TV Fanatic Mid-Season Report Card: NCIS

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With every prime time show is on hiatus until 2010, TV Fanatic is taking a look back at some of our favorite programs and grading their performance thus far.

So far, we've reported on the pros and cons (some shows contain many more of the former than others) of The Vampire Diaries, 90210, House and Heroes.

Up now: NCIS.

Best character: This is difficult call, because despite its rep as a military procedural drama, this is a character-driven show. Any of the stars could be our favorite on a given week, as they mesh brilliantly and make the NCIS cast as a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

If we had to pick, though, we'd take Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).

There's no one on TV like the wise-cracking, frat-boy-for-life agent, whose exchanges with Gibbs, Ziva and McGee bring out the best in each of them, and contain subtle nuances (acting like a jackass deliberately so Gibbs comes down on him and appears more authoritative).

Tony's practical jokes, movie/TV references and incessant use of nicknames for his colleagues provide a uniquely funny counterbalance with NCIS' serious plot lines.

NCIS Trio

Worst character: Simply put, there is none. Seemingly ancillary characters that could be boring, such as Abby (Pauley Perette) and Ducky (David McCallum), have such likable, entertaining personalities and steal every scene they're in, even if it's only 1-2 per week.

Even Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) proved much more than a figurehead with his unexpected starring role in "Endgame," one of the best episodes of the year so far.

Best storyline: Beginning the season with Ziva's rescue and the aftermath of her capture was a well-handled story arc, spanning just enough time to be realistic before dragging on too long. As far as standalone stories go, the blackout episode, "Power Down," gets our vote.

Hopes for 2010: We're suckers for Tiva (Tony and Ziva). We don't necessarily think they have to get together romantically, but there's definitely tension in that department.

Hopefully that continues to build toward something, even if something is just comedic bathroom dialogue. We also wouldn't mind more Gibbs, Abby and Ducky back stories!

Overall grade: A. Superb writing and very few episodes that fell short of our expectations, which are already among the highest we can have for a show. Keep it up in '10!

Do you agree with our assessments? Disagree? Care to expound on anything in particular? What do you hope to see more of next year? Share your comments with us below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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NCIS Quotes

McGee: All right. Well you should probably know that Abby and I used to date?
Bishop: Ew. Like, each other?
McGee: Yeah.
Bishop: Wait - isn't that a violation of rule 12, never date a....
McGee: It was a long time ago. After we'd broken up, one night I went to her lab. Found a scribbled piece paper; a list. Potential boyfriends had to fulfill certain conditions by a pre-arranged date or else, goodbye.
Bishop: Such as.
McGee: Things started off relatively normal: opening the door for her, flowers, putting the seat down. Then around number 8, it gets uh...
Bishop: What?
McGee: Does she know you have these?
Bishop: Does she know you have these?
McGee: Yeah she wasn't happy when she found out.
Bishop: These are all very specific.
McGee: Yeah.
Bishop: These ideas apply to you?
McGee: No those rules weren't in place when we were together. At least I don't think so.
Bishop: What's with the two month cutoff? Abby's sabotaging herself. I've seen stuff like this before. We have to talk to her.

I'm more of a Super-Mario guy, myself.

Captain Wescott