18 January 2008 | Suisan
I've been watching NCIS since it started and have been a regular viewer since the debut. The first reason I tuned in was simple - Mark Harmon. Second reason was, well, Michael Weatherly. David McCallum was just a really nice bonus. That being said ... I know that NCIS as it is shown on the screen is ludicrous, so is CSI and all its off shoots, but if you show what really happens in any investigation you'll chase off the audience with boredom.
Mark Harmon has brought a sense of realism to the Leroy Jethro Gibbs character to the point that my former active duty Marine husband swears up and down that Harmon MUST have been a Gunny in real life. Either this one or a previous one, he's just too good playing a senior NCO Reservist Marine and a cop. Gibbs is also a top-notch "Training Officer" who clearly trains all of his people to be able to step up and take control and command of a team in a moment's notice.
Michael Weatherly has matured as an actor - I first noticed him in Dark Angel - and he has wisely chosen to let his character on the show, Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo, to mature at a natural rate. Slowly. He's gone from an annoying frat-like not-quite-mature man to a deep thinker and a MUCH better investigator who can handle deep cover assignments if needed. Maybe not as well Gibbs could handle it, but that sort of skill takes time and multiple assignments to be fully qualified (and by then, the Feds tend to ship you off to their Academies so you can teach what you've learned).
Cote de Pablo (Mossad Officer Ziva David) replaced Sasha Alexander (Caitlin "Kate" Todd) and I'm probably in the minority when I say "THANK YOU" to the casting department for that. I found Todd to be a rather flat, and annoying, character. Oh she had a few lines here and there that were light hearted and worth a giggle - usually at DiNozzo's expense - but for the most part she was played a little too 'boy next door, or trying to be' by Alexander. Cote, at least, has played Ziva as a very capable, and very female, Intelligence Officer. I think this is why most folks don't like Ziva, they expect a Law Enforcement officer type character but she's an Intelligence Agent. Think CIA and kick it up several notches - you don't mess with Mossad unless you have a death wish. Cote clearly realizes this and plays "Officer David" with that in mind.
David McCallum, Doctor Donald "Ducky" Mallard, is always a joy to see on the screen and I love the 'quirks' David has given Ducky. I suspect there is a history behind Ducky's 'adventure stories' that could easily fill several books - and be considered too implausible to be anything but fiction. Ducky brings a human element to the position of Medical Examiner, a warmth that civilians don't think M.E.'s have but usually do. The ones I know also have wicked, if dry, senses of humor and McCallum has joyfully taken the humor route with Ducky and I, for one, appreciate it.
Another quirky character is, of course, Pauley Perrett's Abby Scuitto, Goth Forensic Scientist. Her portrayal of Abby is spot on as Pauley is the only person I've heard of playing a Criminal Scientist who actually has the sheepskin in the discipline. Nothing like a touch of realism to bring a character to life! Of course, people complain that Scuitto shouldn't be permitted to work in a federal job with the obvious life style she has - to you I say, HorseFeathers. If Abby were less capable at her job, she wouldn't be there as long as she has been. Nor would any of her supervisors put up with her oddities.
Now to speak of the other "Geek" on the team - Timothy McGee. Techno-geek. Keyboard Wizard. Sean Murray needs to do only one thing to make me totally happy with his character and his protrayl of McGee-cut his hair! I realize that the McGee character has a life outside of NCIS - as a published novelist no less - and probably keep his hair on the long side to emphasize his Authorial Air but... I hate the way it's flopped in his face this past season.
The writing on this show, like others, is usually tight but like other shows there are episodes where the writing was clearly 'off' when the idea was dreamt up or the script approved. The fact that the cast can take a lousy script and still get a watchable show out of it, is nothing short of amazing. Is NCIS accurate? No. Is NCIS a good way to learn about the Marine Corps or the Navy? Uh, no. Better talk to a recruiter if you're thinking of joining the military. Is NCIS good fun? YEAP!