"You JAG or NCIS?" snaps a surly Marine officer. "NCIS anything like CSI?" asks a dumb civilian. The acronyms are flying on this so-so JAG spinoff, in which the Naval Criminal Investigative Service uses some CSI-style techniques to catch evildoers. When the DEA and the Army's CID got involved in one episode, I feared initial overload would sink CBS.
Mark Harmon stars as Jethro Gibbs, the tough, curt leader of the NCIS team. He's sometimes intemperate—"I don't want DNA evidence; I want this bastard to confess!"—but always effective. There's a whiff of sexual tension between Gibbs and Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander), a former Secret Service agent who joins NCIS after she and Gibbs have a turf battle in the opener. David McCallum (who knows his acronyms from the '60s fave The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) plays NCIS medical examiner "Ducky" Mallard, whose British-accented anecdotes give the dialogue a needed dash of variety.
This is a formulaic but fairly competent series with delusions of grandeur: Gibbs and company have already foiled a conspiracy to assassinate the President and saved America from a major blackout. When they solve a regular murder, the case seems terribly trivial by comparison.