by Julian Spivey
Even though it has become staid at times in the last few seasons, “NCIS” has always managed to do season premieres and season finales right. That’s pretty impressive 15 years into its run.
Season 14 ended on a major cliffhanger with NCIS Agents Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and McGee (Sean Murray) left behind in Paraguay on a humanitarian mission to save children from the Revolutionary Armed Council. The children were saved, but only Agents McGee and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) reached the helicopter evac in time. McGee jumped out last second to not leave Gibbs behind alone. This is where season 15 picked up on Tuesday (Sept. 26).
Season 15 picks up two months after Gibbs and McGee are left behind. Hearings are ongoing because NCIS underwent the Paraguay mission without proper consent. The DOD has banned NCIS from investigating the matter further, but the team, now being led by Agent Bishop (Emily Wickersham) is, of course, doing so on the down-lo. We see that Gibbs and McGee have been kept prisoner for two months by the RAC and are about the meet the head honcho in charge of the group. The big boss wants something out of the agents, but are fearless heroes obviously aren’t going to give in. This leads to Gibbs being tortured via waterboarding.
Back in D.C. a drug mule has been killed while trying to contact NCIS and mysteriously his hair is falling out. It turns out he had radiation positioning. The team quickly finds out the drug mule was smuggling in uranium being made by the RAC in Paraguay. Yes, this is convenient, but that’s a network crime procedural for you.
In Paraguay, Gibbs and McGee devise a plan to take control of their dire situation though the audience isn’t privy to this leading to a moment where you wonder if a plan is in place or if Gibbs and McGee are really at each other’s throats after spending two months held captive together.
The plan succeeds and Gibbs and McGee reach el jefe and take control of the situation. In another convenient, but what are you going to do moment, Bishop calls a satellite phone number and it’s answered by McGee. The team is thrilled to hear he and Gibbs are still alive. They devise a plan to get Paraguayan military to the top of the ship where the two have been held captive. The only problem is Gibbs and McGee must get to the top deck without being killed by the terrorists of the RAC.
I was a little bit surprised that “NCIS” decided to wrap this storyline up in one episode. It seemed like one they might draw out to two episodes and honestly, I wouldn’t have been bothered by that one bit. This series has always been at its best during multiple episode arcs.
The relationships among characters on the show have always been one of its highlights and it’s nice, but not surprising, to see McGee – who’s newly married and expecting a baby – would put his life in danger to save his longtime boss and mentor Gibbs. Harmon and Murray really were the stars of this premiere.
Really the only awkward part of the season premiere was the writing off Jennifer Esposito’s character Quinn, the rare one-season-and-done “NCIS” character. Esposito announced she was leaving the show over the summer and the show wrote her off with a one-sentence explanation about how she left to take care of her sick mother. CBS shows are having somewhat of a bad premiere week when it comes to writing off characters as sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” took some heat for killing off Erinn Hayes’ character (the way of Kevin James’ lead) with an emotionless one-sentence reveal about how the show has moved forward a year.