Fans of the spectacularly popular original NCIS series were treated this evening to the first of a two-part special that show creators hope to muster into a full-fledged spinoff. Before you flashback to that other flop NCIS Red, let me assure you that this one already has a lot more going for it, including the backing of boss-man Gary Glasberg and powerhouse Mark Harmon.  It was, in fact, we are told by Glasberg himself, Harmon who pushed it forward as a spinoff, and I have to say that like his character, Harmon has good instincts.

Glasberg, however can be credited with much of the research that went into capturing the unique flavor of the city. In interviews, he has called it “a love letter to New Orleans” and watching, you can really feel the passion that went into the project.

In my opinion, the female casting was also particularly strong. I’m not sure who to congratulate on that, but Agent Brody (Zoe McLellan) and Dr. Wade (CCH Pounder) are the best part of this potential series so far. I love, love, love Brody’s little crossword teaser. That should be a thing going forward.

And the story line itself is very solid with just enough of the original’s markings to give it the legs to go off on its own. 104645_d2327bc

As far as the other characters, at first I was not into Mr. Fast & Furious as Agent Lasalle, but he grew on me over the course of the show. I think the character will be quite interesting once Black fleshes it out a bit more.

Now Bakula’s character is another story.  I love the idea of Pride and his background, and I respect Bakula as an actor, but at times he laid that accent on just little too thick and overplayed the swagger to the point of being comical.  Drop all that, and I could learn to like him as much as Harmon over time.

Overall, I imagesbelieve the pilot has the potential to be even more successful than even the LA set up.  I tend to agree with Harmon that the West Coast show is lacking some special spark (LL Cool J excepted). Not so with this one.

I am looking forward to more, and I sincerely hope that they will commit to local filming as much as possible.  Other shows that have entered into NOLA territory have faltered by staying too close to the studio.