DVD Review: NCIS (The Nineteenth Season)

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When an actor lands a role on a TV show, their biggest hope is that the pilot gets picked up for a series. Those that get this reality immediately start wishing that the network is impressed by the ratings that they fork up the money for a whole season. The next big desire is that show lasts 100 episodes so they can hit the glory of syndication. The next big goal after this is seeing how close they can get to Gunsmoke‘s landmark 20 seasons. Even more astounding is getting to the same achievement of James Arness for playing Marshal Matt Dillon for all 20 seasons. This Fall NCIS is going to start its 20th season, but it’s longtime leader won’t be there. What happened? You’ll have to watch NCIS: The Nineteenth Season to see why Special Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) isn’t going to be on the “Gunsmoke” season.

“Blood In the Water” opens the season with Gibbs missing while he was tracking down a serial killer. They find his wrecked boat. The case rolls into “Nearly Departed” when the team realizes undercover FBI agent Alden Parker (Office Space‘s Gary Cole) is also on the killer’s trail. He becomes part of the hunt. “Road to Nowhere” and “Great Wide Open” takes the trail to Alaska where Gibbs meets what appears to be his final storyline. “Face the Stranger” has Vance leaving the FBI and becoming part of the team. Can he really replace Gibbs after all these years? Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum) drops by to help with an autopsy. “Starting Over” is a two-parter that crosses over with NCIS: Hawaii. The episode guest stars Joe Spano (Hill Street Blues) and Laura San Giacomo (sex, lies and videotape) as well as Vanessa Lachey from the latest spin-off. “Birds of the Feather” has Vance’s ex-wife (Meet The Parents‘ Teri Polo) kidnapped. He actually wants to rescue her. She’s a paranormal investigator named Vivian Kolchak which is an obvious reference to the classic series Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Even after 19 seasons, NCIS has a bit of excitement on the screen. The transition of Gibbs to Vance shakes up things. There’s a new approach to how the team handles cases.

While we’ll miss Gibbs, we should celebrate that Ducky is still popping up on episodes. David McCallum was a sensation during the four seasons in the mid-60 when he played Illya Kuryakin on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. In 2003, he became Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, the unit’s chief medical examiner. He finally found a role that equaled his super spy persona. McCallum is only in a handful of episodes this season, but he is 88 years old. He’s almost 90 and still solving crimes. He’s going to hit the Matt Dillon achievement this TV season. There should be some sort of parade for such an accomplishment.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The resolution will give you the beauty of the Alaska wilderness. The Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. You’ll hear bullets from all over your living room. The episodes are subtitled in English.

NCIS On Location in Alaska (5:46) the producers were delighted they could go to the state instead of faking it at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. They did have issues on how to shoot and keep the crew and equipment minimal since they didn’t have ways to take giant movie trucks around the area.

“The Helpers” (5:42) with Brian Dietzen and Scott Williams. Dietzen talks about how he wrote the script for this episode with Scott. The actor talks about going beyond reading the script and writing it. He was acting on the main set and between takes running up to the writers’ room to collaborate with Scott.

Torres and Tennant (7:16) talks about the scheduling issues of when they sent actors from NCIS to NCIS: Hawaii as part of the crossover. Wilmer Valderrama jokes about making the sacrifice.

T’N’T (43:09) is the Part 2 of the crossover that aired as part of NCIS: Hawaii.

Gary Cole and Katrina Law join NCIS (8:00) has them talk about replacing Mark Harmon. They didn’t even think about Gary Cole until right at the end when it came up. Cole liked that his character was part of the storyline before Gibbs left. The producers made the existing characters don’t like him until later. Katrina Law also joined the show and was able to blend humor and drama.

Being Gibbs (10:30) has Mark Harmon talk about playing Gibbs for all these years.

Cast of Characters (11:21) goes into the actors and crew that were part of this season of change. There were new writers behind camera. They include the clip where Gary Cole references his character in Office Space.

CBS DVD presents NCIS: The Nineteenth Season. Starring Mark Harmon, Gary Cole, Sean Murray, Brian Dietzen, Wilmer Valderrama and David McCallum. Boxset Contents: 21 episodes on 5 DVDs. Release Date: August 16, 2022.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.