wikiDeeks News Ticker

Review: NCISLA “Defectors” (S7E9)


This week’s storyline is ripped right out of the headlines as they are playing out right now around the world. Men and women who willingly give their allegiance to become members and participate in ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorist plots is the basis for this current NCIS:LA episode “Defectors”. The team must go in search of a missing teenage girl who may have been recruited by one of these terrorist organizations. As relevant as this story is, we have also been on bated breath to find out what will happen to Deeks as the IA investigation arc comes to its (anti)climatic end. More on that later as we analyze this week’s episode.

As the story unfolds, a man is dead, and a known terrorist is loose on the streets of LA. So what’s the connection? A mysterious note is found in the dead man’s car with the name of a suspected ISIS terrorist scribbled on it, and not even his wife can believe her spouse could be connected despite his strange behavior recently. Callen and Sam find three cell phones on the floor of his battered car, and Eric is able to ascertain that the out-of-work accountant was moonlighting as a taxi driver. But where did the strange note come from and what does it mean?

The team discovers that the ISIS terrorist is Luqman Badr Al Din, the organization’s charismatic recruiter who is heavily involved in their propaganda/social media side. (Deeks: So he’s the Tony Robbins of terrorists?) It’s the biggest lead the government has so far, and the team has got to find and stop him before he goes any further. Hetty and Granger’s conversation at the top of the stairs is one that many people around the world are having this past week after recent world events. It gets scarier every day and all bets are off.

A series of clues leads the team to a 16 year old girl who is the connection to the taxi service and the strange note. After finding out more from her parents about a modeling agency she visited, could this be how they are recruiting young brides for a whole new generation of ISIS terrorists? As the agents confront the reality that she may have run away to join ISIS, it’s a race to find the girl and bring her back before she disappears for good. She could also be one of many young girls being recruited in LA, which is an even more disturbing notion to contemplate.

As ISIS keeps building its army one by one, innocent people get caught in the crossfire. The team eventually saves all three girls from a precarious future, but unfortunately there are a lot more where they came from. As the world watches the impact of ISIS and their terroristic activities, community leaders will quickly have to find ways in the future to protect our children from their grasp. It may be one more step in the war against this extremist group but a vital one. I applaud the showrunners for facing this story head on and dealing with just one of the many ramifications of this worrisome world problem.

Memorable Moments

  • We get a Kensi/Callen bromance type moment to start off the show, which was more of a brother/sister kind of conversation between the two. I was surprised that Callen decided to take Kensi head on about her pathological obsession with clutter but I should have known better! Ah, Deeks… You got Callen to do your dirty work, didn’t you? You’re never going to win, guys!
  • At least we found out what happened to Joelle. Another one bites the dust. (Callen: What about Joelle? Kensi: Oh, I’m sorry. Is that serious? No, I didn’t think so, because you couldn’t commit to a coffee cup.) Ouch!
  • Eric! The sax? Really? One, two, three… hey!
  • No, I could never see Sam as an Uber kind of guy. Sam without his wheels… no way!
  • So we add one more famous person to Hetty’s closet of illustrious celebrities as we find out she has rubbed elbows with the glamorous Jackie O! Yeah, I can see that.
  • Now where in the hell did Kensi pull her gun from while wearing that skimpy dress? Must be the bra holster in action again!

Deeks Moments

  • You’ve got to love Deeks wanting to go undercover as a male model to infiltrate the agency. His indignation when Callen nominates Sam to go in is hysterical. (Deeks: What?! No! They don’t make Italian clothes in this man’s size!!)
  • Deeks catching the CFO in an uncompromising position was a funny scene although I’m not exactly sure how it fits in with the plot. (Deeks: I’m just keeping the peace here… protecting and serving.)

Densi Moments

  • Densi’s conversation with the runaway girl’s sister was sweet. You could see how much they were enjoying the conversation.
  • Kensi will get even with Deeks’ plan to stop her hording… it’s only a matter of time. (Deeks:  I don’t know what you are talking about fickle mistress!)
  • Deeks finds out something new about his ladybird. (Deeks: Wow, warm tones, you are just full of surprises.)
  • For those of you who think Densi doesn’t act as if they are in a romantic relationship, one listen to their ‘double entendre’ argument will change your mind. (Sam: Guys! I’m not listening to another Touché debate.)
  • I love you. It’s the scene we’ve all been waiting for. Deeks didn’t seem surprised at all by the arrest, but more resigned to his fate. His declaration of love to Kensi was almost a plea of forgiveness, as if he knew this day was coming and there was no way to stop it. It will be interesting to see how he will get out of this mess. It’s hard to watch our noble detective being on the other side of the law. I love you. Three simple words but it’s all he has to give Kensi now. A chilling moment for Densi fans. Unfortunately, we know from watching “The Long Goodbye” that Deeks seemed to be no worse for wear after the investigation and his arrest for the murder of Francis Boyle. Does this mean that after all of the emotional expenditure over why the LAPD was investigating Deeks, that it was was just a simple mistake without any repercussions for Deeks or his relationship with Kensi? We will have to wait to see what happens after next week’s episode and if this arc was worth the wait or a disappointing bust.

