Writing Deeks: Direct Deeks
We’ve looked at how some fan fiction writers like to write a Densi with stronger communication skills than what we’ve often seen on TV. Similarly, many like to write a Deeks who’s better at saying what he really means. One who’s more direct not just with Kensi but with everyone around him, especially his teammates.
I [Callen] tried to explain myself more clearly. “I just meant I can’t have any member of this team making decisions based on an emotional connection—”
“You mean like turning in a badge to go find someone in Romania?” Deeks asked calmly, glaring up at me. “Or breaking into a Russian consulate?”
“That was different,” I protested. “Hetty’s… she’s like my only family…”
“And Kensi’s not mine?” he demanded, finally standing up. I’d never really noticed that he was a few inches taller than me, but standing in front of me with his blue eyes flashing in uncharacteristic anger, he looked every bit his six-feet-two-inches.
“No, she is,” I hurried to explain. “I just meant—”
“No,” Deeks said, sitting down again. He looked me in the eyes firmly. “I’m sick of this, man. You’re not the only one with a crappy, messed-up childhood, okay? You’re not the only one who sees this team as his own dysfunctional little family. So why don’t you sit over there with your paperwork,” he said firmly, gesturing to my desk, “and I’ll stay here with her paperwork, and tomorrow we’ll just pretend like this didn’t happen. Like family.”
We’ve already explored how Deeks sometimes suffers from self-doubt, hiding his pain with humor. Yet even though he can laugh off a lot of ribbing from his teammates, our group of fan fiction writers do tend to see TV Deeks as being a relatively direct individual. “I think Deeks is fairly direct with his co-workers but not confrontational,” observes Tess DiCorsi. “When it comes to matters of what’s going on in a case, he’ll defer to what Sam knows about the Navy and military norms or what Callen and Kensi know about NCIS but Deeks will put in his thoughts when needed. He’s not going to take attention away from the case but will let his opinion be known.” She cites examples from “Empty Quiver” where Deeks second-guesses the team’s assumption that the bomb map is a fraud, and “Free Ride” where he persists in his (correct) “forensic botany” theory. She says of this Deeks, “I like Deeks being direct that way – not always just going along with the group but not yelling and screaming his disagreements.”
imahistorian also sees a relatively assertive man, just not one who has screen time to really say everything he means. “I think TV Deeks has shown hints of being more direct, but he probably doesn’t say everything he thinks,” she explains. “The format of TV doesn’t really allow for long, drawn out conversations.” Sweet Lu has fond memories of one of Deeks’ most direct moments, from Season 4. “I think one of the best scenes [from that season] was when Deeks called Sam on his attitude in ‘Descent.’ I actually yelled at the TV I was so happy. The show had provided tension between Sam and Deeks from the beginning and when I first started writing it was one of the story lines that really interested me.” In fact, one of her first stories back in 2011 explored that very issue.
“Deeks, I don’t think I can forgive myself for what happened to you,” Sam said it so softly that Deeks had to lean forward to hear it.
“This was Stark’s plan, Sam, not yours.” Deeks said with exhaustion and resignation in his voice. “You trusted him because you thought he was the same man who saved you all those years ago. But he wasn’t that man anymore, Sam.” Deeks stopped and looked into Sam’s eyes and then up into the sky and said sadly, “What I can’t figure out, Sam, is why you didn’t trust me, even a little. I don’t think you ever have, maybe you never will, and I don’t know what I can ever do to change that. None of you trusted me, not even Kensi. I was alone, Sam, and maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be.”
Of course, the great thing about fan fiction is that writers can feature this assertive Deeks as much as they want. The format of TV might not allow for lengthy discussions about thoughts and feelings, but as imahistorian notes, “fanfiction is the perfect forum for that.” Sweet Lu says, “I like writing a confrontational Deeks because it’s not only how I would like to see him portrayed, but because it’s more dramatic and probably because I don’t write funny Deeks very well. He hides behind that jokester persona a lot on the show, which I find disarming, but since my stories tend more toward drama, I chose to write more conflict, especially in the beginning and after the Season 5 finale. I like tension and I like a strong Deeks, not just the funny sidekick we get on the show. In my writings he’s the main character, so he doesn’t back down very often.”
