All the action, drama and humour of NCIS in a colourful new city that harbours a dark side. NCIS: New Orleans, a spin-off, features Scott Bakula as the head of a dedicated team of Navy investigators in the Big Easy. With its rich setting of music, drinking and debauchery, New Orleans is a magnet for military personnel on leave. And with fun comes trouble, which is when this team is at its best.
NCIS has been around for a while. What has kept it going for in excess of eleven seasons is commitment to formula. In the words of the network, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Something which has seen NCIS polished down to a diamond.
With this latest incarnation veteran Mark Harmon heads down to New Orleans in an opening two-part episode. Giving rise to the introduction of Scott Bakula’s Dwayne ‘King’ Pride. Law enforcer and respected citizen of The Big Easy. Combining an ‘everyman’ quality, refined from years in television staples Quantum Leap and Enterprise with a laid back edge. Bakula remains effortless throughout backed by recognisable stereotypes. While storylines comprise of soft focus situations, pithy dialogue and gruesome cadavers.
It’s a tried and tested approach which audiences have been going for in one shape or another for years. Whether you like Columbo, Midsomer Murders or The Wire it all boils down to the same thing. What NCIS: New Orleans does is give you more of the same. Case after case with some link back to our central protagonist, combined with mild flirting between crew members. While Bakula acts as the galvanising force which keeps it ticking over.
NCIS may come with a 15 certificate but the language is never an issue. Time and effort has gone into making these crimes unpalatable. Whether its maggots in an eye socket, or a decapitated leg, nothing else warrants it. And you have doubtless seen something stronger post watershed on a terrestrial television station. Which explains why NCIS is easing into its second season already.
What show runners CBS learned long ago is that character is key. Make people care about the people and what goes on around them is academic. Cast something well and half the work is done. Putting Bakula front and centre with strong support won the battle before shots were fired. Now don’t misunderstand me when I say these particular shows are not normally for me. But NCIS is so well produced that after three episodes that statement means nothing.
By then characters were fully formed, had an established back history and I gave a damn. Something which anyone who knows me can testify takes more than a smile. So consider that my recommendation. NCIS: New Orleans may not be anything new but it’s done well. Polished, engaging, gory yet inoffensive. If you remain a fan of the original then this expansion of a familiar universe will fit right in. For everyone else I dare you to watch Bakula and crew without becoming addicted. Sure things are predictable and those stereotypical moments are signposted from miles away. But NCIS is such a good piece of entertainment that you end up not caring.