Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crime is Back: Premiere Week in Review

As I've mentioned before, I don't do crime dramas, but I've been told crime dramas are pretty darn popular out there in TV land. So, I've brought back Sarah to do a guest blog round-up of her thoughts on Premiere Week, covering some of her favorite crime dramas. Enjoy!


Hi again, everyone. Jen has asked me to drop by and give you all a little recap of premiere week on the crime drama side of TV. So here’s what I have to say about the crime dramas I’ve got punched into my DVR.

NCIS (NBC Tuesdays 8/7 c)

Premise: Told in flashbacks, we find Tony in Somalia being tortured by a rather unsavory character who was torturing Ziva at the end of last season. Three months passed since Gibbs and Tony left Ziva in Tel Aviv and they’re gotten more than a little worried. The episode ends with a reluctant homecoming for Ziva.

First Impressions: I have to say I loved this episode. I found the flashback structure a new approach for the show. I know we won’t get to see that very much but it was a neat way to start off the season. The Tony/Ziva shipper in me was delighted to see Tony risk his life to find and rescue Ziva. Even after all they’ve been through, he still cares deeply for her and couldn’t imagine his life without her.

I also loved how the team worked together to find her. The usual crime-of-the-week element was secondary to reuniting the team. It was great to see as Tony (in the present) talked about each member of the team, we saw them worked into the storyline that got them to Somalia. I’m really looking forward to this season.

NCIS: Los Angeles (NBC Tuesdays 9/8 c)

Premise: The series premiere opens with Callen recovered from the near fatal shooting we saw in last season’s NCIS episode “Legend Part Two” and back to work. The team investigates the homicide of a naval officer during a police chase. The officer was part of a joint US/Mexico op to take down drug cartels. Also, his niece was taken captive by a man Callen and Sam learn is the girl’s father to ensure cooperation.

First Impressions: I like that we get the real crossover with NCIS with Director Vance checking in. In terms of the episode, I thought the way the team approaches things, with a more undercover tactic, as opposed to the pure investigative style of Gibbs and his team was refreshing. There was a scene between Callen and Sam when they were going to examine the dead officer’s apartment and Callen kept bugging Sam about their cover. It’s a different feel and I like it.

I like that in and amongst all of the aspects of the mission, we get some real character information. Like the fact that Callen was an orphan and doesn’t even know what the “G” in his name stands for. It’s the little things like that which draw me in. I realize it’s nothing like NCIS but that’s ok. It doesn’t have to be. I’m hoping the characters get stronger and we see more of the female contingent.

Law & Order: SVU (NBC Wednesdays 9/8c)

Premise: During a drug bust Detective Nate Kendall finds a rape victim running through his crime scene. She bonds with him and he’s unhappily drawn into SVU’s investigation. His tactics are by and large contrary to everything that a good cop should do. Working with Elliot and Olivia, they uncover a string of related rapes from 12 years earlier of two prostitutes, one dead and one in the wind. It turns out the man Elliot had arrested and convicted 10 years previous was innocent and the man responsible for the rapes would never serve his time.

First Impressions: Overall I wasn’t that impressed with this episode. I think I reacted the same way to the new ADA as Elliot and Olivia did. She was abrasive, rude and reminded me of Greylick when she first appeared last season. That doesn’t bode well in my book.

I was also annoyed at the homicide cop, Detective Kendall. I found him to abuse his power left and right and not care about who he hurt in the process. I know there are bad cops out there but that is no excuse for him to be smacking around a drug addict in front of her daughter. So I have to say this opener didn’t impress me. The secondary characters pulled you too far from the core cast.

Criminal Minds (CBS Wednesdays 9/8c)

Premise: The team is called to the scene of a murder victim with the same letters as the note an ER trauma surgeon received, threatening his son’s life. The team has to figure out who the killer is before time is up. Meanwhile, The Reaper, an Unsub from last season who got away, has stabbed Hotch nine times and gone after his family.

First Impressions: While I liked the episode, it didn’t have that WOW factor I was hoping for. I think part of what threw me off was that season 3 ended with the possibility of Hotch being dead and so did the end of season 4. Been there, done that. Also wasn’t fond of the Unsub getting away…again. I have a feeling (unless they resolve it in the next few episodes) we may have a Miniature Killer scenario (a recurring storyline on CSI in season 7). It can be done well but I’d rather we get it resolved quickly.

I did like that they were able to work in Matthew Gray Gubler’s injured knee. He was sitting most of the time and he’ll be on crutches for a while. Also, I was pleased to see Spencer able to talk the doctor down when he started to panic and keep the man focused. Reid isn’t always able to communicate with the average person. And while I wasn’t all that thrilled with the Hotch storyline, I was happy to see Emily take a more active role.

CSI (CBS Thursdays 9/8c)

Premise: The team, suffering the stress of being understaffed, takes on the case of what appears to be a drunk driving accident. As they work through the case, with the return of Sara Sidle, they find the case has far more sinister roots than just a drunk hitting a movie star. Stalking and unhappy grandfathers-to-be don’t mix.

First Impressions: I have to say I really enjoyed this episode. It started with a kind of Matrix opener with everyone frozen in time that comes back later in the episode, about 2/3 of the way through. And I think I liked it so much since Lawrence Fishburne (Ray Langston) was Morpheus. Of course, I was happy to see Sara back. And the Grissom/Sara shipper in me did a happy dance because the writers did solidify that relationship in marriage.

The fact that the team was struggling not only speaks to the current economic times but the stress of losing so many of your team in such a short amount of time. I think also, there was a very good point made in a scene between Sara and Catherine. The thing that Grissom had when he led the team that allowed them to be so cohesive was Catherine. She’s leading the team now instead of just working with them. Definitely a good season starter.

Numb3rs (CBS Fridays 10/9c)

Premise: Don and his team are protecting a political activist who becomes the target of an assassination plot. It turns out the activist was responsible for the assassin’s son’s death years earlier. As Charlie, Amita and Larry work to help Don and company, the tensions rise as to where Charlie and Amita stand.

First Impressions: The plot overall was interesting. We don’t usually see the FBI protecting people from the get go. They’re usually hunting down bad guys and leads. Not so much in this episode. I think it was a good way to welcome the viewer back to the characters after hiatus and to give us a little glimpse into their personalities. For instance, Don readily incorporates a parable (of sorts) into trying to talk the activist out of holding a rally.

On the shipper side of me, I absolutely adored the ending of the episode when Charlie and Amita announced their engagement. Their evasiveness towards each other over the course of the episode had me worried that she’d said no but it turned out to be a happy ending. I look forward to seeing how this new development works into the wider interactions of the characters.

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