2014 Sept 30 NCIS Critique of “Kill The Messenger”

This episode was really a fun one. Great script writing. It’s creative when the victim’s cell phone starts ringing inside the evidence bag. Also hilarious is when Tony has a verbal exchange with an anonymous caller demanding, “You first ‘wise acre’,” and it turns out to be “The President.” What a hoot. We enjoyed seeing relationships develop among team members in this episode. Abby meets a good-looking U.S. Park Police Sergeant who is also into tattoos (more on that below). Gibbs is there for Director Vance when he is scheduled for health tests because he has suspicious spots on his lungs. Tony answers Tim’s phone when his girlfriend Delilah calls from the Middle East and sees her on FaceTime dressed to be seen only by Tim. Did y’all notice Michael Weatherly has slimmed down, losing thirty-five pounds during the off-season? He did it swimming long distances in the Pacific Ocean and doing triathlons. He says he wants to be healthier for his family.
How many football enthusiasts spotted the cameo appearance of Tony Gonzalez, former tight end for the Atlanta Falcons. For those who didn’t recognize him, he was the Special Agent Tony Francis who stopped at Bishop’s desk, asking if she liked working for Gibbs. Why the cameo appearance? CBS now has the Monday Night Football contract, so expect in coming weeks there will be other pro football players making cameo appearances on CBS shows to help create interest in Monday Night Football.
Did you notice that again tonight, Bishop mentioned her husband Jake? It’s part of an intentional plan to introduce him into the show. We’ll see if it gains Bishop any new fans as we believe the more viewers see of her backstory, the more they will approve of her. Speaking of relationships, tonight we learned Director Vance hasn’t made any provisions for his kids since his wife was killed. His health scare gives us a chance to see his daughter again, and the nice nanny. Hmmm. With the good news that Leon is not seriously ill, we wonder if he’s ready to move on in his life.
The reveal of the suspected murderer of Commander Wallace came a bit too quickly, when Gibbs (played superbly by Mark Harmon) suddenly announces, “You’re a lefty and under arrest.” Well, it looks like the widow will inherit gobs of money after all and Tony didn’t lose his touch. Oh, and the tattooed U.S. Park Officer—just for the record, many agencies do not allow tattoos that show on officers’ arms. In D.C., summer months are hot so officers wear short sleeves. FYI, last week NCIS snagged 18.2 million viewers, with NCIS New Orleans keeping most of them with 17.2 million. We caught the New Orleans show again tonight, finding it creepy the Bubonic Plague is featured the same day the first case of Ebola is diagnosed in the U.S.
Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

2014 Sept 23 NCIS Critique of “Twenty Klicks”

It seemed like a long summer without our team lead by Mark Harmon, who plays NCIS agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Indeed, it was a long summer of simmering tensions around the world. Anticipating tonight’s episode, we wondered what tough and tender issues the NCIS writers might tackle. We had heard rumors of a Russian bad guy. And the drama leapt out at us from the screen putting us at the edge of our seats. Who was after Gibbs and McGee twenty kilometers, “twenty klicks” from Finland?

This episode explodes with a traitor within the walls of NCIS. Abby is called on to evaluate what kind of SAM (Surface to Air Missile) shot down the helicopter carrying Gibbs and McGee out of Russia with Kevin Hussein, the IT guy with a head full of Navy secrets. The question is, who or what are the Russians after? And what does Hussein know that he is not telling Gibbs? Bishop reaches out to NSA, her former agency, and where her husband works, hinting that we’ll learn more about him in future shows.

We expect the drama involving Sergei, the Russian, will continue throughout the season. In real life, the NCIS IT Kevin Hussein would be looked at real hard when considered for the requisite Top Secret security clearance. With an uncle who was a professor at a Russian University, he’d get twice the scrutiny. Could it have been a technical flaw? We were relieved to see Gibbs and McGee making it home. Were you all surprised to discover Gibbs has another boat in the making in his basement? Supposedly it’s the life size boat that is a replicate of a model boat that Gibb’s mother had. David always wonders how Gibbs gets these boats out of his basement, once completed. Will we ever find out? Probably not.

We watched the New Orleans debut and enjoyed the investigative/search scenes. Ducky made a guest appearance via teleconference. Now we will really need to discipline ourselves if we are to get this blog written each week, and write our next suspense novel.

We do have a new thriller coming out, so watch for more details about Embers of Courage, to be released on December 3rd.

Let us know what you enjoyed about tonight’s show!

Be Blessed, Diane and David

U.S. Marines Still Worship

We send this inspiring video as evidence that some of our soldiers going into battle will be doing so with God at their side.

We also want to remind everyone the new season of NCIS begins this coming Tuesday night, September 23, 2014. As usual, we will post our critique on this blog, following the new show. Are you as excited as we are for the new season? Can you picture Gibbs singing along with these other Marines?

