"NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service" is a hit drama for CBS that originated out of an episode of "JAG" before becoming a stand-alone series in 2003. The show follows a Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team (MCRT) who find themselves assigned to major cases, such as an abanoned ship, helping an African political refugee, investigating a mortar attack in Baghdad and more.
The team is lead by Gibbs (Mark Harmon), who is assisted by goth Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and medical examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum). Gibbs had retired at the end of season 3 after being injured in a terrorist attack. In his place is Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), who serves as leader when the fourth season begins. However, it's not long before Gibbs is pulled out of retirement, as former Mossad agent Ziva (Cote de Pablo) is mistaken for the one responsible when she witnesses an assassination attempt.
The fourth season was the last for showrunner Donald Bellisario, who was replaced by a group of collaborators, including co-executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson and series writer Shane Brennan. The fifth season launches the team into a series of new and mostly thrilling set of investigations - especially "Chimera", where the team discovers an abandoned ship with a secret when trying to investigate a strange death aboard a top-secret Navy research ship. Other highlights include: "Requiem" (Gibbs finds himself a the center of an emotional and difficult journey into his past after he agrees to help the childhood friend of his late daughter), "Designated Target" (the NCIS team meets an African refugee searching for her husband while investigating the assassination of a Navy Admiral), "In the Zone" (a mortar attack in Baghdad becomes a crime scene when two members of the NCIS team are sent to investigate) and "Internal Affairs" (La Grenouille, a notorious arms dealer, is killed and the FBI puts the NCIS team under investigation.)
The season continues to see the show operating smoothly, with Harmon providing a confident, engaging lead effort as Gibbs. He's also backed up by a marvelous supporting cast, as the underrated Weatherly is better here than he was on the short-lived "Dark Angel". McCallum, Murray and newcomer Michelle Lee also give fine supporting performances. Overall, "NCIS" continues its strong run with an entertaining and often intense fourth round of episodes.
Season 6 stars on 9/23 on CBS. Check local listings for time.
95. 5- 1 095 25 Sep 07 Bury Your Dead
96. 5- 2 096 2 Oct 07 Family
97. 5- 3 097 9 Oct 07 Ex-File
98. 5- 4 098 16 Oct 07 Identity Crisis
99. 5- 5 099 23 Oct 07 Leap of Faith
100. 5- 6 100 30 Oct 07 Chimera
101. 5- 7 101 6 Nov 07 Requiem
102. 5- 8 102 13 Nov 07 Designated Target
103. 5- 9 103 20 Nov 07 Lost & Found
104. 5-10 104 27 Nov 07 Corporal Punishment
105. 5-11 105 15 Jan 08 Tribes
106. 5-12 106 8 Apr 08 Stakeout
107. 5-13 107 15 Apr 08 Dog Tags
108. 5-14 108 22 Apr 08 Internal Affairs
109. 5-15 109 29 Apr 08 In the Zone
110. 5-16 110 6 May 08 Recoil
111. 5-17 111 13 May 08 About Face
112. 5-18 112 20 May 08 Judgment Day (1)
113. 5-19 113 20 May 08 Judgment Day (2)
VIDEO: "NCIS" is presented by Paramount Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality was above-average, as sharpness and detail were mostly terrific. Although a few shots look a tad softer than the rest, most scenes boast fine detail and definition. No edge enhancement was seen, but some slight artifacting was spotted in a few scenes. Colors appeared accurately presented, looking rich and warm, with excellent saturation and no smearing or other problems.
SOUND: The show is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, although the show's soundtrack is largely front-heavy, with the rears only picking up some work to reinforce the score and offer some minor ambience. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and effects.
EXTRAS: "Bury Your Dead" offers commentary from actor Michael Weatherly and his mother, Patricia H. O'Hara; "Requiem" offers commentary from Mark Harmon and Shane Brennan; "Dog Tags" offers commentary from David McCallum and Brian Dietzen, while "Recoil" offers a commentary from Cote De Pablo and James Whitmore, Jr.. The commentaries are informative and enjoyable, as the cast and crew members clearly enjoy chatting with each other and bouncing ideas about scenes off one another. We hear a good deal about production issues, story and character, story development and technical issues/concerns.
We also get a series of featurettes: "NCIS: Season 5 - From Stem to Stern", "The Dressing Room: Costumes and Wardrobe of NCIS", "NCIS On Location", "From Pauley to Abby: Hairspray, Lipstick and Tattoos", and "Requiem: Revisited".
Final Thoughts: "NCIS" continues its run with a very good set of mysteries and thriller episodes for the fifth season, with solid performances from the cast. The DVD set boasts excellent audio/video quality, as well as a lot of terrific supplements. Recommended.