we were speculating about the speculations that Mark Harmon might semi-retire next season. We were discussing who could take over from Gibbs and make it work.

(The answer is Abigail Borin. She is [the only] well known and likeable character we have, who is still alive, and who is boss material.)

NCIS – not many left to kill

SPOILER ALERT

xxx

xxx

xxx

This might not be enough. But then there was no warning at all of spoilers when Daughter stumbled on the bad news for NCIS episode seven. Although I suppose one could have guessed some of it, by paying attention.

So, I firmly believe it was right for someone to die from Covid. It’s realistic and it might tell some doubters what’s what. It also only works if it’s a longstanding character, who you know and like. And from a practical point of view, it is often worth not killing the main characters. Although, consider the impact!

So we, and Jimmy, have lost Mrs Palmer, and their young daughter her mother.

We now have a veritable stable of what I call John Wayne characters; men whose wives are dead. It’s too much. Not only is there only one more wife who could be killed off – and I sincerely hope not – but there are no male equivalents. Neither Sloane nor Kasie nor Bishop have partners.

There has been talk of losing Sloane. She wants to run a bar in Costa Rica. Maybe. Personally I thought she looked more like she’s ill but is trying to hide it by talking about Costa Rica. I am probably wrong. It’d be ‘nice’ for a character to leave willingly, and while still alive.

They wore face masks at last, now that Covid has caught up with them. Possibly not always worn correctly as far as time and place is concerned, but this is fiction. It’s enough that they do.

We need more new characters being introduced. Not necessarily to kill them off, but the team can’t really spare anyone else now. And please keep Ducky on his computer screen, where he will be much safer.

Back on form

NCIS are back, and in more ways than one. Three so-so episodes before Christmas and now another three in January. And they’ve been good. Some even downright exciting. Delilah is back, and she’s on a romantic holiday with McGee, who’s shrunk nicely into his beard.

When I say romantic, I mean romantic for those two. They don’t get their kicks in the ordinary way.

If anyone is reading this, could I respectfully ask that not all British actors are villains? It’s so obvious. Not all villains are British, but the other way round appears to be an unavoidable pattern. We don’t even get to ponder who the ‘unknown’ bad guy might be.

So we had the holiday in the sun, where obviously all the action shifted to McGee and Delilah.

Then at last it was back to the early taster of when Gibbs shoots McGee. We understand why, and that it can’t end entirely badly, but there was some nail biting as to the how on Earth?

Last it was the turn of Torres and Bishop to have their own locked in episode, being in severe danger, some fifteen years after DiNozzo and Ziva spent quality time in that cargo container. Again, we knew, but we didn’t know how.

The priceless look on Gibbs’s face when he arrived at McGee’s with all those computers…

Please keep this up! We need something good after all this time.

Photo © CBS

When your nose fails

Many years ago I was having my photo taken. It was either the individual school photo or a passport photo, by an unknown photographer. That’s why I felt I wouldn’t make a fuss and delay things, when I could feel my glasses sliding down my inadequate nose. But he stopped and said, you will look better if you push your glasses up. So I did.

It taught me something. This is why I wish whoever is in charge of filming Bull would tell Geneva Carr to get a better face mask, or better still, get her a better mask. Or at the very least, have her pull it up, when it slides down as she speaks her lines. The others all seem to have functioning face coverings.

But having said that, Bull is still doing well. Four episodes before Christmas, and all featuring masks in a mostly realistic way.

I understand from my in-house viewer that NCIS: New Orleans have used face masks from the beginning of the new season too.

So why not NCIS? How long can they go on pretending they are flashing back to 2019? Even if they do it for a full season, however long or short that may end up being, they will at some point have to face a future after mask-wearing, if there is such a thing. It’s not going to be just a short, embarrassing interlude, which can be ignored forever after. Besides, hairstyles have changed. You shouldn’t keep having the actor in late 2020 pretend they are still in the previous year.

Speaking of noses, while it is charming to have Sean Harmon pretend to be his dad, they just don’t have the same noses. Gibbs the older would probably carry a face mask better than Gibbs the younger.

I’m not saying the three episodes we’ve seen so far have been bad. Just that real life implications grate a bit when the pretending is carried too far.

Twelve long years

I’m not generally a binger. But this past year I have binged a lot more – mainly on television shows of long duration – for various reasons. And for those reasons I haven’t managed to find the time, or perhaps more truthfully, the happy inclination, to bore you all with what I binge-watched.

Began with Downton Abbey, starting in the middle, where my co-binger happened to be. It was the episode with the pigs. Then I accidentally found myself moved on to Call the Midwife, where I was under the impression – very erroneous it turned out to be – I was only signing up for episode one. I left at some point in season three, but could be in favour of returning to it one day.

After that my recent and very sporadic watching of Gilmore Girls was reorganised into full blown proper bingeing, and it was quite enjoyable. It still is, because we’re not done yet, as the intensity of viewing has slowed down considerably, along with everything else, during lockdown.

Both these shows proved useful when I was presented with the film Spy, for the second time, and while I hadn’t exactly forgotten what happened, I was amused to discover that two of the main characters were from Call the Midwife, and Gilmore Girls respectively.

There’s so much I didn’t know.

We started the re-education of the Resident IT Consultant and myself by embarking on all the Star Wars films and all the Marvel films, some of which we’d seen over the years, but never quite ‘got’. We’ve been an embarrassment to Daughter, and I’m afraid that old age hasn’t improved us all that much. Still have more films to enjoy, especially Marvel ones, as I have discovered there are more than twenty films! (Between you and me, though, isn’t there a curious likeness between Thor and Star Wars?)

