Roundtable Discussion – Part One: NCISLA Season 6 Review
We’re back! You didn’t think the wikiDeeks staff would let Season 6 go by without a roundtable discussion, did you? Of course not! There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth but there were some bright spots too as we took a look back at the last season. Join the discussion in the comments section below and let us know your thoughts. Here’s what our contributors had to say…
Diane: So can we talk Season 6? What we’re all your thoughts as we look back?
Courtney: I’m like the bearer of negativity at all times, but overall all I thought it was pretty boring. It’s as if they were trying to be too safe after kind of jacking a lot of things up. They wanted to be too safe and a lot of the character arcs were boring.
Karen P.: I totally agree with Courtney. Uninspiring is the word I would use for it. It felt like there were a lot of false starts to the longer running stories, and Eric Christian Olsen was more underutilized than in any other season… his talents were completely wasted.
Colleen: I agree completely. The word for me would be lackluster. It just seemed like they kept building to a point and insinuating something and then pulling back over and over again. They didn’t develop anything concrete with any of the storylines. And as far as the underutilization of Eric, that was completely spot on. How many times did he have only four lines… and his talent was disrespected. It was a joke and I was annoyed for most of the season.
Tess: I kind of disagree. I liked it. I didn’t think it was perfect. I think there were some big flaws, but they made some corrections with problems that they had in Season 5, some of which was not their fault, but I think they tried some things and they are going to pay off this season. The Internal Affairs [storyline] is going to pay off this season. There were a lot of things left dangling but there are opportunities to do more. Hopefully the viewers will stick around long enough to get the payoff.
Randy: I was thinking of the other seasons where there was always this tension and build-up, and with this season the IA investigation was left dangling and there was nothing much more after that. But “Humbug” was pretty cool since that was the beginning of the Densi relationship. I know all of us here at Deeks Central were sad that it went back to the Sam and Callen show again. I was really looking forward to more of a backstory to Deeks when Season 6 started, and I was kind of ho-hum about the whole season. I got it on DVD, but there are only a handful of episodes that I would want to go back and watch.
Brenda: I also have to put myself in the lackluster and uninspired camp. I just got the DVDs and went through my PVR to delete Season 6 and I couldn’t remember as much of the episode content from the names as I could in past seasons. Aside from “Humbug,” “Spiral,” and “Expiration Date,” there were few that jumped out at me. That was partially due to the fact that I didn’t re-watch as many of them as I had in the past because there were so few “Go for Santa”-type scenes that demanded repeated views. I was also frustrated by the discontinuity of storylines and the resulting impact on the logical flow of the season. The storyline jumps did not enhance or contribute to drama, they just resulted in a choppy feel. Lots of loose threads to tie up in the future if they so choose.
Gayle: I was often confused because there were times where I had questions about whether this was originally the Season 5 intent that couldn’t play out in Season 5 for obvious reasons… that they couldn’t come back and infuse into 6 with some other things. So for me it felt like a misfit with some puzzle pieces that didn’t necessarily fit together, and a lot of episodes felt like one-offs versus having some consistent story arcs that we have come to appreciate from this show. One of the things that Lindy has brought up in the past is having a great villain like they have had in the past, someone you like to hate. They started off with Matthias in the beginning but got rid of him very fast and then everybody made their way into the Mission, which made us question how secure the location actually really is at this point. I will say this… that I was super excited about having a multi-story arc with Arkady at the end of the season. That really breathed some life into the show that had been missing. But going back to thinking of what might have been for Season 5, I look at “Expiration Date” and wonder if that was supposed to be in 5, and getting some closure with Ernie Reyes, Jr.’s character and how that was going to relate to Densi, and now that’s something we can never be sure of.
Tess: The Mission had more visitors than Disney World had last year. They bent over backwards trying to show that this was the most secret place in America and then it’s like, let’s bring in some DOJ investigators, let’s bring in Julie Chen and her security people, let’s bring in the FBI. That to me was problematic and it blew off the fact that this was the world’s most secret place. But the thing I think they missed out was the whole mole storyline. Because I don’t know if that’s been answered or not. They poisoned Granger and they arrest some guy we’ve never seen before but that was it! I expected more.
Courtney: I totally agree with that. I think it’s still going but I don’t think they remember it’s still going.
