DVD Review: NCIS: The complete third season

Paramount Home Entertainment

Near the end of filming on NCIS’s second season, Sasha Alexander, who played Special Agent Kate Todd, asked out of her contract, overwhelmed by the show’s physical demands. Alexander’s departure was written into the show as Kate Todd’s shocking death at the sniper rifle of nemesis Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin).

From the start of the third season, Kate’s death realistically affects the rest of the team. The demanding Gibbs lightens up on his charges while office prankster DiNozzo does a bit of growing up. The show’s creators also take the opportunity to add two strong female characters: Mossad Officer Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) and new NCIS Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly).

The forward, sensual David is quite a change from straitlaced Kate Todd. Her gradual grasp of American slang is believable and provides opportunities for humor. David also lends the show more international flavor, widening its range of stories. Meanwhile, Shepard appears as Gibbs’s former partner, now his boss. She can hold off his flinty attitude as well as his gruff charm.

The success of these changes coupled with crisp camera work and dependable writing helped NCIS reach a new ratings high.

The Season 3 DVD set is the most feature-packed to date. It includes 24 widescreen episodes, five featurettes, and four episode commentaries–on “Kill Ari (Part One)” with creator Don Bellisario, on “Boxed In” with producers Avery Drewe and David Bellisario, and on “Frame-Up” and “Bloodbath” with actors Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly.

–Gerald So
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