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NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service - The Complete Third Season

Paramount // Unrated // April 24, 2007
List Price: $64.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted April 16, 2007 | E-mail the Author

The Third 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 of 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 and season two.

The third season has a couple cast changes, but despite the new faces the show continues with the great pace, if not better, set in the first two seasons. The new characters are a focus with several episodes dealing them getting accustomed to the NCIS family. The season also has several episodes that put the NCIS team members' lives in jeopardy, including being framed for murdered, abducted, and/or taken hostage. What it boils down to is excitement. The season three episodes, despite the cast changes, is a lot of fun. The new characters turn out to be a great move.

In the season two finale, Agent Todd was killed in the line of duty by terrorist Ari Hasawari. Her death set in motion a series of events that takes place in the two-part season premiere "Kill Ari". The episode is a great way to start the season, with solid introduction of the show's two new characters and a farewell to Kate. The first new character is Jennifer "Jen" Shepard (Lauren Holly). Jen is a former field agent who comes to NCIS as the new director. The previous director, Morrow, leaves for a Deputy Directorship at the Department of Homeland Security. Jen has both a personal and professional past with Gibbs. On a personal level, they are former lovers. On a personal level, Gibbs was her former partner and mentor. Their relationship becomes a major source of drama throughout the season.

The other new character is Mossad Intelligence Officer Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). Ziva comes to NCIS to stop Gibbs and his team from pursuing Ari as Kate's killer. She has close ties to Ari and reveals that he is a friendly agent who has been working undercover. Despite the evidence and Gibbs' gutt, she uses her close ties to the new director to force Gibbs to pursue another angle in Kate's death. Throughout the episode, Kate comes back in the form of a memory. The NCIS team remembers her in their own ways, and for Gibbs it is guilt. He is convinced he could have done more to prevent her death. The two-part episode is one of the season's most intense, packed with emotion, drama, mystery, and action.

The following episode "Mind Games" is another strong episode. Without Kate, the NCIS team is missing a member (while Ziva was present in the season premiere, she has not officially joined the team yet) and Agent Cassidy joins the team once again to help with a complicated case. A serial murderer who took the lives of twenty-two women is on death row. He says he will reveal the locations of his victims, but only to the person who put him in jail, Gibbs. The story is intricate and dark, which gets especially intriguing when a copycat killer takes Cassidy as the next victim.

In "Silver War", Ziva returns to NCIS on a permanent basis. She is acting as the Mossad Liason to NCIS, which was sanctioned by Director Shepard. At first, the NCIS team is reluctant to let her in, simply because she was a huge thorn in their investigation of Ari. Her introduction as a team member is done well, and she quickly integrates with the remainder of the cast. She develops a fun chemistry, similar to that of Kate, with the cast--especially DiNozzo and McGee. Throughout the season, Ziva makes for a good character to develop. For instance, she was originally trained to be a spy and assassin, not a criminal investigator. Despite her lacking investigative skills, her strength in many other areas really support the team. Soon it is hard to imagine her not being there.

Once the new cast is setup and their roles are set in place, the season continues with one great episode after another. A perfect example is "Honor Code". A six year old boy witnesses his father, a Lieutenant Commander working on a top secret program, kidnapping. He calls NCIS for help; he and Gibbs grow a strong bond. It is an interesting relationship, especially how the boy acts and resembles a "young" Gibbs. Another good episode is "Under Covers", where Tony and Ziva go under cover as hired assassins and their case overlaps with the FBI. It is one of several appearances FBI Agent Fornell makes this season.

Other great episodes this season include storylines that put the NCIS team's lives at risk. In "Frame-Up" Tony is accused of murdering a woman and despite the team's best efforts, they find evidence that he is guilty. In "Probie", McGee kills an undercover DC Metro narcotics detective. McGee is "pretty" sure he was armed, but doubts himself the more he thinks about it. In "Bloodbath", Abby's is in risk when several attempts are made on her life. The NCIS team is not sure if it is due to a stalker or a case she is serving as an expert witness. "Jeopardy" is Ziva's turn to be in the hot seat. A prisoner, who she used physical force on, dropped dead and she is the prime suspect. The situation is also complicated when Director Shepard is taken hostage. In the season finale "Haitus", Gibbs is put in a coma after being in an explosion. It is an exciting episode that reveals a lot of key details about Gibbs' past.

Overall, the third season of NCIS plays out very well. While there were several changes in the cast, the new NCIS team quickly develops a great chemistry and it is hard to imagine them any other way. As for the stories, the season three episodes feature nonstop excitement, with several great episodes that put the lives of the NCIS heroes in jeopardy, as well as some strong character development and all around fun storylines. In the end, NCIS's third season is an awesome collection of twenty-four fantastic episodes.

