As the first of two parts, this NCIS installment was fun to watch.
NCIS Season 11 Episode 18 introduced us to the Louisiana two-man team of Special Agents Dwayne Pride and Christopher Lasalle.
The catalyst for this meeting was the discovery of the dead body of a congressman named Dan McLane - a man who had once been a member of the "Fed 5." This former NCIS team was comprised of Gibbs, Pride, Mike Franks, Felix Betts and McLane.
Once Pride saw who it was, he decided to pay Gibbs a visit, with the hope that together they would figure out who killed the congressman and why.
Except for the misdirection of the boorish D.C. lobbyist and his equally disgusting nephew - neither of whom turned out to be involved in the killing - it seemed that most of the episode was spent introducing us to the new characters. This includes New Orleans, a character with colors, sounds and wonderful sights all its own.
That's not a bad thing.
The opening scene, with Pride role-playing with his estranged wife in the heart of New Orleans, was captivating. The music created an invitingly lazy atmosphere that would provoke anyone to drop their cares and head out for a night on the town.
Throughout the hour, we got to hear hints of the same type of music, while getting glimpses of a more laid-back atmosphere than we usually see in NCIS stories.
Even the home office reflected this dynamic: the front didn't stand out as being different from the rest of the town and the boss liked his desks all messy, with a big double door opened up to let the sun in sometimes.
We eventually got to meet the third member of the Louisiana team: Special Agent Meredith Brody. She's a woman who may or may not be running from something or someone in her former Great Lakes office. I liked the fact that she didn't get a chance to answer Pride's question about that.
It's clear that Lasalle almost worships his boss for something that happened a while ago; Pride saved his life during Katrina. This affords us another back story which can be brought to the fore at some point. Maybe it'll happen in the second part of this arc, or maybe it's something to be answered in the NCIS spinoff.
We've seen so many instances of Gibbs meeting up with former colleagues - most of whom he can barely tolerate. This episode of NCIS Season 11 showed a rock solid friendship between Gibbs and Pride, with each man exhibiting a lot of brotherhood and respect.
It was good to see. Equally enjoyable was the way in which Gibbs stood back and said "uh oh" right before Pride polished the car with the lobbyist.
The way in which Pride did a slow but steadily increasing burn right before he assaulted him was viscerally cathartic. We've all met boors like this guy. The safer route, in fact the more legal route, is to try and ignore their trolling. Pride had no such inhibition.
Of course, it helped that the guy grabbed Pride's arm right before the launch. That assists, in much the same way his nephew invited his own head-plant by caressing Special Agent Brody's hand. You can say and boast all you want, but the minute you physically make contact, all bets are off. Kudos to the writers for including those little details.
Speaking of details... did you notice how polite Special Agent Lasalle was? It was "yessir" this and "ma'am" that. After walking down the street with Brody, you couldn't help noticing that he opened the car door for her.
The dude's a gentleman, through and through. (And he knew she needed no help from anyone. It was just good manners on his part.)
- Tony has a "friend with benefits." Her name is Andrea.
- Lycek's belly tattoo: double rainbow leading to a pot of gold. I don't know how anyone could not laugh at that. It was a thing of beauty.
- Gibbs stole the whole "stopping elevators" thing from Pride. Maybe.
- TMF = Too Many Federal officers or Tony, McGee and Fornell.
- We got to meet Doctor Loretta Wade (played by CCH Pounder, who you may remember from The Shield). Hopefully she'll be more of a presence in the next episode.
- We also got to meet Pride's estranged wife Linda, played by Paige Turco. She also played as Zoe Morgan opposite Reese in Person of Interest. She didn't seem nearly as dangerous this time.
Update: This episode's Round Table discussion is now up! Come over, check it out and add your opinions.
Who was your favorite character in this episode?
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.