The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is, it seems, the poor cousin to the likes of the FBI and the Secret Service. It doesn’t have all the toys of these other organizations, and appears to have a staff of four (five by the end of the first episode). Mark Harmon heads up the investigative team that delves into mysteries that invariably have a military tone (and thus the stories frequently deal with terrorism and the like).
This is a series that wears its pop-culture influences on its sleeve. Too much so. Everyone watching this will compare it to CSI, and so, naturally, we get a jokey reference to that acronym. But the bigger problem is that though the shows wants to appear as it is Ripped From Today’s Headlines, it is instead Ripped Off From Works Ripped From Today’s Headlines. Thus, in the pilot episode, we are expected to believe not only in an al-Qaida that is presented in such an insultingly simplistic and fairy-tale that its leader is less Osama bin Laden, more Professor Moriarty, but an al-Qaida that shapes its plans by basing them on Harrison Ford movies. Pretty cheesy stuff, then, though entertaining enough.
A fairly standard effort for a TV release. The sound is in 2.0, and is pleasing enough without being particularly striking in one way or another. The environmental effects are decent enough, and unobtrusive the dialogue is clear and undistorted. The sound is rich enough, but it won’t make you sit up and take notice.
The picture is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, which is a nice touch. The colours are warm and rich, the blacks are great, and the image is sharp enough (certainly by network television standards). There is a bit of grain visible, but it doesn’t really develop into an issue. A solid transfer. Like the sound, it gets the job done, but doesn’t take one’s breath away.
Co-creator/exec-producer/writer/director Donald P. Bellisario provides a commentary on the first episode. The result is informative, but a bit dry, with too much “this is so-and-so and this is a CGI shot and this is such-and-such a set” and so on. Disc 1 also has some previews. Disc 6 has three featurettes (“Creating Season 1,” “Building the Team,” and “Defining the Look”) which might as well have been one longer feature. Lots of blather here about how great and talented just about everyone is.
Silly and preposterous, though the same could be said of CSI. Nowhere near as slick and expensive as that franchise, though.