The Second Season
NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service is a television series based upon the government agency of the same name. NCIS is a federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction on crimes involving persons and property associated with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. NCIS was a spin-off series of the popular show JAG. Something about this series you won't necessarily find with other crime dramas is the venue for crimes. Due to the investigative nature of NCIS, they are not restricted to city or a local region when it comes to jurisdiction of a crime. Instead they have jurisdiction that can take them all over globe (or at least where there is Naval and Marine presence). For more details about this series, please refer to DVD Talk's review of season one.
For the show's second season, the cast is pretty much the same. The only notable change is that the previously reoccurring character Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) becomes a permanent cast member. In addition, this season marks the last appearances of actress Sasha Alexander (she plays Caitlin "Kate" Todd), as she decided to leave the show for personal reasons. Another minor change is more of the reoccurring character Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen). Jimmy is Ducky's assistant and helps him in the medical examinations. Jimmy joined the cast in the latter half of season one after Ducky's previous assistant Gerald had to leave NCIS.
In regards to the cast dynamic, the season two setup works quite well. I enjoyed it more so than with season one. Gibbs continues to be great as the steadfast leader and he has a wonderful chemistry with the other cast members. Kate is a much stronger character than in season one. In season one, there were many times when she acted almost clueless when it came to investigations, despite being a seasoned Secret Service Agent. In this season, her character is more confident about her work. I really started to like her character a lot, which is too bad because she doesn't continue into the third season. Tony continues to be a goofball and he offers a fun-loving character that is a great comic relief.
The new permanent addition, McGee, is a fine character. From what I saw in season one, I liked him. The development of his character and relationship with the rest of the cast was done very well. His geeky, good guy demeanor makes for a likeable character that fits in well with the rest of the cast. Abby continues to have a good dynamic with the cast. She provides a not-so-common, quirky personality who loves everything about forensic science. Ducky is a fun guy who seems to get a little less camera time than the first season. I like this guy a lot and would have preferred to see him more often. Jimmy, while having a minor role, fits in well with Ducky.
Overall, the season two cast is partly what makes NCIS such a strong show. They are all likeable characters who have a great dynamic together. While the show tends to focus on very dramatic, serious content, the fun dynamic amongst the cast members provides comical aspects that helped kept my attention, as well as giving more chances to get to know the characters and their personalities.
As for the season two stories, there are several notable episodes. I personally think they were all topnotch, (although some of the stories ended with a rather hokey twist.) In general, the stories were episodic, with only story arcs dealing with character development. However, one of the important story arcs of the season continues from the season one storyline dealing with the terrorist Ari. This storyline defines an important part of this season (the loss of Kate) and continues into the third season.
For notable episodes, one of my favorites was "The Bone Yard". In this episode, the body of an under cover FBI agent is found in a Marine bombing range. Apparently, the mafia has been using the area to hide dead bodies for years. The story gets interesting when the NCIS team's investigation leads them into the FBI and Gibbs' friend FBI Special Agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) is taken into custody as a suspect for the dead agent's murder. Fornell is suspected of being a mole for the mafia. What makes the episode is intriguing is how the story develops and the key players involved. In addition, NCIS butting heads with the FBI has several exciting moments.
"Witness" is McGee's first chance to act as the lead investigator on a case. In it, a woman who works on government computer systems tries to convince the local police that she saw a sailor in the apartment across the street get murdered. The police think she's making it up and refer her to NCIS. McGee takes the case, as Gibbs does not think it is a real important lead, but it should be checked out anyways. McGee decides to pursue the case in full after his "gut" tells him to believe the woman. What is good about this episode is the character development McGee goes through as he works his first serious case that shows him succeeding and failing.
"Meat Puzzle" is an exciting episode that is all about Ducky. Many years ago, Ducky worked on a case that put someone in jail on purely circumstantial evidence. Now, all the key players in the case (lead detective, judge, and prosecutor) have ended up dead, cut into little pieces, and on Ducky's medical table. It is clear he is the next target and the NCIS team must do what they can to protect him from being the next victim. What is good about this episode is that it provides more insight into Ducky, as well as a comical segment of his home life with his eccentric mother.
Additional episodes in the season all offer solid storylines that work because of the great cast, as well as superb writing. In the end, if you enjoy solid crime dramas, then NCIS: The Complete Second Season should be at the top of your list. It includes great stories and several likeable characters. This season is an awesome collection of episodes that I anticipate will have a lot of replay value (I have seen several of the episodes during their initial airing and I enjoyed watching them again!) In conclusion, this season set is a must own.
1. See No Evil: The race is on as the NCIS team attempts to rescue a Navy captain's kidnapped wife and his blind 9-year-old daughter.
2. The Good Wives Club: The NCIS team investigates the bizarre discovery of a dead woman wearing a wedding dress found in a subterranean prison cell made to resemble a 1950s bedroom.
3. Vanished: Gibbs and the NCIS team investigate a helicopter that's discovered sitting in the middle of a crop circle...with both pilots missing.
4. Lt. Jane Doe: Ducky links the rape and murder of a woman to a similar unsolved murder that has been haunting him for 10 years.
5. The Bone Yard: The body of an undercover FBI agent is found on a Marine bombing range and the NCIS team discovers the mafia has been dumping bodies there for years.
