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NCIS Review: Let The Good Times Roll

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If you didn't get your fill of New Orleans last week, NCIS loaded up the plate to just about overflowing this time around.

The installment had it all: food, relaxed style and stories all book-ended with some amazing and soulful music.

NCIS Season 11 Episode 19 completed the two-part arc about a criminal dubbed the "Privileged Killer."

The D.C. and New Orleans NCIS teams finally got to the truth: that Dan McLane had manipulated the evidence that put Lourda behind bars and that the real "Privileged Killer" was a man who had tried and failed to gain entry to the Marines. 

His father had bribed McLane, who needed the money to pay medical bills for his mother and daughter.

McLane was silenced down through the years through contributions to his election campaign. Then, when he decided to open up about his secret, he was murdered.

After identifying the real culprit, Gibbs and Pride finally confronted him in a cemetery where he was just about to kill yet another Navy officer. 

The charm of New Orleans was constant all the way through this engaging episode. I don't imagine that falling in love with the place is optional: if the laid back atmosphere and personal warmth can't draw you in, the music will. 

There was just no escaping it:  there was Dr. Wade's loving statements about it while driving with Gibbs and Bishop. Then there was Pride's half-smile at Brody as she delighted in the discovery of the rich food. 

The part that cinched it for me was the amazing music played by Wendell Hobbs in his laboratory.

You couldn't miss the irony of Bishop's impatience with him either:

Bishop: How long do we let him play for?
Gibbs: Pride says it relaxes him, helps him to think.

Music is to him like food is to Bishop. There's enough quirkiness to go around for everyone.

I liked the closeness that everyone had to each other too. The D.C. team has its own brand of camaraderie, of course, which shows up whenever one of them is in danger. With the New Orleans crew, it seems to be a constant dynamic: even when they're a little annoyed with each other, they use sincere endearing expressions like "my beloved."

The downside, though, comes when that closeness and trust is betrayed, it brings a harsh pain, as we saw with Pride when he accepted the truth about McLane. The man clearly leads with his heart, whereas Gibbs - while just as close to McLane - is more pragmatic. Together they make a perfect team.

If that wasn't enough, we had that cool scene-stealing boy, who offered information for money. The credits list him as "Lamar" - although he never gave his name in the show, because, as he said: the streets have no name.

Dr. Wade's statement about New Orleans sums up the sense you get about the town:

This town really gets into your DNA. I flew out here for a visit in 97. Still got the return ticket. I know folks die the same here as anywhere else, but in New Orleans, most people depart with a good heart and a whole lot of soul.

Wade

Frankly, I'm sold on the idea of an NCIS: New Orleans spinoff.  I hope it happens and that the decision on it comes soon.

Final notes:

  • We got to meet the fifth member of the "Fed 5," Felix Betts. Unfortunately, it seems that he's not the guy he used to be, though his old team mates love him dearly.
  • It also seems that Betts may have known about the bribe taken by McLane.
  • Pride named his gun Charmaine.
  • Pride offered an indefinite extension to Brody's visit.

UPDATE: Our NCIS Round Table is up!  Join us there and add your own answers to the questions asked of our panel.

Tell us what you thought of the two-episode story in the comments.  And be sure to check our our NCIS quotes too!

In the meantime: what was up with Tony's voodoo doll?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (85 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter

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This spin-off will tank. Everything feels forced, from some of the accents to the supposed familiarity/fake folksiness with NOLA. Hate Brody---her looks, her personality--ugh. I won't be watching.
Lucas Black--go back to F&F and stay there :)

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This is a comment for MrWriteSF. Just because you do not like a character, this does not give you the opportunity to use names against them. The entire cast are talented people who portray excellent characters or NCIS would not be going into Season 12. No matter what anyone says, I still love Tony.

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The writers of NCIS must be smoking something!
First this horrible Bishop agent (even my girlfriend thinks she is incredibly annoying and she was looking forward to see Emily Wickersham on NCIS) now DiNozzo going crazy with the most ridiculous story ever! What person thought that this Voodoo doll thing is funny!
And on top of it guys over 60 who think they are cool!
Oh Brotha, the producers need to fix NCIS before starting a spin off and start with getting rid of Bishop before everyone stops watching!

