Sometimes, “NCIS” is a hard show to review when looking across a full season, mostly because there isn’t often a single story to focus on, and also because the show wants to accomplish a variety of different things.
However, we would say that season 13 has so far given us a few consistent threads to examine, and they have handled some of these fairly well. Yet, at the same time the show is struggling to figure out what it wants to do with some of its characters, and we feel like more effort could be made to give us more compelling adversaries and cases of the week.
The good – While we don’t see many on the internet singing the praises of the Gibbs story to a great degree, we do think the writers have done a decent job exploring the psychology of a man trying to come back from a near-death experience and how he would feel a need to try to change himself in some ways. We also think that they’ve pushed hard to give us some more insight into Bishop’s background and where she comes from. Sure, the divorce story came almost out of nowhere, but this is the sort of multiple-episode arc that we’ve been wanting to see for some other characters! We had a great hour about Ducky in the winter finale, as well.
The bad – Other than the Jeanne episode, it’s been a light season so far for DiNozzo. The same goes for McGee, Abby, and Jimmy. Given how long Jimmy has been around this show, how is it that we feel like we know Bishop so much better than we do him? The show could do a much better job of utilizing its full cast; we’d rather see individual episodes catered to most of them than murder cases that are ultimately forgettable when the dust clears. There have been a few of those so far this year.
Overall – We do think season 13 has been stronger at this point in the game than season 12, but only by a smidgen. The show does need to innovate more than it has, and maybe even take a page from “Criminal Minds” and the Dirty Dozen for how to create a compelling season-long thread that it can explore multiple times. Grade: B-.
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