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Review: NCISLA “Fighting Shadows” (S6E18)

NCISLA Deeks Kensi

If Kensi and Deeks had hoped to keep their burgeoning love affair to themselves indefinitely, it looks like the jig is up! We’ve known all along that Hetty had a pretty good idea there was probably some happy dancing going on under the sheets between the partners and in this new episode she finally has a reason to worry about the repercussions. Andrew Bartels has been very active in Season 6, particularly with crafting the Densi love story arc and in this episode he takes on the topic of total disclosure to a new level for the couple.

The team is on a mission this week to find who is behind the deaths of three FBI agents killed during an explosion. In order to get answers, Hetty decides to shuffle the playing cards and reassign her agents to different partners. Nobody seems happy with this move and even though Sam and Kensi are simpatico… Callen and Deeks? That’s another story. After last episode’s pancake debacle I wasn’t expecting smooth sailing between these two but what’s behind Callen’s uneasiness? Callen may look at Deeks as the little brother who he hates wanting to tag along with him and big brother Sam, but having to work alongside the LAPD detective is another thing all together. He seemed to revel in breaking the news to Deeks that the entire Mission, including the motor pool, knows about their affair. Deeks is introspective and upset over the news but he had to know their secret wouldn’t last long. Hetty has kept their little secret for a while now but he is right to be more concerned about Granger’s reaction to the news. It could mean the end of their working relationship.

So who’s this mystery woman and what does she have to do with Hetty keeping Kensi and Deeks apart? Hetty is adamant that the two work separately and it may have nothing to do with their affair. But why all the subterfuge? Even Nell is not sure about the method behind Hetty’s madness. Kensi and Deeks have a lot to be worried about but not knowing why they are being followed only adds to their anxiety. The scene in the boathouse was a beautiful Densi moment as Deeks tries to assure Kensi that everything is alright between the two of them. Kensi’s trying her best to believe his sweet words but you can tell by the expression on her face she’s not so sure.

Finally, Kensi gets down to the bottom of why they are being followed but the news is unsettling. Deeks is being investigated by the LAPD and it looks like we have the beginning of a new arc for Densi. Up until this time, Kensi and Deeks biggest concerns were having to fight the bad guys while keeping their love affair and their personal safety intact. Now their fears hit closer to home. Kensi has to worry that the LAPD will use his love for her against the detective in order to get to the reasons behind the investigation. Now we know why Hetty separated the partners. She knows they can use Kensi against him but she doesn’t know why. Interesting. Although Deeks insists the LAPD has nothing they can use against him, there is just something in his response that tells me he’s not telling the whole truth. There’s no protesting, no objection or pleas of injustice coming from him. Deeks is quiet and that’s not a good sign. I’m hoping that this investigation will lead to his backstory and we can finally find out more about Marty Deeks’ elusive past. I can’t wait to see how this plays out!

Memorable Moments
• Deeks looks shell-shocked when Callen tells him everyone knows of Densi’s affair. No jokes, no funny quips. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this side of Deeks.
• I had to laugh when Kensi brings up Deeks’ pistachio eating habits to Sam. (Sam: He leaves the shells everywhere, it’s disgusting.) Poor Deeks. He’s getting picked on from all sides.
• Hetty keeping secrets again? I guess we’ll never understand her ways completely.
• OK, Sam redeems himself insisting he would never want to see Deeks removed from the team. (Sam: Don’t tell him I said that!). Sam understands even though he may not approve of their relationship. But he has a good point about kids popping up… By the look on Kensi’s face, I don’t think it ever even occurred to her.
• I really enjoy watching Deeks interrogate people. You never know which angle he’s going to explore and if he’s going to take the good cop or bad cop stand. He’s brilliant. Makes me wish we could see him in front of a jury.
Higher purpose, my ass! Don’t you just love some of the things that come out flying out of Hetty’s mouth?
• I’m glad that Hetty didn’t lecture Kensi and Deeks about their relationship. I think she has always been in favor of the union but knows it’s going to be a difficult road to travel down. Her job now is to protect them and whatever lies ahead for Deeks. Yes, Hetty this is just the beginning.
• Ending the episode with Hetty whispering bugger is never a good sign!

Deeks Moments
Hetty: Are you thinking of retaking the California bar, Mr. Deeks?
Deeks: Three days of hell? I’d rather clean half of Kensi’s apartment.
Kensi: I keep offering.

Densi Moments
Deeks: I got muscles in all the right places. I’m a lean, mean, sex machine. At least that’s what my ladybird says.