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@ RockyW

Gary Glasberg, the showrunner, wrote this ep and he's just no good at it. He tries to stuff too much into an ep. Then so much gets left on the cutting room floor due to time constraints that it's left stilted and disjointed. The humor infusion is forced. MW does a great job considering what he's given but it doesn't flow within the story and they're still using him as only comic relief. Otherwise, Tony would have gone with McGee. If you watch the earlier seasons, the humor fit more naturally within the confines of the case and plot development. Now it seems like everything stops for an 'insert-gag here' moment. There's no organic flow to it and they've sacrificed plot quality in order to focus on being character driven instead and to have these asides that used to work so well as part of a story.

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You can tell their setting NCIS NO to replace NCIS since NCIS L.A. has bombed.

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@ Michael

Well then, stupid on CBS for renewing a show that has "bombed" and actually scored better ratings this week than the parent show. Go figure.

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@ MissUnderstood

Ignore him. He only thinks it bombed because they're getting back to the Kensi-Deeks relationship.

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I'd like to see them flip-flop Bishop and Brody. Bishop's quirkiness fits better in a quirkier place with quirkier people. Nola offers that. Brody is clearly better suited as Washington DC material than is Bishop.

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@ Easton

That sounds fair and could work. I like both Bishop and Brody. Then again, maybe Brody brings down some of the "quirkier" stuff to even out the NOLA crew? Balances both ways maybe?

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@ Easton

In what way she has the personal of 7of8

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@ Michael

Bishop doesn't fit NCIS. Her ...let's just charitably call it quirkiness, uniqueness and teenager-like attributes don't mesh with the other characters. Nola as a city is a more eccentric and unique locale with more flavor. Nola features agents who are more casual. I think she would blend better in that casual environment. And Brody is more professional and matured in the way she handles herself which would meld well with Gibbs, Tony, McGee and Vance. Washington is a far more reserved place. She is more reserved, more polished and more professional than Bishop and I think that comes off as more DC. I do think she has a personality but it's more reserved. I just have an easier time seeing the characters on the opposite shows. I think TPTB put the actresses on the wrong shows.

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@ Easton

@MrWriteSF: Wow ... not a Tony fan huh? I love Tony. The Tony and Gibbs relationship that existed in the early years is the reason I started watching at all. The writers mutilated that relationship in the middle seasons and it's morphed since but still Tony and Gibbs are why I watch. I know Tony jokes around in the bullpen and with the team but I do thinks he's professional when it comes time to be an agent.. Besides, can you imagine what that job would be like day in/day out without his levity? And no, I never saw him as the quirky one. That slot belongs to Abby. But it's a lovable quirky.

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@ Easton

"And Brody is more professional and matured in the way she handles herself which would meld well with Gibbs, Tony, McGee and Vance. " Well, 3 outta four ain't bad. You honestly think Tony handles himself professionally and maturely? He's class clown-Peter Pan-overgrown frat rat. Didja ever stop to think that before Bishop came along, HE was the quirky one? Besides, we all know the formula by now--there's ALWAYS one who's different as counterpoint to the rest. THAT'S Brody in NOLA.

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@ Easton

I admit though that might backfire too. Could be that having Bishop in the Nola office could be one 'quirky' too many.

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I still don't see where all this "Tony's character is ruined" crap is coming from. He's the same character he's been since the season 3 and if anything his character is actually growing I mean has his interactions with McGee every been more brother-y. It's been subtlety interwoven throughout the whole entire season, which no doubt is going to come to a head by the end of this season considering part of the finale will be Tony-centric. Also find it funny how people can say, Bishop has been shoved into our faces this episode (And I'm just referring to this episode at the moment), because she had the less screen-time then any of the main characters in this episode (And I counted and checked). Also, unrelated, but I'm getting a little tired of people saying they'll never watch the show anymore and still watch the show. Make up your mind people!

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@ Mikey

Season 1 - 4 Tony was written completely differently than he is now. He was clearly Gibbs second in command and Gibbs clearly respected him. Tony often had entire episodes in which he was featured as THE featured and gifted agent of the episode. His humor was cutting and funny. He wasn't constantly portrayed as the butt of every joke. He lost IQ points when Shane Brennan took over as show runner and turned the show into the super GIbbs and wonder Ziva show. Tony became less a great agent and more an idiot who needed everyone else to correct and out do him. This bubble bath taking, casserole fretting, unable to protect his partner in the field because he's afraid of a voodoo doll, is a far cry from early Tony. They've done a real hatchet job on him. It's awful.

