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The Top 3 Deeks/Hetty Talks

NCISLA - Personal - Hetty

Until Hetty took an unfortunate turn for me in Season 5, many scenes between her and Deeks- always wonderfully acted by Eric Christian Olsen and Linda Hunt- were among my all-time favorites of NCIS:LA. I do believe that Deeks is Hetty’s favorite, and I think at one point, at least, Deeks looked to her as much more than a boss. Regardless of the way their relationship has changed over time, they always have sparkling chemistry with one another, making their scenes a highlight of any episode. That’s why this week we’re talking about The Top 3 Deeks/Hetty Talks.

The Premise

There weren’t really any rules to this topic, just that the two characters needed to be conversing, ideally alone.

The Top 3

This list could have taken a number of different directions. It could easily have represented my favorite conversations, the ones that make me happiest to think about. It could have included the best written examples, or the talks where both Hetty and Deeks were well represented. Or it could have included the most important discussions, those that had the largest ramifications for Deeks. In narrowing my list, I found myself thinking most about whether a conversation held some significance in terms of character development, but in the end my choices took all of these factors into account. In reverse order of importance, the Top 3 Deeks/Hetty Talks are…

#3. Discussing Deeks’ LAPD undercover op gone bad in “Human Traffic

This is one of my all-time favorite NCIS: Los Angeles scenes. Written by Shane Brennan, it gives us a Hetty and Deeks who come across as straightforward, serious and caring adults. Hetty hasn’t hesitated to rush out to meet Deeks (at the same bar where she offered him his job the previous season) to assure herself that he’s in one piece after nearly being killed in an explosion. She looks up from her “Russian Scrabble Ouija board” to ask him, “You’re not too badly hurt?” with genuine concern. And Deeks shows such openness here: shaken by his near-death experience, regretting the death of his partner, and anguished at the thought of the “abducted, underage and drugged girls” who would be victimized by the men he’s been trying to bring down. He’s so wonderfully unguarded here, for the first time since we’ve met him back in Season 1, and we can clearly see the man who’s driven by an almost irresistible compulsion to protect vulnerable women.

My favorite part of the conversation is when Hetty tells Deeks she’ll look into the case, but “I have no jurisdiction over the LAPD. They could simply tell me to ‘Bugger off.’” He responds without hesitation, “Well I’d like to see ‘em try.” The sincerity in his utter faith in her is compelling. He doesn’t let her size, her age, or her gender diminish the respect he clearly holds for her. And that is one of my very favorite characteristics of Marty Deeks.

#2. Discussing Boyle’s murder at the end of “Internal Affairs

This scene briefly sat at #1 on this list until I decided that its big reveal was ever so slightly less important to our understanding of Deeks than knowing that he shot his father. It is a quiet yet mind-blowing scene, brilliantly written by Chad Mazero and R. Scott Gemmill, and brilliantly acted. We were surprised- and yet not surprised at the same time- to learn that Deeks killed his ex-partner and covered it up, and that Hetty went to extraordinary (and illegal) lengths to throw Internal Affairs off his trail. But beyond the shocking reveal, we see an exhausted, overwhelmed Deeks who is shaken by all that he nearly lost, and a man who knows he needs to come clean to his girlfriend but realizes he risks losing everything by doing so. That Hetty would have gone so far to help Deeks makes us understand how much she really does care for him, even in the face of several seasons of questionable behavior. My only quibble with the scene, and another reason it didn’t end up as #1, is Hetty’s mysterious line about keeping secrets that can be interpreted in two opposing directions. I always prefer when characters speak clearly and simply, rather than in metaphors or in this case, riddles.

#1. Discussing Deeks’ next of kin at the end of “Personal

Speaking of huge leaps forward in our understanding of Deeks, how could I not include this moving scene, written by Joseph C. Wilson? For “Personal” is the episode where I finally sat up and started paying attention to NCIS:LA (yes, I was a little slow, but I’d like to think I’ve made up for it since!). This quietly dramatic reveal of the most significant moment of Deeks’ life gave us a vulnerable Deeks (the way his mouth quivers as he reluctantly agrees that the shooting was in self-defense gets to me every time) and a kind Hetty, who rushes to reassure him she’ll be quite willing to serve as his next of kin (I know, don’t get me started on Mama Deeks’ whereabouts). The scene is indeed a revelation in our understanding of Deeks, one that explains the man we know today, the one who is driven to protect people, particularly women, possibly even to the point of murder.

So I guess a caring Hetty and a vulnerable Deeks are the recurring themes in my Top 3. Yep, that’s a winning combination for sure.