Randy: I still want to know how Hetty walked out of a Congressional Committee hearing with no fallout.
Diane: Anything else in terms of inconsistencies? A lot of people have been complaining on social media about that.
Tess: I think they wasted a lot of great guest stars with one and dones. When they brought in Michael Gaston, and he was going to be the CIA handler for the woman who was the traitor… he is one of the best character actors around and I knew this guy was going to be great but he had two scenes! He probably barely found out where the coffee machine was. Same thing with Gerald McCraney. He’s been on Deadwood and Justified and as soon as he had that one scene with Hetty, I was like ‘Could we do this for the rest of the hour?’ I could watch just the two of them talk to each other! He was in and gone. I don’t understand why you get these great supporting characters and do nothing with them. They got Daniel J. Travanti to play Callen’s father, and if they don’t run with that I’m going to be really disappointed because he is great.
Brenda: I totally agree with you, as well as the previous comments about the Mission and the Congressional hearings. It can become tiresome and one-note to have villains that persist and never have resolution, but the same is true for repeated one and dones. After a while it’s like the “unknown crewman” on Star Trek– you know they’re disposable so you don’t become invested in the character. On the good guy side, I was so happy they brought Ernie Reyes Jr. back again – he could have been such a powerful recurring character. I know there are those who view his death as advancing Densi and I can see that as well. However, I really like the actor and the character and was very disappointed that they eliminated the potential of future appearances.
Courtney: One of Gibbs’ rules is ‘Don’t waste good’ and that’s pretty much how I saw all of Season 6. They had so much good and they wasted it. To go back to what Gayle said, I think the whole Arkady storyline at the end would have been a much better story to end Season 5 because they had the “Reznikov” episode in Season 5, and everything was so fresh with Callen’s dad. To me that seems like it was meant to end Season 5 and it would have been a whole lot better.
Karen P.: I have a crackpot theory on the end of Season 6. It really seemed they were building up to the IA storyline and that they would have to address it before the end of the season, as a good storyline for Deeks that they had been teasing us with for two seasons, but all of a sudden they switched to the Arkady storyline. To me it felt as if they really believed they were going to get cancelled and they wanted Callen to find his father at the very end. Even the way the last ten minutes [of “Chernoff, K.”] played out, they had so much time at the end of that episode that they could have inserted a scene where he actually talked to Daniel J. Travanti had they gotten notice that the show was cancelled. I didn’t have any reason to think that they would have been cancelled, but that’s the way it felt to me.
Brenda: That is something I had not thought of but actually totally makes sense to me. It was much more obvious on Bones that they were not sure about another season so they wrapped things up tightly. However, this could easily have functioned as a- somewhat unsatisfying- series finale.
Tess: I wonder if they thought with [episode] 150 coming up in Season 7 and that fact that they like big round numbers where big things happen to Callen, why not bring him back for 150?
Diane: That’s true because the 100th episode was all about Callen as well. What about the ending for Season 6? Were you happy or sad it wasn’t a cliffhanger, or did it matter?
Courtney: I don’t mind a lack of cliffhanger, it means we can start the season fresh. I don’t mind the lack of a cliffhanger when it’s a really solid finale, but I didn’t think this finale was solid. It ended the season in a very ‘blah’ way for me, but I’m excited for the season to start because the last time we didn’t have a cliffhanger we had a season opener like “Human Traffic” that was awesome. I felt like the finale was lacking a lot and it was not holding my attention at all.
Brenda: I’m fine with the lack of cliffhanger. I don’t put much stock in cliffhanger episodes for any series as it’s generally just an episode or two story arc that is left aside when the season proceeds. I find them often to be over-the-top – like “Descent”. It’s the only episode of NCIS:LA I’ve never watched. Heard about it, see stuff like that in real life, don’t need to see it on TV. And, despite what Deeks and Sam went through, it was quickly in the background as the season progressed. I’d rather see solid story-telling all year long.
Tess: I’m fine with them not having any cliffhanger because the cliffhanger for Season 5 was so ridiculous. Are Sam and Callen going to die on the boat? Their picture is on the cover of the DVDs… I pretty much know who is getting out alive of the episode and who’s not. I was more positive about this season finale than Courtney, although I thought she had really good points. I’m fine with them not doing anything for the sake of them doing something, and that was the feeling I got at the end of Season 5, because there was a cliffhanger on that one.
