Season 4 is yet another in which skilled actors and a too-small staff of versatile writers are sometimes defeated by the producers' unwillingness or inability to obtain and spend the money that would make this series as good as it could and should be. Much of each episode consists of exciting, intelligent and deeply felt action and dialog. For example, scenes in the FBI offices and the Russian Embassy are wonderfully realistic and fascinating. But often they're followed by boring or disgusting, needlessly drawn out sequences in which characters stare morosely at each other, drive around slowly, vomit, hit others dozens of times, etc., far beyond what is necessary to make the scene's dramatic point and move the plot forward. The actors, all of whom are excellent, do their best with this intermittently thin material. But the result for viewers is a dispiriting see-saw between riveting drama and soporific filler created to feed the network the agreed upon number of viewing minutes in time for next week's episode. Once the season is on DVD, deadlines don't matter. But they do when the show is first broadcast. Quality suffers and scripts become uneven because a too small staff of writers constantly has to choose quantity over quality and deliver a set number of pages each week, regardless of how badly the weak scenes overshadow and tarnish the truly beautiful, exciting and memorable ones. Bottom line: This is a management problem; the staff is top-notch. Give them the headcount and financial support they need to consistently deliver the great shows they're clearly capable of.