NCIS: TV at its best

Entertainment

Want to relax in front of the TV during those last weeks of work-free summer remaining? Looking for something funny, exciting and interesting in the bleak landscape of summer TV schedules? Well, look no further than NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service).

Essentially it’s an American crime drama based around cases involving US Naval personnel, but don’t be put off by the seemingly unusual angle of focus – this is a crime drama of the highest calibre, with excellent acting, storylines and a good deal of humour.

The show goes into its 12th season next year, but it’s still as first-rate as ever. Rarely does a programme so far into its life gain as much acclaim as NCIS has in recent years; it received this year’s International Television Audience Award for Drama, awarded to the drama series with the highest ratings worldwide. And rarely does a show so greatly deserve the popularity that NCIS is now finally enjoying.

Those of us who watched from the very first season have always been perplexed at the much wider viewership of other American crime dramas, notably the wincingly bad CSI: Miami, in comparison with the TV genius that is NCIS. But finally the world has caught up. Now when flicking through the channels one cannot help but see one or other NCIS episode being aired. Channel 5, 5USA, Universal, FOX and CBS Action schedules have all been swept up in the NCIS fever, with many episodes being shown daily on the various channels.

If you’ve never seen the early episodes, starting as far back as possible is highly recommended. Universal is currently showing season 2 (plus the occasional season 1 episode). In doing so, you can not only work your way through the episodes in a logical way (although most episodes contain separate cases), but you can truly appreciate the character based humour which provides the heart of NCIS.

From lead-agent Gibbs’ slaps on the back of (very) special agent Anthony DiNozzo’s head to DiNozzo’s constant teasing of fellow agent McGee, it’s clear that the investigate team on NCIS functions very much as a family; it’s that warmth of affectionate banter between the key characters that makes NCIS such a joy to watch. No matter which female agent is in the episode, be it Kate (Sasha Alexander), Ziva (Cote de Pablo) or Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham), the NCIS team really gels together in a way unusual to most other American crime dramas. The acting of central players Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette and David McCallum is simply superb, and you can really tell that this is a show made by people who love it just as much as the fans. The cases are also highly varied, with the naval investigative aspect of the show providing in fact a wide scope of material, from high level national security threats, to kidnappings and homicide investigations.

The 12th season of NCIS starts early next year on FOX, so in the mean time sit back, relax, and catch up on one of the best shows around.

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