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Debating Deeks: Was Deeks one of Hetty’s Lost Boys?

Lindy (Sweet Lu) | Diane (phillydi)


For this week’s Debating Deeks, I have asked my good friend Lindy to join me on the podium as we discuss a topic relating to Deeks’ past. Did Hetty recruit Deeks when he was a young boy or later when he became an LAPD detective? We all know how she has a penchant for finds these lost boys/girls and bringing them into the intelligence community (i.e. Callen…Hunter). What if she did the same regarding Deeks? Read our lively discussion and then decide and vote and let us know what side you are on…..

Lindy:  I don't believe she did. We know so little about his childhood, but he does talk about high school and summer jobs and unless he is lying about that, I don't believe he was in foster care or lived on the streets. When he finds out Kensi lived on the streets, he said nothing that would indicate that he shared that experience, and Hetty never said anything to him about him being able to understand what she went through. I do believe he may well have been taken away from his mother briefly, possibly spending some time in a children's home after he shot his father, and it is possible that she saw something in the paper that alerted her to what the eleven year old had done and could have begun watching him then. However, I don't think she was following him for that long, no matter what Callen said in Fame. In "Hand to Hand", she saw images of Deeks, but gave no indication that she knew who he was, or even that he was a police officer. However, we all know Hetty can and does keep secrets...deep dark secrets. Did she not have a photo of him? That's the confusing part. If she had been watching him for a long time, as Callen alludes to in "Fame", then was she just covering her tracks when she found out he was the undercover cop at the gym in "Hand to Hand"?

Diane:  When Callen questions Hetty about Deeks being on her radar for a long time, she doesn’t disagree with his assessment either. The question is how long has she been watching him?  With her pendant for finding prodigies at such an early age, I don’t see why Deeks couldn’t have been one of those kids she shepherded along like Callen and Hunter. She’s a frustrated mother at heart and has a gift for identifying kids with promise.  I’m sure Deeks shooting his father must have been in the news and it wouldn’t have surprised me if he caught her attention at that time. It must have been something extraordinary inside the young Deeks that made her take notice. I’m not saying that Deeks couldn’t put himself through college, and have the motivation it took to succeed in two demanding careers, but let’s face it… to have a fairy godmother like Hetty might have been a huge success factor. I think she may have had a hand in helping him but I also think she was a secret benefactor too. I doubt if he knew anything about it. Probably just thought he was getting scholarships or grants due to his monetary situation. In terms of the picture, she may have not seen him in a while and didn’t recognize him when she saw the photo. But that doesn’t sound like Hetty. I think she was playing her cards very close to her chest on this one. She would never want to let on what role she played in any of their lives.

Lindy: That Hetty is fully capable of tracking multiple future assets is undeniable. Her files are probably full of sad stories like Callen and Hunter. She seems to care about them, but still directs them toward a life similar to her own. She looks for intelligence, of course, but something more as well. She wants survivors. She wants her “lost children” to be fighters, so the ones most wounded by life, the ones who overcame the most, are the ones she chooses. I agree that Deeks fits this profile, but because I don’t think he spent time in foster care, and believe he lived with his mother through high school, I don’t think she shepherded him until later. She might well have started a file on him after he shot his father, but I think he appeared back on her radar for good for something he did as a cop. I can’t believe she didn’t know who he was when she saw him on the surveillance cameras during the fight in “Hand to Hand”. Why she never revealed she knew he was a cop to her team is a mystery, but then Hetty has always been a mystery and wants to keep it that way. I’ve always wondered how much was in that file she showed Deeks in the bar at the end of “Hand to Hand”. He lets a sentence fade where he says, “The only thing missing here is…” Could he be talking about the shooting of his father or was it something else? Ah, sweet mystery of life, Hetty and Deeks. Will we ever get to know the answers or we be forced into endless debates?