Episode Guide

1. Kill Ari (Part 1): Gibbs and the NCIS team must confront their emotions about Kate's death at the hands of Ari, a renowned terrorist who may have ties to new NCIS agent Ziva David. Meanwhile, Jenny Shepard, a woman from Gibbs' past, is introduced as the new director of NCIS.
2. Kill Ari (Part 2): Ducky is kidnapped, and Gibbs tries to avenge Kate's death in a showdown with Ari.
3. Mind Games: Three days before a serial killer is executed, Gibbs tries to get him to reveal where the bodies of his victims are buried.
4. Silver War: The NCIS team discovers that a man found encased in a Civil War-era tomb was buried alive.
5. Switch: A murdered petty officer is discovered by the NCIS team to have been leading a double life, but the man's dying message leads Gibbs and his crew in an entirely different direction.
6. The Voyeur's Web: A woman appears to be murdered live on an Internet sex site. Gibbs and his team track down the webmaster and follow the money in order to find the killer.
7. Honor Code: In what may or may not be a hoax, a 6-year-old boy informs NCIS that his father, a lieutenant commander who holds the only code to a top-secret program, has been kidnapped.
8. Under Covers: Tony and Ziva assume the identities of two murdered assassins and engage in a sexy undercover mission in a lavish hotel suite in order to find hwo hired the killers.
9. Frame-Up: Tony is accused of murder and the NCIS team must rally to clear his name.
10. Probie: While an assignment, McGee kills an undercover police officer. Shepard allows the police to run their own investigation, which pushes Gibbs' relationship with his former girlfriend to the limit.
11. Model Behavior: A supermodel is murdered while filming a reality TV show, and now Gibbs and his team must separate fact from fiction.
12. Boxed In: Tony and Ziva disappear while investigating a shipyard for smuggled weapons and it's up to NCIS to find them.

13. Deception: A Navy lieutenant commander in charge of a shipment of nuclear weapons disappears and the NCIS team must solve the case before the secret location of the weapons is discovered.
14. Light Sleeper: The wives of two Marines are killed. Fearing that the next victim is a woman and her newborn baby, the NCIS teams springs into action.
15. Head Case: The NCIS team stumbles upon a grisly discovery in an illegal automotive chop shop run by Marines. Now the crew must look for the full body of evidence.
16. Family Secret: An ambulance supposedly carrying the remains of a Marine mysteriously explodes. The NCIS team discovers the ambulance was rigged to blow up, but that the DNA of the victim does not match that of the deceased Marine.
17. Ravenous: A serial killer is suspected of murder after a missing Marine's dog tags are discovered in a national forest.
18. Bait: A high school student attaches a bomb to his body and holds his fellow students hostage, Gibbs and the NCIS team realize that someone else may be controlling the student from outside the school.
19. Iced: The body of a missing Marine is found a frozen lake. The NCIS team investigates-only to find three more bullet-ridden bodies.
20. Untouchable: A Pentagon cryptographer, suspected of spying, apparently commits suicide. Gibbs and his team discover the cryptographer wasn't alone when she died.
21. Bloodbath: Abby is almost killed by key evidence in her lab. Gibbs and the NCIS team quickly find that someone from her past wants her dead.
22. Jeopardy: A suspect dies while in Ziva's custody The suspect's brother kidnaps Jenny and demands the release of his brother, whom he doesn't know is dead.
23. Hiatus (Part 1): Gibbs is seriously injured in an explosion. While in the hospital he recalls his painful past. Tony is left in charge, which causes resentment among the NCIS team.
24. Hiatus (Part 2): Following the bomb explosion. While in the hospital he recall his painful past. Tony is left in charge, which causes resentment among the NCIS team.


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 in this release is given in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. There are also additional tracks in English and dubbed Spanish 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. Overall, the sound quality is very good, providing an audible and clean audio track. The 5.1 track sounds great, with the majority of activity in the forward channels. Music and sound effects sound very rich and vibrant.

The release has subtitles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as support for closed captioning.

Similar to past season releases, NCIS's third season comes with a combination of audio commentaries and featurettes. The specifics of extras include the following:

  • Audio Commentaries: are included for episodes "Kill Ari - (Part 1)" with Donald P. Bellisario, "Frame-Up" with Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly, "Boxed In" with Avery Drewe and David Bellisario, and "Bloodbath" with Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly.
  • The Real N.C.I.S. Declassified: (10:10): is an interview featurette with the real life people who run NCIS: Thomas A. Betro, Ralph Blincoe, Ed Buice, Thomas Mahlik, Pau O'Donnell, Ken Reuwer, Mark N. Russ, Richard W. Warmack, and Samuel G. Worth. They discuss generalities about NCIS and its mission--how it differs from other federal agencies, among other topics.
  • Hit The Head Montage (1:07): is a short montage of clips from season three with the cast smacking or hitting each other, which is a representation of Gibbs' affection.
  • Round Table (12:36): is a discussion with Donald Bellisario, Mark Horowitz, Chas. Floyd Johnson, John C. Kelley, and Julie B. Watson. They discuss the show, what sets it apart from other crime dramas, the focus of the show, what makes it works, characters (specifically Ziva and Shepard), cast chemistry, and so on.
  • Women of N.C.I.S. (14:46): is a featurette all about the different female cast members. It stars Donald Bellisario, Mark Harmon, Mark Horowitz, Lauren Holly, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Cote De Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Mark R. Schilz, Dennis Smith, and Michael Weatherly. They discuss the characters in regards to their opinions about them, what they bring to the show, similarities/differences between the actresses and their roles, etc.
  • N.C.I.S. Season of Change (16:25): features Donald Bellisario, Mark Harmon, Mark Horowitz, Lauren Holly, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Cote De Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Mark R. Schilz, Dennis Smith, and Michael Weatherly. The cast and crew talk about season, the new characters, storylines, and other information relevant to season three.

Final Thoughts:
NCIS's third season is with a couple big changes. Despite the changes, the fun tempo set in the first two seasons continues strong. The changes involve new characters, and subsequently a different cast dynamic. The new characters quickly find their spots on the show and have great chemistry with everyone else. As for the season three content, the episodes are all quite strong with nonstop drama and action. The season is a must own and comes Highly Recommended.

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Highly Recommended

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