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@ Erin

Gonna have to agree with you. Tony was more competent in earlier seasons and his humor worked better too. They did dumb him down in order to elevate Ziva. They did clearly have a goal of creating the Superwoman NCIZiva show. But I do think there have been tiny little scraps of correction this year. Such as in Under the Radar when the truck tried to run over Vera and he shot out the tires while still on the ground. But once Bishop was on board, she was the only capable team member again. I just have to scratch my head. They are at least letting him mentor her and having her appreciating his mentorship. That's something I suppose. Though I agree the bubble bath and casserole deal was just stupid. He was shown as reticent and unsure how to help Tim. Nowhere to be be seen was the Tony that showed up on Tim's doorstep and wouldn't take no for an answer to help him and be there for Tim in the ep Probie in S3. Where are those writers and how does GG not see/remember the canon of the characters?

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@ Erin

So, Tony growing up and showing some maturity isn't a good thing? He's been through some stuff and is starting to show some *gasp* responsibility. It's been YEARS. I'd be more concerned, and disappointed in the writers, if he wasn't starting to show some maturity. People grow and change over the years. But even with Tony's maturity, his ability in the field hasn't gone down. He's still a very capable, and very special agent.

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@ Justin Sayn

Well if you call making McGee go alone and unprotected to interview a suspect because he was afraid of a voodoo doll showing responsibility then I guess you and I have very different ideas of what responsibility is. He used to be a jokester but was also portrayed as an agent who would put team mates safety and well being before his own. Now he's portrayed as a nervous, childish coward. I don't think GG and MH ever want Tony to appear to be an outstanding agent anymore for fear it might cut into their unrelenting efforts to allow only Gibbs to be the alpha male super agent. I also have to wonder given the crap writing MW has gotten if he pissed someone at the top off and they are punishing him.

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@ Justin Sayn

You do know Tony is a fictional character and is only as good at the writers make him.

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I love everyone in this NO cast. They need to lock them in now, to make sure they are available if it gets picked up. Which I sincerely hope it does. I think it will be awesome.

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I do not know what is going on with the show, but something is off.
It drags and makes no sense. Are there new writers, are they getting tired, or is this the end of the show? I was thinking when Gibbs sent Bishop out to the garage BY HERSELF with the killer loose, that would be the end of her but I was wrong. WHY WOULD GIBBS SEND HER BY HERSELF????? Also, why would they not call McGee and worn him. Seriously flawed writers. They must be writing for the ignorant masses without brains

Gigi2776
@ uisignorant

Yes, there was some seriously writing glitches in this two parter. I had to rewind a few times to make the plot make any sense. Why was McGee by himself in the first place?

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Too many 'quirky characters', not enough plot, not enough to hold my attention. I think NCIS is descending into a maudlin abyss of quirky characterization and very little story.

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@ BlueRick

NCIS has always been like that until the season story arc starts to unfold. That's one of the things that makes NCIS stand out. It centers more on the characters than the story.

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@ Justin Sayn

They used to do a better job of balancing humor, character and plot development in some of the earlier to mid years. I'd love to see them return to that formula.

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I am a huge NCIS fan and I like all the characters. I would give the new NCIS NO show a chance. I like Scott Bakula and the other characters seem really interesting. I liked the part where the female medical examiner asked if they knew anything about football and Gibbs said no. Really? He was a star quarterback in college. He played that well. lol

Sue-ann
@ Rhea

I noticed that, too. I just sat there and giggled. I really liked this pilot.

NCIS Season 11 Episode 19 Quotes

Pride: There's things you trust when you live in Louisiana. Trust the river will rise, people will rise to the occasion, no matter what the challenge. Trust the rain will never stop pouring, the drinks will never stop flowing and music will never stop playing. After all the hell you go through living here, you trust in God almighty, and you trust in friends and family. All those years, the man I call my brother was living a lie and I took it, hook line and sinker.
Gibbs: You know the truth now.

I hope you don't mind. I just asked the director to skip protocol and extend your visit to New Orleans indefinitely.

Pride
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