Tonight’s episode has a fatal flaw. We always said that we don’t knowingly watch a ‘to be continued’ TV program, or read a novel that is a prequel. Tonight’s episode of Pandora’s Box is really such a show. The first half aired on CBS in the eight o’clock hour with the conclusion airing at ten o’clock on NCIS New Orleans.

We are reporting on the first half and ignoring the second half. The scenario involves Abby Sciuto being selected to take part in a Homeland Security think tank (brain-storming) exercise to test security that is supposed to foil attempts by terrorists to cause mass murder at events with large crowds. It seems to be the latest of the shows featuring the team member of the week. Tonight was Abby’s turn. Things go wrong when their operation is co-opted by an unknown enemy. The show wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. While the plot is feasible and conceivable, there was more material than the one-hour time slot could present. That might also be true of the second half of the show to play later. Those of you who watch the New Orleans show tonight will have to let us know.

What has always made NCIS so good is the screen writing and acting that depicts the suspense as it occurs. The viewer can watch the evidence develop and thereby is entertained. The same is true in the novels we write. We show the reader the development of the plot through scenes. Toward the end of tonight’s first half, it appears that the producers and editors, had recorded more scenes than they had time show us, so they had a couple of scenes in the office, where the team members explain to the viewers what their investigation revealed. In the business, that’s known as ‘telling’, rather than ‘showing.’ Telling is not as fulfilling for the viewer, thus we felt it was a rushed conclusion. Perhaps it was just too complicated to create a two-hour episode, set in two different cities and two different shows (NCIS NOLA). Overall it was entertaining, but not one of their better episodes.

On a side note, when the character helping on the Homeland Think Tank was introduced as being from Bosnia whose parents were killed, Diane said, “He probably filled the balloons with the gas for revenge.” Probably some of you figured that out too before the reveal. To us, the best part of the show was seeing Gibbs in action. He really makes the show sizzle.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson