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The Top 3 Action!Deeks Scenes

the-debt-ledge-stunt-2 Deeks Eric Christian Olsen

Marty Deeks has a keen mind that helped him pass the Bar Exam on the first try, but he rejected the law in favor of a profession where he regularly risks his life to protect others. In the course of his current job, he has been a man of action, taking on bad guys, working undercover, and watching his team’s back. Today we’ll spend a little time appreciating the action hero side of our favorite detective.

The Premise

No big guidelines here, but you might want to keep in mind that we’ll also have a Top 3 Sexiest Moments post, just in case you want to save any Action!Deeks moments for that (it’s funny how many Action!Deeks scenes could also qualify in that category, for me anyway).

The Top 3

I found this a difficult topic, and spent a good chunk of time debating exactly what criteria I should use. Did I want the most heroic actions? The most impressive stunts? I found myself giving points to scenes where no stuntman was (apparently) used, thereby removing that unbelievably spectacular “Sans Voir, Part II” explosion from the running (sorry David Paul Olsen!). I kept the strength of the directing and editing in mind. And I was also drawn to scenes that I just really enjoyed watching, the scenes that I might rewind multiple times, even if they had no apparent importance to the plot. What can I say, I’m only human! In reverse order of importance, my Top 3 is…

#3. Running Deeks in “Lange, H.[watch it here]

I always enjoy when Eric Christian Olsen gets to play a scene on his own. It happens so rarely, which is unfortunate considering how easily he commands our attention. This scene near the beginning of the Season 3 premiere features a Deeks who could be the star of his own show. There’s running. There’s jumping. There’s punching. And there’s so much snark. (And don’t forget the gelato either). It’s a fantastic combination. From his “Oh, joy” on realizing he’s been made spotted by the Comescus, to seeing him dodge cars and leap onto loading docks, this is a beautifully directed sequence from Tony Wharmby. I love his “Really?” when a bad guy he’s just taken down tries to get up, but my favorite line is his “I hate Romania!” as he continues running. Of course, once he gets back to the team, the action and humor don’t stop. He tells them, “I got three prisoners… Right behind me.” As they shoot two of them, Deeks expertly disarms the third, and tells them, “Okay, make that one prisoner, and two dead guys.” It’s NCIS:LA, and Deeks, at their best.

#2. Saving Kensi despite bullet holes in “Personal

I was sorely tempted to list the five seconds from “Sans Voir, Part II” where Deeks blows the hinges off a door and then kicks it in, but I felt like it was just a tiny bit more important to include his heroic feat at the end of “Personal,” where he saves Kensi despite the two bullet holes he received earlier that morning. While my #3 pick gave us a hilarious version of Action!Deeks, this one gives us a smart and determined one. Here Deeks puts the pieces of the puzzle together faster than anyone else (again, despite the bullet holes), realizing that he’s being used as bait so that someone can get to his partner. The sequence, directed by Kate Woods, suspensefully cuts back and forth from Deeks’ realization, to Sam and Callen just a few seconds behind him, to Kensi who’s under attack as Sam and Callen race to her aid. I particularly liked the way Woods zoomed in on Kensi’s face as she understood she was in danger, only to have a bad guy grab her seemingly from out of nowhere.

It never occurred to me that Deeks would do anything more than try to contact Eric once he realized that Kensi was in trouble. Oh, how little I knew him at this point in the show! Of course he raced to help her. Even though Sam made plans to try to whip Deeks into shape, I’d like to think he and Callen were at least a little impressed with the way Deeks had protected his partner. For racing through the hospital to save Kensi with three expert shots all while pulling out his stitches, this is one example of Action!Deeks that I just had to include.

#1. Ten stories up on the ledge in “The Debt

I was also tempted to include the MMA scene from “Hand-to-Hand,” if only for how hard it looked to shoot. But since I had just covered it at length in the Top 3 Deeks/Sam Scenes post, I left it off in favor of this most impressive of stunts. Eric Christian Olsen is not the only cast member to hang off the side of a building- Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J hung off the side of what looked like a set, not a real building, in “Higher Power.” COD hung out on a real second story ledge in “Between the Lines.” But only ECO did anything that required quite as much chutzpah, going ten stories up to get some amazing shots for director Steven DePaul. Now I will say that the scene was pretty silly, and I never believed that Deeks would/should really risk his life in that way to maintain that particular cover. But it was eye-popping television. How often do we see actors doing such dramatic stunts? So for its combination of Action!Deeks and Action!ECO, this takes my #1 position.

I sure have ended up with a rather random Top 3 list here, but hey, it’s my list and I like it!

Also in the Running

Some other examples that didn’t make the Top 3:

  • Blowing those hinges off the door in “Sans Voir, Part II” (Terrence O’Hara): Sam [handing him the shotgun]: Keys to the front door.
  • Fighting Sam in “Hand-to-Hand” (Paris Barclay)
  • Taking on about eight men in “An Unlocked Mind” (Chris O’Donnell): Listen, I don’t want to hurt anybody.
  • Jumping onto the pergola in “SEAL Hunter” (Chris O’Donnell): You’re looking at my butt, aren’t ya? Damn right, you’re looking at my butt… I don’t blame her. It’s a good butt!
  • Diving into the pool to rescue Sam in “Descent” (Terrence O’Hara): Give me the keys. Give me the keys!
  • Chasing after a suspect on a motorbike in “Parallel Resistors” (Eric Laneuville)
  • Hurdling a table while chasing a suspect in “Exit Strategy” (Dennis Smith)
  • That stunning “Sans Voir, Part II” explosion, with kudos to Eric’s stunt double David Paul Olsen, and Daniela’s stunt double (whose name I couldn’t find).

Next Week

Next week we’ll take a closer look at the Top 3 roles played by the team’s best undercover operator. Hint: one Season 4 episode featured two of the Top 3.

In the meantime, let’s continue the Action!Deeks discussion. Tell us about your Top 3- which of Deeks’ many moments of action make your list?

Or, return to last week’s Top 3, the Top 3 Deeks Rambles.

The Top 3 is taking a Thanksgiving break next weekend. In the meantime, enjoy a special holiday fan fic from Sweet Lu, and if you’re in the U.S., have a wonderful Thanksgiving! As we take time to give thanks for all that we have, please take a moment to consider supporting Pets of the Homeless, a great charity that helps those less fortunate and the furry friends who provide them with unconditional love.


About Karen (287 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.

9 Comments on The Top 3 Action!Deeks Scenes

  1. Oh boy.

    “Kill House” — final showdown. “A machete? Really?”

    “Spoils of War” – not talked about a whole lot but Deeks is the one who put together the blind cleric was the father of one of the insurgents and RESCUED the team when he flew over in the helicopter. They were toast, running out of ammunition and surrounded.

    “The Grey Man” — ok, I’ll have to give a nod to both David Paul Olsen and ECO. Deeks confronts the bad guys with the mother and daughter in the cooler. He turns on the gas and then runs. Boom.

    Runner up: “Ascension” – rescuing (again) Sam, Michelle and Kensi on the rooftop when Siderov and henchman have them at gunpoint just hours after being tortured and undergoing oral surgery

    For a while there, Densi seemed to specialize is running from explosions — back of a van, a rigged mannequin in the trailer, the beloved “Sans Voir, Part II” explosion, the nightclub explosion with all four, The Debt….


    • Excellent list peakae! I seem to have neglected “Kill House” but it’s full of great action scenes. Also, you’re so right about Deeks and explosions. I seem to recall a fan fic series based on a post-ep to each one. And any time Deeks saves the team is an excellent example of Action!Deeks so I applaud your selections from “Spoils of War” and “Ascension.”


  2. Of course the “San Voir” explosion is my #1. I’m also a fan of “Kill House” in the restaurant where Deeks was in charge of the runner.

    Great list!


    • Tess, how did I know that “Sans Voir” would top your list? I forgot that “Kill House” scene with Leaping Deeks. It’s very impressive!


  3. 1) The Debt
    I share your number 1, Karen! That was the first memorable sequence of Action!Deeks that came to my mind when you mentioned, last week, we would be having this Top Three. After all these years I’m still in love with that episode and a lot of awesome scenes it had inside, including the one with Deeks some stories above the ground talking on the phone on the outside ledge. I could have included a similar scene, the one in “Spiral”, in which Deeks was trying to call Nell in OPS hanging off the side of a building, but for me it was only pale in comparison with the one in “The debt”.
    2) Internal affairs
    After holding my breath almost the entire episode, the sequence that literally took my breath away in “Internal affairs” was Deeks’ escape from prison. I consider that night scene one of the best ever for Action!Deeks (maybe I should have kept it for the Top Three Sexiest moments!!).
    3) Borderline
    I have always liked the scene in the desert in which Deeks plays the “bait” and pretends to have crashed his bike. I remember the first time I watched the episode I was worried that something might have gone wrong for real, but Deeks, once again, surprised me with his perfect timing pulling his weapon and saving the day.


    • Love your list Cladani. I agree that the “Spiral” scene wasn’t nearly as good, mostly because of the way it was edited. We never got visual proof that ECO was hanging outside a building with a big drop below him. There could have been a balcony right below for all we could see. And yes! Running Deeks is always a winner- I really loved that “Internal Affairs” scene and should have included it in my finalists.


  4. As I try and think of my favorites I realized just how difficult this was for you. I want to put the scene from Personal as #1 because it was so heroic and a complete surprise. But we only saw the end of his mad dash to save her, the rest we had to imagine, which we’ve been asked to do on many occasions. But it will always be my favorite because he didn’t let the pain stop him from protecting Kensi.

    I too loved Deeks’ run to escape the Comescus, but the ledge scene in The Debt doesn’t make my top three. Kill House is still on my favorites list, and there was another action sequence that sticks in my mind, but I can’t remember the name of the episode. It was a running gun battle to save Hetty, who had been taken to a secure location in a Tuscan type villa up in the hills. It featured the entire team, but it was Deeks that stole the show for me, of course. He looked magnificent as he moved gracefully while firing in pursuit of the bad guys, even sliding onto a slab of granite in a very evocative pose. If anyone remembers the episode please let me know…I’d like to watch it again.

    I have to put Deeks drive and dive into the pool to save Sam in my top three. That whole scene had me on the edge of my seat. It was so dramatic and critical to the whole storyline of the finale and the friction between Sam and Deeks.

    Thanks for this wonderful reminder about Action Deeks.


    • I think the episode you mentioned, Lindy is 4×08, “Collateral”, in which, in my opinion, it was very difficult to draw the line between Action!Deeks and Hot Deeks… I remember at the end of the episode I would have given anything to see him (borrowing Kensi’s words) at “Crustacean, 8:00 p.m. No sneakers, no jeans, and wear a jacket”, but probably he wasn’t ready yet for being asked on a date without really being asked on a date!


    • Excellent list Lindy. I had forgotten about “Collateral” (thanks Cladani). That is a very impressive scene and I seem to recall some equally impressive still shots of Shooting Deeks. I might need to keep that in mind for the Top 3 Sexiest Scenes.


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