A crime occurs linked to the US Navy and a single NCIS team investigates. A body is probably involved. Ducky, the coroner, will make some remark likening the situation to some historical titbit or trivia since he is WAY old and death is icky. Since Ducky is so old he is also wise and knowledgeable, but also silly and thus easy to make fun of, so he is ignored or interrupted by his colleagues. Cue the writers linking some kind of joke to this particular actor’s TV career. Agent Gibbs will barge in and argue, mainly because older people’s opinions and stories are irrelevant. What Gibbs says is goes, since he is the Alpha Male and thus the centre of everything.
The rest of the investigation ensues. Light is made of characters who are young(ish) or good-looking. Stuff happens. Tony, the Beta Male, flirts, covering his deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. McGee talks self-satisfied about tech, because he is younger and MEANT to know about computers. Abby fast talks science because there is only so much time for people to concentrate on girls saying IMPORTANT things. The exotic Ziva shoots someone, mainly because girls can be violent too, you know. Except American girls. There is a moment of tension. Cue shots of the US flag, full mast, fluttering in the breeze. In the sunshine.
Questions potentially answered in this episode are – what token pop cultural reference will Tony make that Ziva won’t get and will she finally punch him in his smug face? What common American slang term will Ziva mispronounce or muddle so the entire cast can point and laugh in order to identify her to casual viewers as a FOREIGNER? Must Gibbs slap Tony in the back of the head after some inappropriate comment, again? Will Abby do something really stupid with technology with McGee…like both of them typing on the same keyboard together at the same time (again)? Can they get over themselves?
The series too, will offer opportunities to ask other questions, like will Abby and Ziva get professional help for their Daddy issues? Will Tony ever reveal less shallow depths, or grow up? Will Gibbs run out of back-story wives? Or stop messing about in boats in his five minutes of non-work related air time? Which non regular character will die and why does no one notice beyond that single episode? Will McGee ever get a first name that the audience remembers? What happens to Ducky if his immortal mother dies? Could Abby ditch the emo/Goth look and still be credible? What if there is peace and the Navy is decommissioned….sorry a bit of fantasy crept in there.
Meanwhile there are really big questions, like, could Mark Harmon ever make another film? How come Michael Weatherly was so good in Dark Angel? Will the writers mess with a successful ratings formula or ever question the point of success if this is the best they can do with the millions it must cost to make? Was there ever research used by the script writers to check how keyboards actually work? Will there be a Simpson’s version of NCIS? Or have I missed NCIS Springfield? Why did JAG last so long and is it a fluke this spin-off is, ahem, better? How it is possible NCIS LA happened? Is NCIS South Dakota in the works? What if Agent Gibbs stole Lt Horatio Caine’s glasses when on a sailing holiday in Florida?
We waits, we ponders…and mainly we watches something else.