imahistorian says, “I like writing those kinds of confrontational scenes because they are full of emotion and getting down to people saying what they really mean. Innuendo can only take you so far, but Deeks being direct with his thoughts and feelings lets him stand up for himself and call people on the things they’ve done wrong or done unthinkingly.” She describes “a version of Deeks” in her story “Hold On Hope” “where he called Hetty out on her penchant for putting people in danger for the good of the mission. And that felt pretty satisfying because he said a lot of what I’ve thought about Hetty’s past behavior and in that part of the story he had pretty solid reasons for feeling as he did.”
phillydi also enjoys writing a direct Deeks. “I like him verbalizing his feelings more with Kensi and the team. I mean he’s a lawyer, he’s smart and quick witted, why can’t he get his feelings and needs out there without having o struggle so much? It also makes him stronger and sexier to be able to express the way he feels.” Similarly, peanutbutterer describes her Deeks as “more open than true Deeks, usually. Some of the stories I write have him pushed into a place where he has to come out and say what he usually wouldn’t, or at least think it. Frequently on the show they bring these characters almost to breaking points – like at the end of ‘Ascension’ when he and Kensi are on the verge of something, of admissions or confessions or dare I say forward progress- and then they stop. They’re interrupted or someone backs out. I like to write fanfics that bring them to those breaking points and then keep going, or ones that explore things that the show touched on but didn’t get the chance or have the inclination to really get into in depth.
Deeks kicked his chair away and stood face to face in front of Granger. “You know, as well as I do, it wouldn’t have mattered which way I handled this. You have never wanted me on this team and I got that message loud and clear a long time ago. So I don’t care if you believe me or not but I handled my role in this case the best way I knew how in order to protect myself… and my colleagues. Which, by the way, is more than I can say for you!”
“Careful, Deeks,” Granger warned.
Deeks’ breathing was shallow and his eyes were burning a dark blue flame as he took two steps back but then quickly returned to continue his verbal assault on Granger. If he was going down, he was going all the way down and taking Granger with him.
And then of course there’s Deeks’ approach to Kensi. As we discussed in a previous post, these writers enjoy writing a Deeks and Kensi who say what they really mean. They are nearly unanimous in describing their Deeks as being courageous enough to take a more direct approach to his relationship with his partner. Kadiedid says, “My Deeks knows what he wants and goes for it. The Deeks on the show is a bit skittish when it comes to relationships with anyone.” Similarly, phillydi’s Deeks “is not afraid to tell Kensi that he loves her and has romantic feelings for her.” In the same story quoted above, “he takes her back to the kick boxing gym where they first met so he could tell her what he was feeling at the moment when he first laid eyes on her and how it was love at first sight.” She notes, “I try to have him show a bit more emotion and be able to communicate a little better with Kensi than he does. I think he has a great capacity to express his feelings and I want to show the world how he can effectively be open and loving with her and the other members of the team.” Bamie02 also writes a Deeks who “shows more emotion, making Kensi open up and he himself talk more. Instead of letting things go, he confronts them and makes Kensi do the same thing.”
It’s the same for ZeGabz, who describes her Deeks as “far braver when it comes to a possible relationship” with Kensi. She noted how he pulled away from Kensi at the end of Season 5, but says, “as a writer, I can’t let him hold back forever. Unlike the screenwriters, I don’t have seasons to build for, I just have five or ten chapters. But it’s also a matter of interpretation. I see Deeks as someone who would fight for Kensi, who wouldn’t be afraid to push her to be as happy as she could be.” Jericho Steele also sees his Deeks as brave when it comes to Kensi. “My Deeks isn’t quite as afraid of the ‘thing’ between him and Kensi,” he says. “I guess it sprouts from my frustration with the [pre-Season 6] lack of any real progress on the show in that regard. I try to keep him away from all the metaphors and symbolic language (raccoons, frozen lakes, tacos, etc.) and just let him say what his mind and heart are thinking. If he’s got something to say, he needs to say it and not play word games with his partner.”
