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How Marty Deeks Got Me To Give NCISLA a Second Chance

Ok you got me. I’ll admit it. Before this past summer, I had seen very few episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. I actually started watching the show when it first started. I was a big fan of the original NCIS, but I found I could never really get into its spinoff. There was nothing on the new one that seemed to really grab me and stay with me, and unfortunately it seemed to fall by the wayside as I had so many other shows to watch. Then, this summer, when news of Cote de Pablo’s departure on NCIS broke, I, like many other fans, feared the worst for Tiva, a couple I had faithfully ‘shipped for many many seasons. I worried there was no way that NCIS was going to be able to hold my interest when so many other shows were making power plays for it. I mean, without Tiva, did I really care about NCIS all that much? After all, ultimately I’m a girl who always needs/wants a romance on the shows I watch and a couple I can really root for to succeed. I knew without Ziva, NCIS just wasn’t going to have that key element, and I sought to fill the Tiva sized hole her exit left in its wake. I noticed that USA was showing re-runs of NCIS: Los Angeles on a more regular basis over the summer, and I had heard rumors and read many a TV article talking about a great couple to root for: Deeks and Kensi. I decided that the summer hiatus was the perfect time to check this couple out for myself. So, I started DVR-ing episodes on USA to catch up along with the weekly re-runs shown by CBS throughout the summer, and I found myself getting completely sucked into the L.A. world by Deeks and Kensi.

They definitely share some traits with Tiva, and it’s easy for one to recognize the similarities: they are partners, he’s the goofy one, she is more straight laced and let’s face it bad ass. But I didn’t feel like I was watching Tiva 2.0 or a Tiva clone by any means. To this I credit Daniela Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen. These two completely make the characters their own and have a wonderful dynamic (on and off screen) that really comes through to the viewer which adds a special touch.

I by no means want to downplay the role Kensi has had in my interest in NCIS: Los Angeles or Ruah’s portrayal of her. I really enjoy her character and Ruah, as an actress, does a wonderful job with the character each week. But alas, this is a Deeks fan site, and so I must stress how his character was the one to really send things over the top for me and really brought me over, whole heartedly, into the NCIS: Los Angeles world.

I have enjoyed ECO’s work in the past, especially during his several guest episodes on NBC’s Community where he hilariously portrayed Vaughn in the show’s first season. It’s clear that he is a great comedic actor and highly skilled in that area. When looking for TV shows to watch, especially when it comes to procedurals, I find I tend to enjoy ones that bring an element of comedy into the fold and balance out the seriousness of the cases at hand. This is exactly what Deeks does for NCIS: Los Angeles.

It’s a very fine line to walk for a character on such a show. You cannot have them be too much of a goof or the viewer isn’t going to take them seriously as a cop or field agent. It’s not an easy feat to make the viewer believe a guy is capable of making us laugh one minute and then totally switching gears and being all bad ass agent the next. Not only that, Kensi is a tough woman and stellar agent. For her to accept someone as her partner and trust that guy, he’s got to be top notch. So, while you want to see the comedy element, it can’t be too over the top. It’s a fine line indeed, but one that Deeks walks perfectly.

I found that in no time I was catching up with episodes and completely hooked! The Densi kiss at the end of the Season 4 finale sealed my fate (along with Densi’s)… I was a full out NCIS: Los Angeles fan and complete Densi ‘shipper! I found myself eagerly awaiting Season 5 and how they were going to have this all play out. I think it’s safe to say that they have not disappointed!

As a Densi fan, their relationship has been great to watch unfold and progress, and it’s completely fulfilling and exceeding any hole I thought I may have had from Tiva being done. It seems that the NCIS powers-that-be have definitely learned their lessons and saw the mistakes made with Tiva (i.e. dragging things out way too long and expecting fans to just keep being patient and satisfied with a look here, a hug there…) and Densi is reaping all the benefits!

