NCIS is one of those series that just can’t help but keep getting better and better. Sure it suffers some downfalls by having a character leave here and there or a new actor come into the fray, but it never seems to miss a beat. Crime dramas are still filling up the airwaves one after another which is blatantly obvious by turning on your television on any given night and seeing something like N3mbers, one of the many forms of CSI, or even one of the thousands of different Law & Orders. That isn’t to say that all those shows aren’t good in their own rights because I’ll admit that most of them are part of my normal viewing schedule. Yet then there is NCIS that just can’t help but deliver fantastic episode after fantastic episode and it all centers around the awesomeness that is Mark Harmon.
Hey, just because he was a goon teacher in Summer School doesn’t mean the man can’t pull of the kick -ass serious role known as Jethro Gibbs.
If you have never seen or heard of NCIS before, then let me brief you on it. The NCIS, or Naval Criminal Investigation Service, is a team of investigators who specifically work within the jurisdiction of the United States Navy and Marines. They are a great team of men and women working to solve any and all crimes that may happen to or from our uniformed “heroes.” These people may be the ones fighting to keep our country safe, but they aren’t above the law and the NCIS looks to bring those who go down the wrong paths to justice.
NCIS took the twist of putting criminals behind the lines of our armed forces, and added it to a crime drama crowd that was getting overtly similar. No longer are we only dealing with common murdering street thugs or high-class millionaires trying to run a laundering scam. This time it’s the high profile men and women in the Navy who are losing their lives or choosing to turn to the other side of the law in order to get ahead. It really does add a bit of variety the tons of big city dwellings we’ve been used to seeing. So leave it up to the NCIS squad to bring the bad guys to justice and figure out some of the coolest mysteries provided the crime drama viewing audience.
The team itself consists of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs who is the leader of them all and is a no-nonsense guy that only wants to get the job done. Following him up in order of seniority is Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Special Agent Timothy McGee (aka Probey), and Officer Ziva David. They provide more then adequate back-up, some light-hearted humor, and heads for Gibbs to slap at any moment’s notice. Down in the forensics lab is Abby Sciuto who looks a little bit off the wall, but she is one of the most intelligent women around and can find where even the smallest clue is hiding. When a body needs to be examined though, that is left in the hands of assistant Jimmy Palmer and Dr. Donald Mallard who is more sweetly known as Ducky. NCIS Director Jenny Shepard is no longer with the unit (due to her death in season five) and has been replaced by new director Leon Vance who doesn’t quite see eye to eye with Gibbs making for some tense moments around the office as well as out in the field.
Season six starts off with a bang fresh of Director Shepard’s death and the entrance of Director Vance who automatically dismantles Gibbs’ team and gives him new members to watch over. This doesn’t sit so well with Gibbs, but it is all for a reason and that’s to sniff out a mole somewhere within NCIS. Finding the mole and making sure the original team sticks together is really the only running storyline that crosses over into multiple episodes, but there is always a little bit of continuity running throughout every season. There are a few two-part episode series (“Legend” along with the mole episodes) in season six making for some great little cliffhangers before the final big moment in “Aliyah” leaves us hanging for season seven to come around. It is nice to see Ziva actually be the one who ends up being the focal point of the season finale considering she always seems to take a backseat to Tony and McGee.
NCIS continues to not only entertain but get better with every single season and that is evident by the ratings and jump in number of viewers that CBS has announced. If you have never seen the series before then you can always just jump right in to any episode and see experience the single story going on, but you may not get any of the inside jokes or older references. Some of the interactions between long-time NCIS team members is what makes this series even better. But it truly is the fantastic storylines in season six episodes like “Murder 2.0,” “Broken Bird,” “Hide And Seek,” and “Silent Night” that will suck you in and keep you watching on the edge of your seat. NCIS is a thrill ride lined with comedy and great characters that shows no signs of slowing down.
Last Man Standing
Love & War
South By Southwest
Hide And Seek
Legend (Part 1)
Legend (Part 2)
The episodes are shown in 16:9 Widescreen format and look excellent. The colors are very sharp and bright in all situations including some great explosions. The darker scenes like deep in the forest or in a shipping container are easily seen but still keep the closed in feel about them. Each episode looks great and it really is a very nice transition to DVD.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and also sound great. The deeper and more dramatic moments are quiet in the background and loud where they need to be with the dialogue. The surround sound really kicks in during the intense action scenes with gunfire and explosions sounding like they are coming at you from all sides.
Bodies Of Work – Ever wonder where all the dead bodies and wounds come from in the different episodes of NCIS? Well, now is your chance to find out. The company that makes all of that for the show is toured here and workers are interviewed depending on the odd jobs they have in order to get things ready for the show. Very cool featurette. (16:24)
“Fear: A DVD Exclusive” – An Acoustic Version of Pauley Perrette’s Song “Fear”
Starting With A Bang – Cast and crew discuss the fast start to the season after the horrible events of the season five finale. It’s a quick but interesting look into how they all felt about the beginning of the brand new season and how everything just jumped out of the starting gate. (10:00)
Horsin’ Around – This featurette goes hand in hand with the episode “South By Southwest” due to the horse riding and surviving out on the trail. Cast and crew along with stunt coordinators talk about what it was like getting everyone ready to ride horses with the utmost safety. (9:25)
Season Six: Cruising Along – Cast and crew are back again to simply talk about the success of the series and how it continues moving along without stopping. Nothing overly interesting, but it’s kind of nice seeing how excited everyone still is about their work. (15:30)
Six Degrees Of Conversation – Entertainment Tonight star Kevin Frazier sits down with the cast to have a little roundtable discussion about the show and its success. (17:00)
Audio Commentaries – Three episodes spread throughout the season come with commentary tracks: David McCallum and James Whitmore Jr. on “Broken Bird,” Michael Weatherly on “Bounce,” and Pauley Perrette and Sean Murray on “Toxic.” Each commentary is worth listening to because they don’t really give much technical jargon or things like that but just talk about how it was making each particular episode. My favorite by far though is Perrette and Murray joking and having fun on “Toxic.”
There is no doubt about it that NCIS looks to be on a rollercoaster ride of Law & Order or ER proportions because it is about to start season seven and shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever. Hell, by now you would even expect most shows to peak and start their descent but this is one of those series that just keeps on ascending into the stratosphere. Not only is it the best crime drama on television right now, but it might be one of the very best shows period no matter what category it may fall into. Season six is excellent and well worth picking up thanks to a combination of awesome episodes and a handful of great special features that will keep you entertained for a long time to come. It really helps too that the episodes are those that you would want to watch over and over again. NCIS is one series I didn’t catch from the very beginning but got all caught up once I got hooked and there is no looking back now. Although keeping eyes in the back of your head isn’t a bad idea when Gibbs is around or you’re liable to get slapped.
Paramount presents NCIS: The Sixth Season. Created by: Donald P. Bellisario & Don McGill. Starring: Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Sasha Alexander, Sean Murray David McCallum, Cote de Pablo . Running time: 1086 minutes on 6 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: August 25, 2009. Available at Amazon.com