NCIS tried something in last night's episode, "Power Down," that might sound hokey if you're just reading it here, or have never seen the show. But the entertaining characters, sharp dialogue and lightning-quick plot development somehow make it work.
A city-wide blackout.
It was a new wrinkle that made the episode from beginning to end, and instead of coming off like a lame stunt because the writers ran out of ideas, the power outage was the opposite, seamlessly integrated into the case and the agents trying to crack it.
After D.C. was plunged into darkness for a matter of days, Gibbs and his crew attempted to investigate an apparent cyber-attack-turned-murder without the usual bells and whistles.
Older viewers, especially those with law enforcement backgrounds, may remember these days well. But for a younger audience, it begged the question: How do forensic experts, medical examiners and investigators do their jobs in this situation?
Literally working in the dark, the gang scrambled to cope with their lack of technology. Except for Gibbs, a man of few words, and certainly one unmoved by his agents' plight. There's nothing he can't handle, old school style, as he later proved.
McGee was a fish out of water without his computer - but he came through.
McGee, the ultimate computer geek, suffered paper cuts (and obligatory ribbing from Tony) sifting through files by hand. Tony made references to old cop shows. Abby proved her resourcefulness (despite a lack of Caf-Pow) and Ducky ... well, Ducky had power.
The basement had generators. Bodies, after all. Could get ugly.One of the funnier moments of the night came when he revealed he let the staff "use 107" as a fridge with the power out upstairs. Gibbs, in typical fashion, stared in disbelief.
As they investigated the breakin at a local Internet provider, Gibbs (Polaroid in hand) figured out one of the servers had been switched out, and the case was not as it seemed.
A Naval officer who was killed on site at first seemed to be complicit in the breakin and the subsequent security breach. But it turned out she was working undercover throughout.
She made sure her death would be investigated and the true perpetrators outed. While the final 15 minutes unfolded almost too quickly, it was a terrific hour of television.
Even makes us wish they'd keep the power out one more week.