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The Top 3 NCISLA Scenes I’d Change


Ah, to be in charge. To be the showrunner and control the stories of NCIS: Los Angeles. What power! Alas, it’s a power none of us will ever know. But just for today (and maybe next week), let’s pretend that we are Masters of the NCIS:LA Universe. What are the Top 3 existing scenes we’d go back in time and re-write?

The Premise

I have to admit, as much as I love the show, I had no problem coming up with a lengthy list of candidates for revision. The only rule I held myself to was that the scene needed to be Deeks or Densi focused.

The Top 3

Several wish fulfillment themes emerged among my semifinalists. Some involved a wish that Kensi would not have abandoned Deeks when he needed her, that she would have been nicer to him, or that they would have communicated better (I know, it’s not how they roll). Another major theme was a frustration with Hetty’s lack of forthrightness, or anger over her treatment of Deeks. There were a few scenes where an interruption really upset me, one where I wanted to see more emotion from Deeks, and one where I just wanted to see a few more seconds of Surfer Deeks (yes I am just that shallow). Finally, there were a couple that didn’t fit the criteria of being Deeks or Densi-centered, but they involved such egregious canon inconsistencies they still jumped into the list of semifinalists anyway.

So out of the 15 scenes I most want to change, almost half (7) come from Season 5, including all of my Top 3. And to think I actually liked Season 5! This makes me realize what a roller coaster of emotions it was. In reverse order of importance, my Top 3 is…

#3. The end of “Three Hearts

This episode ranks among those I find most frustrating, and it’s almost completely because of this final scene. The scene, with its infamous metaphor extravaganza, wasn’t annoying merely because Deeks and Kensi couldn’t communicate like normal people. It also discouraged me greatly about the direction Densi was taking. Deeks, who had always pushed forward with Kensi, was the one to pull back. I did not understand his decision, and the lack of a clear explanation left me feeling that the showrunners had simply chickened out of putting Deeks and Kensi together. I didn’t know if they’d ever really pull the trigger on their relationship.

What would I do differently? Most importantly, Deeks wouldn’t pull back on their relationship. He’d embrace the fact that Kensi wanted to talk more about their Thing, and they’d move forward together. Kinda like the “Humbug” All In talk. Or, he might express concerns, but he’d do so without knives or raccoons. Instead, he’d share that he was capable of doing terrible things to protect women he cared about. Maybe he’d even share with her his experience in Afghanistan that seems to have been foremost in his mind. He’d allow Kensi to reassure him, and their relationship would become stronger as a result. Oh, and Deeks would open every last box within a box while Kensi was there with him. We’d do away with this frustrating mystery once and for all. I know these two were not good communicators at this point in their relationship, but I would have preferred seeing them stumble their way through a conversation about real feelings and experiences, rather than exchanging symbols in a way that I just don’t think real people do.

#2. The end of “Ascension

NCIS:LA is infamous for having two characters (most often Kensi and Deeks) interrupted by a third party before they’re able to communicate something meaningful. For me the most upsetting example of this, the one I’d most like to change, is the final bullpen scene in “Ascension.” Traumatized Deeks is sad and lost like we’ve never seen him. Kensi isn’t able to say much to help him, but then he gives her the most amazing gift, explaining that thinking about her helped him endure Sidorov’s torture, “for what it’s worth.” This line breaks my heart every time I watch it. I see it as Deeks assuming the kiss on the hillside wasn’t important to Kensi, that she doesn’t love him as he loves her (and as he in so many words tells her here). Then Sam and Callen show up and Kensi loses her chance to say something- anything- to reassure him, to comfort him.

In my rewritten scene, Sam and Callen would never show up. Kensi, who had just started walking towards Deeks, would continue. She’d march right up to him and wrap her arms around him. She’d offer some encouragement, let him know that his words were worth so very much. She’d tell him that she understood why he wanted to get away from everything and everyone, but that she wouldn’t let him get away from her. They are partners, after all. She’d insist on being there for him. As a result, he wouldn’t withdraw from the entire world. Of course, then we wouldn’t get my all-time favorite scene, the end of “Impact,” but Deeks would have been taken care of, and that’s more important. Would any of this have been out of character for Kensi? Maybe, but I’d like to think that she would have let some of her fierceness and loyalty shine through and garnered up the determination to help the man she loves.

 #1. The end of “The Frozen Lake

Yes, one of our favorite episodes to debate and discuss. I’m stretching the definition of “scene” here just a bit, and using it to change everything that happened at Ops after their operation was done, from Kensi getting the news of her reassignment all the way through to the credits. As written, it presented multiple issues for me, particularly regarding Hetty. First she reassigns Kensi without explanation or even time to wait for Deeks to say good-bye (when clearly there was no earth-shattering reason for her to need to drop everything that second and go). It was incredibly cruel. Then she hands Kensi the clean shirt, as if to say that the reason for the reassignment was her inability to handle sleeping with Deeks. Then Kensi leaves without questioning anything, or asking to wait five minutes to see Deeks. Finally, Hetty does nothing to reassure Deeks, who’s left abandoned and thinking he’s at fault for what has happened.

I would change just about everything about the way this episode ends. There’d be no shirt. Hetty would take Kensi into her office and tell her about her new assignment. She’d come clean that she’s worried about a friend of hers, a friend who Kensi knows. She’d tell Kensi about Jack. Kensi would be shocked, but better have her shocked here than when she had Jack in her rifle sights. Maybe she’d even share with Kensi more information about how long she’s known Jack, and whether she had known him when he was engaged to Kensi. Why not get everything in the open? It wouldn’t have taken anything away from the drama of Kensi’s assignment. Most of us obsessed types guessed the White Ghost’s identity anyway. For those casual fans, they might have understood more of Kensi’s emotions if they had a better feel for her backstory with Jack.

Then of course Deeks would arrive and have ample time to talk to Kensi, to reassure her, and to say good-bye. Heck, maybe she wouldn’t even leave until the next morning. That could have even given Kensi time to apologize for the punch. And Deeks wouldn’t have been left feeling like anything was his fault. For the record, I don’t blame Dave Kalstein for this scene as much as I blame Shane Brennan. I think you can have conflict and drama and consistent characterization. In “The Frozen Lake”, both Kensi and Hetty took a hit because of their out of character and unpleasant actions. Now, would my version require an extra five minutes or so? Maybe, but if I’m in charge, I say the show can run long on occasion.

Also in the Running

There’s so much I’d like to change! Here are a few other examples:

  • I’d fix more Kensi abandonment when she leaves him in the ER in “Ascension”
  • And more Kensi abandonment when Deeks is mourning the death of the Ghurka at the end of “Expiration Date
  • Comatose Kensi would respond to Deeks kissing her goodnight, not to Hetty’s order, at the end of “Black Market
  • I’d be curious what would happen if Deeks doesn’t interrupt Kensi during their talk after he’s “fired” in “The Debt”, although in the end it would have harmed their relationship and lost Deeks some of Kensi’s trust
  • I’d have just opened the damn box in “Red Pt. 1”
  • Kensi would have been way more supportive in the campus scene with Jenny’s daughter (“Well done, counselor”) in “Drive
  • And of course Kensi would have remembered Deeks’ birthday in “Drive”
  • Hetty would never have jumped out from behind the curtains, and would have been generally much more supportive of Deeks in that apartment scene in “Impact”
  • Deeks would have been able to keep the motorcycle in “Unwritten Rule,” maybe on the condition that he only ride it with Kensi
  • Here’s an obscure one: I’d have liked to see Deeks express some emotion after the motel shootout in “Harm’s Way” that happened on his first day back after “Personal
  • I’d add another 10 seconds showing Deeks riding a wave from start to finish in the undercover scene or the final scene of “Skin Deep”
  • I know these can’t count, but I’d erase the Callen/Hetty flashback in “Rage” and I’d rewrite the “Come Back” scene where Kensi talks to Jack about her regrets. (Stay tuned to the Top 3 Most Disappointing Episodes for more on that last one.)

 Next Week

Next week we’ll continue along the same lines, with a discussion of the Top 3 Missing Scenes- these may be deleted scenes that we know about, or they might be scenes that we want to assume happened but were likely never filmed.

I have to say that writing out all my wish fulfillment was therapeutic! I see why fan fiction writers enjoy writing their own version of events. I encourage you all to share your Top 3 below- hopefully you’ll enjoy the process as much as I did.

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

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.

24 Comments on The Top 3 NCISLA Scenes I’d Change

  1. I totally agree with your Three Hearts frustration: I didn’t need Deeks to NOT pull away, but I needed him to express what his reservations were. Also spot on with Ascension, though I think your vision still could have happened and Deeks still could have pulled away from everyone for a while, thus leaving Impact intact, heh. What I like about both of these “changes” is that they wouldn’t necessarily have changed what came next in the story/arc. So they easily could have been done with no “harm” done to SB’s master plan.

    As for The Frozen Lake, ITA agree with your suggestions, especially that they would have had time to say goodbye and Kensi could have apologized. It would mean that Deeks wouldn’t have blamed himself for Kensi being in Afghanistan and would have necessitated a different means of getting Kensi captured, but the writers are clever, I’m sure they could have done it. Question: would it have changed Deeks’ decision to torture the cleric? I’m thinking not, because as much as he may have blamed himself for Kensi being in danger, she was still the most important person on the planet to him and I do think he would have done whatever it took to get her back safely.

    Great job! You’re good at this, You should totally come to the dark side and try your hand at fan fiction!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hee hee, thanks Psyched. I don’t think I have the skills for fan fic writing, although maybe someday the show will frustrate me so much I’ll just have to write a fix-it fic. Thanks for the encouragement! And interesting question about the cleric. I agree with your assessment that Deeks would have done what he did either way, just as he hurt the burn victim in Deep Trouble because he was worried about Sam and Callen.


  2. Karen, a fantastic job, thank you.
    this list could just as easily be titled ” things that pissed Ed off”.

    and you suggestions to correct the scenes are perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Omni. I would change how Callen responded to Deeks coming back. How many more times does he have to prove himself to the almighty Callen? ANY scene in the series where Callen has any kind of reservations about Deeks, I’d change.