And The Mandalorian; wasn’t it just lovely? Baby Yoda, yes. But also the calm generated by a different kind of hero.

Three Ironman films is almost two too many. We also saw Big Hero 6, which bore some resemblance to Ironman, and not just because they both wear red. On the whole I found Baymax the better of the courageous, flying heroes. To prove we’ve really gone down the quality film route we watched Sister Act as a birthday treat for me, followed soon after by Argo, which might well have been my first Ben Affleck film (I didn’t even know it was him…).

Daughter did not take well to Life on Mars when we tried that, so it remains something for us oldies to watch on our own. It brings back that lovely brown-coloured glow. And it was filmed in Stockport, which has some bearing on things. Plus there was a brief glimpse of Roger Whittaker, as opposed to Marc Bolan.

And we finally got started with the fourth season of The Good Fight. Looks promising, but I can’t say more since Daughter needs no spoilers as she fails to catch up.

We took some time getting to the end of Bull, and when we did, were startled to find ourselves in a New York in mortal danger of a virus, but not that virus. It was downright eerie and weird, because they will have to revisit that idea if/when they get to season five.

It’s the 2nd of September, which we used to mark as both Culture’s birthday  -twelve today – and the birthdays of the Grandmother and the Gibbs, aka Mark Harmon. He is now 69, which is pretty old for a federal agent, methinks. The same age as the Grandmother was when NCIS began…

We are sort of looking forward to a possible start of season 18 of NCIS. We almost believe it will happen. If they can work out how to deal with the last four episodes that didn’t get made in the spring, and how on earth to work in the bloody virus? But where there’s a will…

The reason we would quite like to see them back, is that season 17 was generally a big improvement on the train crash that was season 16, and to some extent 15. Although those scriptwriters in California should get their atlases out every now and then. For McGee to get from work to Johns Hopkins he could drive. Or get a taxi. Sending him to the airport with a suitcase is overkill.

But more of the stuff with Palmer, please.

NCIS – The North Pole

We saved this ‘Christmas episode’ of NCIS until the one who hadn’t yet caught up had departed, and while we could still muster up some Christmas cheer. Except, well, yes there were Christmas decorations. But it was not cheerful.

And either I’m getting old and slow, or the scriptwriters are upping their game considerably. I didn’t see much – any – of this coming. Despite me noticing the staircase as being a copy of Gibbs’s and wondering if it was going to be used in the same way again, seeing as Ziva was back. Again.

Well.

And there was a decent red herring, as well as a really strong clue, had I actually been awake for the first half of the season. I suppose most of us fell for that double bluff.

It’ll be interesting to see where they can go with the fallout from this. They could ignore it, and continue as if nothing had happened, as on other occasions in the past. Or not.

Returning to their roots?

Hmm. Interesting.

Is NCIS attempting to return to the good old days? After my murderous outburst against Ziva’s sudden and illogical appearance, things are improving.

OK, third episode was a bit too much of navel gazing, or do I mean naval? But the last two weeks NCIS has begun to look rather more like it used to. The ending of episode five was almost textbook first two seasons.

I’ve quite enjoyed myself, and there’s been much less of the raging about how no one has looked at what they used to do. Someone might actually have done that. Still not keen on the new McGee, but even he has got less annoying.

Gibbs is back to being Gibbs, and Mark Harmon seems to have been sent packing. For the moment, anyway. Torres and Palmer and Kasie do well, and Bishop is OK.

I’m jinxing this, aren’t I? Let’s see what the next weeks bring. How about a ship or two? To remind us it’s the Navy.

Ziva must die

Surely?

Unless Gibbs – and then all the rest of the team – were having a Pam Ewing moment this week, NCIS needs some credibility here.

I was going to watch Bull, but came to the conclusion that he could be my reward and I’d better get NCIS over with. So I did.

Well, Gibbs was a lot Gibbsier than of late, which I suppose is a good thing. The newer members of the team who had never met Ziva were reasonably good as well. As was poor Palmer, down on the floor. But McGee has not improved over the summer.

Cote de Pablo has clearly forgotten how to act Ziva in the six years she’s been gone. She at least has experience of her character, whereas neither scriptwriters nor directors have to have been around all that time, so legitimately know very little about former Agent David.

The plot – ‘to be continued’ – has quite a few holes in it. But if Ziva is not killed, any writing out of her character will need to be convincing. After all, how is DiNozzo, and Sr, going to change their lives around again? DiNozzo is busy as Bull, and the whole gang really can’t just come back to the Navy Yard as though nothing has happened.

NCIS – Daughters

Seeing old friends again is generally nice. So, OK, I will admit to some pleasure in meeting up with old characters in the 16th season finale of NCIS.

And isn’t it nice how it doesn’t matter if they have been killed off or not? They can still come back, as long as Gibbs, and now Fornell, can talk to the dead. So practical, as the writers are able to kill, certain their characters can return at some point, should they be needed.

Gibbs had a haircut. I’d like to think someone finally noticed my comments on his Hollywood hair. Could it even be the actor acts better with a more Navy hairstyle? He almost looked like the old Gibbs.

I think Fornell should have more hair, so you can see I’m hard to please. And it’s great that Emily Fornell continues being the same actress. Less sure about Sloane’s daughter issues. They feel laboured.

There were several whiffs of the old NCIS in this last one, before the summer break. Not as good, but you could tell they were trying, even if that meant reviving characters who’d be better dead. Even if we love them, because the entanglement of people rising from the dead is not worth all the confusion.

As for the cliffhanger.., well. Is it? I’m thinking they just put it there and they believe they have four months to come up with a way to make it work, or it will be Bobby and Dallas all over.