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'NCIS: New Orleans' series premiere recap: We are family

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Musician Heal Thyself” | Aired Sept 23, 2014

NCIS: New Orleans starts off with a great episode showing its characters’ emotional depth right off the bat. The episode opens with some guys at the dock hauling in shrimp. When they began to argue, they slam into a huge vat of shrimp that busts open and reveals our first disgusting body—or, rather, body part—of the series: It’s half of a leg and the boots are Navy-issue, so Agent Pride (Scott Bakula) and his crew are immediately called.

Pride, Brody (Zoe McLellan), LaSalle (Lucas Black), and Medical Examiner Loretta (C.C.H. Pounder) arrive on the scene to check out the leg and gather information. Pride comes in ready to identify “the catch of the day” and mockingly suggests one of the possible suspects could be a “mutant starfish from hell.” They determine that it was a single blade and not done by a boat propeller. We also learn that Brody is having a hard time sleeping in a city like New Orleans, which never sleeps. LaSalle offers to help her find a place, but she is resistant to the idea.

Pride returns to the office to have a friend, Officer Lee, stop by and let him know that Navy sailor Calvin Barks is MIA. Pride mentored Calvin, and Pride begins to get a sneaking suspicion that the leg could belong to the young man. He contacts Loretta to see if they can get a body type by the size of the foot. She tells him they can, and the description perfectly fits Calvin. Pride looks at a photo of himself and Calvin on his phone, and we know they were close.

Pride heads out to talk to Papa Parks (James McDaniel), who plays at a jazz club. He says there are only two things he ever loved in this life: Calvin and jazz. He holds on tight to one and prays he hasn’t lost the other. Pride receives a phone call letting him know that the rest of the body has been found and identified as Calvin Barks.

Brody and LaSalle come into the office where Pride has been staying. He fixes them breakfast, but is reluctant to talk about why he is sleeping above the office. They have recovered Calvin’s laptop and sent it off to be hacked so they can sort through his files. LaSalle offers to let Pride sit this case out, but he insists on going to the morgue and handling it himself.

Brody and LaSalle head to the docks and talk to Calvin’s boss. The boss says that Calvin was a hard worker, but “old habits die hard,” and informs them that Calvin left with some local “bangers.” LaSalle, in his hazing manner, explains to Brody that a banger is a gang member. Brody, having come from an interrogation squad in Detroit, lets LaSalle know she is well aware of what a banger is. 

During her examination, Loretta finds a tooth, a second bicuspid, from the right side. They also discover a new Delta Crew gang tattoo on Calvin. LaSalle heads to check out the Delta Crew, while Brody and Pride go to check out the rival gang, the 113s. LaSalle talks with Naomi, a bartender at the Delta Crew’s bar of choice; then she is seen doing a drive-by shooting at a 113s member’s house while Brody and Pride are talking to them.

Councilman Hamilton (Steven Weber) visits the crew at their office and discusses the anti-gang task force he is creating. It is immediately obvious that Pride and Hamilton do not see eye-to-eye. They have differing views on who killed Calvin, and Pride refuses to believe that Calvin returned to that world. Pride then goes to the morgue to talk to Loretta, and we learn how he first met Calvin. He caught Calvin robbing his house, but he saw something good in him and pulled him out of the gang world.

After sifting through the computer, Brody and LaSalle find a lot of numbers in an email. They go on to discover that the numbers represent items that are being received from Guatemala at the wharf. They discover that the weight of the cargoes are going down between when they leave Guatemala and when the Navy receives them. They believe Calvin was either in on it or discovered the smuggling, which got him killed. LaSalle also offers to help Brody find a place, but she says she likes to keep her work life and private life separate. LaSalle replies that “it’s not that way around here; we’re a family.”

Meanwhile, at the morgue, Loretta begins to notice that Calvin’s tattoo is fading. She discovers, with the help of Ducky (David McCallum), that the tattoo was applied after Calvin was killed, which means someone was trying to make this seem like a gang murder.

The team discovers who bought the tattoo ink, which leads them to the tattoo artist’s house, where they find him murdered. He’s not missing a tooth, though, which means he didn’t kill Calvin. They head to the wharf to talk with Calvin’s boss, who is very quick to accept that goods were being smuggled—then takes off running. During the interrogation, Brody and Pride reveal that the boss has only been in New Orleans for two years, so he couldn’t have known about Calvin’s past gang affiliations. He refuses to reveal who is behind the murder.

Pride goes to see Hamilton at the courthouse and says what we were all thinking: This guy is up to no good. Pride doesn’t have the evidence, but he knows Hamilton is involved in Calvin’s death. Pride says, “See you around my city.” Hamilton replies, “Your city?” to which Pride answers, “Don’t you ever forget it.” He walks away whistling “When the Saints Come Marching In.”

The episode ends with the continuing theme that these characters are a family. The whole group is in the jazz bar, and Brody lets LaSalle help her find a place. She’s renting Loretta’s guest cottage, but isn’t aware of who her landlady is yet. Pride expresses how proud he was of Calvin, then sits in with the band and rocks the piano.  

Things to look for going forward:

  • Brody and LaSalle have a bit of a flirty relationship. I wonder if that will go anywhere?
  • The first episode really shows us what a big heart Pride has, and that he cares for others.
  • The continuing storyline with Councilman Hamilton will prove to be interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

NCIS: New Orleans, rated TV-PG, airs Tuesdays at 9/8C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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