Essential Episode: NCISLA Neighborhood Watch (S3E22)
verb (used with object) – to represent fictitiously; put on an appearance of; to invent fictitiously or deceptively, as a story or an excuse; to imitate deceptively.
verb (used without object) – to make believe; pretend.
“Neighborhood Watch” was first aired on May 8, 2012. If you poll fans, it’s usually mentioned as either one of their favorite episodes or as one of the first episodes they watched that led them to become fans of Deeks and Kensi. It is why it rates as an Essential Episode. It also marks the first time the junior agents go undercover together for a longer time and as a married couple. So let’s see. I hope we have Dr. Phil on speed dial.
The episode opens with Deeks, his nose a-twitching, asleep in bed, alone. Who does that? Who leaves this guy in a bed alone? Kensi, girl we need to talk. I would also like to point out, Deeks is looking really hot sporting that wedding band. Okay, we all have things that catch our attention, make our heart skip a beat. Mine is seeing a husband wearing his wedding band. Even if he is a fake husband, in a white tee shirt and pajama bottoms with styled by pillow hair. Walking away but doing it slow so he can come after me.
Deeks and Kensi are undercover as Melissa and Justin Warren. They are house sitting in a gated community to hopefully flush out a Russian sleeper agent. Deeks has been doing undercover work, in long stretches, for quite sometime. Kensi has done mostly one-offs, quick situational stuff, but to the best of our knowledge, nothing sustained. It should also be remembered that this episode takes place after “Blye, K.” and “Crimeleon” where “Densi” are starting to gel. So here they are as the “happy couple” playing house. What could possibly go wrong?
You never really know someone until you pick up their socks…
… or expect them to know how to vacuum? They say opposites attract. So we we go with NCIS:LA’s version of the odd couple. Deeks is Felix and Kensi is Oscar. Deeks is going on about how Kensi tried to “sell” Deeks that she had vacuumed the house when all she did was drag a chair around. Kensi just shrugs as in, doesn’t everyone do it that way? I remember an interview with Eric and Sarah where she went on about his obsession with vacuuming, so maybe art imitates life here? He can certainly come clean my house. I may turn up the heat so that he might have to do it shirtless. But I digress. However, this makes me wish they had showed him vacuuming but the jogging scene that happens later works well enough too.
Anyway, it is time for Hetty, as part of the team’s personal development, to sit our happy couple down and talk about the birds and the bees. Or more precisely, warn them about the pitfalls of working in close quarters with a co-worker. I’m thinking it may be a tad late for this talk with these two, but hey, let’s listen in shall we:
Deeks: Why do I feel we’ve been called into the principal’s office?
Hetty: Have you done something wrong?
Deeks: That could be trick question.
Kensi: No we’ve done nothing wrong.
Deeks: Not that we know of. Have we?
Hetty: Well then….When two agents are forced to live together, undercover as man and wife, it’s only natural that the situation could bring about unfamiliar feelings and emotions.
Kensi: You don’t think that we’re..?
Kensi: I mean that he and I…? [extremely scary Kensi cackle] Not in a million years.
Deeks: OK, that’s enough, you don’t have to insult your husband.
Hetty: I’m simply saying that such an intimate assignment can impact the judgment of even the most professional agents.
It should be noted that the whole time during this conversation, Kensi is furiously playing with her ring set. I wonder what Nate would think? And a few seconds later, when Deeks and Kensi are up in OPS watching video, Deeks is working his ring with his thumb. I really miss Nate. Where are the shrinks when you need them?
After visiting their boss, our happy couple is sent back to the undercover house. Well, Kensi goes, Deeks is a dream husband and goes grocery shopping. Actually he has to because we all know Kensi can’t cook. Or can she? “Justin” finds “Melissa” in the kitchen and the aroma of fresh baked cookies is everywhere. Kensi is also dressed in a beautiful red sundress. Donna Reed anyone?? OK, yes I am old enough to make that reference. A box of snickerdoodles to anyone else who gets the reference. Kensi is planning to visit the old man living up the street with her, to quote Deeks, “abundance of cookies”. But being the good detective he is, Deeks finds the truth in the trash bin. “Martha Stewart my ass!”
Yours, Mine and Ours
The happy couple continues to vet all the neighbors including the neighborhood hotties who they will be having dinner with. Kensi is upset to find a bra in Deeks’ sock drawer. And like Deeks we are all totally intrigued. What was she doing in his sock drawer? This little interaction gives a glimpse into undercover styles or lack thereof. Deeks is very comfortable in his assumed role, Kensi is wound tighter than a bed spring. They also have very opposite views on marriage/relationships. Boundaries, why is it always boundaries?
Especially when it comes to boundaries in bed. I mean, really? Deeks loves winding up his partner and goes above and beyond in his description of Kensi’s sleep patterns and snoring. Well, actually more like a snort-snore. Like a piglet. Kensi on the contrary, ever the control freak, insists on what she wants regarding sides of the bed, etc. Geez, bossy much? She even tries to get her “husband” to admit jealousy over the very good looking Brett Turner. But that didn’t phase “Justin” either. And yes Kensi, we saw you checking out your partner’s assets.