What I was even more excited to see in Season 5, though, was another side of Deeks. The torture he endured at the end of season four was bound to leave him with some lasting effects. I was excited that the show didn’t just gloss over it all and we got to see Deeks deal with his PTSD and work to get back to “normal.” It added another layer to the Deeks “onion” and gave ECO a chance to really show his range and depth as an actor. It was a challenge I think we can all say he seemingly met with great ease.

At the end of the day, I just want to say a big thank you to Deeks. I like to think that since I watch a lot of TV, I can pretty easily tell whether or not I’m going to like a show after one or two, but definitely three viewings. Once I’ve deemed it as a “thumbs down” I’m not usually coming back to it and trying again a couple seasons down the road. As it turns out, NCIS: Los Angeles was an exception to this rule.

I really tried to like it in the beginning. I really did I swear. Being a NCIS fan I figured this would just be ‘NCIS – Take 2’ but found myself running away as fast as I could and not thinking twice. However, that was BD, Before Deeks. Enter Marty Deeks in Season 2 and all has changed for me. He forced me to take a much deserved second look at this show and I fell for him hook, line and sinker! Now I can’t imagine my weekly lineup without Deeks, Densi and the rest of the NCIS: Los Angeles gang! I can’t wait to see how the 2nd half of Season 5 shapes up and for that, in the words of Hetty: “Thank you Mr. Deeks, that’ll be all.”

Bridget Liszewski is a staff writer for Show Ratings TV. You can check out her NCISLA reviews HERE.

About Bridget Liszewski (7 Articles)
Bridget Liszewski can be found on Twitter at @BridgetOnTV.

20 Comments on How Marty Deeks Got Me To Give NCISLA a Second Chance

  1. after this its time admit me too, that from the first season the only ep i watch is this with deeks “hand to hand”lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My story was a bit similar. I too loved NCIS, but was worried about a spinoff – having dismissed that NCIS is already a spinoff. I was keenly exited for LA specifically because of Chris O’Donnell & LL Cool J! I also really connected with Kensi being a young, but tough agent. Yet, season 1 just didn’t click with me, so I quickly clicked it off.

    My BFF came to me early in season 2 and suggested I give it another try. Because we have quite similar tastes in entertainment, I gave it a hesitant try. My goodness all those cast changes had done the trick! However, I am ashamed to admit my initial response to Deeks was “Get a haircut & shave!” (Oh, how very, very wrong I was!) In lightning-fast speed, NCISLA launched to the top of my TiVo Season Pass Manager! That weekly entertainment has now turned into something much more!


    • Thanks Gayle! Glad you enjoyed it. This was my first time writing this sort of article but I had a lot of fun with it. We definitely seem to have been led down similar paths when it comes to NCIS:LA that’s for sure. Your BFF was spot on! Does she have any more suggestions? haha


  3. tina lammert // December 16, 2013 at 7:39 AM // Reply

    saw some of season one cat say thevpartner dynamics was great. season 2 deeks arrived to partner kensi dynamics changed brilliant.. then well paired with Eric brilliant Sam and G always brilliant. do u think i think the partnerships are brilliant lol :-):-):-):-)


    • Yea they’ve got great partner dynamics on the show, whether it be Sam/G, Deeks/Kensi or Eric/Nell. That’s why it’ll be interesting to see how this break between Deeks and Kensi works out!


  4. I am sort of the opposite. I didn’t like any crime procedural shows and I had tons of people trying to convince me to give these shows a try. I started watching the Season finale of S2 when they were showing as a re-run that summer. Hubby and I were bored and decided to watch the show. I admittedly knew that Chris O’Donnell was on it (and who doesn’t love him from The Three Musketeers) and my husband was a huge fan of LL Cool J. Well it took all of like two seconds.. Hello Eric Christian Olsen… (I think it was the hair that got me first). I was hooked from then on.

    I often miss out on the reruns, but I have managed to watch a huge chunk of the first season, though have not seen either of Deek’s season one episodes. I have seen a large portion of season 2 as well.

    My NCIS addiction didn’t start until the summer before S10… I taped every episode rerun over that summer and managed to read up on what happened every single episode. I didn’t love Tiva and I didn’t overly love the character of Ziva… I am looking forward to the new agent Ellie Bishop. Her addition seems to have smartened Tony up again and I LOVE LOVE LOVE a competent, gorgeous and silly Tony.