Also in the Running

There were quite a few other wonderful conversations that didn’t make my Top 3:

  • The sunshine & gunpowder note in “Wanted” (OK, it’s a one-way conversation, but I loved it) (R. Scott Gemmill)
  • Discussing Max Gentry and debts to old friends in “Plan B” (Dave Kalstein, Joseph C. Wilson)
  • Taking the liaison job offer at the end of in “Hand-to-Hand”(Matt Pyken)
  • Offering a job as NCIS agent in “Imposters” (R. Scott Gemmill)
  • Discussing Kensi’s time living on the street in “The Fifth Man” (Dave Kalstein)
  • Checking on Deeks’ emotional center in “Unwritten Rule” (Joseph C. Wilson, Jordana Lewis Jaffe)
  • The “No one should live out his life alone” talk at the end of “Plan B”
  • Jumping out from the curtains at his apartment in “Impact” (hah- just kidding- this would never make my list!) (R. Scott Gemmill)

Next Week

We’ve covered a bit of Deeks and Kensi, and Deeks and Hetty. Next week we’ll look at one other NCIS:LA pairing that I love to discuss, with the Top 3 Deeks/Sam Scenes.

In the meantime, tell us your Top 3 Deek/Hetty Talks. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers! Give us a full explanation for your picks or just your short list. Which talks made your Top 3?

Or, go back to last week’s topic, the Top 3 Densi Undercover Roles.

About Karen P (273 Articles)
wikiDeeks Writer & Assistant Editor. I never wrote for fun before... until my ECO-obsession. Now I love to analyze any and all aspects of the best character on television.

11 Comments on The Top 3 Deeks/Hetty Talks

  1. Yep, those would be mine, too. I’ve always loved the interaction with Hetty and Deeks, even the quick asides (“Mr Deeks …. I will always love the Gaga.”). It felt like Deeks was her favorite (with Callen there is history and mother-like concern). They moved away from that in the last season or two and I missed it.


    • Ah, the Gaga. That was a great line! After Ghost Gun, I have renewed hope that R. Scott Gemmill may be able to salvage Hetty for me, which would be an unexpected bonus.


  2. Wonderful picks as ways Karen. I think it will be adding the conversation from tonights episode (sneak peak we have seen) Ghost Gun where he Deeks is talking to Hetty and she is reassuring him that he will do all he can for Kensi. Adore your site.


    • Thanks Donna Marie! I had avoided the sneak peeks, so had no idea that Ghost Gun scene would be so wonderful. And it fits my description of a caring Hetty and a vulnerable Deeks perfectly. If I were rewriting the list today, I think it would kick “Human Traffic” off the list and come in at #3. It was so wonderful, but I think the other two scenes are just a little more significant.


  3. Another great list, Karen. I liked all the scenes in your top three, they are all milestones in Hetty and Deeks’ talks throughout the seasons.

    If you don’t mind I post my list too (sorry if it’s a little long). It’s curious how all the scenes I selected belong to Season 5 which has never been my favorite (but I think some episodes were great, even greater than most Season 6 ones).

    #3 “I can just walk”, Iron curtain rising 5×11
    Deeks taking full responsibility for Kensi’s “classified mission” to Afghanistan has always been one of my favorite scenes, even if that was the second moment (the first being the end of “Frozen lake”) I hated Hetty for making Deeks believe it was his fault.

    DEEKS: “All right, I’m just gonna ask: is this because of me? You sending her away like that, is that because of me? Because if it is, this is simple. I can just… I can just walk. You know? I’ll just go back to LAPD. Because you don’t have to punish Kensi for something that I did or something that you think that we did. So if there’s a problem here, I take full responsibility for that”.

    Hetty’s cryptic answer has been bothering me ever since.

    #2 “I want my partner back”, Windfall 5×20
    In this beautiful scene I think Deeks is giving voice to everybody who thought the moment Kensi was coming back to work from Afghanistan their partnership would start again where they had left.

    DEEKS: “I want my partner back. I need her back and it’s been five months and she’s right upstairs” and then he adds (after Hetty has replied that she’s waiting for Kensi’s mind to be sound enough to make decisions that affect national security): “Honestly, is there more to this than what Kensi went through in Afghanistan?” and Hetty answers without really answering, yet again: “I don’t know, Mr. Deeks, is there?”.

    #1 “How’s your heart?” Unwritten rule 5×05
    For my number 1 I’ll just let the characters speak themselves, pasting the whole brilliant dialog perfectly acted by ECO and Linda (credits to Densiland website).

