NCIS: Los Angeles – Season 3 (DVD)

I used to say that television was no more than a vast wasteland and stood by that statement in immoveable concrete shoes. I actually stopped watching TV for a long while, with the exception of one or two particular shows every season. For a while it seemed like I only had two choices, blatant rip-offs of better shows or (kill me now) 'reality shows.' But back when the DVD market started becoming a haven for TV shows (new, old and cancelled), I was given the opportunity to see a lot of what I had been missing and found that it wasn't so much a wasteland. There was a lot of good TV out there… you just needed to know where to look.

Where I thought that crime dramas were a dime a dozen, shows like "CSI" (and its subsequent spin-offs) proved to me I was wrong. It was still possible to find creativity strong enough to last multiple seasons. Of course, there is an interesting double-edged sword for the networks to my learning this.

As I find out there is more 'good' to watch on TV than I thought, I tend to wait for the DVD releases in order to watch them. After all, I can get in a whole season in just a few days and no commercials.

Anyhow, my point is that I really must learn to give more shows a chance, even if I think they are one of the blatant rip-offs of another. A perfect case is "NCIS" (which was a spin-off of “JAG”).  When I first heard of the show, the first thing that went through my head was that it was trying to steal the idea that "CSI" brought to the table. As I understood it, the NCIS team solved crimes using high-tech science, and more interestingly… cool camera shots to go 'inside' the crime. I avoided the show when it initially aired, figuring it wouldn’t last all that long anyway. Turns out I was wrong again. "NCIS" is currently readying its 10th successful season.

Following up the success of the series was another spin-off… “NCIS: Los Angeles.” When it was initially introduced in an episode of “NCIS”, I rolled my eyes as they delivered the eye candy of highly advanced technological fluff.  Nothing like seeing their team moving computer screen shots around by pointing at them and dramatically enlarging them to show off the details.  It was flashy… and admittedly kinda boring.

Once the series aired its first episode, I hoped my opinion would change. It did to a degree, but while I applauded the series’ attempt to NOT be a copy of its predecessor, it still didn’t really reel me in as a fan. The first two seasons went by as a matter of fact, with little change. Even with Chris O’Donnell in the lead, it just didn’t have the ‘oomph’ that a show like this needs.

However, the Third Season of NCIS: Los Angeles did what the previous two could not. It hooked me. The writing, the look and the style all took a turn for the better and delivered a season that was compelling and entertaining. Each of the show’s characters was given an opportunity to share their lives and pasts with viewers, and this made for a decidedly and surprisingly dark set of episodes.

I can’t get into to many details here, as I am not the spoiler giving kind of reviewer. But if you have been following the series at all, there are a number of surprises and shocks and the payoff of each dramatically enhanced and cemented the characters in the eyes of fans. There is also a crossover episode with the new “Hawaii Five-0” series, which is pretty interesting.

Additionally the addition of Christopher Lambert (“Highlander”) as a villain in the show was a stroke of genius. Relegated to mostly B-Movie land, Lambert delivers a performance that is powerful and enigmatic enough to further elevate the level of the series. And the season finale leaves viewers wondering just what direction the 4th season will head.  Kudos to the writers and producers for taking “NCIS: Los Angeles” and turning it into a blockbuster series.

The DVD release offers up all 23 episodes and a handful of decent special features including some deleted scenes and a pretty funny commentary by actors Daniela Rush and Eric Christian Olsen on the episode “Neighborhood Watch.”  There are also a series of featurettes that focus on the crossover episode as well as some other behind the scenes information.  Additionally, the audio and video on the DVD release deliver a solid experience.

“NCIS: Los Angeles” still has a way to go before it holds up to the original “NCIS”, but based on what I saw in season 3, it’s well on its way.


Lange H

Cyber Threat




Lone Wolf




The Debt

Higher Power

The Watchers

Exit Strategy



Blye K

Blye K Part 2

The Dragon and the Fairy


Patriot Acts

Touch of Death

Neighborhood Watch

Sans Voir Part 1

Sans Voir Part 2


Starring: Chris O’Donell, LL Cool J, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen, Linda hunt, Barrett Foa, Renee Felice Smith

Extras: Commentary by actors Daniela Rush and Eric Christian Olsen on One episode; Six Featurettes; Hawaii Five-0 Crossover Episode; Deleted scenes

Studio: Paramount

Release Date: 8/21/2012

MPAA Rating: NR


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