Did 'NCIS' Season 14 Successfully Balance the Old and the New?
Did 'NCIS' Season 14 Successfully Balance the Old and the New?
Meredith Jacobs
Meredith Jacobs
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
After losing someone who had been around since the show's beginning in Michael Weatherly's Tony DiNozzo at the end of season 13, NCIS brought in three new characters this year: Clayton Reeves (who was introduced last season), Nick Torres and Alex Quinn. And what resulted was quite the change -- for the team, for the show and for these characters as well.

McGee was the new Senior Field Agent. The team gained two new members after only losing one, so they had to do a bit of rearranging of the desks. (Fortunately, Reeves was working the international desk, so they didn't have to make room for his once he was around full-time.) By joining the team, the new members were put in situations much different from their previous positions. It was a time of change for everyone, and when it comes to addressing that, it worked. But at the same time, it felt like the "old" took a backseat at times.


NCIS Season 14 Finale Recap: Which Team Members are Left in Paraguay?>>>

New Situations for All

Pretty much everyone was put into a new situation this season, even those who weren't new to the team. Gibbs had a new Senior Field Agent and new team members. McGee had a new position and new teammates. Bishop and Abby had new teammates. Everyone found out Jimmy's actually Dr. Palmer now.

It was a season of change and adjustment, as it should have been following Tony's departure. DiNozzo isn't someone who can just be replaced, and fortunately, they didn't try to do that. Instead, they took what they still had and did a bit of rearranging, much like they did with the desks. And like with the desks, that's not something that you can just get used to right away, not when a show is in its 14th season and making these changes. (But hey, at least the walls are still orange?)

As for the three newbies, each was put into a new situation as well: Torres from undercover solo work to working with a team and having a desk, Quinn returning to field work after being an instructor at FLETC and Reeves staying in one place rather than running because he's not used to people caring about him.

And their work with the team allowed them to make adjustments and decisions that would have them move forward. Torres had to accept he was part of a team, a family, and that meant he had to act like it. And while he may still be uncomfortable at a desk and prefer to be in the field by season's end, he had also clearly come to care about the others like a family as well, even suggesting that he be the one to enter a trailer first in case of danger with McGee a father-to-be.

Quinn admitted she had been "stuck" after choosing to leave field work and becoming an instructor at FLETC (a position that meant she knew her teammates' strengths and weaknesses), but she was able to face that past and begin to move forward, thanks to a case bringing her back to Philadelphia.

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Something NCIS definitely did right with Reeves was not make him a full-time team member because the team was already crowded enough (and there was no room for his desk.) Instead, he worked with the team on select cases and helped out when they needed it. And while Willoughby indicated how willing he was to take the high-risk mission so someone else didn't have to, when it came time for him to decide about another one like it, that week's case and Gibbs helped him make the best decision for himself: stay where he was and let others care about him.

Though it took years to explore other characters' pasts, the series did just that with the three newcomers this year as well. We found out about Torres' best friend who died, met Quinn's mother and learned about Reeves' tragic past. Things like that are why, at times, it felt like there was too much focus on the new and not enough on the old.

And perhaps it's because there were three new team members, as opposed to the one that there has been in the past, but at times, it felt like there was a clear separation between the old and the new.

Hopes for the Team in Season 15

While the cliffhanger left Gibbs and McGee both in danger in Paraguay, it's impossible to imagine NCIS killing off either of them. McGee and Gibbs are NCIS, and it would be too tragic to kill McGee when he's just gotten married and he and Delilah have a baby on the way.

But what this cliffhanger should hopefully do is focus on the senior agents of the team a bit more in the beginning of season 15. Hopefully we see Gibbs and McGee working together to get out of Paraguay while the rest of the team works to help them.

And it does seem like the team is working well enough together on cases that it can stay as is without any real problems -- though, like he did at the end of season 13, Reeves does seem to jell the best with the others, despite only working with them part-time as compared to Torres and Quinn. Perhaps that's because they've figured out how to use Reeves without the team feeling too crowded, although he and Bishop do work well together, and that's something that the show should continue to take advantage of moving forward. As long as that continues, it should all work.
 

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(Image courtesy of CBS)