There were some nice moments all around with this episode including the final action scene with Sam successfully talking the young men out of following through on their mission. Not sure I fully understood and accepted the uncle’s motives behind his actions though. I’m still trying to figure out how much blame to put on the FBI or not. Was he delusional or what games is Bartels accusing the FBI of playing? Still, we got to see a much more serious Deeks in this episode which is always a plus in my playbook and I can only imagine what dangers are lurking around the corner for Deeks. Will his past come back to haunt him? Seems he will be fighting those shadows for sure in the upcoming episodes. Nice work by Andrew Bartels and Tony Wharmbly all around.

Next week we have a new episode, “Blaze of Glory” and two other love birds, Neric, take center stage. Don’t forget to come back this week for Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal and a new Writing Deeks! See you soon!

Episode: “Fighting Shadows”
Writer: Andrew Bartels
Director: Tony Wharmbly
Original Air Date: March 23, 2015


Diane Volpe is a Contributing Editor at

Follow her on Twitter: @phillydi

About Diane (428 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!

20 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Fighting Shadows” (S6E18)

  1. Thank goodness you posted this now. I’ve been dying to respond to a post that didn’t exist yet 🙂
    And I may have typed my entire response up this morning before even reading your review (obviously) because I just have so many thoughts.
    Consider this your warning – this is long and very rambly.

    I loved the first scene with Kensi and Deeks in the park. That’s exactly the kind of stuff I want to see even if the ep has nothing to do with them – just little reminders that they’re together. It was funny and sweet and I love the way they play off each other.

    I was feeling pretty sure that the partner swap had nothing to do with the (apparently not-new) revelations about their relationship and I’m glad that held true. Even bigger than that, I’m glad that not once did anyone bring up fears or concerns about them not being able to work together while also dating each other. I did worry about that – that someone would give them a hard time about how it’s not in anyone’s best interests, blah blah.

    I loved the two scenes with Deeks/Callen and Kensi/Sam talking about everyone knowing. The Kensi/Sam dialogue was especially nice to see considering he has experience. I’m a little surprised they didn’t touch on that more (outside of him talking about kids), but I enjoyed their little heart-to-heart.

    Now, this LAPD IA investigation. It’s going to be the death of me while I sit here and speculate for however many weeks/months it takes for them to resolve this for us. My mind has been running a million miles a minute since that end scene between Hetty and Densi. Obviously, Deeks is lying when he says there’s nothing else. Hetty knows he’s lying. And I think that Kensi knows he’s lying.

    I also think Kensi knows what he’s hiding. Maybe not the full extent of it, but she knows *something*. Deeks knows that keeping her in the dark would only serve to royally piss her off in the end and I don’t believe he’s willing to jeopardize their relationship and trust in each other to “protect” her from whatever it is. If he wanted to hide whatever this is from her completely, I don’t think she even would have been at that little meeting (watching it live, I was actually surprised to see her standing there). Yes she’s involved at least a bit because the LAPD IA detective was following her/them, but I still think that Deeks would have found a way to not have her there if he was really trying to keep something from her.

    I’m very glad he chose not to tell Hetty whatever it is. And if Kensi does in fact know, it makes sense that she would support him keeping his mouth shut (though watching that scene again this morning, she did look a little bit like she wanted to say something when he said there was nothing else, but thought better of it). I don’t think either one of them fully trust Hetty after the whole Kensi-Jack-Afghanistan mess (hell, *I* don’t trust her that much either!). And I think this secret is there way of proving that (to us, and maybe a little to Hetty herself).

    I have so many pieces of so many theories running around my brain right now. What it comes down to is – I think they’re leaving breadcrumbs that it has to do with his days as a public defender and maybe what led him to switch careers to be a cop. I think Hetty’s use of the term “hunting” is very appropriate – I think LAPD is out to get Deeks, for whatever reason and they’re using whatever they can find, whatever straws they can grasp at, as a way to bring him down. I think this is why he has to go back to LAPD (be it for a day or weeks or whatever they do with that). I think this pushes him to become an agent. I think this is going to come back full force in the finale and we’ll be stuck with some super angsty Deeks/Densi cliffhanger leading into S7.

    I’m really loving Andrew Bartels’ writing and the way he portrays these characters. I love that we’re getting some embedded long-running storyline – it’s been a while since we’ve had a good story that isn’t all wrapped up nicely at the end of an episode. That said, I’m quite anxious to see how this all plays out.


  2. I wonder if it has something to do with a former female partner? Lt. Bates told Kensi in “The Debt” that he had said he would never again work with a female partner.


  3. I know I’m grasping at straws….There were a lot of sneak peaks on this episode. I found the one that was on ECO’s instagram (the one at the boatshed where he makes Kensi says that they’re good) interesting. Maybe he’s sending a message to his fans….that Densi is good. See…I told you I was grasping since I want them to be good throughout this thing.

    I just started watching a couple of months ago and I’ve been binge watching through the seasons by buying episodes on Amazon. Now, I’m getting caught up through the episodes on Esquire Network. I’m so hooked on Deeks and Densi, but I have a bad feeling after watching this episode.

    The show will get renewed for Season 7, right? The ratings are good, aren’t they?


    • Renewals should be announced soon (FWIW, they haven’t released the status for NCIS either and that is one of the surest sure things!) and I can’t imagine it won’t get renewed. It’s winning its time slot every week and is still one of the most watched dramas.


  4. If I have to sum up the episode with my favourite sentence is Deeks’ “Nothing’s gonna tear us apart”.

    This is the only thing that gives me hope in a very darkening future for Densi. Can we trust Deeks? Is he the first to believe that nothing will separate him from Kensi? Does this mean he will be ready to fight with all himself for the first person he has really cared about and loved?

    The two last things I would like to see are:
    1) Deeks and Kensi splitting up (I can’t even think about it after all the long and winding road!)
    2) Deeks lying to Kensi so seriously that she results in losing her trust in him. We know hom much she has fought all her life with trust issues and men abandoning her (voluntarily or not) and Deeks’ betrayal would probably be the last straw

    What I would really like after this episode that has planted many seeds for future plot twists, is a plausible reason why LAPD is investigating into Deeks and its development and repercussions on Densi as a couple, which doesn’t mean their splitting up (that would be too simplistic for so brilliant writers!) but some realistic bumps on their road which may also derive from their line of work (she’s not Bridget Jones and he’s not the male equivalent of Bridget Jones, after all 😉

    If Deeks and Kensi will be forced to split up I do hope it might be a set-up slyly arranged by the Jedy Hetty and which will likely leave us with an ominous “to be continued” and four months of angst and speculations…


  5. Wow, that was a really intense Episode. I never had thought that it’s gonna turn out like this.
    After all the Sneak Peaks I thought it’s gonna be something about the relationship between Deeks and Kensi and that the team or Hetty doesn’t aprove it. But the way they dealt with it was actually great. Especially the talk between Sam and Kensi. The only thing that bothered me was when Sam brought up the kid subject and Kensi said we’re not thinking about kids…we’re not even thinking about diner. What was that about? I mean basically a few hours ago they were talking “Sex-Machine” and then they’re not even thinking about dinner, like the whole relationship is some kind of joke. Just didn’t make sense for me at this moment and in the context of what we know about their relationship. But maybe I just got it all wrong.

    But I never had expected that it’s gonna be such a Deeks centered Episode. I thougth they’re gonna wrap this all up in this ep and then move on. I mean so far the whole Season was basically about Sam and Callen running around kicking ass. But this Episode feels like a gamechanger. All of a sudden it seems like that the last Episodes of the Season could be actually about Deeks and his past(finally!?)…and his relationship with Kensi. Which is a great and exciting of course but it’s also kinda frightening.

    What could this secret from his past be? Why is the LAPD after him all of a sudden? I mean we knew that he doesn’t have many friends there but I always was under the impression that they still respect him because he is an outstanding cop. And I’m not quite sure but didn’t Bates said to Deeks in “The Debt” that it seems like he finally found a home with NCIS but he should not forget that he is stiltl one of them (the LAPD) or something like that. And now they try to “hunt” him down like some mobster. That seems a little extreme to me.

    All this teories to what might happen are killing me right now, especially the one that connects him with being some kind of a mole. I really don’t know what to make of it. I mean the writers can’t really turn him into a “bad” guy can they? ( please say no, I just need some kind of assurance right :D)

    Whatever happens I just hope that at the end it’s not gonna lead to a break up between Deeks and Kensi, that would be the worst.
    Although I also think that the Season is gonna end with some massive Densi cliffhanger which leaves us on the edge for months.
    The writers did really a god job with this Episode, I’m really torn apart between all the thoughts right now.

    Quick question at the end. How many Episodes is this Season gonna have, 22 or 24 ?


  6. Jeez, why is it always him having to beg her for support/reassurance? I’m really trying to love Densi, but I’m getting a little sick of Kensi? He’s walked through hell for her and she doesn’t give him anything – nothing, as far as I’m concerned. She just sucked the joy right out of him in the “we’re OK?” scene!! I do hope they don’t mess with this badly, guess we have to trust. I am SO glad to finally see a story arc this season. It sure makes it more interesting for me! After 5 years we deserve to see them fight it out “together”!!!! I just don’t think at this level of commitment that he’s agreed to that he would go down the “I have to protect her (from whatever)” road. They are together and he needs to let it happen that way. Although the way she treats him, I would probably understand why he’s afraid to tell her Anything! Can you tell I’m a little upset with the one sided relationship this seems to be. Could she stand any further away from him in the end without getting up and leaving the room??? Blah!


    • I don’t see their relationship as one-sided at all and I don’t think the way she treats him is bad – after a lot of frustrations with Kensi’s behavior last year, they have done a fantastic job turning her around.

      When they’re at work, especially talking to their boss, I don’t expect them to be standing on top of each other. Especially when they just found out that day that she knew about them. I’d want to show her that we could be professional at work since that is going to play a big part in their relationship and partnership continuing concurrently. And honestly, I’ve always seen Deeks as someone who tends to seclude himself when things stress him out. I think she was just giving him a little space.

      I also don’t blame Kensi for her “we’re good” response/tone either. I mean, she just had info thrown at her that freaked her out – Hetty was looking into whoever was following them and Deeks said he wanted to go to the prison alone. She didn’t seem resistant to me, just a little panicked (about the situation with the person tailing them, not about Deeks/their relationship).


      • I agreed with you. After what happened in ‘Frozen Lake’, both of them wants to prove that they can be professional and partner although they’re in a personal relationship. Also, I don’t think both of them still have some misgiving about Hetty, although they know she knows, they really don’t want to give her any reasonable cause to separate them.

        About Kensi, I think it’s natural for her to panicked giving all of her past experiences, however, I think she could be more assertive and be confident in them since she the first to declared “all in” status.


      • Totally agree with your take on Densi! Kensi reacted as I thought she would.


      • Laura Ann, I completely agree with you about Kensi. She’s a taker, never a giver, and she just “sucks the joy” right out of the room.

        Kara, I agree with you that there has been a concerted effort on the part of TPTB to turn Kensi around. I think that’s a tacit admission that there was a backlash of ill will against the character, due to all the punching, the negativity and the gratuitous nastiness, particularly directed toward Deeks. Most (but not all) of the writers have figured out that approach to Kensi was not working and have changed how they write the character. Now, if only I could forget season 5 and early season six, and basically every episode Kalstein has ever written, maybe I’d be able to tolerate Kensi again. But not likely.


    • I think this is who they are, and why they are so good together. When Deeks freaked out in Three Hearts, it was Kensi who believed them, their relationship, she was power of “all in”. Now Kensi is little bit freaked out, and Deeks is convicing her that they are good, now he also believes them. Their relationship is two-way road, I thought that writers want to show that, when I watched this episode.


  7. Considering how much Kensi and Deeks have experienced together, it’s hard to think that what ever this will be, it could separate them. After all, they are all in now and it wasn’t in any way a rapid solution. It would also be quite impossible to writers make credible storyline in which they could continue partners after split up. I think spliting them up would mean that another them have to leave show. And that is unbearble idea, I think!

    I assume that someone wants to repay to Deeks and this investigation is set up. At least I hope it will be something like that, ’cause him being dirty cop is quite an absurd thought.


  8. Thank you for your wonderful review. I have many thoughts running around in my head, too. I thought Kensi and Deeks seemed to be on the same page at the end of the episode when dealing with Hetty. How they thought no one knew is beyond me since they kissed in a public place with the team around the around. It is interesting that the team is questioning Hetty more and not wanting to sacrifice pawns. Great through back to her comment about moving the board. I have always thought Deeks kept his law license though maybe I heard it wrong so wonder if that is a bread crumb. I hope we see several partners stories intersect as we head to the end if the season. I wonder about Deeks and Callen’s stories carrying out the same theme. Sorry for rambling, I hope they show more episodes in a row.


