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October 6, 2015

Things I don't get about NCIS: Los Angeles

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Oct 12th 2009 2:05PM
NCIS Los AngelesI love military style series. I haven't missed one episode of JAG or its spin-off NCIS over the years -- I even watched reruns, including airings dubbed in French! -- and have watched all NCIS: Los Angeles since it began.

What I like most about NCIS: LA is that they do undercover missions, taking different personae and using gadgets, and that it stars one of my movie crushes when I was a teen, Chris O'Donnell, as well as the talented Linda Hunt.

Sadly, there are small things that I don't get about the series. These small issues are sort of bugging me and making me not enjoy the show as much as I would like as I keep asking myself these questions every episode.

Do you share the same issues? Do you have answers for me so I can enjoy the show as I want to? The list of things I don't get about NCIS: LA coming up!

1. I get why the team is not located in a building that looks like a governmental building. After all, they do undercover work, so you want them to be undercover all the way. However, why is it that the inside of the building looks like a house? The offices' set up are too casual for a sort of military team that works for government.

The only reason I can see why the offices and decor are too casual is to take some pressure off the team when they come back to the office. Even if I found a potential answer to my own question, every time I see the inside of the building, I can't help myself but think "not enough office-like".

2. The team lacks structure for a military/governmental organization. Yes, every character has a role, some better defined than others. But who is the ultimate leader? Linda Hunt's character is not the leader, she is the mother figure who provides the team with clothes and gadgets. The guy who summons the team to the command center (the only place that looks like a military-type organization is working there) is more a liaison officer than a clear leader.

As for O'Donnell's and LL Cool J's characters, they don't seem to be in charge, they are more the followers who are in charge when they go undercover. Who is NCIS: LA's version of Gibbs? Vance may be somewhat in charge but since he is not in L.A. there must be someone in that building who clearly answers to him and who is the one assigning who does what on a mission, answer to the Powers That Be when things go wrong, etc.

3. This issue I can live with since it's a TV show but I've been wondering if the real NCIS in the US has units like NCIS: LA that does undercover work to bring down the bad guys. I know that NCIS is based on some of the work the read NCIS does and that JAG also reflected work done by the real JAG officers. So is NCIS: LA based on reality or not?

As you can see, my issues with NCIS: LA are not that huge and won't prevent me from watching weekly. But I'm sure you had situations where a tiny thing you couldn't explain bugged you to a point it distracted you -- the title of a song that just played in an episode, the name of an actor who looks familiar but you can't think of his name and where you saw him, etc. We need to get answers to these small bugging questions, otherwise, they'll haunt you for a while.

Do you have answers for me? Do you have other issues with the show that you don't understand and would like other viewers to help you with? Share your answers, issues, etc. in comments below.

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Personally, I was really let down by NCIS: LA. I'm a a huge fan of JAG and an even bigger fan of NCIS, so don't get me wrong, I WANT to like the show. But I have problems similar to yours which prevent me from really enjoying it.

A big thing for me is the fact that it really doesn't seem accurate. I was raised in the military and spent almost all of my life on military bases, so I was really shocked to see how odd the series was. First of all, I'm not sure there is a base in L.A... I sure don't remember hearing about one, and we were never stationed there, but I could be wrong. But if I'm right, then without a base there shouldn't be an NCIS unit stationed there. The second issue I had was that it really didn't even look like the building was on a base. It's also an odd building for a military unit, like you said, no matter if they are undercover or not. Also, I've never heard of an entire unit being devoted to undercover work like that.

My other big issue is the lack of structure. Being raised military, I'm used to the predictability and the structure and NCIS: LA doesn't seem at all military in that aspect. There's no real command structure between the characters and even within the building, like you said.

Also, I really don't connect with the characters, they don't seem like a real team, military or otherwise.

I feel like I could almost take the show if it wasn't under the guise of being a military operation. But as is, it's just kind of annoying to me. I feel like it misrepresents the organization since both JAG and NCIS were based on real organizations and seemed to stay truer to them.

March 11 2012 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary Ann

Looking for info on Linda Hunt Ncis LA

February 09 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NCIS "LOS ANGELES"??? Makes NO sense. As a retired Navy Chief who grew up in Los Angeles this program drives me crazy. NCIS SAN DIEGO < YES. NCIS LOS ANGELES < NO!!! THERE IS NO NAVY IN LOS ANGELES. The fleet is in SAN DIEGO!!!