Similarly, Tess DiCorsi “never quite bought 100% into the ‘you never say what you really mean’ argument from Kensi because she’s not exactly over-sharing either. It is a plot device the program likes to use but doesn’t work… Since most of the material I’ve written has Deeks driving the story when it comes to a case or a situation, he’s going to be direct there so the story can happen.”
“This is exactly me, Kensi. I’m pissed because I don’t need your pity. I don’t need you thinking I’m an emotional cripple. And instead of making a joke and letting this go, I’m pushing back. Or maybe I’m calling you on your own bullshit. All this sharing feelings crap goes one way with you. You told me once that I never say what I really mean. Well, now I’m saying something. Problem is, since it isn’t what you want to hear, you’re not going to deal with it.” He took the dog’s leash from the coat rack in the foyer. “And we’ve all seen this show before. Since I had the nerve to push back, you’ll keep that mouth of yours shut, those emotions of yours locked away,” he told her as he attached the leash on Monty’s collar. “I’m sure when we get back, you’ll have locked yourself behind those great big walls you’ve built to make damn sure nobody ever really knows you. I’ll make you breakfast and we’ll pretend this never happened, the way we pretend nothing real ever happens between us.”
Next week we’ll be back with one more special version Deeks, my very favorite: Surfer Deeks. We’ll look at why he appears so frequently in fan fiction, and why our writers think he loves the activity so much. To quote Kensi [in “Leipei”], it’s “the surfing thing: the ocean, dolphins, the zen stuff, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Want to Read More?
To find the stories quoted above, follow these links:
bookdiva, “The G Stands For Hypocrite”
Sweet Lu, “Devils and Angels”
phillydi, “Venus Rising”
Tess DiCorsi, “Invincible Summer”
We also asked each writer to recommend a short story they thought best represents their Deeks. bookdiva’s story “The G Stands for Hypocrite,” quoted above, provides a great example of Deeks at his most direct. She says, “it’s written in G’s point of view. I think it gives a great outsider perspective on Deeks and also a little Densi.”
Or, go back to the last Writing Deeks, Competent Deeks.
A special thanks to @thewingsofnight for creating the wonderful artwork.
I really love how the FF Writers express a more intelligent, confident and self-assured Deeks! All do a really great job of this!
Hey Rhonda! I’ve seen a wide variety of Deeks throughout my ff reading, and there are definitely writers who let his intelligence and confidence shine through. Of course, there are also those who give him a lot of self-doubts (see Doubting Deeks). What’s funny is that, if it’s well written, I can enjoy both versions.
Karen, I always look forward to these discussions and insights. Given the format and time constraints, the show only gives bits and pieces of everyone’s backstory and strengths. Knowing that Deeks has overcome a horrible childhood, passed the bar, became LAPD and caught the attention of Hetty makes me believe that our Deeks has to be direct in order to get where he is. Although Kensi believes that Deeks never says what he means, I’ve often thought that Deeks has been as direct as he can be without scaring Kensi off. I believed that Kensi wasn’t receptive to hearing the meaning behind all the banter and innuendo and when she finally realized her feelings, she wanted direct and Deeks was still in subtext mode. Just happy they’re where they’re at.
The show’s format can only feed us info over an extended period of time in order to get the case of the week across. Which is why I love fanfic…their stories fill in the nooks and crannies or is it the crevices and canyons?
Great discussion and makes me wish I had the time to go back and re-read some of these stories😄. Soon😄
Thanks Reader! I like your interpretation of Deeks’ seemingly indirect approach with Kensi, and I love the fantastic image of the plot “crevices and canyons.” Are you sure you don’t have any stories in you waiting to be written?
I love reading Direct Deeks. One of my favorite fanfics, where I feel he really says what he means and stands up for himself, is “Shift” by peanutbutterer. That is hands down one of my favorites. I’m still mad Kensi forgot his birthday that year.
Ah, yes, that’s a good one. I love the way peanutbutterer writes dialog.
I love this insights in Deeks’ personality and like Direct Deeks. Currently I’m writing my first fan fic, and I’m trying to make this happen, I mean to insert Direct Deeks in the conversations between him and the others. You should try to give Deeks the emotional perspective in one of the next Writing Deeks
Thanks Natalie. Good luck with your first story!