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Featured TV on DVD Review: NCIS: Season Nine

August 21st, 2012

NCIS: Season Nine - Buy from Amazon

NCIS has been a hit earning 26th place during its first year of release. Within two more years, it reached the top 20. Since the sixth season, it has consistently been in the top five. Season Nine was its best year yet in terms of viewers. It was the number one show for the week about half the time and finished in third place overall. Is it also among the best years in terms of quality? Or after nearly a decade on the air, has the show finally run out of steam?

The Show

For those that don't remember the end of season eight, DiNozzo was given a special mission by Secretary of the Navy Clayton Jarvis to, 'take care of' an NCIS agent who has been selling classified information. But when the season starts, he had been shot, but he had no memory of what happened. Throughout the first episode, we begin to learn about the mission. One of the first things we learn is that Special Agent Gibbs doesn't trust Jarvis. The episode ends with a set up for the recurring theme that I can't get into. There are plenty of one-off episodes that we can discuss.

The Penelope Papers has a guest appearance by Lily Tomlin, and it deals with a case that makes sense to NCIS. I've mentioned this before, but a lot of cases are only handled by the team of NCIS, because the victim is a member of the Navy. This is very much the case with Restless. It is a good episode, they all are on this six-disc set, but it has little to do with the Navy.

Safe Harbor starts with a twist, so I can't really discuss it, but it is a great episode. It also features Shohreh Aghdashloo. (It also starts a massive thread where they try to find a girlfriend for Gibbs, in order to keep him off their backs.) Thirst is a "Huh?" episode. I'm sure it is the worst episode on the DVD, but not bad per se, more mediocre and you expect more from this show. Agent Gibbs and Agent Fornell are both contacted by someone in Devil's Triangle, their ex-wife. Her current husband is missing, but it is too soon to go to the police. Engaged is a two-part episode that involves part of the team traveling to Afghanistan to rescue a Marine who set up a school for girls. The school is seen as a threat by extremists, who plan an attack in the United States.

In Sins of the Father, DiNozzo's father is... you know what? All you need to know is it has DiNozzo's father in it to know it is a great episode. Newborn King has a good B-plot involving Jimmy Palmer's father-in-law-to-be, Larry Miller. Housekeeping runs into spoiler territory.

Jaleel White has a cameo in A Desperate Man. A Marine is killed and her husband, who is a police detective, is interfering with the investigation by demanding answers. Life Before His Eyes is the show's 200th episode. It begins with Gibbs in a diner when a guy comes in to rob it and he's shot. From that setup, we see all the decisions he's made over his life and what would have happened if he had done things differently. In Secrets, a Navy Captain is killed in a florist shop, but underneath his naval uniform there's a superhero costume. Psych Out features Jamie Lee Curtis as a psychologist from the PsyOps division, in fact, she's the head of the PsyOps division.

In Need to Know, a petty officer is about to be arraigned on possession of pot and wants to trade information on an arms dealer, but he dies of a heart attack before he can give Gibbs the information. Well that's suspicious. What's really scary is how it is done in the episode is actually possible. The Tell features the return of Jamie Lee Curtis, and includes other guest stars like Sean Astin and William Russ. We start to get into some spoiler territory here, so we can't really get into the details. In fact, with Jamie Lee Curtis in half the remaining episodes, it might be a good time to stop the episode descriptions. I will say one thing... awesome cliffhanger, but a dangerous one. If they screw this up, it will be the "jump the shark" moment.

The Extras

The only extra on the first disc is Nine is Fine, a overall making of the ninth season and how they keep the show fresh. The Finish Line is an 8-minute featurette on the post-production side of making the show. Disc three has a featurette called Casting Off, while Homecoming has an audio commentary track with Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo. They have good chemistry together and there's plenty of entertainment and energy. Disc four has an audio commentary track and a featurette on the 200th episode. The only extra is an audio commentary track on Rekindled. The final disc has an audio commentary track on Up in Smoke. It also has the usual roundtable on the season with much of the cast and crew talking about the previous year. There are some deleted scenes, and finally a featurette on Jamie Lee Curtis.

That's a better than average selection of extras for a concurrent TV on DVD release.

The Verdict

NCIS: Season Nine earned its increase in viewership and rise in the rankings for the year. It earned first place for the week each of the last seven episodes. The extras lift it to an easy recommendation and the six-disc set is absolutely worth picking up.

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