NCIS: New Orleans – Sic Semper Tyranis!

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The second season of NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, Tuesdays, 9/8C) gets underway with a bang when a convoy transporting a missile is bombed on a New Orleans bridge, killing two young marines.

Sic Semper Tyranis opens with LaSalle (Lucas Black) and Brody (Zoe McLellan) giving new agent Sonya Percy (Shalita Grant) the typical newbie treatment – designating her NFG – when the news of the bombing comes, along the report of the marines’ deaths.

Percy is introduced to Dwayne Pride’s (Scott Bakula) unique management style (‘Go. Learn stuff.’) and they head out to the site of the attack. Meanwhile, Dr. Wade (CCH Pounder) and Sebastian (Rob Kerkovich) are doing the same at the morgue.

Between the team, computer tech Patton Plame (Daryl Mitchell) and Percy’s ATF connections, they learn that New Orleans is home to a migration of militia types from all over the country – joining to follow a leader who calls himself The Father. Their ultimate aim? To create coordinated attacks to destabilize the financial world and turn the populace against the government.

Written by Jeffrey Lieber and directed by James Whitmore Jr., Sic Semper Tyranis is a solid episode that introduces an interesting concept regarding the birth of political movements and a nicely paced ride that allows ATF transfer Percy to learn the ropes in her new position, while allowing each of the returning regulars to have a few good character moments, too.

Like the franchise’s mothership, NCIS: NOLA does a specific kind of procedural that works more because of the characters (and the actors playing them) than because of the plotting.

Here, we get to see that Pride has taken a major step in his personal life – a step that leads to a cool guest appearance of Dr. John (they’re in New Orleans – it would be incredibly stupid of them not to avail themselves of everything it has to offer).

Pride, LaSalle, Brody and Plame have become a team that works like the proverbial Swiss watch and it’s good to see them breaking in a new team member. Percy needs to unlearn some of the stuff that worked for her while she was at ATF and it’s fun to watch her putting that together – just as it’s fun to watch her learning to handle some of her new team’s tech.

NCIS: NOLA may not be breaking much in the way of new ground, but it takes a fresh turn on the familiar by being in a unique setting and featuring a mix of characters who thrive in the local atmosphere and characters who have to adjust to it. The second premiere is dependably entertaining and makes for a cool counterpart to the original.

Final Grade: B