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.
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…
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 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.