Like all fans of NCIS, I’m dismayed at the news that contract negotiations are going badly for key cast members, as the seventh season comes to a close. Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and Sean Murray have not yet signed new contracts for the upcoming season. Reports indicate that CBS is not offering the kind of money that these actors on the highest rated scripted TV drama of the season deserve. I refuse to panic at the thought that this ensemble may not come back intact next fall. I have to have faith that CBS couldn’t be that stupid.
I’ve been watching NCIS regularly since season four. This year I went back and watched all the seasons I’d missed. Like many viewers, I don’t really care about the plot of any given episode. I enjoy the characters, the banter, the rapport between the actors. It’s the only show I can think of where I like everybody in the cast. Not to say I don’t have favorites, but nobody annoys me. That’s incredibly rare.
It’s a hard call, but I’d have to say my favorite cast member is Tony. As a movie buff, I eagerly await his mandatory film references. Of course Michael Weatherly is very good looking, but I don’t usually go for his type of classic handsome. It’s Tony’s sense of humor that I most enjoy. With another actor, Tony might come across as a total jerk, but Weatherly manages to make him entertaining and watchable.
Pauley Perrette is another actor who takes a character who could be annoying and makes her endearing. Abby gets all the best costumes, especially footwear. She also gets some of the best lines. And she gets to hug Mark Harmon. A lot. Lucky her.
Sean Murray as McGee was a late addition to NCIS, but it’s impossible to imagine the team without him. He balances Tony’s arrogance with a kind of sweetness. I commend the actor’s recent weight loss, since I’m sure it’s better for his health, but I miss the roundness of his face. His appearance matched his character so well.
Mark Harmon is the best, Cote de Pablo is awesome, and David McCallum is amazingly vigorous for his age. Everybody plays their part and contributes to the success of the show. It’s the careful combination and ensemble work of these talented actors that make NCIS work.
It’s true that the show has survived several cast changes over the years. We’ve come to expect the rotation of the NCIS chief, since we’re on the third one so far. Cote de Pablo defied expectations and won our hearts during the third season. I just hope CBS realizes that NCIS is not the type of show that can easily be reconfigured with new faces. The fans know better.