Tag Archives: Rudolf Martin

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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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 beginnings and ends – Reveille and See No Evil

Season one of NCIS ends fairly strongly, although you need hindsight to see where it might lead. There is the mirror effect at the end of season two, which you won’t know about if you watch in the right order.

Written by Donald Bellisario and featuring Ari for the second time, it’s strong and annoying at the same time. DiNozzo’s stupid fascination for the fake Swede is irritating, and I have never felt easy with Ducky’s description of the old case which upset Gibbs.

But Ari is good, and his relationship with Kate was always interesting. I keep wondering what would have happened if they’d lived.

Kate and Ari

Since this episode was shown not long before the start of season two, the cliffhanger wait was reduced. And there wasn’t even much of a cliffhanger, unless you’d got as worked up about Ari as Gibbs had.

Which is lucky, since See No Evil was pretty good, but had no real connection to Reveille.

My main problem with See No Evil, is that it can only be watched once, and work. When – or if – you watch it again and you know what happened, it loses all credibility, and the feelgood factor of how the team worked the rescue seems pointless.

It is also a little too sugary on ‘kid with disability.’ Fine, let her be both pretty and talented and courageous. But why be surprised?

This was the start of Kate and DiNozzo being mean to McGee, and I hated them through most of season two, because they went from almost normal (for television agents) to childish and petty.

Kate and McGee

But the heatwave and the air conditioning breaking down is used with great effect. Putting the computer in autopsy to keep it cool is a ‘cool’ move. Having two endings is also effective. First the obvious one, and then the real one. But as I said, you can only use that trick once.

(Photos © 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)

NCIS – Ari’s back; or is he?

I started hallucinating motorbikes a while back. Then I went colourblind. Or more accurately, forgetful. I saw a red motorbike on my way to the cinema one day and thought of Ari in Reveille, the last episode of season one of NCIS. Then I thought that his bike was yellow, so began looking for a yellow motorbike, and found it.

Ari

Kate and Ari

Kate and Ari

And when I got home and re-watched Reveille the blasted motorbike turned out to have been red all the time. Or perhaps it changed while I wasn’t looking?

Something Daughter read on the upcoming season eight about someone bad returning, had us speculate whether they could ever bring Ari back. I explained to her about Bobby in Dallas and said everything is possible. Almost.

For a bad guy, Ari was very likeable. I’ve often disliked DiNozzo more than Ari. And he’s about the only bad guy I’ve found myself disagreeing with Gibbs over. (Though I did quite like the professional killer in Under Covers.) It’s clear that Kate liked Ari, despite everything. And Ducky did, too. There’s something refined about a ‘British’ accent. They don’t always have to be bad. Also, Ari was at the University of Edinburgh. That has to count for something.

Fornell and Gibbs

(Photos © CBS)

‘I can’t wait to weigh your liver’

Isn’t that the kind of insult you’d like to hurl at someone? The one who says it (on NCIS, where else?) is Dr Mallard, the medical examiner, to our favourite terrorist, Ari. I think it means he’s hoping Ari will die soon.

Kate and Ducky

We’re having a three week gap enforced with no new NCIS, so the starving witch returned to series one, where the otherwise so polite Ducky uttered those words.

Ari

Some bloggers keep harking back to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. every now and then, and anyone with any taste  liked David McCallum best (yes, I’m thinking of you…). If I’d known in the 1960s that I’d still be sitting down every week in 2009 (except when I can’t) to watch him, I’d have been surprised. Even then I knew he was too old for me, but somehow the age gap has shrunk a little.

(Photos © CBS)