    The Frozen Lake. The punch. I wasn’t bothered as much by the punch as some people were. But really, you just spent the night before making kissy-face supposedly, not all the way so they say, but you’ve just discovered each other in an intimate way, … and I understand Kensi is a physical kind of gal and I understand the punch was short hand for her frustration at being treated better (really, I wouldn’t have complained about that, sweetie). I just wanted better there from the writers. Beating him up because he didn’t take the shot and then later being angry at him for “who takes that shot?!”

    Expiration Date — I want them to not have killed off Thapa. Deeks had a great relationship there and Thapa acted as pretty much the only person he could go to for relationship advice. Ghurkas …. believe the hype.

    Liked by 1 person

    • peakae you are so right about Callen! Maybe someday they’ll write a great episode or arc with the two of them where they’ll do some much-needed bonding. You’re also right about the Ghurka. What a wasted opportunity to have a great recurring character. And it would have made the ending where Kensi leaves feel totally fine.


  4. Your list is amazing, Karen, as the reasons for your choices. Before reading about the scenes you had picked, I wondered what mine would be and guess what… I had in mind all the three you considered. That gives us the idea of how disappointing they were!
    Anyway, if I had to choose the most frustrating ever, the queen of the letdowns, the one that has been bothering me ever since, would be the ending scene of “Three hearts”. I remember how thrilled I had been having been teased that in the episode things for Densi would start exactly as they had been left before Afghanistan, only to find out that Deeks was reconsidering their “thing” without giving a clear and plausible explanation. More than angry I was puzzled and I couldn’t believe we had just seen a scene between two adults in a relationship (I think this was the exact idea we were led to have after the ambulance talk before the reassignment scene in “Frozen lake”).
    So, if I could, I would totally change the “Raccoons mate for life” scene and would choose, instead, the awesome story written by Tess (“The matrix”) which is still my all time post-Three hearts favorite.


    • well said,
      ironically, I have been re-watching season 5 this weekend and i currently have the TV paused in the middle of three hearts right after the puppet master comments between Angelo and Hetty.

      Whenever i wonder if I am being to hard on Hetty,… the way the writers handle the Densi relationship, or both….all I have to do is watch a couple of choice episodes of season 5 to reaffirm my feelings. they suck


    • What can I say, Cladani. Great minds think alike! 😉


  5. Drive us my number 1, but I agree with your choices.


    • Yes Diane. Drive is an incredibly flawed episode. Sometimes it has surprised me (not in a good way) how little oversight there seems to have been from one writer to the next and how they handle these characters…


  6. Great list and comments, I agree what has been said . One of my personal choices would be from Neighborhood watch, that boy would not break the window and Densi would continue that talk they were having. It is one my favorite episodes and a great scene, but I still would like to change that ending of that scene.


    • Anne I agree that I’d have liked that scene to continue (why must they always be interrupted?) but I do so love Deeks’ line about the kid- “He’s gonna need therapy”- after he points his gun at him. I think it’s one of his all-time funniest.


  7. thank you Karen again for the great article. My number one is and will always be Drive. Everything about that episode was wrong for me and I was dying to see some kind of honest and serious conversation between Kensi and Deeks (peanutbutterer wrote excellent post episode story). The end of Frozen Lake will be the second (I wanted to jump into my TV and hug Deeks forever), the third would be The Three Hearts and I think the same as Psyched – I can understand Deeks’ withdrawal but he should have explained it better ( I was totally confused with all Angelo’s stories. and in the end, Deeks returned the knife, saying at the same time that racoons mate for life (????) and then Kensi and the box and she walked away with the smile on her face…and I was thinking “will you pls speak English so that I can at least understand something”).


  8. Agree with all comments. I would add the scene from Sirens when Deeks came home and found Kensi not there. That broke my heart.


    • I had Drive flashbacks at the end of Sirens.


      • I agree. That scene was so hurtful for Deeks and for the viewers who had followed anxiously from week to week the very emotional Kensi’s injury/coma/recovery arc. It was like a cold shower, something unexpected and easily avoidable if only the people in charge had wanted…
        I had imagined a much more beautiful and touching scene when Deeks promised Kensi in Syria he would get her home. I imagined their new house, the joy in Deeks’ eyes in a scene in which I’m sure ECO would have given his best, a sweet moment together after all they had been through in the hospital
        Yes, definitely another scene to change and rewrite.


    • Donna Marie that’s another good one. I’m hoping they’re going to make up for it in the Christmas episode.


  9. I love your choices, but for me the punch is #1, although you did include the episode.


    • toooldtoship I understand your #1 choice for sure. I think I might have been OK with the punch itself if they had dealt with it afterwards in a satisfying way. It could have become an opportunity to talk about Deeks’ childhood and to have Kensi grow, but sadly it was neither of these things.


  10. Natalie Ryan // January 4, 2017 at 12:45 PM // Reply

    Oh, how much I’d like to change Ascension… You have no idea.


    • Hey Natalie, I know what you mean about “Ascension.” I would pay good money for a 90-minute version where lots of things were different.


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