“NCIS”: The Twelfth Season is another solid year for the venerable series that excels mostly to the ensemble cast which, for the most part, has been together since the beginning. The stories also remain compelling with new and different obstacles for the team including a deadly antagonist to start the season out with a bang.
“NCIS”: The Twelfth Season
Genre(s): Drama, Crime
Paramount | NR – 1030 min. – $76.99 | September 15, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
“NCIS” now making through twelve seasons could easily be considered one of the most successful spin-offs perhaps rivaling “Frasier” though even that show began to wane in its twilight years while “NCIS” has thrived being one of the highest rated shows on television. What’s the reason for its success? Who the hell knows. Sure, part of it is the ensemble cast but story wise, while entertaining; I thought previous seasons were a bit better.
The twelfth season opens with what will be, in part, the season-long storyline. In the premiere, Gibbs (MARK HARMON) and McGee (SEAN MURRAY) are escorting a squirrelly systems admin out of Russia when their chopper is shot down by a terrorist named Sergei Mishnev (ALEX VEADOV), a man who has a personal vendetta against Gibbs for killing his friend, Ari Haswan. Sergei makes for an interesting foe even if his motives are rather basic, though the results are brutal and personal.
The season also gives further insight into the supporting characters, new and old. We get a touching episode, ‘So It Goes’, where Doctor Mallard (DAVID MCCALLUM) travels to England to investigate the death of a childhood friend which dredges memories of lost love. In a variety of episodes, we also finally meet Ellie Bishop’s (EMILY WICKERSHAM) elusive husband, Jake Malloy (JAMIE BAMBER) and some potential issues within their marriage now working for different agencies as both previously worked for the NSA. The year also finds the return of DiNozzo’s skirt-chasing father, Tony Sr. played by the venerable Robert Wagner.
Season 12 might not be the strongest in the series’ history but it’s still entertaining especially thanks to the ensemble cast though the change in Gibbs personality is a bit strange compared with his early years, though I suppose the things that happened to the character might make for a good reason for a lighter, less serious version. I also like the Ellie Bishop character portrayed by Emily Wickersham having integrating herself well enough to the group and only time will tell if she’ll gel along the same levels as Sasha Alexander and Cote de Pablo and thankfully the character is married if only to avoid any BS potential relationships with either McGee or DiNozzo.
- Twenty Klicks
- Kill the Messenger
- So It Goes
- Choke Hold
- The San Dominick
- Parental Guidance Suggested
- The Searchers
- Semper Fortis
- House Rules
- The Enemy Within
- We Build, We Fight
- Cabin Fever
- Blast from the Past
- The Artful Detective
- Status Update
- No Good Deed
- Lost in Translation
- The Lost Boys
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
In a strange twist, Paramount/CBS has released the twelfth season also on Blu-ray. The 6-disc set is housed in an HD Keep Case with a semi-glossy slip cover.
‘House Rules’ – Actor Sean Murray, Director Terrence O’Hara and Writer Christopher J. Waild
‘We Build, We Fight’ – Director/Actor Rocky Carroll, Writer Jennifer Corbett and Executive Producer Mark Horowitz
‘Cabin Fever’ – Executive Producer/Actor Mark Harmon, Actor Joe Spano (Fornell), Director Bethany Rooney
Although there are only three commentaries, I do like the variety of participants with no duplicates and each include at least one cast member. These tracks are generally informative delving into their respective episodes, primarily covering the story or writing more than anything.
Pre-Flight Jitters: Shooting on Location (9:54) looks at not only filming on a closed airport terminal (in Ontario) but establishing Jake (Bishop’s husband) and features interviews with a few cast and crew members.
Bad to the Bone (11:18) examines the primary bad guy, Sergei Mishnev, and a profile on the character and the actor who portrayed him.
Rocky Carroll: Director (6:45) covers the actor’s debut directing the episode ‘We Build, We Fight’.
Inside Season 12 (24:56) is a relatively extensive overview, including a behind-the-scenes look at the season premiere, of the twelfth season, the characters and storylines.
Table for Ten (30:19) is a fun roundtable discussion with the entire main cast and the executive producer as they discuss the series and its successes.
#1 Drama in the World (7:10) touts the show’s success in its twelfth season.
Best Buy Bonus Disc (DVD):
Meet McGee (16:47) is a profile on the series’ long-running character as portrayed by Sean Murray with comments from producers, cast members and the actor himself.
Getting Crafty (4:28) looks at the craft services on the show.
Emily Wickersham (4:23) and Rocky Carroll (14:49) Fan Q&As – The two actors answer questions as submitted by fans. I think these originally aired online.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Apparently the success of “NCIS” in the ratings (garnering 20 million viewers/wk), Paramount saw fit to bring the series onto Blu-ray. The show is presented in its originally televised 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a nice-looking 1080p high-definition transfer. The show more or less looks like it does as televised but with some better detail levels while colors are well balanced though are more on the muted front so it doesn’t quite have the “pop” compared with other shows. That said, it’s a good transfer that is moderately better than its DVD counterpart.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
Where this set basically excels is in the audio department. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track provides for excellent dialogue levels throughout and the depth comes into play with the soundtrack and score from the catchy main theme to the, albeit generic, cues which often are low key in keeping with the tone. Although the Dolby Digital track on the DVD is good, this lossless track takes it up a (slight) notch.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, “NCIS”: The Twelfth Season is another solid year for the venerable series that excels mostly to the ensemble cast which, for the most part, has been together since the beginning. The stories also remain compelling with new and different obstacles for the team including a deadly antagonist to start the season out with a bang. The Blu-ray released by Paramount is well stacked with bonus material to go along with excellent video and audio transfers.
Brian Oliver aka The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.