DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Monday -

THREE stars for an episode of NCIS. Have I been suck­ing an ice pipe? No. But I have been in­gest­ing an al­most un­re­lieved diet of Aus­tralian cop shows and my re­sis­tance has been low­ered, pum­melled re­ally, into the ground. Pretty sure that’s the case. I wouldn’t like to think NCIS has got bet­ter. I just pre­fer to be­lieve my stan­dards have eroded.

Tonight’s episode opens at a house that’s been fore­closed on, so the pool out the back— hot tub re­ally — is the manki­est cesspit you’ve ever seen in your life. I s’pose the peo­ple had been let­ting their mort­gage slide, time passes, no­body’s think­ing about what kind of state the hot tub’s in, maybe it was win­ter . . . al­though wouldn’t you maybe use a hot tub in win­ter?

This one’s out in the mid­dle of the flat, it’s not shel­tered at all, which I thought seemed kind of odd. Ugly, any­way. And it’s 45cm deep. Does that seem too shal­low to you? Kid­die pool shal­low? It all seems wrong. And then— and I re­alise this might seem like I’m giv­ing the plot away but hon­estly, why else are we even in these peo­ple’s for­mer back­yard — a dead body turns up. In the 45cm deep hot tub.

Hardly seems deep enough, you’d think. Al­though those ads al­ways say you can drown in your bath­tub.

Michael Weatherly: DiNozzo

Still, this is a grown man, with worms com­ing out ev­ery avail­able hole. Or maybe he didn’t ac­tu­ally drown. Ei­ther way, the whole scene re­minds DiNozzo of an episode of I Love Lucy.

Turns out the dead guy, Petty Of­fi­cer 1st Class Ed­ward Bick, was a to­tal clean­skin, un­blem­ished ser­vice record, two tours of Afghanistan, not an en­emy in the world. I mean, other than the friends and fam­ily of the peo­ple he killed while on those two tours of Afghanistan obvi- ously. As things get mov­ing, and isn’t this al­ways the way when there’s some­thing cor­rupt and not quite right, it be­comes ap­par­ent the CIA are some­where in the mix.

That’s a nice an­gle. Less sat­is­fy­ing is the way NCIS only ever sin­gles out in­di­vid­ual be­hav­iour. It never crit­i­cises the sys­tem. NCIS Chan­nel 10, 8.30pm

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