Does NCIS: New Orleans Have You Jazzed?

NCIS New Orleans SpinOff recapCBS’ NCIS this Tuesday embarked on a two-part trip to New Orleans. Based on your first impression of the planted spin-off, are you jazzed for a potentially extended stay?

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The murder of a congressman/former mentor of Gibbs’ reunited him with Special Agent Dwayne Cassius Pride (played by Scott Bakula), another member of the “Fed 5” who served alongside Mike Franks and the newly deceased.

At first, there’s the usual jockeying for jurisdiction, when the FBI lays claim to the case. (Turns out, the G-men are leery of it getting out that the congressman appears to have been a victim of The Privileged Killer, who long ago was nabbed by the Fed 5, and has since died.) When an FBI agent turns up as the next victim, Gibbs heads to NOLA, with Bishop in tow, while Tony, McGee and Abby stay behind to work the D.C. angle with Fornell.

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In addition to Pride, we met his No. 1, Special Agent Christopher Lasalle (played by Lucas Black). This character seemed a bit flat/overly brooding at first, though by the end of Part 1 of “Crescent City” he had livened up some. (Short story shorter: Lasalle credits Pride with “saving his life” in the wake of Katrina.)

Lasalle and Pride in turn met Special Agent Meredith “Merri” Brody (Zoe McLellan), who, based out of NCIS’ Great Lakes office, somewhat curiously volunteered to give the NOLA boys an assist. Thus, Pride is left to wonder — which he does, aloud to her — if she is running from something. With Lasalle, meanwhile, Brody “proves her mettle” when she gets rough with a smartass during an interrogation. Also: Brody and Gibbs know each other, but the circumstances of that working (?) relationship are “classified,” Gibbs says. (Visually, I couldn’t tell if I was getting an Eva LaRue vibe from McLellan, or if my deja vu came from watching her on Dirty Sexy Money.)

We only got small snippets of CCH Pounder’s Dr. Wade, and via MTAC, so yeah — we need more CCH Pounder. And always more Paige Turco.

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Filming the pilot on location of course gave the New Orleans scenes a lush, colorful and tactile feel; let’s hope that if it goes to series, they set up shop down there (versus trying to build a mini version in Valencia). At first blush, I was highly disappointed with the actual New Orleans NCIS office (Pride tells Bishop he isn’t a “federal building” type of guy), seeing as it was a darkly lit, ruddy, Mardi Gras beads-littered mess when first we saw it. But once Brody initiated a quick facelift, I warmed up to it and could see spending time there every week.

I’m far from an expert on regional accents, so I will leave that discussion point up to the smarter of y’all.

What was your first impression of NCIS‘ latest (prospective) spin-off? Any retooling (like, I dunno, a Tom Welling recast?) you’d suggest before sending it to series? “Crescent City, Part 2” airs next week.

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