Back to our story. Deeks and Kensi confront Serena Miller only that’s not her name. On a side note: how cute do our couple look as badass law enforcement wearing their wedding rings? I would love to see them in a Mr. & Mrs. Smith kind of project. This is also where Kensi goes out of character, which saves her life. Kensi ALWAYS drives and yet she allows Serena to drive with Kensi giving directions. Why didn’t they just put her in the back of their car? Made no sense. But for plot purposes, Serena touches the door handle, it has a contact poison and she dies.
We choose this life…
Back at the cover house, Deeks and Kensi discuss what happened. “She chose her life just like we do.” Said with a hint of melancholy in Deeks’ voice. But Kensi surprises her partner and us when she confesses that her time undercover has not been all bad. It is also the first official mention of the “little mutant ninja assassins”.
Kensi and Deeks, as Justin and Melissa, are very comfortable. They are totally believable as a married couple, which speaks to the chemistry of Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah as well. Here are two characters who had troubled, hard pasts, jobs that keep them isolated, having a glimpse into the possible maybe even improbable. It was surprising to me that Kensi not only had those feelings at this point in their partnership but actually voiced that sentiment when she told Deeks how nice it was to come home to someone, to have someone to say goodnight to. Deeks who has not so secret feelings for his partner is stunned that she would share something so guarded. You can see that it gives him hope for a future of baby mutant ninja assassins. Do you think he traced Kensi’s rings while she slept for future use when purchasing an engagement ring from the trunk of a car? Enquiring minds…
Techno Music, Ostrich Burgers and Dexter
The neighbors, now rocked by Serena’s murder, meet in the cul-de-sac. Cody and his Mom meet “Melissa” and her death stare over the bay window incident. And Deeks admires the walking style of their soon to be dinner hosts. Polina can’t seem to keep her hands off “Justin” which earns a raised eyebrow from “Melissa”. And once again an opportunity to talk to Mr. Hobbs has been missed. By the way, I have not forgotten Sam and Callen. They were running in a parallel universe this whole episode. If I remember correctly, LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell were off filming the crossover episode for Hawaii 5-0 which necessitated a Deeks and Kensi centered episode. Now I could be unkind and wish they were gone more often so we could get more of these types of episodes but that just isn’t me.
Deeks is a stickler for detail when he goes undercover. Artie anyone? So why was anyone surprised when he was jogging around the neighborhood wearing a brosack? Along with the very nice sleeveless workout shirt and shorts. I totally believe he is a jogger, who looks very fit, with nice arms and good form when he jogs. Did I mention the nice arms? Manorexic he ain’t! He also gets a taste of baked goods from “BROB” and an invite to game night.
As “Justin” opens the front door he gets blasted by techno music and no Melissa. There are blood spots on the marble tile floor. Oh and the brosack everyone mocked has his gun in it. Deeks ascends the stairs hoping his partner is OK. He finds her in the bathroom, wrapped in a towel. Another memorable exchange, offers of assistance and sneak peeks ensue.
Truth through Tequila
Deeks and Kensi head out to have dinner with the neighborhood hotties, Brett and Paulina. Mojitos at the ready, when Polina asks how Justin and Melissa first met. What follows is probably one of the most iconic scenes in “Densi” history. It has inspired daydreams, fanvids, screen captures and fan fiction galore. The funny thing is that before they described what the other was wearing, Kensi says, “But I knew it was meant to be the moment I saw him.” The look in her eyes as she said it would lead you to believe that the “truth” may have been closer to the surface than she would have liked. Or even believed herself at the time. But the quickness in her reply, “White T-shirt, red shorts, black socks” gave her partner a glimpse behind the walls. You could see Deeks was touched. When he was asked about his memory of her, Deeks played his part by pretending to not remember. But then he saw the hurt in Kensi’s eyes. He then locked his eyes on hers and with his very sexy drawl says, “Black tank top, jeans, bag that goes across her shoulder, hair down, wavy.” These two have a way of looking at each other that confirms that the term “eye sex” is a very real thing. Deeks seals the deal when Polina suggests that they are too cute, but he insists it’s mostly his “wife”. Thank goodness for oven timers because I am not sure how our boy was going to explain how he knew his “wife” was the one without giving away some not so secret feelings for his partner.
Someone please give Kensi a manual on healthy marital relations because husbands do indeed stare at their wives. Deeks would like to play his favorite frisk game with Kensi and look for her gun. If she isn’t up for it I am! I was a tad pissed that Kensi was cranky about the staring but then Polina and Brett come back into the room and to hide their snooping, Kensi grabs Deeks and gives him a mouthful of hers. She blames the cocktails, he is silently thanking his Aunt Hetty for the assignment.
Brett and Polina finally reveal their intentions to our happy couple. And even though they are not spies, handcuffs will come into play. Deeks, which rhymes with Freaks, is intrigued, wants to conduct personal interviews and do the forensics, because he is method. Kensi just wants to get the hell out there. He then wants to talk to his partner about the kiss, but Kensi just shrugs it off as a “cover kiss”. Deeks proceeds to call Kensi on her BS but gets interrupted by bullets flying over their heads. “BROB” are the real spies and they are better shots than they are bakers.
