Real-world events over the summer — namely, the positive resolution of contract talks for several “NCIS” regulars — may have taken a little bit of the suspense out of the show’s season-ending cliffhanger. But “Extreme Prejudice” still managed to deliver.
In following the Harper Dearing case to its conclusion, the show took a couple of its characters to legitimately dark places, ones that could ripple later down the line. It also managed to work in some lighter moments (Tony and Ziva trapped in an elevator = sweaty, smelly comedy) and made for a pretty satisfying hour of TV, even if we already knew everyone would survive the bombing.
Harper Dearing is maybe the unlikeliest-looking domestic terrorist ever, and “NCIS” did a very smart thing casting Richard Schiff to play him over several episodes. Schiff usually plays decent (if flawed) men in his roles, but watching him go against type here, while continuing to show the intelligence and intensity that are his other trademarks, was a lot of fun.
He also brought out the best in Mark Harmon — the final confrontation between Gibbs and Dearing was one of those dark spots, and it played quite well. Gibbs is usually a gruffly benevolent patriarch for his NCIS charges, but he’s also fiercely protective of them. Gibbs is not a stranger to using deadly force, but his showdown with Dearing felt a lot more personal than usual.
We’ll also be curious to see how Ducky’s ongoing recovery from his heart attack will play out over the season. It seems to signal a bigger role for Jimmy in the lab, but we’ll be interested to see how the fallout from the bombing continues to affect Ducky and everyone else going forward. (Next week’s episode is called “Recovery,” so it’s not just going away.)
What did you think of the “NCIS” premiere?