NCIS season 10 premiered with "Extreme Prejudice," which saw the manhunt for Harper Dearing following the explosion on the Navy Yard. The episode proved just why this show is still around in its 10th season: it gets better and better, and failure is not an option, for the show or for Gibbs.
"A Day of Loss. A Day of Sorrow. A Day to Remember and Vow This Will Never Happen Again."
First of all, the series handled the aftermath of the season finale cliffhangers very well, from Tony and Ziva stuck in the elevator to Abby's reaction, from Gibbs' determination to get Dearing after he went after his home and his family to Ducky after his heart attack. It's not often that the CBS drama has a multi-episode arc like they did with this one, but when they do, they tend to handle it in the right way. There is a reason why this is the top-rated drama on television, and "Extreme Prejudice" showed just that.
The season premiere also did a good job of setting up a couple of things for the future. Unsurprisingly, the bombing seemed to affect Abby the most. She couldn't find it in herself to focus on the good: "All I see is pain and destruction. I don't see good. I want good back." This set up how she'll be handling the aftermath of the bombing in the next episode. The premiere also set up for something to happen between the "will they/won't they" couple of the show, Tony and Ziva, and the elevator scene was handled in the perfect way so that it wasn't too much but instead just the right amount of "Tiva" hints. Another seed planted there was Tony's comment that it must've been nice for Gibbs to have someone in his life who understood when he was with Dr. Ryan. It was a minor part of the episode, but something that can be pointed to in the future, and drops like that work.
Moving on to Gibbs' search for Dearing, could it have ended any other way but how it did? While Gibbs' actions were much quieter and subtler than Dearing's explosions, in a way, they were louder at the same time. Mark Harmon was outstanding in the face off with Dearing, and the NCIS season 10 premiere did a good job of showing just why you don't mess with Gibbs' home and family.
Someone else who was so good in this episode was David McCallum after Ducky's heart attack. He still was focused on the team ("Are they all right?" "They need you more.") and still managed to come up with a major clue even when he wasn't officially at work. As Vance commented, "The old man's stronger than all of us combined." "Extreme Prejudice" handled the aftermath of Ducky's heart attack perfectly, and with the time jumps, he's not out of the game for long. While Jimmy has proven he can jump in when needed, he's no Ducky, and they need their chief medical examiner around. Speaking of Jimmy, in Brian Dietzen's first episode as a series regular (and wasn't that about time?), he shined as Jimmy took over Ducky's job while he was recuperating. One of the best parts of the entire episode may have been Jimmy at Ducky's bedside in the hospital because between McCallum and Dietzen's performances, it was hard not to want more.
While the premiere was a strong hour, there were a couple of weak points. For example, why was Gibbs the only one who questioned how easy it seemed? The others seemed genuinely shocked that Dearing was still alive. Did no one think to check if he had a relative who died recently and could have been in the car as part of a set-up by Dearing? It's not like that's never been done before in a drama. Meanwhile, McGee's fate had been quite the mystery even though Sean Murray had signed on for the season, and because of that mystery, what happened to him seemed a bit anticlimactic, and his "Uh-oh" seemed like a hint at something worse to come than him being back at the computers with some stitches.
The premiere did end on a strong note, with a sign of hope as Gibbs watched his team on the Navy Yard after a look at the plaque for May 15. The tape of Evan talking to his father about enlisting was also a nice touch as a voiceover to end the episode. If the rest of the season is like this, it should be yet another strong season and season 11 should be inevitable.
What did you think of the NCIS season 10 premiere "Extreme Prejudice"?
Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS
Â© Meredith Jacobs 2012