Diane:  Of course we all hope that we eventually get some of Deeks’ backstory in terms of his personal life prior to her invitation to become the agency’s liaison. But the romantic in me wants to believe that the reason Deeks and Hetty have such a special bond is that she watched this man grow up and knew there was something inside of him that would shine as a law enforcement agent or in his case a cop. Whenever Deeks gets called into her office, he usually asks if he has done something wrong. And I love when Hetty replies, “Did you?” Hetty may have felt she was more of a mother to Deeks than his mother ever was which is why she feels comfortable responding in such a maternal way. Also she became his next of kin at the end of “Personal” without even a second thought. (She takes care of Callen in the same way when she finds him a home to live in.)  I also love at the end of “Plan B” when she tells him nobody should live alone. Is she telling us she knows about Deeks past and wants him to be happy?  How about the tough love talk she gives him in “Ascension”?  He looks like a little boy as she tells him to get his act together. She expects him to be strong and resilient. She means it when she tells Nate she doesn’t want him back unless he’s ready. I think she would say the same about any of her agents. But she expects a lot from Deeks and she is not going to let him off the hook.

Deeks wants to make the world a better place and he wants to be sure justice always wins out. It’s not just a job to him and this makes him very much like his mentor. When he turns down Hetty’s attempt to make him a NCIS agent it’s because being a cop is just who he is. But Hetty is patient and I believe one day he will follow in her footsteps when he is comfortable with being more than a cop. I agree he may not have spent much time or any in foster care since he had a mother. But it’s clear that he spent a lot of time on the streets with Ray leading up to shooting his father. But the big question is what happened afterwards to make him turn his life around, go to college, law school and then the police academy? I’d like to say that Hetty played some part in this turn around. But like you, I wish Mr. Brennan would give us a hint or two so we don’t have to continue with this endless debate! Are you listening, sir?

Lindy: We can both agree that she has followed him for a while, whether from childhood or from his time as a cop. There is no way she would have brought him on the team after just that overlapping case in “Hand to Hand”. Callen realizes that when he talks to Hetty in wardrobe in “Fame”, verbalizing that she wants him as an agent and not just a liaison. She gives nothing away, neither confirming nor denying his claim and by the end of the episode he confronts her with the knowledge that he knows she’s been watching Deeks for a long time. That term, however is inconclusive, and could mean any length of time, so no help there. Callen is the only one to realize this. Kensi certainly didn’t think too deeply about his selection as liaison, and neither did Sam, Deeks rubbing him the wrong way from the beginning.

Hetty must have been searching for a new partner for Kensi for some time, and it is possible that the overlapping case in “Hand to Hand” where she sees how he operates with the team causes her to consider him. She must have quite a few men and women she is tracking, Deeks being only one of them. She knew the team needed a new “agent”, one with different skills and the ability to go undercover and Deeks fit that bill. She would have known he was a dedicated officer and quite possibly that he was unhappy at LAPD. She would have researched his entire life including his juvenile record, including the shooting of his father. Deeks is certainly not surprised she knew about that in that wonderful scene at the end of “Personal”. There must have been some comfort for him knowing that she kept his secret and hired him anyway. Does she care for him as a mother would? Not sure I would go that far, although I do believe she cares about them all. She is not the fairy godmother I used to think she was, but I do think she understands Deeks and knows that what’s on the surface is not the whole package. Her words to Nate in “Impact” still haunt me, though. She told him she didn’t want him back “if he isn’t the man he was”. That was harsh and I’m not sure she meant, as you believe, that she didn’t want him back until he was ready. Hetty doesn’t mince words. I believe she meant exactly what she said, and that doesn’t sound maternal to me at all. It sounds like a woman who is tough and needs her agents to be tough. She wasn’t sympathetic at all and that is disturbing, calling to question her reasons for finding all these “Lost Boys” as you call them in the first place. She isn’t altruistic, she’s a pragmatist. She selected these boys and girls or men and women for a very specific purpose and not in a maternal way. She was grooming agents, not collecting a family, although I believe she thinks of them a little in that way. She is sorry when one of them is killed on the job, but that does not deter her from her primary goal, to recruit and train the best men and women she can to serve the intelligence community and the country.

We both may turn out to be wrong and we can only hope that Shane Brennan and the writers will show us one way or the other next season. Praying for Season 6 to be the year of Deeks. He’s due and so are we.

Without more background into Deeks past, we may never know how and when Hetty came to find and recruit Deeks. Whatever the story turns out to be, we’re sure it will intriguing and add to the NCIS: Los Angeles folklore regarding these characters. What side are you on? Did Hetty find Deeks when he was a young boy or later as a member of the LAPD. Take our poll and tell us what you think!


