Monday, August 20, 2018
NCIS NEW ORLEANS SEASON FOUR: JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER
I wasn’t a fan of the NCIS series when it began. I’d heard how great it was but came into watching it late in the game. Now I’m a fan. The same holds true for the series spin offs as well. While the shows focus on investigators whose focus is the military, each has their own flavor. The original is a procedure filled series with quirky characters thrown into the mix. NCIS: LOST ANGELES has more of a focus on terrorist’s attacks that are prevented by their agents. And finally NCIS: NEW ORLEANS focuses on a combination of the two but including the flavor of the location in the title. While it hasn’t been the huge hit ratings wise as the original series NEW ORLEANS has offered something the others haven’t. That’s a long game story.
The first season we were introduced to the characters. Eventually one cast member left and a new one was introduced, something that seems to happen in all three series. But with each season we’ve learned more about the shows central focus, Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula). Dwayne came from a local law enforcement background. That has provided pluses and minuses for the team. Dwayne has the respect of so many in the city but his past has always resulted in enemies from his past.
Dwayne also has a close attachment to the city of New Orleans. Anything that effects the city he takes personally. His mother once sang in the local music spots and a young Dwayne played piano for her on occasion. He’s willing to do what it takes to protect his city and the people in it, even if that means not always doing things by the books. That attitude resulted in his team being investigated at the end of season 2 and into season 3. That culminated in learning about an attack on the city planned by the mayor in an attempt to create a new business opportunity that Pride thwarts in his own way.
The end result was saving the city but Pride put on probation as season four kicks off. This hinders the progress of select cases as the season begins and once more puts the team in the crosshairs of the bureaucrats in Washington. Along the way they learn that someone is still intent on taking Pride off the chessboard. Will Pride continue to work within the system as instructed or will he once again return to the more effective methods that end in positive results becomes a question throughout the fourth season.
One would think that with the sword of Damocles hanging over their head that the team would find it impossible to rise to the challenges presented to them. And yet they do, loyalty among them being a solid bond that’s displayed nicely each season. What’s also nice is to see that the series allows each character to have their own stories to tell allowing them each the chance to develop. It fills out what could be a series that is nothing more than a who killed who and who do we catch this week type show.
Pride’s right hand man Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black) continues to have issues revolving around the death of his father and his inheriting his business that began last season. Coroner Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder) is the heart of this family and takes it hard when her family members have issues brought into the series. Sebastian Lund (Rob Kerkovich) has had the best opportunities in the series going from lab tech to full-fledged officer as its progressed. His desire to live up to the expectations of Pride often conflict with his doubts about his abilities in the field. Tammy Gregorio (Vanessa Ferlito), the one-time investigator of the team has become a valued asset with her contacts and ability to fit in nicely with the group. And Sonja Percy (Shalita Grant) has the most difficult time this season. Not appearing in as many episodes as in the past by the season’s end she’s leaving (an amicable split between the actress and the show) and that takes its toll on the team.
So we have a great ongoing story that draws us in, some amazing acting by all involved and characters that we care about. Who could ask for more? Well the fact is that there IS more. That extra is an additional character that is forever present but not human: New Orleans. The depiction of the city here is one of love by those involved. The city could be depicted as one of non-stop crime and death but that’s not the case here. The wonderful areas of the city are ever present. The joy and music of this city are always on display here and it permeates the entire series as well as each character. The sights and sounds proclaim come see us rather than be fearful. Even as various crimes and murders are being investigated by the team!
All of this so far might seem like its talking about the series in general but this season helps transform the series as well. Incidents that the team investigate involve the team on a personal level. Pride’s being put on the sideline and having to toe the line when he returns affect every decision made this season. Sonja’s secretive side affects all involved, especially LaSalle as the pair nearly became a romantic item in the past and Gregorio because they share an apartment. Sebastian comes into his own and matures this season with episodes that call on him to do his duty. And like always the season ends with a bang as the team finally goes after who’s been behind the takedown of Pride and an imminent attack that will shock the city to the core.
I thoroughly enjoy each of the NCIS series and watch them. But this one just seems to keep getting better and better as each season passes. Having them on disc to be enjoyed again and again is something that fans should relish in and make the attempt to own. It provides you with the opportunity to not only revisit the moments we’ve all come to enjoy but to go back and decipher the clues left behind in each season, those breadcrumbs that have been left behind for us to pick up as we learn the identity of who has been planting obstacle over the past few seasons. That complexity of story and longevity of it have made this series one worth watching more than once. With the release of it on disc fans have that option.