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Review: NCISLA “Iron Curtain Rising” (S5E11)


The question for Deeks fans in this episode is how the Detective will carry on his mission within the agency without his beloved partner by his side. Kensi has been secretly snatched away on an undercover assignment branded the White Ghost. Deeks has to find ways to adapt and adjust to working alone and he seems lost without Kensi and not doing too well on his own. The team isn’t helping either.

Lost your favorite chew toy??

I’m enjoying the new and approved (and don’t forget appreciative) Sam Hanna. Finally, someone is thinking about Deeks and his feelings within the team. I think Callen, on the other hand, is a bit jealous. He loved listening to Sam rag on Deeks for the last five year and now he’s almost resentful of Sam’s attention to Deeks. Well, it’s human nature, and we’ve all been there, but I guess I expected a bit more maturity from the team’s leader.

Jaffe and Wharmby bring to screen the story of a former Romanian Communist leader and war criminal who disappears abruptly before he and can be brought to justice by his country. Anton Zevlos dealt in human trafficking rings, primarily with children and babies who were used as organ donors. Nice guy. Now he is living in Los Angeles and doing a pretty good job of evading the authorities. The team has been sent to lend their expertise in the search.

Well for starters, I could have my partner back.

Meanwhile at a location half way around the world, Kensi reports into a new Red Team who has no idea why she is there. Looks like Kensi is not the only one feeling out of place. We get our first look at the new tech operator who will be joining the team as well. Back at the Mission, Deeks looks like a lost puppy dog as he admits to Hetty he is lost without his partner. Not only is he lost but now he is blaming himself for Kensi’s dangerous reassignment and offers to leave so Kensi can return to the fold. I don’t know about you, but my heart broke for the man.

Grumpy much?

The team’s search leads them to Zevlos’ lawyer who may be playing games and helping the war criminal in his escape. How much did she know about her client? Deeks gets the job of interrogating her and puts on his lawyer face. Deeks’ discontent is evident in his dealing with Shear, no fooling around. Deeks is all business. This gives us an insight at how Deeks may have cross examined people in a court room.

The side story continues as Granger makes his entrance and finally Kensi gets some answers as to her top secret mission… White Ghost. Kensi has to track down and kill a possible Taliban sympathizer, maybe a rouge American contractor. Back in LA, Zevlos keeps evading the team as he makes his way to an escape route and SecNav has mysteriously taken the team off the case. This doesn’t sit well with the three musketeers, and you know they are going to keep working the case despite Hetty’s orders.

Feel free to use your flotation device…

Deeks dressed up as a flight attendant! Merry Christmas to me! I think he would make a great attendant, delivering drinks, disarming passengers! Callen and his flight crew get the CIA agent to talk about his association with Zevlos despite Deeks’ trepidation regarding Callen and Sam’s ability to fly the plane. (I’ll let you guys work that out.  I’m just going to go ahead and leave my chute on!)

It becomes clear as to why Zevlos was let go by SecNav who would probably threaten to expose CIA assets around the world. The team is tenacious and discovers Zevlos and his lawyer trying to escape via yacht. As Sam takes the shot, the case is closed and the agents get the satisfaction of bring the war criminal to trial in his home country despite Hetty’s orders.(Hetty:  And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.) Hetty is not amused and she is afraid one of these days her agents are going to hang themselves. Let’s hope not… It’s watching these characters go against the grain which makes the show exciting and fun to watch even if they do get docked a day’s wages! It was a lot of fun as the Callen and Sam show finally became a threesome as Deeks is accepted into their elite partnership.

Kensi, not getting a whole lot of points towards Miss Congeniality by Granger, is finding her own set of challenges. We are left wondering where she will be headed next as she follows her new mission to its ending. And what can I say about the final scene? It was such a sweet moment between Kensi and Deeks as they stared at pictures of each other from so many miles away. It’s all they have of each other for now and if you have ever spent long times away from the person you love, you know how broken and sad the heart becomes and love is all you have to keep you going. It will have to be enough for now.

Memorable Moments

  • Hetty has a new toy! As Callen says she’s already in three places at once! This new robot is a bit scary!
  • I loved Deeks trying to explain why he knew what Louboutines were. Still trying to hide his relationship with Kensi but not doing a very good job. The look on his face when he was
    remembering that intimate experience was so sweet. Come on Deeks!  Admit it!
  • Fun to watch Nell being hit on by the CIA agent. Who knew she could look so seductive until she started talking about colitis!  LOL!
  • We’re learning new things all the time about our heroes! Callen and Sam are certified pilots!  Wow!

Kensi and Deeks Face to Face

Deeks (about Kensi): What?  My partner is a woman. Or at least she was. I mean she’s still a woman. Actually I’m not sure if she’s still a woman.  I’m sure she’s still….not that I know that from any sort of intimate experience. I’m just saying that she is not here with me.
Callen: We got it.

Classic Deeks

Deeks is obviously lost without Kensi as he tries to wheedle information from Nell and Eric as to her whereabouts. Poor guy must feel like the only one at the prom without a date.

We’re getting to see another facet of Deeks’ personality when he is disheartened and alone. He gets testy and the happy, fun loving Detective is gone. Very interesting to watch the personality change, don’t you think?

Classic Hetty and Deeks

Hetty: Mr. Deeks?
Deeks: Yes Hetty…Whoa, danger Will Robinson! What the hell is that?
Hetty: It’s advanced telepresence. It allows me to be in several places at once.  I’d like to see you in my office Mr. Deeks!

Deeks (to Hetty): Alright, I’m just going to ask you…is this because of me?  You sending her away like that is that because of me because if it is this is simple because I can just walk. You know, I’ll just go back to LAPD because you don’t have to punish Kensi for something that I did or something that you think that we did. So if there is a problem, I take full responsibility for that.

Hetty: Where’s the third blind mouse?

It’s that time of year, and I always look forward to the holiday episode which will be coming our way next week….Merry Evasion. Join us for this review and all the promos and pictures from the episode!


Title: “Iron Curtain Rising”
Writers: Jordana Lewis Jaffe
Director: Tony Wharmby
Original Air Date: December 10, 2013


Diane Volpe is Contributing Editor at Follow her on Twitter: @phillydi

About Diane (402 Articles)
Founder, Writer and Contributing Editor of wikiDeeks. Always wanted to put together a talented team of writers and graphic designers who loved NCISLA and Marty Deeks in particular! My dream came true! Hope you enjoy what we have created!

13 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Iron Curtain Rising” (S5E11)

  1. Great review Diane as always!

    I think this episode was the turning point of Deeks. Like you said, no more joyful, goofy detective. Embrace the new grumpy, moody version of Deeks. During the whole episode I was more interested in him rather than the case.
    I love it when he goes into lawyer mode.

    I really can’t understand Hetty at all. She know Deeks all too well. She knows he went through PTSD. She knows about his deep relationship with Kensi. She knows self blame come easy for him, but still she does nothing to comfort him.

    Not to mention her answer when Deeks asked wether she is in danger. “No more than usual.”
    Really????? She is half way across the world, in freaking Afghanistan, surrounded by Talibans, among strangers, assigned to kill a highly skilled terrorist….but don’t worry. She is not in any more danger.

    I was quite amused by the Sam/ Callen banter on the aiplane, although I instantly felt sorry for Deeks again as he seemed to be the third wheel.

    I don’t know what to say about the last scene. They nailed it. No words were actually spoken but their sad smiles just screamed! It was just perfect.

    Can’t wait for the Xmas episode and the big surprise!!!


    • Hi Evi and everyone on the site!
      Ok, so this is my first time posting about any show/characters and joining this site. I’ve been a fan of the show from day 1, but when Deeks entered the scene, that changed everything! The problem…none of my friends watch the show, so here I am. Need to talk NCISLA – Densi.

      Here is my take on Hetty. I think that Hetty is in kindly giving Deeks a dose of tough love. I say kindly because she really isn’t trying to be hard on him in a cruel manner. After all she hand-picked Deeks as Callen accused her of doing in the very beginning. Before she went off to Romania in Season 2 to stop the Comescus from going after Callen, she told both that they shouldn’t live their lives alone (Deeks in “Plan B” and Kensi in “Imposters”) as she regrets and all she has to show for it are antique weapons around her. She saw that Deeks was not only a good detective, but asked him to resign from LAPD and become an NCIS agent (“Imposters”). She saw their feelings develop. However, they need to remain focused in their line of work. When the team had to fool Kensi into thinking that Deeks lost his position as their Liaison, Kensi spoke to Hetty on how she was feeling. Hetty had to tell her that if she was feeling more for Deeks than him being a good partner, then maybe it was for the better that he was gone. To me it was more like saying if you can’t handle a personal life and this job, then it’s going to put you in grave danger. Remember too that Hetty made kensi give Deeks an envelope where she wrote “sunshine and gunpowder”. She gave Deeks her approval. Hetty at one time tried to set Callen up with another agent (I don’t remember the episode, but maybe in season 4).

      In “Unwritten Rule” Hetty asked Deeks about his heart/emotional center and I think she meant the thing with Kensi, not so much his PTSD. In “Frozen Lake” when Hetty spoke to Deeks about the knife Kensi gave him, Deeks repeated what Kensi said earlier…”sometimes a knife is just a knife”. Hetty wanted him to realize it was more than that. Hetty said “and she has entrusted it to you”, meaning that the knife was significant.

      Then in “Iron Curtain” when she called Deeks to her office, she first asked “How are you?” She was smirking as he was asking about Kensi. I also think that’s why Deeks smiled after she said “I think I have everything I need”. Deeks revealed a bit more about his feelings than he probably anticipated. She wants them together, but knows that they need to get through the tough times, because of the line of work they’re in. Think about it, one of them could be captured and used against the other (Sam and Michelle) and their lives would be in even more danger if they can’t focus. I think Hetty sees a whole lot of potential in Deeks. She’s just helping him along. Also, I don’t think it was her plan to send Kensi off by herself, it was Granger’s. I believe he saw how the team was reacting to Kensi and Deeks that morning after they spent the night together (the beginning of “Frozen Lake”). He was already on the second floor and probably saw what Hetty saw from a different angle when he asked Hetty “a penny for your thoughts?” after she observed the team going to ops. When Hetty offered the team as a QRF to help with the “White Ghost” case, Granger said to her “You have your hands full right here. It seems the years have made you kind”. In my opinion, he know something is up with Deeks and Kensi. He saw how Kensi reacted when they rescued Sam and Deeks after their torture and in the hospital. I think he wanted Kensi for her sniper skills on the White Ghost case and Hetty offered the team or maybe he was going to ask for the team, but changed his mind when he saw what was going on. She of course didn’t want Granger to think that she is favoring Deeks and Kensi’s relationship or Granger would do something about it. I think Hetty sent Kensi on that mission because Granger requested it and if she didn’t comply it would cause problems for all of them.


      • Welcome Angela to our site and I hope we hear from you more in the future. Great first post. Thanks to everyone else for your comments too… Love seeing you all here!


  2. This week’s ’NCIS:LA’ was the first in a long line of episodes where Deeks and Kensi are going to be separated due to Kensi portrayer Daniela Ruah’s pregnancy and upcoming maternity leave. I’m glad that the show is choosing to deal with the pregnancy in this manner and not write it into the show so this is just something all us “Densi” fans are going to have to deal with and get through. At least it seems that the powers that be at NCIS have learned their lesson from Tiva and aren’t dragging things out and stringing us fans along with Densi. It’s clear these two want and are ready to be together, they’ve just got to wait for Kensi’s classified mission/Ruah’s leave to be completed first.

    With all that being said it was fun to watch Deeks try to find his place on the team without Kensi. He was a bit of a lost puppy when the episode began and as always, Eric Christen Olsen brought great moments of humor to this show and made it clear why he’s my favorite character. Then he can turn on a dime and have Deeks talking to Hetty, trying to find out where his partner has been sent off to. It was heartbreaking to watch Deeks offer to quit and give up his job if it meant Kensi could come home. It’s clear where his feelings lie but Hetty’s not budging.

    On the flip side of things we have Kensi arriving in Afghanistan for her top secret assignment that she knows nothing about. Granger finally showed up to tell her she’s there to assassinate a civilian terrorist (possible American) and it’s hard not to think there is going to be more than meets the eye to this story line. I really enjoyed that we got to see the other side of NCIS agent life as Kensi adjusted to her new surroundings. It’s not a side we often get to see on these shows and I for one really enjoyed it.

    Of course that behind the scenes look gave all Densi fans an adorable end scene with Deeks and Kensi both looking at pictures of them together and wishing it were true. Knowing the characters would be separated I didn’t go into the episode expecting to see any scenes like this and it was a great surprise for this ’shipper!

    I’m a person who admittedly, mainly watches this show for the Deeks/Kensi relationship, so this season has been particularly satisfying for me. It’s inevitable in upcoming weeks with Ruah out that that element won’t be as strong, but the other characters have been doing a good enough job that I am sure I will be entertained sufficiently enough to stick around through her absence. The same cannot be said for the current season of NCIS where I noticeably miss Tiva and have stopped watching altogether.

    Join the discussion at ShowRatingsTV as well:


  3. Another excellent review, Di. You really touched on everything perfectly. I agree that Deeks did look like a lost puppy and not sure what to do with himself and Callen was certainly no help. I wonder now that Sam and Kensi are showing some love for Deeks that the writers are using Callen as the sandpaper that will rub us all all the wrong way. He hasn’t really been civil to Deeks since he came back. Not sure if he trusts him or if he’s just a little jealous as you suggested, Di. Whatever it is, it’s a new wrinkle in the inter-office relationships and possibly will have repercussions in the field.

    I do worry that constantly sending Deeks out alone without backup might lead to a dangerous situation for him. I was actually surprised by that, but it does show there is still some distance between him and the rest of the team. I did love his speech to Hetty about his willingness to sacrifice his own career for Kensi. That was so telling and I thought her response was rather cryptic and foreboding. I’m afraid she might take him up on that idea later in the season.

    Such a sweet, sweet scene at the end. Loved watching Kensi look at that picture of Deeks on the camel and that he was looking at the same picture as she was at the end gave us that connection we were craving. I actually loved the outfits Kensi was wearing in this episode. Even Granger looked kind of sexy in those clothes. Now that’s disturbing, cause I hate Granger.

    Great episode and excellent review.


  4. hahaha Sweet Lu *in a sing song voice* you like Granger!! just teasing! After reading your stories I have a hard time liking Granger, but I kind of do like him. He adds a level to the team that I think is needed.

    It was a bit of an awkward episode for me, I loved Deeks and the team interaction! but poor Deeks is a fish out of water right now and I am glad that the writers made him be a “capable” detective throughout the episode. Yes he was silly ( I died laughing when Hetty-bot snuck up behind him) but he didn’t screw up (at the expense of the plot.

    He needs a partner though and I hope he gets to work with Nell because I think they will be amusing together!! and the feels from Eric about the whole situation will be awesome!


  5. chrissyBJ1962 // December 11, 2013 at 9:31 AM // Reply

    Thank you Diane for this great review! :-))


  6. Carrie reminded me about that funny scene in Ops when Hetty-Bot snuck up on him and he practically fell over and shouting out lines from that old TV show “Lost in Space”…”Danger, danger, Will Robinson.” Laughed out loud at that one. Not sure anyone else got that reference though. That’s a very old show.


  7. FYI:
    “I loved Deeks trying to explain why he knew what Rubatones were”

    It’s actually Louboutins .. as in Christian Louboutin.


    • Thanks! It didn’t sound right except there are boots with that name and that’s what I thought they were talking about. I obviously don’t own a pair of Louboutins!


  8. Great review Di. It never occurred to me that Callen was jealous, so thanks for providing that theory. Something is certainly up with him. As Sweet Lu said, he has been even more aloof than usual towards Deeks this season. In that scene with Sam, I wanted to yell at him, “You may have saved Sam’s life 100 times, but how many of those involved having holes drilled in your mouth for hours?” You’d think he’d show a little more gratitude to Deeks for saving the man who, apart from Hetty, is really his only family. I don’t understand him. Sweet Lu, this is definitely not the Callen of your current story!

    The Sam-Deeks bromance, on the other hand, has been very consistent all season. In this episode I loved the little touches like Deeks trying to give Sam oxygen in the boathouse, and Sam checking on Deeks after the shoot-out at the end. Sam so far this year has been doing a great job of making up for his previous bad behavior towards Deeks and I’ve really appreciated that.

    Hetty, on the other hand, continues to frustrate me. I’m thinking that there was a specific reason Kensi was chosen for the mission, and that it wasn’t done as punishment. (Like many others, I’m assuming that the White Ghost is going to be Jack.) But if Hetty isn’t punishing anyone, why can’t she be more reassuring to Deeks? Why must she always give such cryptic answers? She has seemed cruel on so many occasions this year, which I find very disappointing since I’ve always loved her, and loved her relationship with Deeks.

    Speaking of love, I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Deeks more, but in that conversation with Hetty, his efforts to protect Kensi without hesitation, no matter the cost, really did make me fall in love with him a little more. Unlike Callen and Hetty, whom I haven’t understood most of the time this season, it’s wonderful to see Deeks behaving just as I would expect him to, proving that my faith in him is well placed.


  9. Excellent review, Diane! 😊 and to all the contributors, I am SO enjoying this site and everyone’s comments!
    I find it a bit disconcerting that Kensi is on a mission called ‘white ghost” and clearly, she is following in her Dad’s footsteps in “black ops”” with Granger who had worked with her Dad on his missions. In the episodes, “Blye, K”, when Kensi learned of her Dad’s role, she had a difficult time wrapping her head around the revelation. I think there is going to be some serious processing by Kensi, now that Granger informed her of her mission to kill the white ghost. And since these are top secret “classified” missions, how will this play out when she returns to the team and is not allowed to talk about it. This is also why Hetty is so tight lipped to the team especially to Deeks.
    And I agree, the best scene was when Deeks offered to “walk” in order to bring Kensi back to her team. *sigh* ….and double *sigh* at the last scene where they both were looking at the same photo of the team with Kensi cropping the photo…awwwww.


  10. Thanks for all the great comments and insights!


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