    DEEKS: Hetty, hey. I’m, uh…heading out to the crime scene with Kensi, but I just wanted to let you know officially that, uh, Uncle Marty’s back. My head is right, I’m feeling good. You know, feeling strong. I could rock out 50 burpies for you right now if you asked me to.
    HETTY: How’s your heart?
    DEEKS: My heart? My heart’s great! Are you kidding me? I’m running sub-five, 30 miles, I got a new road bike, thinking about doing the Malibu Ironman. I’m like a…I’m like a Shaolin monk with a… with a young bull, mixed with, like, a very charismatic cheetah.
    HETTY: I meant your emotional center.
    DEEKS: My emotional center? I don’t think I follow.
    HETTY: I’m pretty certain you do.
    DEEKS: Okay, all right, let’s just say for the sake of argument that I do follow you. Then, I would say that it’s fine. I’d say that it’s better than fine. I’d say it’s phenomenal. I mean, you heard what I said about the Shaolin monk, right? With the cheetah? Okay. I understand that you worry about me more than the others. Um, that’s mostly because I’m your favorite. Obviously. Don’t say otherwise. It’ll break my heart. But I want you to know that I’m great. I’m actually… I’m better than great. Kensi’s great.
    HETTY: I see.
    DEEKS: What do you mean, you-you see? Why, did Kensi say something other than you? Because if she said something that contrasted that, I think it’s because, at this point, well, it’s-it’s difficult to explain. I think it’s personal feelings at…Now… Wow. No. I’m not gonna fall for this. I’m not one of your other little minions. I’m not gonna fall for your Jedi mind tricks.


    • Thanks Cladani. Never apologize for a long comment! That’s a nice list, although I have to say a couple of them came during a time when I was very angry at Hetty. Deeks was spectacular in all of them though. Stay tuned for a Top 3 Deeks Rambles for an appearance of that “Unwritten Rule” scene. I do love that!


  4. Your number one is mine as well. Now I have to add the conversation between Deeks and Hetty in the bullpen at the top of the hour last night in Ghost Gun. It brought her all the way back to that scene in Personal where she offered to be his next of kin. She supported him then and she supported him last night. She is a strong woman and her belief in his ability to be the person he wants to be for Kensi was just what he needed to hear. He looked so vulnerable and concerned in that scene and after seeing how crazy his mother was acting, having Hetty calmly expressing confidence in him must have been a relief. His mother had told him to come to the hospital, but it was Hetty’s urging to go and be with her that won the day.


    • Lindy I agree. And I love your observation that Hetty is who got him to the hospital, not his mom. It was a nicely done juxtaposition (even if Roberta was a little over the top). And as I mentioned, it clearly belongs in the Top 3.


  5. Karen,
    I agree with the list so far, but still struggle with my feelings about Hetty.
    I really do like the character, very deep and interesting. I do NOT like, and have serious issue with some of the things she does. Afghanistan in general, letting Kensi go in blind, letting Deeks think it was his fault (more than once), the Paul Angelo debacle, not telling Kensi that Jack was in LA even when asked who they were guarding….the list goes on.
    I grow tired of her games.
    That being said, the team seems to be tiring of her antics as well.
    There was a time when they all followed blindly.
    Recently we have seen the team members challenge and question her.
    Kensi challenging her during the internal affairs investigation with the Machiavellian games comment in her support for Deeks, just loved it. Callen calling it a “bitch move” when she tazed him. Even Sam confronting her i the “step off” discussion.
    although they all worked out, these things would not have even taken place a few years ago.
    I truly enjoy seeing the team grow tired and question her as I do when she pulls her crap.
    Maybe Nell will slap her or punch her in the nose at some point….probably not, just a thought….
    obviously kidding.

    maybe a list of the top 100 things Hetty has done that tick us off……not kidding, just a slight exageration….I think.
    thank you as always for all the hard work you put into this


  6. hey, how’s this for a final scene of an upcoming episode down the road.
    Hetty and Grainger sitting at her desk after a long day. The place is empty and nearly dark.
    they are sharing a bottle of Scotch and Hetty holds a bag of ice over a black eye….
    Grainger says something to the effect of “we were lucky today, the team was fortunate to all get through it alive”. Hetty’s reply, ” Owen, I may have overplayed my hand”
    Grainger… ” ya think”.
    fade to black……….
    …or Nell with her hand in a bucket of ice water.


    • Ed, your list of Hetty transgressions is a good one and I could sure add to it if I tried. I’m trying to be open to Gemmill’s leadership, in the hopes that he is purposefully returning to the Hetty I used to really like. I want to be able to trust that her character won’t backtrack, but I’m still pretty skittish about her. We’ll see.

      As for your suggested scene, LOL, while I can’t condone violence, I could see how that would be pretty satisfying.


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