Randy: It’s like going on at the end of that huge cliffhanger at the end of Season 4 with Deeks and Sam. We know they aren’t going to die, but how damaged are they going to be after the ordeal? With Sam and Callen on the sub we know they aren’t going to die. But with Season 6, it felt forced to me. They had the Arkady arc, but for me it felt like they cut the story in half, and it felt like something should have happened and then they went to the credits.
Lindy: I wanted to talk about one thing that really bugged me about this season and it was the lack of passion. There wasn’t a villain to get angry with or long term scenarios that put any of the them in danger we had to worry about. And there was also no passion between the characters, especially between Kensi and Deeks. After four years of sexual tension between these two, it was kind of ‘oh yeah, we’re dating and we’re going out with our friends’. It just didn’t make sense to me that there wouldn’t be some sort of explosive passion between these two people after all these years of waiting for it. I think that was a big disappointment for me and I don’t understand why they wouldn’t let us see a tiny bit of that. It was just blah and I thought the whole season was blah. I’m just hoping that for Season 7 there will be more passion from the characters.
Karen P.: Before they put Deeks and Kensi together, I was arguing that they should do that. But I was afraid that this group of script writers wasn’t going to know what to do with them once they got them together. It sort of felt like they weren’t sure how to show them together, and we got a variety of slightly different Densi’s, but there was not a lot of passion as Lindy described it.
Brenda: I agree on both counts– was arguing for them to be together but was also a little concerned that the writers would not know how to write that. My perception of the rest of the season after “Humbug” was that they weren’t sure how to write it. However, after seeing the deleted scenes, it doesn’t seem like the writers are the ones with the problem, there was some good writing and acting lost in the editing process.
Randy: I agree that there was no passion, but there wasn’t any tension either. You have a new couple that is just starting out in the dating world and they have to work together, and their job is tense and dangerous. They need to focus on the tension like the IA investigation… What if there is something serious going on here? Is Deeks terrified how Kensi is going to see him? The fallout from Afghanistan… are they ever going to discuss that? Or is there something out of her past that could change their dynamics? It’s like the Moonlighting curse, where after a couple gets together they get so boring that you hope that something happens that they break up so you can have that tension again.
Lindy: But it doesn’t have to be that way. They are in dangerous situations every doggone episode and after you almost die, wouldn’t there be some sort of connection that would bring them together so they could express how afraid they had been for one another? If fanfic writers can do it I find it hard to believe professional writers can’t find a way to show that type of relationship is anything but boring.
Brenda: I have to agree with my favorite fanfic writer! They need you in the writing room! Even without dating, they have a phenomenally dangerous job and rarely seem to be that relieved at surviving life or death situations. How is that not more present for the whole team and then kicked up a notch given their relationship?
Gayle: Absolutely! One of the things I was wondering during the whole season was with Kensi and where she was in the whole state of things. Some episodes she was barely his partner anymore, so forget whether he was making her laugh or annoying her as we have come to expect, but sometimes there just wasn’t anything there between them because they always had this whole concern that they had to stay professional, which was fine when they were on the job, but we don’t get to see any part of the opposite of that as to how they are responding to that as people, and not how they are responding as agents… then that’s a hard sell for us.
Later this week we will talk about our thoughts and what’s on our wish lists for Season 7. Make sure you come back to join in on the discussion.
Very interesting Roundtable discussion.
I share most of your thoughts and opinions especially the ones about much waste of good ideas and potential throughout the whole season and an evident lack of passion between the characters, especially Densi after they got together.
If on one side it was very rewarding after so many years of tension and frustration to think them together, that was what it mostly remained, “thought” instead of “seen”.
I have never said I would like to see them kissing or hugging in every single scene, but this season we didn’t run this risk! It was the exact opposite: sometimes I think they were more out of character without showing any sign of affection or support to each other after a mission or whatever dangerous situation (first scene that comes to my mind the rooftop in Field of fire) than if they had shown it onscreen. Who would do that in real life? Who wouldn’t touch or hug his/her boyfriend after a difficult moment?
