The ninth season of “NCIS” is one hell of a ride. As in previous seasons, the cast works so well together and the chemistry and dynamic is why the show has been as successful as had been the past couple of years. The storylines are getting richer including a multi-part finale which is fantastic.
Genre(s): Drama, Crime, Mystery, Suspense
Paramount | NR – 1026 min. – $64.99 | August 21, 2012
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill (creators)
Cast: Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Rocky Carroll
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scene
Number of Discs: 6
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Stereo)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese
THE SHOW – 4.25/5
The eighth season of “NCIS” ended with the confrontation and ultimate death of the Port to Port Killer (Jonas Cobb played by Kerr Smith) who had prior abducted NCIS Special Agent EJ Barrett and Jimmy Palmer (BRIAN DIETZEN). After that storyline is more or less wrapped up, no season would be complete without a cliffhanger. When the season ended, Special Agent Tony DiNozzo (MICHAEL WEATHERLY) has been tapped by SecNav (MATT CRAVEN) for a secret mission and to investigate somebody within the agency and is shown a picture which the audience of course won’t see.
Now with the ninth season, the premiere, ‘Nature of the Beast’, is told in flashbacks as we find DiNozzo shot and has memory loss and must recount the previous events in order for Agent Gibbs (MARK HARMON) and the rest of the team (SEAN MURRAY, COTE DE PABLO and PAULEY PERRETTE) to find out exactly what is going on. One person, who will have a bigger impact in the season finale, is a covert ops man named Casey Stratton (SCOTT WOLF).
The following episode, as has been done in previous seasons in the series, moves on to basically case-of-the-week format with some general call backs to the premiere (episode 12, ‘Housekeeping’, does finish one storyline) but includes some great cases including the return of DiNozzo’s father wonderfully played once again by Robert Wagner as his character is accused of murder (nope, not going there…) but in fact was set up. It’s yet another episode where the writers delve deeper into Tony and push the character beyond the class clown persona he’s at times saddled with (albeit it does provide a nice dose of comedic relief).
Season nine also introduces audiences to a character named Samantha Ryan played by Jamie Lee Curtis in a recurring role (5 episodes) and love interest for Gibbs. The character wasn’t great as much as Curtis playing the character that made it such a fun addition to the crew even if it’s only for a short stint.
The season finishes with a 4-part stretch involving arson and a villain (RICHARD SCHIFF) on a personal vendetta against NCIS, culminating with another cliffhanger where the producers tease that one of the character’s fates could be in limbo. The last shot is of our favorite medical examiner, Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard (DAVID MCCALLUM) collapsing from a heart attack upon hearing the news of an incident. While the season finale was pretty good, I’m continually finding these cliffhangers to be a bit annoying especially knowing that in all likelihood will be resolved in the premiere and the next season-long storyline will be developed.
Here is the episode listing with personal favorites marked with an asterisk:
01. Nature of the Beast
03. The Penelope Papers
04. Enemy on the Hill*
05. Safe Harbor
07. Devil’s Triangle*
08. Engaged (Part 1)
09. Engaged (Part 2)
10. Sins of the Father*
11. Newborn King
13. A Desperate Man
14. Life Before His Eyes*
16. Psych Out*
17. Need to Know*
18. The Tell
19. The Good Son
20. The Missionary Position
22. Playing with Fire*
23. Up in Smoke
24. Till Death Do Us Part
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This 6-disc set comes in three separate thin cases housed in a matted slip cover.
Episode Commentaries – “Housekeeping” with Actors Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo (Disc 3); “Life Before His Eyes” with Actor/Executive Producer Mark Harmon, Executive Producer Gary Glasberg and Episode Director Tony Wharmby (Disc 4); “Rekindled” with Weatherly and Executive Producer Mark Horowitz (Disc 5); “Up in Smoke” with Actors Brian Dietzen (Jimmy Palmer), Matt Jones (Ned Dorneget) and Writer Steven D. Binder.
Nine is Fine (22:53) explores the ninth season of the veteran series providing behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the cast/crew and coming up with new and interesting stories.
The Finish Line (7:35) looks at the process post production (editing, color timing, visual effects) it takes for the weekly series. Apparently in prior seasons, the post production was done in another city but now is done on one location making the practice easier.
Casting Off (10:53) is about the process of casting the supporting roles and includes some audition tapes.
Episode Two Hundred (12:08) delves into the landmark 200th episode taking viewers behind-the-scenes where various members from the cast and crew talk about where the show has gone.
NCIS Season 9 Cast Roundtable (41:20) – Now a staple on “NCIS” sets, this roundtable features the entire cast sitting around and chatting about the ninth season. It’s a fairly lengthy featurette and they cover a variety of topics sent in by fans all the while having a good time.
Psyched Up: Jamie Lee Curtis On Set (7:07) – Short featurette showcasing the guest starring role for the veteran actress with your standard behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast/crew.
Deleted Scene (1:26) on ‘Till Death Do Us Part’.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
“NCIS” is presented in its original broadcast 1.78-widescreen aspect ratio and looks similar to its original airing on television. The colors look nice and despite some standard artifacting, it’s a nice looking video.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is impressive with a strong LFE channel to go along with clear dialogue coming primarily from the center channel. The front and rear speakers do get some usage for ambient noises, side chatter and the action elements that occur in just about every episode (explosions, gunfire, etc.).
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, the ninth season of “NCIS” is one hell of a ride. As in previous seasons, the cast works so well together and the chemistry and dynamic is why the show has been as successful as had been the past couple of years. The storylines are getting richer including a multi-part finale which is fantastic.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman