NCIS New Orleans Round Table: Big Fun in the Big Easy?

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A severed leg, a weird tattoo and a possibly corrupt city councilman were all featured on NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 1.

Below, TV Fanatic panelists David Taylor, Christine Orlando and Douglas Wolfe give their take on some of the aspects of the show. Join us and let us know your thoughts on this first ever episode...

NCIS NOLA RT - depreciated -
NCIS NOLA RT - depreciated -

What's your overall take on this episode? Did you enjoy it?

David: Yes I did. Though I'm a little disappointed that the musical forensic scientist seems to,have been replaced by some rather stereotypical science nerd. 

Christine: Yes. I'm a fan of Scott Bakula and CCH Pounder so I'm happy to watch them here and I think the rest of the cast is coming together pretty well. Plus I do love New Orleans. It's a great setting for the show. The only downside is that they keep talking about the wonderful food and they can't share!

Doug: Whoever cast this series certainly brought their A-game, didn't they?  I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed their introductory crossover episodes in NCIS last season.

What was the best scene or aspect of the show?

David: For me, it was the scenery and camera work.  It's a radical departure from the usual glass-and-concrete jungles we see on so many of these procedurals.

Christine: I really enjoyed James McDaniels as Papa Parks. I thought he brought a lot to a small role and had great chemistry with Pride. I also wonder if he can really play that trumpet.

Doug: I am a huge fan of the music in this show.  I don't normally appreciate hymns but that jazz rendition of "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" brought chills.

What was the worst, or what didn't ring true or make sense?

David: Pride telling Brody how important it was to choose the right neighborhood to live in, while he's crashing at the office.  I think there's a story in that.

Christine: I had figured out the murderer was the foreman on the docks from their first conversation. As much as I love being right I also hate it because it's so much more fun to be surprised. And although the conversation was funny as the three worked out that he was about to run, if they knew it, perhaps they shouldn't have let him get so far ahead.

Doug: I know I wrote about this in the review, but it bugs me that the writers gave Pride such a heavy emotional element at the start of the series.  Were we really supposed to feel the weight of his disappointment and angst over the guy he mentored? It was just way too early for that.  We don't know him well yet, and so we can't care as much as we might have, later in the series.

Brody keeps her private life to herself. Does she have something to hide? Is she being overly protective?

David: I don't think so.  I think, she's just trying to establish boundaries. I can relate: I don't like coworkers being able to reach me via personal e-mail or cell phone, and I don't choose doctors and other service providers just because they're close to work.

Christine: Not necessarily. Over time and bad experiences, most of us learn to not share too much with our coworkers but working closely with the agents of NCIS, they will be more than coworkers. They'll turn into partners and family. I just think feeling comfortable enough to let them in is going to take some time and that's understandable.

Doug: I think the writers deliberately put this aspect of her character in, because they plan to have some fun with it later.  She might have something personal to hide, but she's up against a couple of New Orleans men who think of everyone as family.  So we can at least expect some sparks over their cultural differences.  They'll want her to join them and share and she just wants to get the work done.

What are your thoughts on Councilman Hamilton?

David: Smarmy, sleazy, slippery...other not-so-nice words beginning with the letter "s"

Christine: Does Steven Weber always play these type of smarmy, morally challenged characters? I can't say he isn't good at it. But the councilman will definitely be a problem for Pride and his team. I smell a season long story arc.

Doug: The stereotype for corrupt city officials in TV and cinema has usually been large, overbearing bald men in three piece suites.  Hamilton is different: he's agile, motivated and like any corrupt official, over-the-top ambitious. It's important that the NCIS: New Orleans team not have an easy time of it - and Hamilton will make sure that happens.  So, a grudging welcome to him.

Why do you think Pride lives at the office and not at home?

David: I'm puzzled by this, too, especially after his conversation with Brody.  Meanwhile, he calls his daughter but not his wife?  Something strange is going on.

Christine: He and his wife are obviously separated but I'm guessing it's not his choice. He'd like to be back home. Living in limbo at the office will have to come to a head eventually.  David, as for Pride calling his daughter. Calvin was a bit like a son to him and certainly to Papa Parks so I understood how his murder made Pride want to check in with his daughter. That phone call was about being a protective dad.

Doug: I wanted to think that his stay at the office was just a temporary thing, perhaps a result of working too late. But yes, Christine I think you're right.  He's such a likeable, friendly family-oriented guy though - so it's difficult to imagine what would have caused the split - short of a third party.  It'll be interesting to see what we learn down the road.

Does this series have staying power? Why or why not?

David: I think it will last at least one season while viewers "adjust" and the show finds its audience. They seem to be giving it a strong start with a crossover next week already, but they can't rely on that approach for an entire season.

Christine: I think so. It has a solid cast and no one can say the NCIS model isn't successful. I think it's familiar enough to make viewers feel comfortable but the New Orleans vibe is different enough to keep it interesting. I'd be very surprised if it failed.

Doug: Me too. It proved itself in the introductory NCIS episodes.  This series is a different animal than the more button-down NCIS parent series: much more friendly and accessible characters, a wide-open space where they work, and smiles galore.  The reason I think it's going to last hinges on two things: the great casting and the music.  Even if I didn't have an interest in crime drama, I'd watch it for the music alone.

Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter


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NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Pride: Take Brody, learn things. What the hell are you waiting for?
LaSalle: Well you did offer breakfast.

Pride: Go grab your coat and hat. We’ll take a walk. We’ll talk.
Parks: I got nothing to say, old friend.