LindyLindy D. (Sweet Lu) is a contributor at

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

About Diane (416 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!

5 Comments on Debating Deeks: Was Deeks one of Hetty’s Lost Boys?

  1. Dr. Brenda // July 1, 2014 at 9:10 AM // Reply

    Great job ladies!

    For me, the compelling arguments are not necessarily Deeks-specific, but Hetty-specific. Hetty was there when they invented the internet?!!?
    She knew Jack, but never told Kensi or Granger. She knew that Tuhon knew Kensi’s dad and never mentioned anything. She knew the origin of Kensi’s knife, no mention. etc. etc. I think they have set her up as nearly omniscient and so it would surprise me not at all to know that she was friends with Deeks’ mother and helped her go into hiding, promising she would watch the boy/teen/young adult or something like that.

    I agree with the pragmatist label, although I might say realist as well. Children who have lived through turmoil are often able to tolerate higher levels of conflict/challenge/etc. as adults. This can lead to a path of seeking risk and self-destructive behavior or being highly successful in high-intensity careers. Given this reality, it is logical that she would recruit those whose childhoods had prepared them to be tough, survive, fight, etc. For all we know, that was her story as well.

    As far as the motherly traits she does/doesn’t possess, I guess I have to admit I’m not as angry at Hetty as I was earlier this year (we’re still not back to the same relationship we had, but I’ve softened a bit). I knew someone with a similar style/personality (albeit less omniscient) for many years and was always a bit put off by her brusque approach to life. After knowing her about 7 years she shared a tidbit from her past and then another 15 years later a different nugget. Taken together, those two stories, shared only once I had known her for ages, made a lot of the rest of things make sense. I think Hetty is a realist/pragmatist and for all we know she had a similar life of abandonment and challenge. She gets that life is hard for some people due to painful childhoods and has the “Tiger Mother” approach as opposed to the nurturing style. Not saying it’s good/bad, and I often disagree with her, but that’s my take on her.

    Thanks for the Debating Deeks summer series!! With no NCIS/NCIS-LA and no NHL hockey, all there is on TV is that dang soccer and I am not a fan!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting idea. I agree with the above person. She might have caught wind of his story and made sure he made the right decisions.

    Then again, Hetty doesn’t do anything without a reason and while I find it deplorable that she goes around plucking kids out of the system and turns them into being super agents I am not sure if Deeks is one of those kids. Though it had never crossed my mind before. Its something to think about.


  3. It was a quick thought that Deeks could be one of her kids but I doubt it. The profiles seem different enough that he blipped on her radar before we meet him in Hand to Hand. She only shares information when she has to and this practice must make it harder for Deeks to see her as a mother figure. I would like more background on him as well. I was disappointed that the last few episodes seemed to ignore all fallout from most of the season. I want to thank you for these features.


  4. I’m not sure how we define “lost boys.” Certainly Deeks is still enough of a man-child that even now could be defined as a lost boy. But in terms of Hetty watching over him… I think she has had him on her radar for a long time, probably since he shot his father. I have this silly image in my head of Hetty trolling the tabloids for sensational stories that might lead her to someone who has had to deal with an extraordinary situation. But I don’t think she in any way manipulated him or supported him. She’s much more the type for watchful waiting, and when the opportunity arose for her to bring Deeks into the fold, she acted. Had that chance not happened, Deeks would still be working undercover for LAPD.


  5. This was such an interesting discussion, on a topic that I’ve never really thought much about. I am intrigued by the idea that Deeks might have caught Hetty’s attention when he shot his father. Whenever he popped up on her radar, I have a harder time imagining her actually intervening in his life (although Sweet Lu’s wonderful current story shows exactly how that could have happened). I guess if she intervened at some point, I think the most interesting time would have been his career change. Perhaps she did see potential in him, but needed to give him a reason to leave the law and go into law enforcement. That would fit more in line with the manipulative Hetty I have come to see, rather than the fairy godmother version I want to believe in. I only hope we find out these details before Season 12.

    Liked by 1 person

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