Did the writers think that throwing some lines here and there like “lean, mean sex machine” or “talk detective all night long” would be the most realistic way to portray these characters after they had gone “All in”?
I do think the writers owe Deeks and Kensi much more after having created them so beautifully and after having made us fall in love with them season after season.
i want to start by saying i have been a long time reader of this website and everybody’s stories and they are all awesome, thank you for them. my family and i love ncis:la its are favorite show with ncis and ncis:new Orleans a close 2nd and 3rd and scorpion and nascar, but anyway. like i said i love the show but i am getting very tired of at least 80% of the episodes being all about callen or callen and sam, which in turn are great characters. i hear everybody saying that it should be all about callen because its his story to tell well last time i looked the show was called ncis:la NOT callen and company, but my favorites are deeks and kensi or as everybody calls them densi, they are both great actors and it can’t be easy with them being in-laws, i agree that they downplay deeks’ skills ALOT, a back story into deeks would be cool and they say in season 7 we will get to meet deeks’ mother,
sorry i was ranting but if anybody was to write a story where kensi and deeks have an adventure at a nascar event (tony stewart is our favorite driver) or interacting with the scorpion group we think they would be hilarious together, that would be very cool.
thanks again for the awesome stories the lat 2 i read were sentient and aces and eights (awesome)
Also got the Season 6 DVD. I saw some occasionally great personal interactions pasted onto so-so story lines. I thought the writers did a great job with Densi in “Grey Man” and “Humbug”… showed Kensi opening up to Deeks a little and then a lot… I believe “Grey Man” marked the first time she actually addressed her street life; I actually liked that episode. Of course, Humbug was perfect for Christmas… not only the Densi all in moment, but Callen actually seeming to be a real human with Joelle and the Neric cuteness. Parts of “Dark Wind” (those not having Sam and Callen racing around in a food truck or taking out the helicopter) were good. The cactus spines, the scene in the tunnel, and the story of the cactus were also excellent. The “talk detective” scene could have been built into something, as could the “got to make sure my ladybird is happy” one. Arkady is always great for either a glowering Russian or a kind of clown… but instead of arcing the finales into the renewal of the cold war the arc became one more tired exercise into Callen’s muse. Other shows in 6 were either totally forgettable or just plain bad. Just like Brenda won’t watch “Descent”, I will never watch “Rage” again ( I don’t watch most of “Descent” either…… DVR and DVD is great for skipping scenes). While I really wish the “Chernoff, K” deleted scene had been left in rather than the spinning Russian coin, it is possible they thought they were going to be cancelled.That Densi scene and Callen meeting his father plus whatever else they shot that didn’t end up in either the episode or the deleted scenes could have been a way of wrapping up.
Like most of us (I think) I have a handful of episodes I watch over and over again; most of 6 are not on the list.
I would say that Season 6 had great SCENES not great episodes. I love love love Densi with the “Are you eating the crime scene?”, “You can’t wash out ghost”, group Zen and others, as examples. We know the less-than-handful good **episodes**.
To me, they’ve up-played the playfulness and down-played the sexual tension and I’m wondering if it’s because of the whole in-law thing and they are shying away. Too much, IMO, is made of their real life by-marriage relationship. They should be emphasizing that Dani has the best of both of two good-looking brothers. They were acting partners with chemistry with the intention of an on-screen relationship before she was introduced to and married David.
Totally agree with all of your comments. There was only a handful of episodes that had Densi. Humbug, Expiration Date & Fighting Shadows. Season 6 was consistently Callen & Sam. Eric Christian Olsen is the ONLY reason I watch the show. We have been following Deeks & Kensi for years then finally they offically became a couple and then nothing. (As mentioned we dont want to see kissing every scene but want to see them as a COUPLE). It was so disappointing and a bit of a let down. Surely the writers & producers of the show realise how popular Deeks & Kensi are. I reallly hope that Season 7 is better and we have more focus on this wonderful couple. The IA investigation I hope is handled well as well as the meeting of Deeks’s mother.
