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'NAVY NCIS' SAILING INTO CRIME-PROCEDURAL WATERS.



Byline: David Kronke Television Critic

GEORGE W. BUSH appears (via file footage and an accomplished stand-in) in tonight's premiere of ``Navy NCIS'' as a barbecue-loving president of the United States The head of the Executive Branch, one of the three branches of the federal government.

The U.S. Constitution sets relatively strict requirements about who may serve as president and for how long.
 imperiled in the cross hairs of an assassin aboard Air Force One.

And if that doesn't strike you as more than a smidgen overheated o·ver·heat  
v. o·ver·heat·ed, o·ver·heat·ing, o·ver·heats

v.tr.
1. To heat too much.

2. To cause to become excited, agitated, or overstimulated.

v.intr.
 - even ABC's terrorist drama ``Threat Matrix'' didn't put the president in harm's way in its first episode - then ``Navy NCIS NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service
NCIS National Coroners Information System (Australia)
NCIS Nebraska Career Information System
NCIS National Crime Intelligence Service
NCIS National Coalition of Independent Scholars
,'' from ``JAG'' creator Don Bellisario, is likely up your alley. (Even the title work is too hard: Literally, and redundantly, it means ``Navy Naval Criminal Investigative Service This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling.
You can assist by [ editing it] now.
.'')

It's another crime-procedural drama dressed up in military finery, though a running joke through tonight's episode concerns how NCIS is the Rodney Dangerfield of federal crime-fighting (one guy, pointedly, confuses it with ``CSI'' - as if, since ``CSI'' throws rock tunes in the background of everything, even people dully typing on laptops, while ``NCIS'' depicts clinical work as the mind-numbing activity it truly is). ``NCIS'' doesn't boast the fetishistic attention to forensics or digging for clues of some of its forbears, however. Tonight's episode spends much of its time bickering over who gets jurisdiction over the crime.

Mark Harmon stars as the quite spectacularly unfortunately named Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is a fictional Chief investigator from the NCIS television series by CBS Television, played by Mark Harmon. Biography
An experienced former U.S.
, who investigates crimes involving the Navy with Dr. Donald Mallard - baby boomers will be pleased to welcome David McCallum, best-known as Ilya Kuryakin in ``The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,'' back to television, though he, too, has a regrettable nickname, ``Ducky.''

Harmon seems to enjoy playing a man with an oblique side - he advocates churchgoing church·go·er  
n.
One who attends church.



churchgoing adj.
 and zips around in convertibles alongside a floozy floo·zy also floo·zie  
n. pl. floo·zies Slang
A woman regarded as tawdry or sexually promiscuous.



[Origin unknown.
 with the same thin, droll smile. McCallum looks like he'll enjoy munching on some scenery, if only the script would give him some choicer swatches of dialogue.

The rest of the cast is dodgier. Sasha Alexander plays Agent Katie Todd, whom Gibbs hires at the end of tonight's episode after she resigns from the Secret Service in a mist of ignominy IGNOMINY. Public disgrace, infamy, reproach, dishonor. Ignominy is the opposite of esteem. Wolff, Sec. 145. See Infamy. . Bad call: Alexander played a similarly strident character in last year's quickly dispatched ``Presidio Med.'' And Abby (Pauley Perrett) the goth-wannabe forensics specialist seems another ill-advised attempt at a colorful flourish: It seems unlikely someone like her would be working for the military, or that the military would have her.

Once you've saved the president of the United States, there's really nowhere to go but down, but if ``Navy NCIS'' manages to keep future episodes on a more modest level, it might distinguish itself amid the ever-expanding glut of crime procedurals.

David Kronke, (818) 713-3638

david.kronke(at)dailynews.com

NAVY NCIS - Two and one half stars

What: Military version of police procedural shows starring Mark Harmon and David McCallum.

Where: CBS (Cell Broadcast Service) See cell broadcast.  (Channel 2).

When: 8 tonight.

In a nutshell: Tonight's episode overreaches to an unseemly degree, but Harmon and McCallum are an agreeable team.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Pauley Perrett, left, David McCallum, Mark Harmon, Sasha Alexander and Michael Weatherly investigate crime from a military angle in ``Navy NCIS.''
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Title Annotation:Review; U
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 23, 2003
Words:507
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