Debating Deeks: Are Deeks’ Interrogation Tactics a Sign of Looming Trouble?
During the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 6 premiere, “Deep Trouble, Pt. II,” Deeks interrogates a hospitalized suspect to try to find out who is behind the drug running sub that has Sam and Callen trapped in its hold. He begins the questioning by wrapping his hands around the suspect’s burned arm, threatening to “speed up” a confession by causing him further physical pain. Diane and Karen P. question Deeks’ actions and what they might mean for his character moving forward.
Karen: I have to say that I was quite shaken by the beginning of Deeks’ interrogation. His behavior was unexpected, cruel, and cold-blooded. It didn’t shock me because it was terribly graphic or extremely violent, it shook me because it wasn’t the Deeks I thought I knew. And while I’m hoping it could signal a fascinating development that follows from “Spoils of War,” an exploration of his Gordon Brandel/Max Gentry dark side, I worry that it might just be another frustrating and random moment that won’t ever be spoken of again.
At this point we can’t tell for sure because it happened so quickly. If they hadn’t cut away, we’d know what caused Deeks to change tactics. Was it just because it wasn’t working? Did a nurse interrupt? Did he realize what he was doing and back off? I wonder if more was filmed and then edited out- I’d love to know if there was ever a moment of vulnerability or regret. We’ll just have to wait to find out whether the writers have any plans to build on what we saw.
Diane: I sometimes wonder if the writers or the show runners think we’re crazy when we start to analyze these passing flashes in the lives of the characters. But like you, I was momentarily stunned. I felt that this just can’t be a trivial act by one of the most human and soft hearted characters in the show? That brief action was a clue into Deeks’ current mental state and makes an intentional statement. You notice he starts the interrogation off with the jokes but as soon as he mentions that his friends are in danger, the expression on his face changes and those ocean blue eyes become steel blue and focus intensely on the suspect. The barbs are over as he pushes down forcefully on the man’s scorched hand. Not exactly torture but Deeks now knows the power of physical pain and he also doesn’t hesitate to use it. You can say that many cops would use this type of intimidation but we’re not used to seeing Deeks use it. He’s too smart to have to resort to using pain and when he tricks Wilson in the end with the apple juice you know he’s back in safe territory again.
Karen: Wow, your observation about Deeks knowing “the power of physical pain” is chilling, and combining it with the thought of the Deeks I love, “the most human and soft hearted” of characters, makes me so sad for him. I agree that his actions give us a window into his mental state, and it’s not a pretty view. In “Spoils of War,” Deeks didn’t resort to inflicting physical pain until he tried lesser measures for two days and received that photo of dead Kensi. Here it wasn’t his last resort, it was his first, and that is worrying.
And yes, in the end Smart Deeks was the one who got the information they needed (both times). Sadly in this most recent episode, we see that Deeks failed to even learn the lesson of “Spoils of War” that morals aside, torture isn’t the most effective way to get what you need from bad guys.
Diane: Before Season 5 we wouldn’t have seen Deeks intentionally decide to use the darker side of his personality without being undercover… and even then he could still be pretty tame (I’m remembering the bar scene in “Plan B”). I believe this goes back further than “Spoils of War” and that something from his own torture set off a ticking time bomb deep inside Deeks’ psyche. But the darkness inside Deeks may even go back to his childhood as well. For one brief second, we get to see this other side. Is it just a lingering side effect left over from Siderov’s torture or a state of mind memory from some serious mental trauma he suffered growing up with Gordon Brandel? Could this be building up to a bigger change in his personality as well?
Karen: It could be cumulative, the Siderov torture combined with his childhood abuse and topped with his traumatic Afghanistan experience, all just too much to handle. Reader1976 pointed out how revealing it was when he said to Wilson, “I saw a guy with a drill bit in his head… he could probably use a drink.” It certainly seems that Siderov is still on his mind. Maybe just being in the hospital was enough to trigger a memory (or a flashback?).