First thanks for this great roundtable and forum for us Deeks fans. I liked the first half of season 6. I thought they were trying to recover from season 5 and they certainly moved the Densi relationship forward, culminating in “Humbug” and I really appreciated it and thought it was done well. For me the season fell apart after “Fighting
Shadows”. I agree with Karen that it seemed we were headed to an IA/Deeks backstory, a good thing. It then felt like someone decided to completely change directions which resulted in very lackluster, disconnected stories. I respectfully disagree with you Karen, I do not think it had anything to do with a fear of being cancelled. I think the opposite. The ratings for NCIS LA improved over the season and they took first place for total viewers for many episodes . They have more viewers than other CBS shows in the same time slot.
I honestly have no idea what happened to the last third of the season. To me “Rage” was an example of how off course they got. This was the first Deeks/Densi episode with a serious undercover with someone else since they went all in, maybe since Parley , and I was expecting at least a minute of conversation about their feelings and how hard this would be for both of them. Instead we got nothing. If you did not know they were a couple , and were just tuning in, from that episode you would have thought they were barely friends.
I hope season 7 comes out strong and I really hope they give ECO some meaningful scenes that he is more than capable of. I want them to write a strong Deeks for the IA and the introduction of his mother.
I pretty much agree with all of the panel, but I have never missed an episode because of “been there, done that” and I don’t suppose I ever will unless, heaven forbid, they decide to kill off one of the main eight. In that case if my detective skills aren’t too rusty I’ll know and will skip that episode. I hope this season will give us some major insight into Deeks’ past. I think the writers know what we want, at least they delivered with Humbug. I don’t think the actors are shying away from more closeness. They knew what their relationship was on the show before they became in-laws and they’re actors. It goes with the territory.
I don’t know if you are aware of this but according to Barnes and Noble there will be a novelization of NCISLA due out on the last Tuesday in September. It’s available for pre-order. Let us hope that it is not just a rehash of the Sam and Callan storyline and will give some quality time to Densi. Here’s also hoping it’s a success and there will be more books in the series. What I really would like, though, is a book of NCISLA trivia or “The Making of NCISLA.” But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, always love your panel discussions and I’m looking forward to Round Two.
I agree with many of the comments. The season felt incomplete, many great characters and story ideas that just were under utilized. I am disappointed over Densi. I wanted them to get together and my fears that the writing would not give us an adult relationship came true. I don’t think this is because they are family. They are all in the business. The deleted scenes make me wonder what did we miss for all of the characters. There was so much potential. Thanks for the discussion.
I love round tables and always enjoy reading everyone’s opinion and take-away from the season. I have to admit that I’ve spent previous summers (almost obsessively) re-watching the season on DVR but this season I have not. As with everyone, there were some wonderful episodes worth watching over and over and others that I would re-watch and fast forward to the good parts.
I do feel that the writers were not consistent in writing Densi as far as their relationship dynamics. Some episodes had great Densi dialogue and chemistry and others seemed flat. If some writers are taking into consideration the personal relationship of the actors, they shouldn’t. Both DR & ECO in interviews have stated that it’s acting and their spouses are also in the biz. I personally do not see DR or ECO onscreen, I see Deeks and Kensi.
Storyline continuity was an issue and some opportunities for developing our beloved characters were missed. I think the showrunners should hire a continuity specialist. And the most disappointing thing was no 2 part episode of “Deeks, M” and no answer to “what’s in the box?”
I’m really looking forward to season 7.
I agree that this season wasn’t all that great. It was choppy and didn’t have the same explosive, jaw dropping, edge of your seat storylines like usual.
I do disagree with the whole thing about Densi. I’ve stated numerous times in other places that this is a case based show and that is what the writers are focused on. We should be happy with what we get. Also, to point it out, We’ve seen more of Kensi and Deek’s personal lives than the rest of the team. Like what I’ve also been saying elsewhere, we should be only be concerned about the show actually being cancelled…because if the show keeps going on then we will eventually get what we want.
Now, the whole reason why Callen is so focused on is because his life is basically a case in itself. I don’t think Callen would get some much attention if his past wasn’t the way it was……we also probably wouldn’t have this show if they hadn’t taken it the direction they did. Also, with the whole IA investigation arc, you have to remember that Deeks is still LAPD. That whole thing is not under NCIS jurisdiction and I’m guessing it will somehow come under NCIS jurisdiction in this next season……..probably by a certain tiny, meddling, ninja we all know and……sometimes love.