  9. Natalie Ryan // March 24, 2015 at 5:46 PM // Reply

    This is by far one of the best eps on #NCISLA ever. Few Densi scenes I loved. For example “Lean, mean, sex machine”. That was awesome. And the reassurance in Deeks’ words when he said “We are good”, says it all, although Kensi wasn’t so sure about it.
    Let’s start from the beginning. This ep began explosive (of course since the van exploded). I jumped from the chair I was sitting on when the van exploded.
    Then we got the greatest Densi scene that was interrupted by the female taking photos of Deeks and Kensi.
    The scene in OPS was hillarious when he said “I’d rather clean half of Kensi’s apartment”. I still don’t get it. She is the untidy one, and Deeks is the tidy one (except in 5×02 when Deeks’ apartment looked like a bomb exploded in it).
    The fact that everyone at OPS except Granger knows about Densi is a fact that we need to consider in a future follow up of this storyline. I’m not so sure about what would Granger’s reaction be. He warmed up with Deeks, but love between colleagues with a guy that’s strictly by the book, don’t know how he’ll play this out. I just hope that he will have understanding like the others.
    The next scene that was great, was the interogation. When Deeks yelled at the man I thought he would kick him in the face. It was so tense. And the scene in the jail… No words.
    After that was the Kensi/LAPD IAB woman encounter. Who the hell is after Deeks and why? I have a couple of theories. Either it is connected with the man he tortured in Afghanistan, or Frank Scarli has someone to pin down Deeks for something he didn’t do, or did, but he did it for all the right reasons.
    Deeks’ face at the end was heartbreaking and I was on the verge of tears when they showed his eyes. ECO is an amazing actor and he can speak up thousand words without actually talking. He is marvelous at what he does and that’s why I love him so much. He can be funny, goofy and serious all in one episode.
    This was a serious episode and a serious storyline which I hope will bring us more of Deeks’ past and possibly will continue as the season’s finale.
    JPK’s teasers were worth the tension we experienced as we frantically counted each week and day and hour as the ep was closing in.
    And this episode made made me think of a song by One Republic, Secrets and a lyric of the song says, I’m gonna give all my secrets away.
    Till the next time we hear about the reason why LAPD is investigating Deeks, we will have to guess when the secret will be revealed. By the last scene I think Deeks indeed has some secrets. But, no matter what Hetty will protect him and Kensi.
    And ending with bugger is never a good sign, I agree with you phillydi. And believe it or not I knew she’d say bugger before she even said it. It was obvious.
    Great review, by the way.


  10. Great review Di. I agreed with pretty much everything you said. I really liked the ep- Andrew Bartels is becoming one of my favorite writers. Two small quibbles to get out of the way… I’d have liked more physical contact with the opening scene- him putting his arms around her, she nipping at his ear? And I don’t quite get how the LAPD investigators are going to use Kensi against him, and why that would mean they couldn’t work together.

    To me it feels like the beginnings of another Blye,K storyline, where Deeks is being accused of something he didn’t do and Kensi will have his back. I have such a love/hate relationship with all the angst. I hate that it causes such a knot in my stomach, but I looooove the way ECO plays it- that look on his face at the end just about killed me. I hope Hetty redeems herself for her lack of support in S5 with a vehement defense of Deeks here. And I both want and dread a season-ending cliff-hanger featuring Deeks. I still haven’t fully recovered from the post-Descent summer at the end of S4!

    By the way, anyone who wants more info to ruminate over should check out hermionesmydawg’s tumblr for the screen cap she made of Deeks’ NCIS file:


  11. Great review, Di! I loved this episode. Loved how the writers got the Densi scene in at the beginning of the episode to set the stage and it also allowed me to settle in and follow the storyline. Perfect Densi scene, had everything I could hope for.
    Lots of good stuff in this epi. Loved that Deeks used the term “ladybird” which ECO uses in real life when referring to the women in his life. The term of endearment made me all mushy. Loved the scene where Deeks found out that the team knew. I thought the serious conversation instead of a teasing tone was so realistic and well played. The writers followed up with the Sam and Kensi talk, wow, that was also well played,…Sam talking about thing just happening and babies…wow, the reaction by Kensi was absolutely priceless, after all they haven’t even thought as far as dinner!

    And then the boathouse scene where Kensi’s face had the look that Deeks recognized as the start of a ‘freak out” and he knew what to say to talk her down was awesome. The look and smile on Deeks’s face when he reassured Kensi, the smile by Kensi after she repeated “we’re good” aaack….loved the whole warm fuzzy I got.

    I enjoyed the storyline and admit I was fooled by the uncle. His calm demeanor had me fooled. When Sam and Callen began figuring it out, I was still a step behind. Great ending and definitely an episode to re-watch multiple times.

    Awesome comments by everyone. I love how everyone has something to say😄. And I agree with Karen…2 part Deeks backstory has to be on its way! I can feel the seeds being planted by the show writers! I sure hope we are right, Karen! 😄


  12. Wikideeks fans are the best! Thanks for all your great comments and discussion! Let’s hope we have a great Deeks storyline to look forward to. Onward!


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