  5. I totally understand where you are coming from regarding the Deeks character. I have watched every episode of the show from its inception but I had the “meh” feeling about it until Eric Christian Olsen came on the scene. “Stuck…smitten”–Callan could have been describing me as well as Kensi. He made the show come alive for me. While I continue to love the “mother ship,” NCISLA is by far my favorite and, in large part it’s due to Olsen and the Densi dynamic.

    Being a police officer, I love the humor Deeks brings to the fold. His cheeky responses are so like mine and so many other officers I know. The writers are spot on in that sense. I also enjoy the things the writers do that captures the way law enforcement types (both local and feds) act towards each other. Episode 5-1 is an example. Years ago my partner and I were run down by a robbery suspect (he’s still in the pen for that assault), and I sustained a serious jaw injury when I was hit in the face with the open car door. When I returned to work I was greeted with prosthetic teeth and a bunch of jokes about jaw injuries. My first “choir practice” after the injury I said similar things as Deeks said to Sam and Callan. The dialogue they give Deeks just rings true and makes me ‘ship the character even more than I already had.

    Yep, as stated before, like Kensi, I am “stuck/smitten” with Deeks.


    • Glad you enjoyed my article! I appreciate the comments and love hearing your real-world experience. It’s always great to hear that the writers are “getting it right” and staying true to how things happen in the real world. Makes me enjoy the show even more having heard your stories!


  6. I had a similar experience, although I have never watched NCIS. I tried NCISLA because of Linda Hunt and because of Chris O’Donnell. I wasn’t a die hard fan from the beginning and was losing interest until they brought in Deeks. I did love his scenes in Hand to Hand, but thought he was annoying in that scene in the boat shed after everyone knew he was an undercover cop, but I think we were supposed to be as annoyed as much as the rest of the team. It was that last scene in Fame that hooked me, where he said “Don’t worry Fern, I’ll be back” and in that instant I sincerely wished he would be. The premiere ep of the second season, Human Traffic, was the clincher and Personal had me lock, stock and barrel in the Deeks camp. Now, I can’t imagine the show without him. Your article, Bridget, made it so apparent what an actor can do for a series and ECO has done that for NCISLA. We love them all, but without him it would not be the same.


    • It’s funny to hear how so many of us had a similar experience with the show and that Deeks really made it “click” for us! Glad you enjoyed the article. I had a good time writing it.


  7. I agree with you Bridget. I wasn’t a fan of the first season, But when I saw Deek’s first episode I got a sparkle in my eyes. He made a difference the moment he walked on the screen. And then of course was his undeniable chemistry with Kensi.

    NCIS is one of my favorite shows and I always hoped to see Tony and ZIva end up together. Even if it was on the very last episode of the show I wouldn’t mind. But as you said, they dragged it too much and gave us nothing in return.
    By now producers have learned their lesson and won’t make the same mistakes with Densi. We are in the middle of season 5 (season 4 if you don’t count the first) and just look how much their relationship has progressed.
    I have to admit that Tony and Ziva have had more…..serious scenes (truth and consequences is one of my favorite episodes) but don’t underestimate our beloved couple. They have much more to give us.

    ECO has done an amazing job portraying Deeks. I honestly can’t imagine anyone else in this role. He gave Kensi purpose on the team ( cause let’s be honest during the first season she was all over the place), and made the team whole. Now I can’t even imagine NCIS LA without him.


    • Glad you liked my article! You’re right, can’t imagine anyone else but ECO in that role. He’s great!

      I honestly think, though they’ll never admit it, the NCIS writers are sorry that they dragged everything out with Tiva for so long and are correcting things through Densi. I think other shows, like Castle, have showed that just because a couple gets together doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road or interesting story lines that can play out. I love where Densi’s going and can’t wait to see how it all plays out this season and beyond.


