Since there have been concerns and comments made about how Detective Deeks has been presented so far this season, wikiDeeks Contributors Courtney and Randy were asked to debate or discuss the issues and see if that might be the case. The discussion covered a lot of topics but tried to stay close to the question of whether the writers of the show have kept Deeks true to his character or have we witnessed a diversion that has turned our beloved detective into someone we may not recognize. We know each character has evolved over the past seven seasons, but they each have core strengths and ideals that simply cannot change if they are to remain the people we love to watch take on the bad guys.
Courtney: So we’re here to debate Deeks’ hair, right? Cause I think it was very in character during “Unspoken“. It only took 6 episodes for them to get it right. 😉
Randy: If you want to debate someone about the nuances of Deeks’ hair… or eyes… or body… then you’re going to have to locate another contributor. I’m a very hetero male and discussing the attributes of another man ranks right up there with topics like ‘foot fungus’ or ‘braidable back hair’. All I will say about Deeks’ hair is that at least he HAS hair and he makes the ‘shaggy’ look work.
Courtney: While I admit I’m as shallow as a puddle most of the time, I do actually consider his appearance to be a major part of his character. For example, Deeks looks tired, older, and less put together lately. And I’m in no way insulting Eric Christian Olsen with that, because I only notice it when he is playing Deeks. Maybe it’s a subtle hint to the underlying stress the Internal Affairs investigation has caused him?
Randy: All shallowness aside, you bring up a good point. Deeks’ change in appearance may well be a nod to the investigation that’s been plaguing him the past few months. The writers have him maintaining his usual antics (the yellow jump-suit, slurping on his smoothie, etc.) while there does seem to be an underlying tension just under the surface. In ‘Unspoken’, his pronouncement about supporting his partner even if a murder was involved spoke volumes of him as person. To me, Deeks was telling Kensi, that thick or thin, right or wrong… he would always stand with her. When Deeks commits to something or someone, he never wavers or falters, even at great risk to himself.
Courtney: That’s exactly who Deeks is when everything is stripped away – a selfless person. Which is why, hold on for a second because I’m actually going to finally get on topic, I think he has been in character as far as the Internal Affairs investigation is concerned. I didn’t see his intentionally secretive behavior as being selfish initially, but done to protect those around him by not involving anyone else in the secret he’s had to carry around.
And yes, that includes Kensi. She’s really the most important person in his life, which is why he doesn’t want to jeopardize her integrity by sharing details that she might have to then turn around and lie about in order to protect him. Not to mention, imagine some of the questionable things he did while undercover. He probably doesn’t want to tell her for fear of changing her opinion of him as a person.
Randy: I’m also wondering if this is Deeks’ first foray into a serious relationship. We know about Kensi and Jack, but we only know about a few of the detective’s former involvements, Nicole being one of the more important ones. What if this slightly ‘altered’ Deeks is just showing a man who is trying to protect the new level with Kensi? If this is his first real thing, then maybe he is nervous about how she might react to his past, even his younger years that we still don’t know all that much about. The show left me disappointed with the slight glimpse we got of his mother which didn’t really tell us anything other than she makes a mean lasagna.
The new dynamic with Kensi will affect him at work as well as at home. Even with the acceptance of the team, Hetty, and Granger, this has implications for them while they are in the field, no matter how hard they try to keep the two aspects separate. Rules about coworkers dating vary depending on the employer and in their line of work, they may run into issues when and if Deeks ever becomes a full fledged agent.
Courtney: Deeks is wonderfully complex that way. While he is usually confident in his abilities as a cop and undercover operator, he still comes off as somewhat insecure when it comes to personal things. Hell, he tried to hide his mother from his girlfriend. Who does that unless he is overly concerned with the opinions of one (or both) of them?
We all have to wonder why he is still with the LAPD instead of moving over to NCIS, where he has obviously found a home. He said he saw himself as a cop in Season 2, but what about now? Is it just because no one has pushed him to change, or because he likes to have a fallback plan in case the ish hits the fan with his and Kensi’s relationship? Or maybe it has nothing to do with Kensi at all.
Randy: I often wonder why Deeks remains with the LAPD and the ramifications if he does eventually make the change. With the IA investigation and his subsequent arrest, maybe some clues will finally be revealed as to hesitance to sign Hetty’s paperwork. If the case against him is strong or if it was just one of the big skeletons in his closet, this may have been the situation that was holding him back.
Deeks is a master at improv, but his undercover skills also include the ability to plan for the worst where he would be left out on his own. If the accusations against him prove to be factual (not necessarily true) then maybe this is the part of his past that he needed to deal with before taking the plunge to move forward with a different position with the federal agency. It may have also had a minor role in holding him back from a serious relationship with Kensi.
