Review: NCIS: New Orleans 'Dead Man Calling'
5.0Overall Score

Warning: Post contains minor spoilers

NCIS: New Orleans” season 4 has been on a role, and “Dead Man Calling” arrives as one of the best in the entire series. As “Dead Man Calling” opens, a ghost tour walks through the French Quarter. The leader of the tour recalls the story of Confederate sailor Cornelius LaRue who plummeted to death on All Saint’s Eve in the late 1800s. Right on cue, a Navy sailor Jacob Anderson plunges to his death on the sidewalk.

Shortly thereafter, the NCIS New Orleans team arrives. Tammy Gregorio (Vanessa Ferlito) informs Special Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula) that Anderson arrived in town three days prior on emergency lead. Early on, Chris LaSalle (Lucas Black) speculates that Anderson and LaRue may have both been pushed from the same rooftop, adding that LaRue’s ghost still roams the streets of New Orleans.

From the onset, the supernatural vibe is strong, and this continues when a supposed medium, Otis (Will Brill) appears claiming to channel a connection with Anderson. Meanwhile, the PerSalle situation comes to a head. “What’s with them?” Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder) queries. “Not sure,” Pride responds. “But whatever it is, not getting any better.”

Observations:

The macabre themes of “NCIS: New Orleans” episode “Dead Man Calling” are delightfully campy. Throughout the show, theremin music punctuates the score. While investigating the rooftop crime scene, Sebastian Lund (Rob Kerkovich) and Pride suddenly hear the “Twilight Zone” theme song. “Ok, tell me you hear that too,” Sebastian tells Pride.

During “Dead Man Calling,” Sebastian really shines. While reviewing photos of a seance found at the Anderson household, Sebastian states, “Don’t get me wrong, I love ‘The Haunting,’ I love ‘Poltergeist.’ The originals I mean, not the remakes. I mean, you guys wanna talk about quacks? They’re not good movies…” His regular pop culture references and genuine enthusiasm are delightful.

One of the top scenes comes when the NCIS New Orleans crew raids a haunted mansion in search of Otis. Gregorio reveals that she’s afraid of ghosts. “Don’t worry, it’s alright, I’ve got my proton pack,” Sebastian reassures Gregorio. When she doesn’t reply, he responds “It’s from ‘Ghostbusters’.” The set design and lighting are incredible, and the camera work masterful. “Cliche, but cool” Sebastian states of a zombie playing a piano in the haunted house. Indeed, it’s an apt description.

The PerSalle sub plot advances, with Percy and LaSalle openly discussing their relationship. Moreover, it’s acknowledged by other members of the team, such as Pride and Loretta. I really enjoyed Gregorio’s superstitious streak. As she revealed earlier in the series, she’s Catholic, and this fear of ghosts and the supernatural stems directly from that. There’s a riotously funny moment when she begins praying to ward off malevolent spirits.

Again, there’s still too little CCH Pounder. However, Loretta does benefit from more screen time during “Dead Man Calling” than in “The Asset.” But Pounder could definitely grace the show more. Ultimately, this might be my favorite episode of “NCIS: New Orleans” to date. Every element, from score to acting and set design is fantastic. It’s fun, campy, and creepy.