#10: NCIS season 6
This year started on a big note with the main team disbanded and Gibbs having to handle a trio of replacements while the original team was scattered about. Just as fans were expecting some different cast members, one member was killed, the other two transferred and by episode 3, the original team was together again. Instead of being a cheat, it felt fun and promoted Rocky Carroll to regular, as Vance also sparked things up with his clashes with Gibbs. Speaking of clashes, seeing the NCIS team tangle with the CIA, FBI, and other agencies was good for some drama.
There was also the introduction of Ralph Waite as Gibbs’ father, explaining a lot of questions about how the man turned out. There’s was a thrilling two-parter involving a mole hunt and the introduction of the NCIS: Los Angeles team, which alone made this a big year. Each member of the team got a great spotlight, including a story about Ducky’s past and Vance took more command. The cliffhanger of Ziva being held captive may have been harrowing, but it was a good topper to a year of big changes and events for the show.
#9: NCIS season 4
Season 4 wasn’t a bad season, but it felt a bit off as it began with Gibbs retired in Mexico when Ziva (falsely accused of treason) raced for his help. Obviously, the retirement didn’t last long but Tony showed his stuff by taking over as team leader and was even offered a job with his own team. The annual Halloween episode was marked by Abby’s famous Marilyn Monroe outfit and McGee had to clear his sister of murder. There was also the great revelation that McGee was secretly writing espionage thrillers and Ducky went undercover for a terrorist auction.
The overall arc of the season was hunting Armand Assante’s René Benoit while Tony got a girlfriend. There was a heartbreaking farewell for popular recurring character Paula Cassidy, who sacrificed herself to save the team from a bomb. The season ended with a unique cliffhanger revealing Tony had been romancing Benoit’s daughter. The the season was bit quieter after so much action, it can be seen as more of a setup for the bigger action of season 5.