During his time in Afghanistan, we saw a darker Deeks, a man that would do anything for those closest to him. If there was a situation with a younger Deeks that put him in the same type of situation, I’m sure that protective (and possible resultant violent) nature might arise. I’m not condoning or condemning him, I understand fully the reaction of a man who sees his loved ones in danger. I believe this was one of the reasons Deeks pulled back from Kensi after their return; the beast that lurked deep inside had shown its face (and maybe not the first time) and he was afraid that he would pull her down with him.
Courtney: After seeing the fallout from Internal Affairs, Deeks’ decision to pull away from Kensi after Afghanistan makes a lot more sense than it did at the time. Back then, we knew he was dealing with the guilt over losing control of himself, but it wasn’t necessarily a pattern. Now we know there is a history of violent encounters, and clearly they haunt him. This is a side of himself that he doesn’t want Kensi or anyone at NCIS to see. Deeks to me seems like someone who would rather keep things close to the vest than admit any fault or issues (just like he wanted no help with the investigation, and tried to recover in solitary after his torture). I’m really proud of him for admitting his guilt for the murder and his lies to Kensi (and Hetty, though there wasn’t much of a choice there).
Randy: You bring up an interesting point that I think fits in perfectly as we segway this debate to include the fallout from Internal Affairs. You mentioned his history of violent encounters that we have actually seen on the show or heard them referenced (shooting his father, the cleric in Afghanistan, the burned white supremacist, and now his killing of Boyle) and I am curious as to the reaction from fans and even our other writers and contributors here at wikiDeeks.
I’ve heard it said before that it only takes a little push to turn a saint into a monster, one capable of horrible acts against their fellow humans. Now, I’m not saying that’s what has happened to Deeks, because in the instances that I’ve mentioned, he was either pushed into that reaction or saw it as his only choice. If his father was a true monster, one who chose to hurt people just because he could or it gave him a thrill, then Marty would fight against those impulses with everything he had. He also would be terrified of becoming what he hated and feared most, and he would struggle against even being perceived that way by those he cares about.
We are all capable of violence, but what would push us to that varies greatly. Some people explode over the smallest infractions while others display unbelievable restraint and only use the appropriate amount of force to end the threat. Does Deeks strike as the kind of person who would resort to violence without just cause? Does he torment himself with the fear that if he starts down that road, that he will turn into the shadow of his father? Was keeping all of his secrets an attempt to protect not only those he loves, but himself as well?
Courtney: I do firmly believe that he wasn’t only keeping secrets to protect Kensi and NCIS. He was definitely trying to protect himself, his career, his relationship, everything. Deeks keeps his secrets and parts of himself buried deep, almost as if he’s hiding them from himself as well as others. He’s not a saint, nor a monster. He’s just a very flawed human with an uncontrollable need to protect others and himself, and he doesn’t always go about it the right way.
Obviously his childhood and the environment he grew up in had a huge effect on who he became as an adult. Violence was the problem, and violence also was the solution. Every time he has shown these violent tendencies, it has been in response to a perceived threat or act of violence. Women in particular seem to be his trigger for this – Kensi’s “murder” in Afghanistan, his mother’s repeated domestic abuse, the thought of his informant’s life being in danger. Another incident we haven’t mentioned is from back before we really knew Deeks, in “Human Traffic“. Frank Scarli was responsible for his partner’s death, and then had the nerve to throw their relationship in Deeks’ face. Deeks lost it and put a gun to Scarli’s chest, just like he did with the cleric in Afghanistan. In both cases it was almost like this side of him that he represses took over his actions.
I think he is very aware of these reactions and it would make sense for him to fear not being able to come back from one of them if the event was particularly traumatizing. And while he has violent tendencies like his father did, I think Deeks might see himself as the anti-Gordon – using violence to protect victims, not create them.
Do I think Deeks is the type of person to resort to violence without just cause? No. What interests me is what he considers to be just cause. He told his mother that his only regret was not stopping his father sooner than he did. In a similar situation, would he resort to violence too quickly in order to avoid having the same regret?
Randy: That’s an interesting point about acting sooner to prevent a regret and maybe it has some validity, based on the incidents you mentioned. Deeks’ violent reactions seemed to be based on not a threat to himself, but someone he cares for or an innocent in need of protection.
While we have witnessed some of those moments (Afghanistan, Scarli, etc.) and others we haven’t (confronting his father), he does seem to have a limit to what he will do unless he sees no other alternative. With the cleric, I believe his anguish over Kensi wasn’t enough to overwhelm his innate good character even though he was in a helpless situation thinking that she was dead; he went to a certain point and turned back… a true monster wouldn’t have done that. In the case involving Traynor’s betrayal and murder, Deeks’ outburst with the crooked detective was emotional and heart-wrenching, but he managed to pull himself back from the brink of doing something that would have ruined him, both professionally and personally.