Free Book Opportunities

We’ve been remiss in sending out a blog posting for two reasons. The NCIS season had ended for the summer, and we’ve been busy editing our next suspense thriller. In two more weeks, NCIS will be back on the air with all kinds of teasers. One is that Ziva may be returning for at least a cameo appearance. It will also be interesting to see how the “legacy” NCIS intersects with the New Orleans NCIS, as there will be some crossovers.

The purpose of this posting is to alert our friends and readers to two opportunities to receive free copies of our books. On Thursday, August 28th and Friday, August 29th, the Barn Door Book Loft is featuring us in an interview about our first novel, “Facing Justice.” Carole Brown interviewed us and we so appreciate her love of fiction. In her interview, the Loft is offering a free copy of the print version of “Facing Justice” to two people who comment and ask to be including in a drawing.  To view the Barn Door Book Loft interview click here.

Also, we’d like to let you know of the progress on our December 04, 2014 release of “Embers of Courage,” our next thriller. We are excited about this upcoming release. For those of you who enjoyed “Stolen Legacy,” which highlighted Federal Agent Eva Montanna’s family during the Dutch Resistance in WWII, our next suspense novel reveals her family’s past and present persecution for their faith. Watch for another blog posting coming soon where we’ll be making available opportunities for those of you who read digital versions (eBooks) of our titles.  We will be announcing your chance for free advanced review copies of the new release and/or eBook versions of earlier titles. The purpose is for recipients to write a brief comment on Amazon.Com or iTunes that helps to promote the book. If you are interested in the opportunity, please send us an email to info@DianeAndDavidMunson.com. Let us know if you prefer an eBook version of one of the earlier titles or the new one, “Embers of Courage.”

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

Diane and David Munson

 

Click Here for Veritas Contemporary Classic Christian Concert

We are featuring Veritas on our blog because we are so impressed with this group. Our choir had the privilege of singing with them at our church in Florida. Please listen to at least their first number (Forevermore). This concert from Spartanburg, SC is over an hour long. As authors published by a small house, we know that new groups whose publishers can’t give them sufficiant publicity are slow to become known. So if you enjoy them, “like” them on social media, and while you are at it, “like” Diane and David Munson, Christian Suspense authors, too!

Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

2014 May 13 NCIS Critique of “Honor Thy Father”

Tonight’s episode was the last installment of a year long journey for the family of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. We’ve said before that the popularity of the NCIS show is due much to the great script writing, the unique personality of Gibbs, and his means of communicating (most often without words). Also, the fact that Gibbs’ and many of the team members are single, brings them together as a tight knit family. Over the last few years, they’ve added Jimmy Palmer who has a wife and a baby on the way. Bishop is also married. We expect to meet her husband next season.

A horrific schism occurred in the family when Ziva left. The middle part of the season stumbled as the producers brought in Bishop, the new investigator to complete the family. Recently, Ralph Waite passed away, which meant another family member would be gone. Tonight they ended the season with a fitting tribute to a great actor. The entire family assembled at the graveside of Jackson Gibbs. Mark Harmon said good-bye to a close friend and his TV father. In doing so, he honored Ralph Waite, the man who played his father (and better known as John Walton Sr).

It is bittersweet to have the season end, but we enjoyed this well done episode. Having Leroy find the old boat that he and his dad made named “Chickadee” brought Gibbs’ character full circle. This reveals why he is a boat maker: “Water never forgets,” his mother said. “Anyone with a boat named after them lives forever.” So Leroy gets busy drawing plans for a new boat. This is his therapy outside of his dangerous job as an NCIS agent. And of course this boat, whatever it looks like, will be named after Jackson Gibbs.

Bravo!

Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

2014 May 06 NCIS Critique of “The Admiral’s Daughter”

Did y’all enjoy the twists in tonight’s episode? We love plots involving spies, especially when Tony busts the spy ring. When an admiral’s daughter goes off the rails and gets her photo splashed all over a gossip magazine, very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo is tasked with bringing her home from France. A French police detective flirts with Tony before showing her true colors. And what dark colors they are. Tony must flee for his life along with Amanda, a young party girl. The dynamic duo evades the police and searches for secret ways to communicate with Gibbs. They end up using a technique similar to one we used in one of our thrillers a few years back entitled, “Hero’s Ransom.” So that part was fun to watch, including Gibbs figuring out the first clues.

It was also fun to see Bishop acting more like part of the team in her banter with Tim about his trick coin, and which one of them was going to be submerged in the septic tank. We agree with Abby. Yuck!! Bishop also learned something that every new Special Agent learns early on when Tony was ordered to France. Keep a bag packed and in the car or in the office, for instant departure. David’s got used several times.

We had to get past the obvious technical problem of Tony entering France with his weapon. It would never happen with Tony traveling undercover. Normally, if he needed a gun once in France, he would get it at the local NCIS office. The rest of the show was well done. We suspect everyone was shocked with the exchange between the lady detective and Tony in the alley in Marseille. We weren’t expecting that.