There’s a break in the action next week but the IA investigation will return in full force after that and we will finally discover what skeletons have been hiding in Deeks’ closet. While Deeks is in jail, there will be no Deeks’ Surf Log (sigh) but I’m sure Kensi has a lot to say in this week’s Journal and be sure watch out for our Edit of the Week as well. We also have a Thanksgiving Day FanFic treat from Tess DiCorsi so don’t forget to come back here to wikiDeeks on Thursday. Have a great holiday to all our American fans!

Episode: “Defectors”
Writer: Jordana Lewis Jaffe
Director: Dennis Smith
Original Air Date: November 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!

17 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Defectors” (S7E9)

  1. Thanks for the review, my favorite appointment every week after watching NCIS LA.

    For me this was an average episode, with a mix of nice an interesting scenes (Kensi/Callen opening, Kensi undercover as a model) and some other normal, quite predictable moments, up until the climax of Deeks’s arrest, which was, at least in my opinion, the focus of the episode.
    It’s a huge step forward for me to say this of a JLJ’s episode, because last year and the previous one, except for the “Talk detective to me” scene and Deeks and Kensi’s car scene about IA, I found her episodes in general quite inconsistent and with team dynamics I didn’t like or understand much (my least favorite Season 6 was “Savoir Faire” and Season 5 “Big Brother”).

    This week my highlights are:

    – How stunning Kensi/DR is, whatever she wears (tactical vest, short dress and high heels, plain t-shirts), whatever she does. I’m so glad she’s been given a lot of compelling scenes this season so far and opportunities to shine (being so beautiful should never be a crime!).

    – The opening bullpen scene between Callen and Kensi. I like the way they interact, the way Callen looks at her and kind of commiserates her hoarding habits. Another more personal reason I liked this scene is because my desk is perpetually very similar to Kensi’s and sometimes I seriously think I may need professional help too 🙂

    – Deeks’s arrest, obviously! If we hadn’t already been teased for a long time about this upcoming crucial moment of his life and we hadn’t been also shown part of the scene in the promo, I swear I would have had a heart attack, such an intense moment it was, beautifully performed by both ECO and DR. Their expressions were unique in that instant. And I agree, Deeks’s “I love you” to Kensi was more a “Please forgive me”.
    It was so heart-breaking to see Deeks being taken away from Kensi like that. Another man in her life who goes away (we have reasons to believe momentarily, this time). I do hope she will fight for him to prove his innocence. This is what he deserves as she deserved herself in the Blye episodes.


  2. Thank you for the review. These reviews are sometimes better than the episodes e.g. this time. This episode was badly written.
    There were good scenes in this episodes (the team work together, Callen and Kensi at the beginning, the photo-shoot discussion the team had and the not on screen bonding with Callen and Deeks against Kensi (or better about Kensis mess at work, at home, probably even in the car).
    The topic of this episode is too serious IMO to let the writer mess with it. If this writer wasn’t able to bring up this storyline with adequate accuracy than better leave it to somebody else. It could be that the family didn’t notice anything what her daughter was doing in the internet or anywhere else (unlikely but possible for a fictional story), but the “luck” with the note was a bit too much luck. Worst of all was that Kensi needed just 2 or 3 sentences to reverse the brainwash the girls have been through? Seriously just some words and all the ISIS fundamental brainwash work gone, just like that? All is good and the girls can go home as if they were just shopping? In ‘unlocked mind’ they tried to show how serious this could be so why the ‘light version’ here? This topic is far too serious to mess with it, there is not ‘light version’ of ISIS or their brainwashing, so please don’t play this down. ISIS wouldn’t be feared world wide if they would be harmless as shown in ‘defectors’.
    Some questions:
    Do we know why this model agency woman was involved with ISIS or how? Only because her friend is connected to them and so she does? Barely.
    Where did Kensi got the gun from after the photo session? There was no place to hide it.
    Why was Deeks arrest only in the last minute but promoted big time for this episode?


    • I agree with most of the comments… while the dialogue between Callen and Kensi was cute, her desk was not. Canon is that she is not a housekeeper,,, never has it alluded to that she throws food scraps around, and never has her desk been that much a mess – there wasn’t even room for her computer and her work files.

      I keep telling myself not to over interpret the continuity glitches, such as where she was hiding the full sized automatic. In one of the first episodes Kensi succinctly states this point in a conversation with Dom – “Have you ever tried to hide a weapon in a thong?”. Issue in a nutshell with the outfits she wears on many occasions. But I still see discontinuities no matter how hard I try just to enjoy the episodes.

      I totally agree about ISIS. The writing there was a mess. I know ISIS recruited the Paris team from French and Belgian slums where unemployment is rife, religious tolerance nil, and opportunities for Moslem youth also close to zero… but these were upper class girls from families where children are monitored closely. And programming is not broken with stating that the handler ran out on them. Sorry, just doesn’t happen.