We definitely saw a non-undercover dark Deeks at the end of “Human Traffic,” so we know he’s had this aspect to his personality all along. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to have it quite as well under control as he has in the past. Maybe his actions in Afghanistan have caused an identity crisis of some kind; he may feel like he’s losing the battle to avoid becoming like his father, and in the process is letting that dark side more readily take over. (Or perhaps I’m just doing way too much psychoanalyzing and there’s nothing wrong with him at all!)
Diane: From all the research I did back during the time of “Ascension,” PTSD doesn’t just go away. It’s an affliction that can linger for a long time, if not for the rest of one’s life… and it can get worse. So I’m glad that the writers are recognizing this and continuing to explore what it could be doing to the way Deeks thinks when dealing with criminals. As the camera zooms in on Wilson’s hand it shows how Deeks was trying to extrapolate information from him and I believe it was intentional. If they hadn’t portrayed the scene that way, we wouldn’t have felt that jolt of astonishment when we watched Deeks act so out of character again as he did in “Spoils of War.”
Karen: I agree that it felt intentional, so I am trying to keep faith in the writers that it was. That it’s one of those breadcrumbs, like a Season 3 Kensi trip to Hawaii, that in retrospect will be part of a larger story. How fantastic would it be if they really did pick back up on the PTSD storyline? All our frustrations over that part of Season 5 would be laid to rest. It’s possible… maybe Daniela Ruah’s maternity leave, which necessitated the whole Afghanistan arc, forced them to drop some of the PTSD story they originally wanted to tell.
It would also reinforce the “Three Hearts” knife-returning, can’t-be-together-because-of-my-dark-side development. If Deeks has been suffering for all or part of this time, his wanting to keep Kensi at arm’s length would make more sense.
You’re getting me all excited with the very idea of such dramatic developments!
Diane: This could be the beginning of a wonderful story arc and why not continue to explore Deeks’ personality by using the torture angle? Of course I prefer when Deeks uses that lawyer brain of his to confuse and intimidate his opponents. And it’s a hell of a lot sexier too! But we can’t forget the toll the torture took on Deeks’ mental state either. He uses his humor and good nature to get him through most scrapes but he’s got a new tool in his arsenal and eventually it can take a toll if he decides to keep using it. The question is… how long will it take before he goes over the line? The writers would be foolish to let this opportunity drop! The door has opened and what a fantastic chance we have to explore what happened during the torture and maybe even further back into his childhood. I say go for it!
Karen: I agree that Smart Deeks is sexy! But Dark Deeks is awfully compelling. Oh how I hope the writers can live up to my expectations, which are growing the longer we talk about the possibilities. Imagine the scenarios they could draw up to get him to confront his dark side, or to help him to bury it once and for all (if that’s even possible). What role might Kensi play in such events? Could we see him share his Afghanistan experiences with her? Might it all feed into the two-episode backstory we’re all so anxious to see?
At the end of the day, what’s most crucial is that the writers stay true to these characters, particularly Deeks. For me this short scene was not in keeping with the good man I know Deeks to be; it was too potentially out of character, and needs to be addressed in some way down the line. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that we’ll get the kind of fantastic drama that would no doubt accompany such a storyline.
Diane: Agreed! I just hope the writers see what a great opportunity they have here to use this aspect of Deeks’ character to move his storyline along, especially in term of his relationship to Kensi. I don’t want to get my hopes up but I got my fingers crossed too!
We know our readers have their own opinion on this topic of Deeks’ personality! Be sure to take our poll and leave a comment below. Should the writers continue to explore Deeks’ past and present experiences and if it is affecting how he is conducting himself on and off the job? We look forward to hearing from you!
A special thanks to @thewingsofnight for sharing her beautiful artwork.
I believe in the COD and LL Cool J fan question thingy on YouTube, COD mentioned that they were going to explore these little tidbits dropped throughout the show. So that makes me curious, are we going to get a Deeks M (or even Brandel M) arc or more exploration into Deeks’ past?
Maybe even this year if what we read from TV Guide comes true!!!
Wonderful job, ladies! Like you, I was struck by his action and took that as a glimpse of foreshadowing. While we may journey down a dark path with Deeks, it’s exciting, and I look forward to how it will be navigated to a positive long-term outcome. Exec Producer JPK has mentioned some great stories they had planned for S5, but had to be shelved. This appears to be one they are finally bringing to life in S6 – & one I’ve longed for and am pretty giddy about! Here’s to getting back on track even bigger and better in S6!
