TV on DVD Review: NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans

CBS Productions is making sure fans have plenty to love and hours to spend binge watching one of its greatest franchises thanks to the Blu-ray and DVD releases of NCIS: Season 12, NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 6, and NCIS: New Orleans: Season 1.

NCIS continues to get better with each season.
NCIS continues to get better with each season.

NCIS: Season 12 –
The hit CBS series 12th season finds the NCIS crew continuing to show a little age and binge-watching episodes is weighed down by the series’ formulaic episodes. Thankfully, the series continues to have great chemistry with its ensemble cast, and fast-paced episodes to make the audience not mind that we have seen this same story in 11 other seasons.

With Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) watching from on high, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Team is led by Mark Harmon’s Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and includes very Special Agent and Senior Field Agent Anthony “Tony” DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), and new member Probationary NCIS Special Agent Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham). They are joined by the loveable Forensic Specialist Abigail “Abby” Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) and Chief Medical Examiner Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum).

Featuring 24 episodes, season 12 finds the NCIS team handling a variety of crimes (ranging from cyber terrorist to serial killers) while a season long story arc slowly plays out. This season sees the team going up against Sergei Mishnev (Alex Veadov) and his organization. The season’s best moments come from Veadov facing off against Harmon’s Gibbs as Mishnev goes after Gibbs and one of his ex-wives. Wickersham does an excellent job finding her place on the team, and making the most of her screen time. I still miss Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David, but it is clear Wickersham can more than hold her own with the rest of the team.

Like past releases, fans of the series can expect to enjoy plenty of special features – including looks at shooting on location; a look at Rocky Carrol in the director’s chair; commentary; deleted scenes and more.

NCIS: Los Angeles features a slicker look and faster pace.
NCIS: Los Angeles features a slicker look and faster pace.

NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 6 –
The spin-off show to the CBS hit NCIS continues to distance itself from NCIS and become a “must-watch” show thanks to its action-packed episode, talented cast and slick look. The chemistry between Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J continues to be the main reason to watch the show, but the writers make sure the complete ensemble cast gives the viewers plenty to love about the show. It also helps to have Linda Hunt – which is the main reason I watch it.

The Los Angeles team is led by Special Agent Henrietta Lange (Linda Hunt) and her two main agents Special Agent G. Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and Special Agent Sam Hanna (LL Cool J). The rest of the team includes Special Agent Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah), Detective Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen), NCIS Tech Operator Eric Beale (Barrett Foa), and Intelligence Analyst Nell Jones (Renee Felice Smith). The series also features the great Miguel Ferrer as NCIS’ Assistant Director.

Like recent seasons of NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles has reached a point where it has started to have a formulaic feel when binge watching, but manages to entertain and get better. The season does follow the “crime of the week” storyline, but often features greater threats than NCIS. The Los Angeles team often goes up against terrorist rather than just solving a simple murder.

Season 6’s first episode hooks you from the start with Callen and Hanna trapped aboard a submarine filled with terrorist who happen to be planning to attack an aircraft carrier in San Diego. From there the team deals with a variety of threats to the country and to their own team as special Agent Henrietta Lange’s past comes back to haunt her and she has to deal with a Department of Justice investigation.

Along with the 24-episode season, fans of the series can expect a variety of bonus material- including looks at the making of the season, and looks at the work that goes into the production of the show.

NCIS: New Orleans offers fans a new flavor to the NCIS formula.
NCIS: New Orleans offers fans a new flavor to the NCIS formula.

NCIS: New Orleans: Season 1 – The new series in the NCIS franchise adds flavor to the formula and introduces fans to a new kind of laidback team located in the Big Easy. The series has some problems, but the creators make the most of its New Orleans setting letting the city and its music become a character of the show.

Unlike the other two series in the NCIS franchise, New Orleans features a smaller team consisting of leader Special Agent in Charge Dwayne Cassius “King” Pride (Scott Bakula), NCIS Special Agent and Senior Field Agent Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black), NCIS Special Agent Meredith “Merri” Brody (Zoe McLellan), Medical Examiner of Jefferson Parish (the great C. C. H. Pounder) and her assistant Sebastian Lund (Rob Kerkovich).

Season one sees the team handling a variety of cases around the city and port of New Orleans, the Missippi River and the Texas Pandhandle. The season follows the formula established by NCIS and serves mainly as a way to introduce the main cast of the show. The cases range from murder to stopping a smuggling ring.

As the first season, New Orleans does a great job of getting viewers into the different vibe of the series – which greatly differs from what we have seen before. This new look and style helps the series feel fresh, and the series is boosted by the natural charisma of Bakula and Black. Both talented actors seem at home in the roles and it is a good change from the type of NCIS agents we have grown used to seeing on television. King rarely leaves the office, and seems to have a mysterious past like NCIS’ Gibbs (Mark Harmon). Black’s LaSalle carries himself like he owns the city of New Orleans, and knows every great bar it has to offer.

On DVD, the season comes loaded with bonus features – including the “spin-off” NCIS episode, a look at New Orleans, and the writing process for the show.

All episodes of NCIS are now streaming on Paramount+. Try it FREE!

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