There’s lots of misdirection in this episode, which makes it exceptionally good. Only one more show to go for the rest of Season 11. We will share some sweet news—the entire cast is signed for Season 12 and many are for Season 13.

Be Blessed, Diane and David

2014 Apr 29 NCIS Critique of “Shooter”

We both agree: This episode reveals great investigative work by the NCIS team, especially from Abby. It is certainly her night to shine. Gibbs et. al. are determined to discover who murdered Marine photographer Roe, known as the “Shooter”. Is the Army lieutenant who shot a militant overseas to blame because he wants to avoid being court-martialed? Or is something more sinister afoot?

During the years that we lived in Washington, DC, we saw many homeless sleeping on the sidewalk heat grates. It was very common, yet never shown on NCIS. Until tonight, that is. Mark Harmon exudes strength and compassion as his team of special agents uncovers the seamier side of homeless U.S. veterans. Abby’s concern for a young woman living on the streets provides a positive result to an otherwise difficult to watch subject. Here a few of the better moments from a former NCIS agent’s point of view:

  1. Probie Bishop being “creeped out” by going through Roe’s apartment, while Tony finds it the best part of the job. He likes learning “secrets”.
  2. The agents realizing the bent spoon and needle may be a set-up.
  3. Director Vance texting Gibbs during the interrogation to “lighten up”.
  4.  McGee getting into his undercover mode due to his stubble.
  5. Ducky finding the evidence of chloroform, which was used to sedate Roe before he was murdered.
  6. Ducky declaring that Blue’s kidneys are gone, leading the team to discover organs were being illegally harvested for the black market.
  7. Doctor Vance admitting his wrong-headed approach to providing organs to those who were on waiting lists.
  8. The ending dealing with Arlington National Cemetery is an excellent resolution.

We’d like your opinion. The writers tackled a searing subject, one in which there is room for Americans to help. Ducky made the statement that there are 50,000-60,000 homeless veterans around the country. Diane had to wipe tears from her eyes. The picture of the actor who played Blue shows the agony and turmoil of living without a home, facing the harsh elements. Yet Blue did not lose his human emotion as he helped the young missing girl, and took good care of his dog, Dave. Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse has started an outreach to service members and their spouses. There are other organizations helping veterans.

Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson

2014 Apr 15 NCIS Critique of “Alleged”

Tonight’s episode deals with a difficult subject. The writers toss in some fun and intriguing aspects to lighten the mood. “Alleged” tackles an issue that is a problem in the Navy right now—sexual assault. David has said many times since we’ve started writing our critiques that many of his cases while with NIS (the original name of the agency when he and Gibbs were there) were sex cases. He also has said how the problem has only gotten worse with recent changes in the military.

The show’s producers and writers meet with the Navy and U.S. Marines each season to find out the important matters they are facing. They asked NCIS to do this episode to raise awareness of sexual assaults. When David was a Special Agent, he and his colleagues dreaded these cases because of the many difficulties. Diane also prosecuted these cases, and we feel the show presents the complexities in an accurate fashion. Mark Harmon brings the right balance of compassion and drive to catch the bad actors. Kelli Williams plays NCIS Special Agent Maureen Cabot from the special unit. Diane recognized her from movies on the Hallmark Channel. It’s interesting when Tim mentions they don’t have probable cause to obtain a warrant to search the ship. The captain then searches the ship under the “Health and Welfare” provision. “This has to be throughout the entire ship,” David says. “It can’t be done selectively.”

The lighter moments come with Tony and Tim’s “cleansing” to achieve better health. Bishop doesn’t share their determination. She continues eating bacon and egg sandwiches and chili cheese fries. Tony looks tormented just staring at her giant plate of gooey fries. This is hilarious. But even funnier is when he takes a swig of his water concoction in a jug the size of something a family might bring to a ball game. Thanks Michael Weatherly for making us laugh.

The last few days brought another terror attack in Overland Park, Kansas, and today marks the one-year since the bombing occurred in Boston. To leave troubles behind for sixty minutes when we watch NCIS is a good thing.

More to come!

Be Blessed, Diane and David

NCIS is Back

Teresa, Caroline, Deb, and Martha have all commented on our critique of last night’s episode of NCIS, “Page Not Found”. It seems everyone agrees that following the departure of Ziva (Cote de Pablo) the episodes have been lacking. Might the reason be the producers were caught by surprise, then rushed to put the square peg Bishop, a hyper-analyst who eats junk food and sits on the floor, into the round hole of an A-type Agent? In the last three weeks, ratings have been down in the seventeen million range, from the once twent-three million viewers. That might be due to spring breaks, or to the New Orleans spin off. Or, perhaps viewers aren’t warming to Bishop. It is interesting to note that in the last three episodes commenters to this blog have liked them. We’ve observed that in all three episodes, Bishop has been mostly a spectator. So now what is to be done with Bishop?

Blessings, Diane and David Munson