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.


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.


I only watch this show for 2 decent and believable charaters: i.e., Gibbs and McGee the rest of the wise-cracking jerks would never serve in such an organization as NCIS. "Ducky", the Israeli chick, di Nozzo and Abby are totally unbelievable


The best show on TV by far. I'mm 55 years old and don't ever rember being this fixated on a TV show. Moreso than Seinfeld really. Gibbs makes the show, but all characters are brilliantly developed. The episode when Gibbs goes back to his hometown and becomes his father's kid was great, but the episodes in which Tony, Magee and Gibbs save iza was absolutely riveting. I and my wife became emotional! believ it or not. Great show. I watch all the reruns on USA. I'm going to find a way to purchase the whole series o DVD if their is a way. I hope the cast, writers, producers etc are as prove of the show as i think they should be. I also hope that the show doesn't unravel, or that any of the stars don't spin off into the limelight and have significant personal problesm as so many have. I like the baggering between the team, especially Tony and Ziva. Its refreshing to see that people actually can be human and humerly in a work place, without being charged with harrassment. Its innocent fun and very human. Keep it up.


Have to disagree about the Ziva story-arc. 8 episodes in a row is way too long to focus on a character that is controversial at best. I've noticed the general media seems to love her and the whole Tony/Ziva idea, but the fandom itself is pretty split. Not to mention how ridiculously poorly written the whole idea was for a show that used to actually be kind of realistic. And just where is this chemistry everyone sees? All I see is forced badly-timed scenes that make no sense in the individual episodes and throw off the pacing.


NCIS continues to be an entertaining show, although I have to say, the more mainstream it gets, the worse the writing gets. Can fully agree that Tony is a brilliant character, and Weatherly fills the space magnificently, but he is seriously under-explored as a character. As for Tony/Ziva (I REFUSE to use that stupid naming convention), please.. kill it before it kills the show. The pairing is completely media-created and driven and its really detracting from all the qualities that made this show so entertaining in the first place. With any luck, we've seen the end of the painful, heavy-handed will-they-won't-they dance that has just been done to death, but I'm probably destined to be disappointed on that front since television writers can rarely help themselves from ruining a good thing.


Agree wholeheartedly that Special Agent Tony DiNozzo is the best character - he's the most complex of all of them. Goofy as all get out one moment and deadly serious the next and then back to goofy in 2 shakes of a lambs tail.
Michael Weatherly is brilliant in the role.
Gibbs is a close 2nd with everyone else tied for 3rd. I'm not a fan romantically pairing Tony/Ziva - (won't even use that cute-sie/Junior High "pairing of names word" BUT I am a fan of Tony and I am a fan of Ziva.


I agree that Ducky and Abby steal every scene they are in and I wish they were featured more. I don't agree about the Tiva tension--hasn't that been done to death in other series?


Picking a favorite character is really hard, they're all awesome! But I do love NCIS, Tony and I absolutely adore Tiva.


So I didn't see a grade with this report card - what is the grade? I think Tony is the best character by far, but I also have to agree that there are no weak characters on the show too. The writing has been superb this season, the stories are interesting, the characters have really developed into well-rounded personalities with real depth - this is one of the most entertaining programmes on TV. It deserves an A+ in my books!


Love's seriously the only show I bother to watch. Will even agree that DiNozzo is the best character although I think that Gibbs is tied with Tony.
But seriously Tiva???? A media created pairing? A pairing that is KILLING the show and will kill the show if they make it a romance?


While I love NCIS, gotta disagree with DiNozzo as the best character. Ugh! He's the worst, he's obnoxious, annoying, juvenile, and needs a good, swift kick in the ass! He treats people like doggy doo, has no respect for his co-workers, and should've been fired a long, long time ago. Love NCIS, Hate DiNozzo!

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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.

Tony: One other question, I know you're an expert in English history. And I was just wondering, have you ever heard of Archibald Drummond, the 17th Earl of Trent?
Ducky: The Earl of Trent. No, I can't say I have. Why?
Tony: I was just wondering. Thanks.