December 16 2009 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First, Linda Hunt is perfect in that role and my favorite part of the show. Since she's a minor character that's not particularly a good thing.

To answer the questions - or rather hopefully explain why there are questions, it appears to me the writers have not though through the characters. No one is in charge, literally and figuratively, that hurts any show. Most of the characters are interchangeable, not given a real personality. Sure, ok, undercover work but as a viewer we need to know who we are watching. The female seems non-specific, as if they hired the first actor that fit the wardrobe. She's not bad, just ill-defined. Linda Hunt is so talented she can build a character, the others can't. So far.

That said, I like the show a lot, more than NCIS, which I find too glib and while the characters are better defined I don't find them interesting. I know I'm in the minority as most of my friends love the show.

So these are my contradictions and probably more questions. But I think we could all be happy if the writers would think it all through -the plot about the husband/wife/brother I never did figure out - and most of all the characters. If Cool and Chris weren't different color I couldn't tell them apart although both are watchable. The shrink has potential and I can't name the others other than new guy not named green and computer guy. Focus, the show needs focus.

October 28 2009 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The music background is overly loud and overwhelming.On last night's episode is drowned out the dialogue. My friends had the same reaction. Can the music!!!

October 21 2009 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watch this show because of LLCoolJ and Linda Hunt. But watching the show is getting harder and harder. The Logic Holes are HUGE. They never have to work for their information or intelligence, they just call the computer dude and he can tap into anything anywhere. In minutes he can put up a video on Madame Tussaud's digital marquee. I stopped being interested in the show at that point. It was too fantastic. I too have a problem with the office because it's not. It's a hacienda with bouganvilla bushes growing indoors. Come on. And Henrietta was a former film wardrobe mistress? (She was in charge of Olivier's uniforms.) And now she's head of the unit? (She introduces the murder victim and case of Jimmy Soo.) I am so confused. First off, is their a naval base in LA? I thought it was in San Diego. Their undercover work is no more than the regular NCIS, so why do they have a costume dept? The music gets very comedic when it shouldn't. A friend nicknamed this show "The Happy NCIS." I really WANT to like this show, but I'm having the hardest time. I guess the biggest question I have is: What's the NCIS:LA mission?

October 21 2009 at 7:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watched the first two episodes (the ones in the NCIS episodes). I after those two it was enough. I could not watch this show on a regular basis. Seeing LL Cool J looking like a pantomime waving his hands around supposedly on a interactive screen was just too much. Also the back story of Gibbs and Callahan having a history was a stretch. Gibbs has been in NCIS for probably over ten years so what history do these two have together. Did Gibbs change Callahan's diapers?! Sorry I just couldn't get in to the story give me the original NCIS any day.

October 19 2009 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In total agreement to this commentary.

The structure is entirely lacking.

I like the cast, but the structure of the team is not defined.

I was just griping about this.

I wonder if having Donald Bellisario as producer would have brought more continuity to the series.

October 18 2009 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is just a show but I would point out that it probably is based on some reality. Further it has many complexities to it but from my experiences with 35 years with the military and government it appears more to be a combination of a Special Operations & Intelligence & Homeland Security units. In each of these type of units the team members are the combined leader which reports only to the Director. Vance is the ultimate teams leader period and has over all control that he will not push unless they are going to far. Just like the FBI only uses the Lab in DC for evidence evaluations "this unit" utilizes that "lab" of NCIS Washington. Additionally, I would assert that (if) there is such a real team is in a much different location within the US. It appears they picked that location in order to not give away a true location. There are some very unique units in areas for which most people do not have a clue about because they are special ops some are right under your nose and you would never know it until you get on their wrong side. As for Ms. Hunt she is a cross between Mr. Q and Penny in the James Bond series. As for the vehicles most of these types of special units are utilizing cars that have been confiscated from Drugs Lords and money laundry felons. True undercover police units utilize these types of cars for various operations.

October 18 2009 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As an active duty Navy SEAL, and a big fan of NCIS, I find insulting that they have advisors who appear to be idiots. Why do these networks either follow the work of former SEAL's who are not current, or people who have no idea what we do. This show needs someone who knows what is relevant today, or what or current capabilities are. For example, making LL Cool jay a SEAL is okay, but he made way to many mistakes in the SEAL episode. The predator episode is not even close. They comment on Air Force against Navy in this episode. I have a great SEAL friend who flies predator, and her brother is a SEAL. She briefs every watch station that they ay be watching over her brother. The situations in this series does not happen

October 17 2009 at 6:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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