6. Terminal Leave: A bomb is planted in an Iraqi War veteran's car and now the NCIS team must protect the veteran from terrorists.
7. Call Of Silence: A World War II Medal of Honor recipient confesses to murdering his best friend during a battle at Iwo Jima almost 60 years ago. Believing there's more to the story, Gibbs and the team work to solve the mystery and save the man from going to prison.
8. Heart Break: In what appears to be a case of spontaneous combustion, Gibbs and his team investigate the mysterious death of a man who seemingly burst into flames.
9. Forced Entry: A woman shoots a would-be rapist in self-defense, but Gibbs and his team find the woman may have lured the attacker to her home under false pretenses.
10. Chained: While posing as an escaped prisoner, Tony gets chained to a murderous convict, but the two are soon missing in action.
11. Black Water: A Naval officer, missing for two years, turns up in a car at the bottom of a lake. Now the missing persons case looks like a murder to Gibbs and the team.
12. Doppelganger: A petty officer's possible murder looks like a hoax to Gibbs and his team, until the petty officer is actually found dead.
13. The Meat Puzzle: After Ducky is kidnapped by a mysterious killer, Gibbs and the others race against time to save their friend and capture the killer.
14. Witness: Gibbs lets McGee run a case after the NCIS team is called in to investigate the possible murder of a sailor.
15. Caught On Tape: A Marine "falls" off a cliff while videotaping his own death and the NCIS team must investigate.
16. Pop Life: A bartender wakes to find the woman next to him is not only dead, but she's not the woman he went to bed with. Now Gibbs and his team investigate the mysterious murder.
17. An Eye For An Eye: A Petty officer commits suicide after the NCIS team investigates him, which leads the team to one of the officer's lecturers who works for the CIA.
18. Bikini Wax: The NCIS team suspects a possible stalker when a pregnant female petty officer is murdered backstage at a bikini content.
19. Conspiracy Theory: Ducky believes love triangles can be murder, at least in the case of the petty officer who was thought to have committed suicide after suffering a supposed "nervous breakdown."
20. Red Cell: A Marine in an ROTC program is murdered and Gibbs and his team suspect the soldier was involved in a game with deadly consequences.
21. Hometown Hero: A heroic Navy medic killed in Iraq is the prime suspect in a murder in his hometown and Gibbs and his team work to clear his name.
22. Swak: Tony opens a letter only to release a mysterious powder into the NCIS squad room. Now the team must work to discover an antidote before it's too late.
23. Twilight: Attempting to thwart an assassination attempt on Gibbs, the NCIS team pays the ultimate price with the death of a team member.
The video in this release is given in an enhanced anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are some occasional moments when the picture suffers compression artifacts. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen.
The audio track in this release is in English Dolby digital stereo surround and dubbed French 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. Overall, the sound quality is very good, providing an audible and clean audio track. Like most TV on DVD releases the majority of the audio track is spoken dialogue and sounds rather flat. However, music does sound very rich and vibrant, as well as sound effects.
The release does not support subtitles, but is closed caption enabled.
The second season of NCIS comes with a fairly extensive set of extras that include two audio commentaries and four featurettes. The audio commentaries cover episodes "The Bone Yard" with Chas. Floyd Johnson, and "Twilight" with Pauley Perrette, John C. Kelley, and Michael Weatherly.
Investigating Season 2 (17:59) is a featurette with various cast and crew members talking about the series. It stars Donald P. Bellisario, Mark Horo Witz, Mark R. Schilz, John C. Kelley, Chas. Floyd Johnson, Avery C. Drewe, Julie b. Watson, Mark Harmon, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Michael Weatherly, and Pauley Perrette. They talk a lot about how they were trying to differentiate NCIS from a military drama and make the show more like a cop show to attract more viewers. They also discuss the cast, the evolution of the writing, characters, and show amongst other things.
The Real NCIS (6:13) is a featurette that talks about the reality of the series, what NCIS has done for the real organization's image, employment opportunities/process, etc. It features actor Mark Harmon and Richard W. Warmack, Special Agent in Charge, Norfolk Field Office.
What's New in Season 2 (14:40) is a featurette that focuses on a topic depicted by the title. It features Robert J. Bacon, David Bellisario, Donald P. Bellisario, Avery C. Drewe, Chas. Floyd Johnson, JOHn C. Kelley, Dennis Smith, Julie B. Watson, and William Webb talking about various aspects of what is different with season two.
Lab Tour with Pauley Perrette (4:45) is the last featurette, which features actress Pauley Perrette (who plays forensic specialist Abby) a tour of the lab set. The tour features various props relating to Abby's unique personality and the forensic tools.
When I reviewed NCIS's inaugural season, I found that I really liked the show. However, with season two, I have found that I really really like the show. The second season has a slightly different tone than season, which is talked about in one of the bonus featurettes. The series was taken in a slightly different direction, moving away from military-centric cases to a braoder spectrum of law enforcement issues to attract more viewers. I thought this change was done well and features both a military and law enforcement aspect that makes NCIS stand out amongst the rest. In addition, the second two cast is great together and they offer both drama and bits of comedy to get you through. In the end, NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service: The Complete Second Season offers viewers a lot of great material (season episodes and bonus features!) and it comes highly recommended.