Gayle I’ve been thinking about you as I read all the spoilers about the coming season. Maybe you will get your wish after all, and these two will figure out some of their personal issues before they get together together.
I think Deeks is acting completely in character. He’ll do what it takes to protect his family, and the team is his family. Hetty knew exactly what she was doing when she brought him into her “family.” I think she chose him not only for his undercover skills, but for his (extreme) protective instincts. As he told Sam, “I’ve always had everyone’s back.” And, he always has, to the point of being self-sacrificing.
His relationship with Kensi took that instinct to a higher level, and it scared him to realize that he would do anything for her. I think he backed off (tried to) until he’s sure he can maintain his integrity and love her at the same time. He has learn to think with his head and not with his heart. (Where’s the Gurkha when you need him?)
As for his “torture” of the jerk in the hospital bed, I actually think that was pretty restrained – more like getting the guy’s attention. I might have done the same thing in that situation. (Let’s see, my brothers’ lives are at stake, and this crispy murderer won’t talk. Hmm.) I don’t know, maybe Deeks was giving him a foretaste of hell before he launched into his mind-game tactics, convincing the guy that he was dying. It worked.
It’s going to be an interesting season.
Thanks Kat…yes it’s going to get real interesting!!!
I agree. I think that he has finally reached the point that he feels like Sam and Callen are his brothers – since his time with Siderov and his time with the guys when Kensi was gone – and he would do anything to save them. He didn’t have time to negotiate with the bad guy, so he did something to grab his attention. Once he had it, he could return to his regular tactics.
Nice job ladies, like always.
You both forget for ONE, and only ONE correct reason, for “it’s not Deeks behavior”.
Someone close to him, was in troubles, and in deadly danger.
In this point, is all training gone, and start pure calculation, feelings, emotions and sometimes more power, or even brutality.
Exactly for this reason, peoples too close to case, are NOT allowed to interrogate suspect, or be active in that case.
For example, how would you be behave, if someone close to you, is in danger, and you have to interrogate suspect?
I think,…no I KNOW, your “that’s me” behave, will be gone per second.
Even trained people have feelings, emotions, so no surprise for me.
I just don’t understand, why is this obvious think, that big surprise for you?
What you see, was just fiction.
In reality this not exist.
In reality he cannot interrogate suspect.
So, take it easy.
And now back to reality.
I was asking about changes on your site, but noone have balls for answer.
(I asked in surf journal)
So here is this again.
Why did you destroyed beautiful previous look of this page?
WHAT WAS WRONG?
Why is here BORING look, like at others million sites?
Where is notebook/notepad style of surf log?
WTF WHY this (extremely BAD word) design changes??!!
This page had own, nice soul.
But now, looks like others b….t.
Terrible mass production.
Is this permanent, or you just tested our patience?
Oh here is one more think.
Why all page jumping up, and down???
WTF is that?
Few times I click on link, what I don’t want, because that stupid jumping!
I know, this jumping is exactly just for that reason, clicking on something, what you don’t want, then you have to go back, and click again.
This is very low dirty trick.
Please, don’t use it to us.
We are your friends, not enemies.
I hope, you don’t want change it.
Please, could someone publicly, on first page, explain this anti design mistake?
I will wait.
Sorry you are not liking the new look of the site. We worked long and hard on it and I guess we can’t please everyone. In terms of the logs/journals we had to change the look because it was getting to the point that it was taking so much of our time trying to get them posted every week, and we were having a lot of problems with software and coming up with new doodles and new ways to present the diaries that it just became exhausting. We almost decided to stop them all together. This was a multi, multi, multi step process behind the scenes that you weren’t aware of. We had to have Deeks and Kensi start doing electronic version of the diaries because of that reason. We would like to go back to the old look but it would mean we couldn’t do other things on the site and we decided it was the content that was most important anyway. If we think of a way around it, I promise we will consider going back to the old way.
