“Gone Fission” – The death of an American seaman on a U.S. nuclear submarine during an AUKUS ceremony on Sydney Harbour is investigated in a joint effort between America’s NCIS agents afloat and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), on the series premiere of the CBS Original series NCIS: SYDNEY, Tuesday, Nov. 14 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs)*. Todd Lasance as AFP Liaison Officer Sergeant Jim  'JD' Dempsey and Olivia Swann as NCIS Special Agent Captain Michelle Mackey in NCIS: Sydney episode 1, season 1. PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Asher Smith/Paramount+   

NCIS Sydney Season 1 Episode 1 Review: “Gone Fission”

NCIS: Sydney Season 1 Episode 1, “Gone Fission,” introduces a whole new cast of characters into this beloved franchise. Taking its show on the road, The NCIS team finds themselves in Sydney, Australia. Michelle (Olivia Swann) and JD (Todd Lasance) are immediately fun to follow as protagonists. This opens up a whole new set of possibilities and unlocks new characters to love. 

Immediately, the premiere episode leans into the buddy cop genre, as expected. This franchise has this formula down to an art at this point, so it makes sense that it would be able to translate this to a new team in a new country. The episode effectively combines silly stakes with characters who take their job very seriously. This makes for an enjoyable hour of television, watching these fictional cops get to know each other. 

The premiere effectively begins establishing team dynamics, which makes it very watchable. This doesn’t have to be a complicated story to be engaging on a lot of levels. Watching the characters interact is a fun way to comment on the cultural differences that exist in Australian and American cultures. The story leans into its own silliness to make this point, which makes sense given the context. 

NCIS: Sydney Season 1 Episode 1, “Gone Fission,” also captures the territorial disputes that naturally come when two jurisdictions come together. This episode does well to establish each character and how they see themselves in their respective teams. This is important, as it lays out the conflict that each of them will face as they work together. Additionally, this establishes the personal stakes that will exist in the team, which makes them easier to root for. 

Unfortunately, like most procedural cop shows, this episode does a poor job of capturing the nuance in political ideology. The fact that the episode so willingly makes villains out of those protesting nuclear-powered submarines is troubling, to say the least. There’s a missed opportunity here to show this kind of discussion in all of the complexity it deserves. While this wouldn’t be the norm for a procedural like this, there’s still a chance for this series to do something different. 

Finally, as a pilot, this does what all good premieres do. The team is introduced, and the stakes are set. While the main partnership already has a lot to love as they unpack their cultural differences, this ensemble shows a lot of promise. In particular, Blue (Mavournee Hazel) shows promise and could very well be the emotional core of this series going forward. Each member of the ensemble has already shown promise in the opening moments of this story. 

NCIS: Sydney is off to a strong start for fans of the genre and the franchise. While there is every indication that this will stick to a well-established and well-loved formula, there is the chance that this series will be something new entirely. There is much yet to be written. These characters and these stories are just starting out. 

Waves of Stray Thoughts:

-Can someone with knowledge advise…are US service personnel able to wear massive beards? It’s groomed, but still. 

-Additionally, the serviceman whose death the episode revolves around…would he have been able to appear in such a state?

-This writer isn’t sure if the comment about Australian POWs is true, but it’s still a sweet sentiment.

NCIS: Sydney airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

Leave a Reply