NCIS: The Fifth Season (2007)

Genre(s): Action / Crime / Drama / Mystery
Paramount || NR - 836 minutes - $55.98 || August 26, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-08-20


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Donald P. Bellisario (creator)
Cast: Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Lauren Holly, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Cast and Crew Commentaries
  • NCIS Season 5: Stem to Stern
  • The Dressing Room: The Costumes and Wardrobe of NCIS
  • NCIS On Location
  • From Pauley to Abby: Hairspray, Lipstick and Tattoos


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital Stereo)
  • Subtitles: None

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

“NCIS” Season Five was the certainly the season of change. After season 4 found Tony DiNozzo (Weatherly) undercover, getting close to Jeanne Benoit in order to catch international arms dealer La Grenouille (Armand Assante), the fifth season wraps up that storyline in the premiere ‘Bury Your Dead’ and episode #14 ‘Internal Affairs’ with the FBI investigating NCIS Director Jenny Shepard (Holly).

This was the season of change as producers publicized that at least one major cast member would be leaving and while the person who dearly departs was telegraphed really from the beginning, though not for that reason, it was still an emotional moment, so emotional that I think I had a tear in my eye (ok, not really), but I did like this character even if it was probably the most expendable one. Of course, “NCIS” isn’t new to the character killing game. In only its second season, Sasha Alexander as Agent Kate Todd, left before being replaced by Cote de Pablo who has fit in, IMO, more perfectly with the team dynamics than Alexander did.

But season five wasn’t a string of downer episodes. There were plenty of mystery, conspiracy and intrigue in the other self-contained episodes. ‘Dog Tags’ finds Abby (Perrette) defending a K9 who is suspected of murder; post-strike premiere ‘Stakeout’ has the NCIS team staking out a storage locker containing a Naval radar machine only to witness a murder while also finding the locker empty; and ‘Ex-File’ is a funny episode where we get to see Jethro Gibbs’ (Harmon) ex-wives (and current girlfriend) working together on a case. What’s great about the series as a whole is they aren’t just content with filling the template but instead continue to develop each character.

There aren’t many TV series that last 100+ episodes and while some network classics (meaning I don’t include “The Sopranos” and “Dexter”) like “Seinfeld” and others, I found “NCIS” to be addictive from the very beginning and the characters were fleshed out from the onset. Along with “CSI” and “Monk”, “NCIS” is definitely weekly viewing for me and will remain that way as long as the writing continues to be top notch, and the way this season ends, on another original cliffhanger, I can’t see missing an episode.

Even in a strike-shortened season, from 24 episodes to 19 (inc. a 2-part finale), this is still a fantastic show and great season on par with the past seasons. The NCIS team is absolutely fantastic and fun to watch and even after 5 years, never grow stale (an issue a series like “CSI” suffers from sometimes).

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
01. Bury Your Dead
02. Family
03. Ex-File
04. Identity Crisis
05. Leap of Faith
06. Chimera
07. Requiem
08. Designated Target
09. Lost & Found
10. Corporal Punishment
11. Tribes
12. Stakeout
13. Dog Tags
14. Internal Affairs
15. In the Zone
16. Recoil
17. About Face
18. Judgment Day (Parts 1 & 2)



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Even without the “Dinner for Five”-like feature that was on the fourth season DVD, the selection of special features this time around are pretty good and well rounded.

Cast and Crew Commentaries – On ‘Bury the Dead’ Michael Weatherly is joined by his mother Patricia O’Hara on the season premiere; ‘Requiem’ has Mark Harmon with writer/executive producer Shane Brennan; ‘Dog Tags’ features cast members David McCallum (Ducky) and Brian Dietzen (Jimmy Palmer); and ‘Recoil’ has Cote de Pablo and director James Whitmore Jr.

NCIS Season 5: Stem to Stern (17:19) – This is your usual interview-centric featurette where cast and crew members talk about the fifth season, their characters and other odds and ends. If it weren’t for the charisma of the cast, this would be just another standard featurette, but instead it’s great for fans.

NCIS: On Location (10:11) – Probably the more interesting feature on this set, we get to see the process of looking for locations outside of the studio where producers must find a place in Los Angeles that could pass for Washington D.C. area. For this, they use ‘Stakeout’ as the example. You rarely get to see this side of TV show productions.

Finally, there are two featurettes dealing with the behind behind-the-scenes aspects: The Dressing Room: The Costumes and Wardrobe of NCIS (14:05) and From Pauley to Abby: Hairspray, Lipstick and Tattoos (10:43) give inside glimpses at how the various departments do their thing. For wardrobe, two costume designers explain the process of making the costume/wardrobe to compiling Abby’s clothes. The latter featurette just shows how actress Pauley Perrette becomes her character, Abby through hairstyle and a temporary tattoo.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The series is presented in anamorphic widescreen and, like previous seasons, looks good. I did notice some graininess at times, but usually on background stuff like bright walls or what have you. This is something I’ve noticed with most TV series, so this is nothing new and doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the show.

The show offers up a typical Dolby Digital 5.1 track along with Stereo Surround for those aching for the classic audio via your TV speakers. It’s nothing spectacular but the main title sequence sounds good and dialogue seems to be fine coming through the center channel.



.::OVERALL::.

“NCIS” has quickly become a sleeping giant on television. Despite going up against the juggernaut that is “American Idol”, its ratings have been steadily rising where other show, “AI” included, have declined. And “NCIS” is rising for good reason: its solid entertainment with characters you actually care about while still not overdramatizing each one as other dramas might do. The writing is also top notch and consistent from season to season and so long as that remains, I can see this series sticking around for some time.