Follow us on

Featured TV on DVD Review: NCIS: Season Ten

August 19th, 2013

NCIS: Season Ten - Buy from Amazon

NCIS has been on TV for a decade. It started out as a reasonable ratings hit, but during its sixth season, its ratings jumped from 20s range, where it had been the first five seasons, to number five. It stayed in the top five for the next five years, but last year, it reached first place. It's odd for a show to take this long to reach first place. Hell, it's odd for a show to last this long. Can Season Ten possibly match its ratings in terms of quality?

The Show

Season nine ended on a cliffhanger, as most seasons do. It involved Harper Dearing, a domestic terrorist whom the NCIS was tracking. We learned he became a terrorist after his son was killed in a terrorist strike, one he blamed the NCIS for happening. At the end of season nine, he bombed the NCIS headquarters and it was unknown if any of the team survived. (Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard wasn't there at the time, but heard the explosion over he phone and fearing the worst, had a heart attack.) There is a massive hunt for Harper Dearing, but it comes down to a more personal battle of wits between Dearing and Special Agent Gibbs.

There are a few episodes that deal with the aftermath. Recovery, Miles Wolf is sent in to give psych evaluations to the team, but there are some difficult cases. Gibbs of course isn't interested, but Abby Sciuto is also very reluctant to talk. In Phoenix, Ducky exhumes a body to run some tests, which would be normal, except he still hasn't been cleared to return to active duty and he's doing this on his own time. Fortunately for Ducky, Gibbs covers for him. Even more fortunately for Gibbs, the earlier death ties in with Gibbs's case. It also includes a a guest appearance by Rene Auberjonois. Lost at Sea involves the investigation of a very unusual helicopter crash, which brings in Agent Abigail Borin (Diane Neal), who has appeared in a few episodes and is always a good sign. It also features Linda Park, who is in Enterprise, which is the next show I will be reviewing this week. She's better here, because it is a better written character.

Disc two starts with Namesake, which I have mixed opinions on. A petty officer who works as a valet to make extra money goes on a joyride in a Ferrari, but is shot dead. Of course the actual target was the real owner of the vehicle, but it takes forever for the team to figure that out. Bad mystery. On the other hand, it features a guest appearance by Billy Dee Williams as Leroy Jethro Moore, whom Leroy Jethro Gibbs is named after. Gibbs's father was best friends with L.J., but the pair had a falling out and he refuses to tell Gibbs why. Shell Shock is a two-part episode that deals with a Captain Joe Westcott, who is suffering from PTSD, who may have stumbled into a terrorist attack, but his PTSD is making getting any information out of him troublesome. Gone involves a human trafficking ring and features a guest appearance by Alex Kingston.

In Devil's Trifecta, Senior FBI Agent Tobias Fornell is shot in a drive through, but he was lucky he was still wearing his FBI bullet-proof vest and is able to return fire killing his assailant. His assailant turns out to be navy, so Agent Gibbs is called in to investigate. Their investigation leads them to Melinda McGraw, who is both of the men's ex-wife. Great episode. Robert Wagner returns as DiNozzo's father in You Better Watch Out. The main mystery is about stolen uncirculated $100 bills. It is more interesting for the personal information we learn about DiNozzo and his father. Up next is the two-part Shabbat Shalom / Shiva, which is the stage of the season where the major storyarc is developed. As such, we can't talk about much. The story revolves around Eli David, who is the director of Mossad, and the father of Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). He's come to make amends with his daughter and try to find redemption. However, he has a lot to redeem himself for, which is why Ziva doesn't trust him at first. This is also why... spoiler happens.

At this point, there are still a dozen episodes left in the season, but because of potential spoilers, it is hard to talk about many of them. Hit and Run is more or less a stand-alone episode. It's about a car crash involving a marine and it causes a flashback for Abby. Vik Sahay plays a master hacker in Canary. He's captured early in the episode, but he's not the main target. The team want his help to catch the number one hacker, M.C. Hereafter has too many spoilers. Detour focuses on Ducky and Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen). They are returning with a body when they are kidnapped by people who are very interested in the dead body and are willing to kill Ducky and Jimmy to find out.

Disc five begins with Prime Suspect. Gibbs's barber confides in Gibbs that he thinks his son is a serial killer, the Dead Rose Slasher and he asks Gibbs to look into it to clear his son's name. Seek starts with a bomb disposer and his guide dog helping a young boy in Afghanistan get clear from a minefield, only to be killed by a sniper. The NCIS team investigate and it appears he was targeted and this wasn't a random attack. Timothy McGee is the focus of squall. A medical officer aboard a Navy destroyer and the admiral in charge of the fleet is John McGee, McGee's father. It isn't a happy family reunion. Chasing Ghosts and Berlin both deal with spoilers from the Shabbat Shalom / Shiva storyline.

The final disc has Revenge, Double Blind, and Damned If You Do, all of which have too many spoilers.

The Extras

Like last season's DVD release, there are a good selection of extras. Extras include audio commentary tracks on Extreme Prejudice, Hit and Run, Detour, and Seek. There are also deleted scenes for Hit and Run and Damned If You Do. Disk two has a 17-minute interview by Rocky Carroll, who interviews the real director of the real NCIS, Mark D. Clookie. Disc three has an 11-minute featurette called Death in the Family, which is about the important mid-season changes. DiNozzo's Digs is an eight-minute look at DiNozzo's apartment, which is seen for the first time this year. Disc four has You Wear It Well, a nine-minute featurette on the clothing. Disc five has 10 Items or Less, which looks at ten behind the scenes parts of NCIS. The final disc has lots of extras, starting with X Marks the Spot, a 24-minute look at the tenth season of the show. 10 Years Aft looks back at the ten years the show has been on the air and some of the cast and crew's favorite moments on the show. There are also eight Inside NCIS clips that are each a few minutes long.

The Verdict

NCIS: Season Ten was the highest rated network TV show of last season. It is also arguably one of the best. For me the best show is still Modern Family, especially now that 30 Rock is gone. But this is arguably in the top five and potentially the best drama on network TV. There are more than enough extras to make the DVD worth picking up. It is potentially a Pick of the Week contender.

- Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Review, Rene Auberjonois, Rocky Carroll, Mark Harmon, Alex Kingston, Michael Nouri, Pauley Perrette, Vik Sahay, Richard Schiff, Jamey Sheridan, Joe Spano, Steve Valentine, Robert Wagner, Ralph Waite, Michael Weatherly, Billy Dee Williams, David McCallum, Sean Murray