In the situation with Tiffany, he knew the players and he knew the situation. Recognizing the writing on the wall, Deeks stepped in and did what was necessary to put an end to the threat to the young woman. Was it a snap decision, made in the middle of a heated argument with Boyle? Was it a matter of one cop being quicker on the draw than another? Did Deeks stalk Boyle and shoot him when his defenses were down? I don’t know; the episode wasn’t clear on that matter, but I do know this: Detective Martin Deeks has revealed another layer of himself, displaying an ability to make the hard decisions when necessary and a willingness to sacrifice himself for others, whether it was his reputation as a cop (this is probably why most everyone at the LAPD seems to despise him) or his very life (he goes under to catch a killer, Lasik, without so much as batting an eye).
I think his biggest worry was what the truth might have done to his relationship with Kensi and whether this was something that they would overcome together or if she would find this secret too much to overlook. Deeks is a fragile soul and he does an admirable job of hiding it behind his humor and irreverent attitude, but his strength comes from his ability to continually place himself last while looking out for the well-being of others. He dove into a pool to save a man who had just questioned not only his hair style and manner of dress, but his very character. Then he endures unmentionable torture to keep that man’s family safe.
Yeah, Deeks is flawed and has done questionable things, but if I had to chose someone from the team of Callen-Sam-Kensi-Deeks… there’s no one else I’d rather have watching my back than the blonde surfer who loves fish tacos. Hands down.
Courtney: Remember back in Season 5, when Kensi was watching him for signs of PTSD and he kept insisting he was fine? He’s always been reckless but it took her making a conscious effort to pay attention to his behavior for her to notice this. And even then, she thought it was a change in him. Maybe it wasn’t. And it is subtle, but I think we’ve seen a change in this behavior since he and Kensi officially became a couple.
Actually, I think the Internal Affairs investigation brought out the opposite in him: an intense need for self-preservation. Earlier I referred to him as selfless, but he became obviously desperate to prove his “innocence.” I think a lot of that desperation has to do with him finally having everything else in his life going so well. He lied to Kensi for months and continued lying after he was arrested. At some point he had to stop with the lies, and I believe he was about to tell Kensi the truth when she came to visit him in jail. On the first few viewings, I was really angry about his manipulations but now I think I understand. That moment right before he was about to confess to manslaughter, he paused and you could see it all on his face: he didn’t want to lose his lover, his job, his life. And he knew he was about to. It was heartbreaking.
Randy: I can see your point on the ‘self-preservation’ with the detective and can fully understand his hesitancy to fully reveal all the answers that were plaguing Kensi. I can imagine how he felt, knowing that when the truth came out, it could possibly have devastating consequences. It tends to be a human self-defense mechanism to put off the fall-out for as long as possible. For example, if after learning of his killing of Boyle, Kensi decided that she couldn’t be with a ‘killer’ and took her love away, at least Deeks would have had the past year with her to console his heart. If he truly saw a bleak and lonely future, then he would have wanted to hold onto even that small sliver of happiness.
I do hate that he felt the need to lie and hide the truth from the woman he loves, but the human heart is both strong and fragile; able to endure unmentionable upheavals but also susceptible to the smallest of hurts. I believe, along with you, that Deeks saw his happily ever after fading and wanted to grasp it for as long as possible. I think that’s why he made the proclamation of “I love you” instead of “I’m sorry” or “Trust me” when they were arresting him. Even if she walked away and he never saw her again, he needed her to know exactly what his feelings were.
Courtney: Are you trying to kill me with feels, dude?
Randy: Feels… what feels? I have no idea what you’re talking about. Me, feels? Really.
Courtney: If I can’t talk about Deeks’ hair then you can’t reduce me to a puddle of emotion. But it’s okay, you can be proud of it. Everybody else that will read it is going to have the same reaction I did. 🙂
Randy: Well, since I’m NOT going to start talking about Deeks’ hair and I used up my allotment of ‘feels’ for this debate, I guess it’s time to go ahead and bring this plane in for a landing.
While I think we did cover a lot of ground, I know that there’s tons that we didn’t even scratch… and that’s not a bad thing. If you’re one of the ones who read this entire discussion and didn’t see a certain topic covered, please use the comments section to add your part to this. After all, Courtney and I are nothing more than a couple of fans of the show and of Deeks, we aren’t scholars or professional writers (at least, I know that I’m not). So, if you have something to add or address, feel free to add your own ideas and make this an even bigger project than the one we finished.
Does that about wrap it up Courtney?
Courtney: Sounds good to me.
Courtney is a contributor for wikiDeeks. Follow her on Twitter: @hermionesmydawg
If you want to read more NCIS:LA fiction by hermionesmydawg go to FanFiction.net.
Randy (Jericho Steele) is a contributor for wikiDeeks.
You can also find more of his great stories on FanFiction.net.