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USA Network offers ‘Mark Madness’ as alternative to ‘March Madness’

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Do you suffer from bracketology breakdown, also known as basketball overload? Are you confused and mumbling “Sweet 16,” Elite Eight, and “Gotta get to the Final Four?” If you are, you could have a severe case of “March Madness.” If you’re saying out loud to the neighbors, “I can’t take another day of the NCAA Division 1 play!” then cue the voiceover guy: “In a world...where the Sweet Sixteen leads to the Elite Eight, in search of the Final Four, there’s only one man who can make things right: Leroy Jethro Gibbs."

For your official antidote to those infected with the “Wilson fever,” your day of rest and relaxation, Sat., March 29, 2014 has been officially restored by the USA Network. That’s right, the USA Network, brings you “Mark Madness” today! That’s nine consecutive hours of Mark Harmon as their cure to your programming woes because there’s only one thing on CBS, TNT, TBS, and TRU—NCAA basketball.

Yes, Mark can restore Harmon-y to your home. Gibbs will fix this; you just have to give him a chance. Maybe an hour or two will help soothe your psyche, balance your chakras, and give you back your weekend joy. It’s a full run of consecutive episodes, which lends itself to being a complete couch potato all day long. Here’s what you’ll see if you tune in to USA Network today (all times noted are EST):

  • 11:00 AM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) IN THE ZONE
  • 12:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) RECOIL
  • 01:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) ABOUT FACE
  • 02:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) LAST MAN STANDING
  • 03:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) AGENT AFLOAT
  • 04:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) CAPITOL OFFENSE
  • 05:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) HEARTLAND
  • 06:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) NINE LIVES
  • 07:00 PM NCIS (MARK MADNESS MARATHON) COLLATERAL DAMAGE

If you want a quick reminder about each episode, here’s your unofficial NCIS guide to help; episode guide facts credited to IMDB with collateral enthusiastic commentary (mine) added for flavor.

In the Zone (Season 5, Episode 15, April 29, 2008)
Tony and Jardine (the germophobic NCIS agent) go to Iraq to investigate the death of USMC reserve captain John Rankin.

Recoil (Season 5, Episode 16, May 6, 2008)
Ziva is undercover to trap a Marine who’s a serial killer of women and winds up shooting him, but the team is uncertain whether the killing has stopped. A rare episode where we see Ziva doubting herself.

About Face (Season 5, Episode 17, May 13, 2008)
An episode for those who love Jimmy Palmer’s character. Remember when he is the only witness to a shooting and he’s trying to remember the name on the passport? A special side of Leon Vance is seen as he shows patience towards Palmer; Abby and McGee try other methods of helping him remember!

Last Man Standing (Season 6, Episode 1, Sept. 23, 2008)
Exciting season opener when Vance breaks up Gibbs team, shuts down Mossad liaison position, sends McGee over to the cybercrimes warehouse, and puts DiNozzo underwater as agent afloat on the USS Seahawk. Vance assigns new Special Agents to Gibbs: Michelle Lee, Brent Langer, and Daniel Keating. Trivia time, Brent Langer is portrayed by Aussie actor Jonathan LaPaglia (yes, Anthony’s brother) and Keating is portrayed by Jonathan Mangum, before he got the gig of his lifetime with Wayne Brady on “Let’s Make a Deal.” So have fun watching Mangum as Keating and then think of him singing and dancing and cutting up with Brady. Great actors abound on the NCIS set, even if they’re short-timers.

Agent Afloat (Season 6, Episode 2, Sept. 30, 2008)
Just a few words will bring this one back: Gibbs is waiting on DiNozzo’s time aboard the Seahawk to be over when Lt. Chad Evans has jumped ship, and is later found dead, as is Evans’ wife, and there’s evidence Evans has been talking with a foreign country about an anthrax antibiotic. Think of it as “Gibbs on the sea with Tony and the team.”

Capitol Offense (Season 6, Episode 3, Oct. 7, 2008)
Remember sleazy Senator Pat Kiley, who calls upon his old friend Gibbs to investigate the death of a bright young woman, a USN legislative attache, who was murdered. The murder is sort of a problem as there’s this really important energy bill the senator is trying to get passed. Who ya gonna call? Gibbs. But be careful, because he’ll always find the truth.

Heartland (Season 6, Episode 4, Oct. 14, 2008)
Stillwater, Pennsylvania, the hometown of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, is seen for the first time, as a marine is murdered. The excited anticipation with which the team meets Jackson Gibbs (Ralph Waite) alone is worth the watch. The tremendous father-son emotive dynamics in words, spoken and unspoken, fills volumes. Viewers also get to see Sean Thomas Harmon as young Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Sean does an excellent job in his first of six appearances (so far) as Gibbs the younger.

Nine Lives (Season 6, Episode 5, Oct. 21, 2008)
You’ll get to see FBI agent Tobias Fornell in this one as Marine lance corporal Lance Brewer’s body is found in his garage, discovered by a neighbor. Fingerprints found at the scene implicate one of Fornell’s prize witnesses against a drug lord. Dead bodies galore and great Gibbs-Fornell dialogue.

Collateral Damage (Season 6, Episode 7, Nov. 11, 2008)
One of the most fun episodes as Gibbs, who does not like to be assigned interns, is assigned by Vance to evaluate an intern, Dwayne Wilson. Now, remember the robbery of a bank at Quantico? Remember Wilson’s contributions to solving the case? You see a little of the softer side of Gibbs, inasmuch as he permits. He is, after all, Gibbs.

Thanks to the creative Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill for the vision, and Gary Glasberg for developing and staying true to the vision for more than 250 episodes of NCIS to choose from in filling out the “Mark Madness” bracket today, and for USA Network programming wizards who just knew how to cure what ails those who suffer from bracketology breakdown. Not sure, but could be that Warren Buffett might even be offering a big prize for those who know every episode by heart. Could just be wishful thinking. Nevertheless, Leroy Jethro Gibbs is on the job and thanks to Mark Harmon, he’ll be there next Tuesday as well. Happy viewing!

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