In terms of the jumping around….sorry, I’m not sure what you are talking about since I do not have that problem on any of my computers or tablets. If you want to email us at wikiDeeks@gmail.com maybe we can figure out what is going on for you?
Q – I don’t have the jumping problem on any of my devices either… Laptop, iPad or iPhone. Looks like the issue is on your end.
Loved the debate…you two really delved into a multitude of possibilities. I was a bit shaken by what Deeks did as well. That he quickly went to that form of intimidation was a surprise. He mentions that his friends are on that sub and when the suspect is flippant and uncaring, we see Deeks get angry. We know or at least assume he has no family. Could it be that the team has now become his family and is so important to him that if they are threatened he strikes out violently as he did in Spoils of War. Did Sidorov teach him that inflicting pain might just work? Did he come close to giving up Michelle in Descent, so he knows torture might just work? I thought after Spoils of War that crossing that line would have repercussions. It’s like Pandora’s box…once you open it, it’s very hard to put the horror back. That he is now willing to use those tactics in response to a threat to Callen and Sam makes me think he has a deep need to protect all of the people he has come to feel close to, not just Kensi.
Hello to all! I love your comments, really, I read everything they write, my English is not the best and, I’m wrong a lot especially when I write, I apologize! ….!’s Crazy and great as everyone has a vision of Deeks same and different! Leo often as Max and speak as if he could unfold his personality and being two! It really is not, if possible! I truly believe that Max was created prior to police, he is nothing but a perhaps silly conjecture on my part, but I can imagine Deeks trying to be or at least look “bad” able to appear among tough guys your neighborhood or by the urgent need to belong to a group, even if the bad guys! Having someone to confide in, should be as important to him, that when he had to cross the world to save Hetty did, without thinking, without hesitation simply because she trusted him, his capacity for loyalty is extraordinary, perhaps because the need that same loyalty from those he considers his people? I firmly believe that Deeks is pending his colleagues because he never had someone so close before how are you people, it is obvious that Kensi is special, it is their magical world and his Achilles heel! Using force for questioning not think it’s something you have not done before, I guess at least as Max did, a bully as must have hit or hurt someone for information or just to be noticed by any gangster or drug shift, an alias as the infamous “Max Gentry “It is not just rumors, someone must have seen something! I shudder to think that my favorite guy may at some time in their lives have been so bad, so hard, so cruel? I think that character is someone that refused to be! I think being alone he could at times be that guy, but now you have people who want to, respected and protected, Max is an internal enemy that will not see, but which at times comes to face with that which I help survive and now hides in the recesses of his mind, not wanting anyone to see that there is not only friendly and Marty Deeks joker, sweet, sensitive, loving and loyal guy, but there is a dark side that does not want to accept and he does not dare to show, not only for fear of being rejected, but because you do not need, your family is; their salvation! But … It may be that torture him back to a point in which cause pain in people, sometimes you power over the other as he had his father on the background and think you use it for your family ? That power to harm, fear of others who submits to his father or Sidorov, maybe someone else? Now dark force that is more powerful and comes out sometimes? For? Because it was not Max? Why was the Marty Deeks? For use his darkness to save his family? Or that’s what you think? Well it’s just a crazy thing on my mind and it has to do with the little information that is Mr. Brennan gives us, I hope you do not think I’m delirious lol,I just hope you understand me! I love them!
Thanks Kriss for your great comment! I agree that Max Gentry was created long before he became a cop….maybe even the persona comes from his teenage years as well. Hopefully we will find out soon….
So many interesting comments. They helped me to see that we’re not just talking about trauma that Deeks experienced as the victim of violence, both as a child and an adult, but the other lessons he may have internalized as a result… 1) That violence is a way to get what you want (his father’s abuse kept him and his mom submissive, maybe as Sweet Lu pointed out he was close to giving up Michelle to Sidorov) and, 2) More importantly, that violence is a way to protect your loved ones. He did that as an 11-year old, and we’ve seen him try to use that strategy with his NCIS family as well.
It is just a movie and he is just a caracter in it. Deeks is not Eric Olsen and they are both fine. The movie is fine, I’m loving it and that’s that.