  8. Bridget, thanks for sharing your NCISLA/Densi journey. I enjoyed it very much. I was a fan from the very beginning, and that was due to O’Donnell and Cool J. I thought it would be great to see these two as Federal Agents in T.V. show. I had never watched NCIS before. Although I was concerned about Kensi’s rookie partner, I got caught up in the G. Callen mystery. I was surprised when Kensi’s partner went missing. Next, they didn’t or couldn’t just focus on finding him they had other cases to solve. So it almost seemed like business as usual and meanwhile they had a missing agent and no leads. I found that weird, but for some reason I kept watching (curiosity I guess), but I wasn’t as interested as I was at first. It was great when ECO joined the show (I also felt like Dr.Gayle on the haircut & shave). Unfortunately, I had not noticed him as an actor before (my bad). The immediate chemistry between Deeks and Kensi did it for me though. Although, it wasn’t always clear for me if they were really headed toward a relationship early on in the second season, but it was a real improvement for me. I doubt that I would have continued watching if it weren’t for Deeks. He’s so funny and yet has the skills to keep up with the rest of the team without all the training these agents had. ECO shows the depth of this character and he is truly wonderful to watch. Both ECO and DR have these subtle expressions that tell you what they are thinking, besides the emotions they bring to these characters.

    At some point, I realized Kensi really cared for Deeks. I couldn’t figure out where I first noticed that or when it really started. I know “Personal” was one instance, but I can say that “Neighborhood Watch” sealed the Densi deal for me on a whole other level! I decided to buy the DVDs of previous seasons to try and figure when Kensi first showed signs of her interest in Deeks, plus I was totally hooked! Watching these two characters develop their relationship all over again really made me enjoy them all the more! Now i can’t get enough. ECO does an amazing job as Deeks! Deeks’ personality reminds me of someone I had in my own life a number of years ago (of course, not as exciting lol). Watching Deeks and Kensi flirt, banter, and sometimes disagree always makes me smile. And now, I only hope that somehow, someway, they’ll find the balance they need to keep their love alive.


    • Thanks Angela for the kind words! It’s so fun to hear about how Deeks has gotten so many of us to watch and love the show. ECO deserves a lot of credit for sure! Can’t wait to see what happens with Densi next year in the second half of the season!


  9. I totally agree with all of this. I watched the first season of NCISLA and it was okay, although I didn’t like the Dom character at all and felt he had no chemistry with the team. It was the arrival of Deeks that totally had me hooked and it is now by far my favourite tv show. I’m not a NCIS fan at all but the partnerships and banter between all the members of the team is fantastic and always has me smiling every episode! ECO and Daniela are really in sync with their characters and I feel they really enjoy playing Deeks and Kensi as it shows through on screen. Thanks for the dedicated website especially for Marty Deeks. Long may he grace our tv’s forever on NCISLA !!!!!!!!!!!!


  10. Oh, so am I. The reason I watch this show is him, and Densi of course.


  11. Had the same experience too. I gave NCISLA a second look after finding some “densi” videos of youtube and I was sold. To be quite honest, I didn’t care about Kensi, until Deeks came along. he humanized her and lightened her up. Now I can’t imagine them without each other and hope the show doesn’t ruin their relationship. I also think Deeks is the voice of the audience. His sarcastic or fun loving remarks about the characters (the ninja aspects of Hetty, the machismo of Sam, etc.) and the situations they get them self into are what we are thinking. Even when he was having his serious tirade about the Taliban in that Afghanistan scene were what some of us feel about the situation. I think he is the character we can relate to the most because he isn’t a super agent, just a regular guy who is excellent at what he does.


  12. The success of the Deeks character is likely due to the fact that he’s an honest character. By that, I mean that I believe Deeks was crafted around ECO’s own total personality; so his reactions to various situations, his sense of humor, his honesty and loyalty, etc. are all genuine, at least for the most part. I don’t believe that it is a big jump at all for ECO to get “into character” as Deeks. Even though ECO wouldn’t encounter many of the same situations as Deeks, one can only assume that he would be just as passionate about the lives of the people he loves as Deeks is with Kensi.


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