Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service - The Fourth Season|
Actor: Mark Harmon
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is more than just an action drama. With liberal doses of humor, it's a show that focuses on the sometimes complex and always amusing dynamics of a team forced to work together in... more »
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Too Complicated, But the Magic is There
Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 11/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Called the "Season of Secrets" by the producers of the series, NCIS SEASON 4 actually turned out much more complicated than most of the actors, writers, directors, and fans wanted it to be. For the first time, the series sought to build ongoing storylines that would elevate NCIS to a soap opera level that wasn't much appreciated.
The season was too busy. Too much plotting demanded watching every episode in sequence rather than casually dropping in for entertainment. Even with devoted attendance instead of a casual approach, these extended storylines took far too long to develop.
I got irritated and impatient with all the split plotlines and romances. When I watch the crimes shows I keep up with, I depend on them to be entertaining and intriguing, but not to the point that I have to keep notes. I didn't watch HEROES in its first season run for this very reason, and it's also why I abdicate 24. I picked those shows up in DVD and squander weekends of marathon viewing on them.
I watched episodes throughout season 4 of NCIS and enjoyed them on one hand, but I had some definite problems with them on the other. It is somewhat better being able to sit down and watch them in sequence and fairly close together. But the fact that the season ended on a cliffhanger is also disappointing. Thankfully, season 5 returns to how the episodes were initially done.
I don't mind the two- or three-episode arcs, but I want to be casually entertained, and not driven to fanaticism or desperation.
Unfortunately, series creator and television guru Donald P. Bellisario is no longer attached to the series. Mark Harmon and many others stood against Bellisario and basically took the show over. Since NCIS is a hit and can't survive without the actors and actresses (who were being forced into 16-hours days much of the time, according to reports), their wants were attended to first.
Mark Harmon stars as the abrasive and canny team leader, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Michael Weatherly plays fan-favorite Anthony DiNozzo, whose love of movies constantly shows in his reference throughout the series. David McCallum portrays the team's forensic examiner, Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard. Pauley Perrette stars as the wickedly wonderful and super-smart Abby Sciuto. Sean Murray (Bellisario's real-life stepson) plays Timothy McGee. Cote de Pablo plays ex-Israeli Mossad agent Ziva David. Lauren Holly stars as the NCIS director, Jenny Shepard.
The thing that I most love about the series is the characters. They're all real to me, and the actors deliver a constant presentation of them. I've never seen a false move. Mark Harmon continues to amaze me. I actually met him on the Fox Studios lot at one time, and he's just as generous in person as he is on the screen. Truly great guy.
But the other reasons to watch the show are the intriguing mysteries, consummate action, and a pace that is almost frenetic from beginning to end. Tune in to an episode and you're going to get the same kind of investigative goodness fans of the show demand.
As usual, the season begins by picking up the pieces of the cliffhanger from the season before. At the end of the third season, Gibbs had quit the NCIS after a terrorist attack he warned them about went unheeded.
"Shalom" puts Ziva on the run after she's framed for murdering a high ranking government employee. At this point Tony is in charge of the team. They have to get Gibbs back, though, and the story wraps satisfactorily in "Escaped."
Cutting edge technology gets featured in "Singled Out," and the subject matter involving a kidnapped Navy computer specialist allows McGee and Abby to thrive in their element while driving Gibbs crazy with their techno-babble. Mike Franks, Gibbs's NCIS mentor, returns to the series in "Faking It" and fans get more background on what Gibbs was like when he was first starting out. "Dead and Unburied" is a nifty little mystery.
The pace picks up again with "Witch Hunt," the series' first Halloween episode. Some of the lines and the situations Gibbs and his team delivered and found themselves in left me laughing so hard I thought I was going to die. This episode alone is priceless. "Sandblast" brings Gibbs and Lt. Colonel Hollis Mann, Gibbs's present girlfriend, together on a case again, and it's always fun to watch these two work through things. In a later episode, "Sharif Returns," they get to finish the work they start here.
"Once a Hero" centers on a decorated Marine, and fans of the show know that anything involving Marines is one of Gibbs's red flags. He'll stop at nothing to do what he needs to do to take care of those people. "Twisted Sister" brings McGee into conflict with himself over the NCIS and his sister. "Smoked" puts Gibbs together with FBI agent Fornell in a search for a serial killer. As fans know, there's a lot of history between Gibbs and Fornell, and not all of it is good.
Science comes to the forefront again in "Driven," and McGee and Abby are in artificial intelligence heaven as they try to figure out how a murder was done. The murder of a Marine puts Gibbs at odds with a county sheriff in "Suspicion." Ducky moves into the spotlight in "Blowback" when he has to go undercover in a high-tech black market ring. "Friends and Lovers" showcases a murder that turns intriguing, but it's Tony's undercover work that gets the lion's share of the attention.
"Dead Man Walking" is a tug at the heartstrings as Ziva becomes involved with a dying Navy lieutenant. This episode was almost too predictable, but still watchable. "Skeletons" is the search for yet another serial killer (there are a lot of these in police shows of late). "Iceman" is a straightforward mystery with the twist of the "dead" man coming back to life long enough to point in the direction of his murderer.
