This season is so awesomely, wonderfully good, it boggles my mind. Last season had been dreadful, season before that, mediocre. Now, they're back to the top form, best since season two, if not best ever.
All the crime shows are difficult to pull of after a while, there's only so much you can do with making the Case of the Week interesting and novel. Once in a while you can fuck with the format of the series and pull it off splendidly (CSI had some great episodes of that, for example, the Lab Rats last season was brilliant), but you can only do that a few times. In your third, fifth, or ninth season, you really have to rely on the characters.
And NCIS fucked that up last season, in my opinion, making some abysmally weird character choices (even Tony was annoying me. I love Tony, how could he annoy me?), but this season? Every damn character gets a moment to shine, and yet it doesn't feel forced. The ensemble works like a damn good piece of music; they keep working each other up, and annoying each other, and making fun of each other, but you see the love and trust and how good a family they are (also something that I love about My Good Boyfriend Show: CSI:NY). And it's so amazingly funny, the dialogue flies and oh my, Tony and Ziva and McGee worked up a fantastic banter camaraderie, I'm loving it. (I also love the shows where everyone makes fun of everyone regularly but it's never mean spirited: How I Met Your Mother, for example, or again, CSI:NY)
I was on the verge of giving it up this season, to be honest. God, that would have been stupid.