The chase scene reminds me, could we please have more Deeks and Kensi action scenes? It was again reminiscent of a “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” thing that I think ECO and Dani would be great in. But back to the bullets, old man Hobbs suddenly opens his door and you think our heroes are safe but not so much when Bob and Rob come in the back door. However, in the end all’s well complete with furry handcuffs.
Do they need a divorce lawyer?
Hetty congratulates the team on a job well done and sends them home to sleep “preferably in their own beds” (listen to the sounds of a whole fandom eye-rolling). Deeks wants to finish the Kensi private time story but the moment is gone. Fortunately for all of us he definitely has more moments ahead of him. He does make one more play to get her to stay by trying to charm her with every nickname short of Fern. “Wifey, light of my life, sugarbear”. The only conversation he gets to have is with Hetty about those furry handcuffs. Poor guy.
This was a very sweet, fun, quirky episode that gave the junior agents a chance to shine. From the Densi side of things it’s also an essential episode as it allowed their story to move forward. It was nice to see the callback to their first meeting and that it still had an impact on each of them. It also showed the senior agents that they could function very well without them. It is a shame there hasn’t been more undercover activity for them as a couple. Hopefully Season 8 will get back to more of that fun once Daniela comes back from maternity leave. BTW, a personal congratulatory shout out to Daniela and Dave and Eric and Sarah on the birth of their baby girls and also to Wyatt and River who are now big brothers.
Other Densi Moments
At the cover house after Serena Miller’s death:
Kensi: And it is nice to have someone to say goodnight to at the end of the day.
Deeks: What’s happening here? Huh? Kensi Blye going all soft on me?
Deeks: Next thing you know you’re going to want little kids running around. Little mutant ninja assassins.
Deeks: What? I’m just saying, you know, for the record, if that’s something you wanna do, I could help with that from a technical standpoint. I am the husband. Which means I have parts of my body that are able…[and then that kid throws the rock, Deeks pulls his weapon and a scheduled group therapy session!]
Deeks rushing into the master bathroom at cover house with his gun drawn:
Kensi: Oh my God what are you doing?
Deeks: What am I doing? What are you doing? You got techno music blaring, blood running through the entire house. It’s like an episode of ‘Dexter’ in here.
Kensi: I cut my foot on some glass, and — oh, my God, what are you wearing?
Deeks: No! Don’t change the subject. I thought something happened to you.
Kensi: Is that a fanny pack?
Deeks: No, it’s a brosack. Don’t do that. Don’t scare me like that.
Love this episode. I watched it so many times. Your recap was fun.
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Great review! I love this episode and the moment in the kitchen when they describe what the other is wearing gets several rewinds every time I watch it! I love the way you inserted your humor into the article as well. I found myself grinning on more than one occasion. Keep up the good work! I look forward to reading your next one.
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This was such a fun episode and you did a great fun write up! I do think ECO and Dani could do some really great romantic comedies.
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Loved this episode so much. There should be more of them!
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This was my very first NCISLA episode ever ! I was zappint the TV in a boring Sunday night and I saw this was to be aired and I thought “Oh that´s COD TV show” so I decided to give it a chance … COD who ? I was instantly addicted to Deeks the moment he mentioned “Dexter” and how could I ever NOT fall in love with those two ?
I agree with you, Callen and Sam should be send away manu more times so we can have lots of full Densi episodes like that !
One of the best episodes on this show !
Funny you mentioned the ring ‘detail’, I notice since the London Comic Con that Eric does not wear his wedding band (well, don´t know if he wore it before, I just notice then), he wasn´t wearing it at SDCC as well. I know he used too cause there was one episode when it showed it (don´t remember which one) but I´m kinda curious why he doesn´t use it on those events … kkkkkk totally ramdon and shallow, I know, but since you mentioned it … 🙂
I loved your review that covered the most memorable moments of a milestone episode for all the Densi fans.
There was nothing I didn’t like about “Neighborhood watch”, I think it’s by far THE episode for all the Densi enthusiasts. The moment they remembered what the other was wearing when they met was so amazing that it still gives me goosebumps after having watched it hundreds of times.
I started to follow NCIS LA in Season 1 (not my favorite season but I wanted to give the series a try and continued watching), I enjoyed Season 2 much more after ECO joined, I think the show found its pace, I liked everything: the cases, the characters, the banter, the comic relief in serious situations, the chemistry between the actors, how beautiful and competent and strong and fearless Deeks and Kensi were in the field together.
Then Season 3 came and I fell in love more and more with the idea that the writers might want to “push” Deeks and Kensi into something more than just partners. By the time “Neighborhood watch” aired, I was already hooked! And here I am still today.
I would like to see a similar episode now that Deeks and Kensi are a couple and already live together. An undercover operation that involves being married, their incessant bickering and everybody in OPS rolling their eyes.
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Three for three; another very well-done description of a pivotal episode. You seamlessly tied in past with present in an enjoyable walk down memory lane. Thanks for all the hard work!
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