"Grace Period" involves Special Agent Paula Cassidy, who's been something of a recurring character, in a terrorist chase. "Cover Story" reveals that McGee is working on a new book (he writes fiction and his first book was a bestseller that allowed him to buy a sports car as well as other boy toys) and the murderer appears to be following some of his script. "Brothers In Arms" advances one of the many subplots of the season when Jenny Shepard starts digging into her spy father's secrets.
"In The Dark" is a straightforward mystery again, but it's got some neat characterizations and twists. "Trojan Horse" has a plot that reflects the title, and this one gets a little too convoluted. "Angel of Death" brings in Shepard's father's past in a big way, and it sets up the season's cliffhanger.
NCIS SEASON 4 is a must-buy for fans of the show who collect the episodes. But it's a great place for viewers new to the show to begin. With four years under its belt, NCIS has a lot of history, but you can catch up quickly.
I really enjoyed Season 4, even with all the complexity and one-hand-not-knowing-what-the-other-hand-is-doing machinations, but I'm glad Season 5 is returning to the standalone episodes and no ongoing plotlines. These characters are some of the best on television, and the writers are really good.
NCIS just keeps growing better
Daniel Lee Taylor | GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas United States | 08/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The fourth season is a great continuation of this fantastic series. The writing has remained consistently great. Well written plots, with great dialogue make for a good show. It is the development of the characters that separates this from other good shows. As real people do, these characters grow and change with their experiences. This season started with a bang, literally. This season also contained more story arcs that run through the season and collide together at the cliffhanger. Always entertaining with plenty of action and drama, but also full of humor, NCIS is simply great."
Don Bellisarius does it again.
Peter J. Smith | 10/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What can be said? Another great show from the creator of Magnum P.I. I regret that I didn't start watching this show until midway through the third season.ell, I now own the first three seasons on DVD, and I'm chomping at the bit waiting for season 4 to come out. Great writing, wonderful characters, incredible directing. As a general rule, I despise most TV, but I cannot say enough good things about NCIS. It's a real standout."
NCIS Season 4--The Labyrinth
Scot Merideth Peirson | 12/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Season 4 of NCIS comes off as more a labyrinth than "The Season Of Secrets" as CBS promoted it. The main characters all seem to start in different areas--Gibbs in Mexico, Tony as Team Leader, Tim no longer the "Probie", Ziva being Ziva...but as the season rolls on, all the lines start coming together. Jethro's return from Mexico isn't exactly greeted by Jenny Sheppard, and Ducky Mallard's indifference to Gibbs is puzzling. Tony is in a serious relationship (Or is he?), and it's driving Ziva to distraction. Tim has suddenly come into money--lots of it, evidently. Abby is falling for a little person. Ducky's assistant Jimmy Palmer is finding himself in a hot affair with the new Probie.
And Jenny is running an off-the-books investigation that gets the Christians In Action (Initials, folks) upset at NCIS.
It's a complicated season where all the characters undergo some changes; mostly pleasant but some not. Mark Harmon brings Gibbs back from Mexico a little softer (Though not to the team)--enough to allow himself a relationship. Michael Weatherly gets to have Tony grow up--some--and have his well-known intrusiveness into his coworker's private lives flipped on him by Ziva. Cote De Pablo allows the Mossad liason to fall for an ill-fated nuclear inspector in "Dead Man Walking", but Ziva starts having "Tony issues" that don't slap her in the face until the end of the season. Pauley Perrette's Abby is as she ever is--the attempt to give up "Kaff-Pow!!" was classic. David McCallum's Ducky allows some hurt to show through in his relationship with Gibbs early in the year. Brian Dietzen and Liza Lapira's sequences in-and-around the morgue were wonderful asides, and made up for the missing "head slaps".
But Lauren Holly was most intriguing in this season. She took a character which some viewers considered cheesecake in Season 3, and gave her a very uneasy edge. The investigation of La Grenouille seemed legitimate, but as the season went on, Jen's personal stake--and what it could cost NCIS--became apparent. This led to Sheppard not being cast in a good light through much of the second half of the season.
This season also became a good spotlight for many of the recurring characters. Certainly key to the season were Susanna Thompson--Hollis Mann, the CID investigator who got Gibbs' attention--and Scottie Thompson as Jeanne Benoit, the doctor who made DiNozzo settle down. Joe Spano's usual visits as T.C. Fornell, the FBI agent/friend/rival to Jethro were a delight. But Muse Watson's Mike Franks--Gibbs' team leader when Jethro first joined the then-NIS--was a treat; an old-fashioned type who got things done not within the rules (Wonder where Jethro got that from?). We lose Jessica Steen's Paula Cassidy in "Grace Period", and that's a shame. But Armand Assante's was insidious and slick as "The Frog", and David Dayan Fisher's turn as Trent Kort--the CIA operative in with La Grenouille--is also notable.
In it's run, NCIS has always had an ongoing storyline that gets buried in the usual action--the identity of the terroist who infiltrated the MTAC in Season 1, the return of Ari leading to the two words ("Sorry, Caitlin") at the end of Season 2, and the uncovering of Jethro's life story in Season 3. Season 4 becomes about Jenny's investigation/obsession, and how it affects the whole office. It is an
interesting and ominous turn in the series. It does require the viewer to follow along closely, but in the end, all the main characters find themselves at the center of the puzzle.