      The arrest scene would have had tremendous impact if CBS, sneak peeks, and Tumblr had not shown it a zillion times. Both DR and ECO did a masterful job with their emotions, but all impact had been lost.

      Please, CBS, do not have the IA resolution in a promo or sneak peek! We know that he is exonerated, at least to some degree… just don’t tell us how and who the baddie is over the next two weeks!!!


    • I’m OK with the teens coming from “good” homes. Since I work with teens, I see many disgruntled kids who think the world is against them whenever they face a set back (like being put on the JV volleyball team). Some kids from “good” homes don’t have the coping and rational problem solving skills that their less fortunate peers have developed.


      • Brenda (@bpnp) // November 26, 2015 at 7:36 AM // Reply

        I would agree with you teresaweise, for some kids, having a “good” family just doesn’t seem to make a difference to how their lives unfold. So many reasons for how/why people are susceptible to negative influences.


  3. I wasn’t impressed with this episode. it was better than last week’s but… I thought the Callen and Kensi scene fell flat and went on too long and some of the dialogue was hokey. Also wasn’t it made clear by Sam that Callen really gave Kensi the book and
    “framed Deeks” to take the heat off of himself?


  4. Thanks, Diane for the great review. Watching the news and learning how ISIS operates, I was struck by how closely the writers kept to the facts which made this episode scary and real. Granted the team caught a break with the phonetically spelled name on the note. And yes, would this happen in real life?…but in the interes of the story palying and ending…I go along for the ride.
    I did enjoy all of the team banter and the Densi. And The look on Deeks’s face when Kensi convinced the girls that they should go home…*sigh*…loved the look. And the ending with Deeks sying “I love you” was awesome. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.


  5. Great review Diane, and not an easy subject to tackle either! I think I agree most closely with Cladani, who seems to see JLJ’s work about the same as I do. I thought the episode was OK, although I also agreed with others about some of the plot holes. But this really was all about the ending. I’ve only watched it a few (hundred) times by now, LOL. ECO and DR played it perfectly. And Di you are so right, I think he really was saying “I’m sorry.” Quite heartbreaking, even if we had already seen it. It is too bad that they give so much away in promos and sneak peeks. They could have just shown a quick shot of him in handcuffs, or just played the sound of the detective telling him he was under arrest, in the promos. We would have been just as excited to watch, but the actual scene would have been so much more intense. I’d like to go hide under a rock for the next two weeks, to try to remain completely spoiler free about IA, but I’m not sure I can accomplish that. And even though we know Deeks and Densi are going to be fine, I’m still excited to see an episode filled with Deeks angst. Just please please let his backstory, especially with his mom, make sense!


  6. Thanks for great review Diane! I like the episode very much, actually much more than The Long Goodbye where people acted rather strange again (in Blame it on Rio too). Seemed to me like all of them were out of canon. The story was good and I agree there were some holes in it, but giving the 40 minutes time and complexity of the issue handled in the story, they couldn’t tackle it much deeper.

    Saying that, I go back to the task at hand to write something that bothers me for some time now. I am following Wikideeks and some social net(s) reading about Deeks’ arrest and about his lies and what-had-he-done-this-time questions and answers and unless I really overlooked (and if I am, I sincerely apologize), I haven’t find one post that is saying that he didn’t do whatever he was arrested for. And that is exactly what I think. We had already Sam and Kensi there (both have been arrested with charges for murder) and I am sure nobody has ever doubt for a second that they had done that.
    And I could be totally wrong, but as I am big fan of Occam’s razor, I presume that somebody framed Deeks and that Kensi and the whole team won’t believe for a moment that Deeks is a killer. Plus I am looking forward to see interaction between Deeks’ mom and Kensi that will throw some lights on Deek’s past (until we wait for promised episode called “Brandel, M”).


    • While few have said so, IMO all of us believe he is being framed. Question is why and by whom? He’s only had two partners that we know of from actual scenes… his first sadistic partner (no one charged) that Deeks mentioned a few weeks ago and Jess Traynor (killed by Lazik/Scarli). There is a remark by Bates in “The Debt” about Deeks having once had a female partner, but nothing was ever followed up on that remark… unless it was made to get Kensi’s fuse burning. Looking forward to finding out what the frame is all about in two weeks (UGH). Also want to see their moms meet. That could be a great scene.


      • Brenda (@bpnp) // November 26, 2015 at 7:40 AM // Reply

        I’m not as convinced that he is being framed, because I think there would be more anger/outrage. He looked more like a guy who knew what was going on and something he had been waiting for had caught up with him. I don’t think he himself did anything illegal, but I’m thinking that he protected someone else and was willing to take the fall for it, if needed. That scenario also allows for the easy out he seems to have based on lack of reference to the IA matter/arrest we got a glimpse of in the out of order episode.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: