One of the biggest treats for fans of Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah has been listening to their real life banter on one episode of each season’s DVD. They are just as entertaining in real life as Densi is on the show. In the last of three wish fulfillment Top 3’s, today we’ll name the Top 3 episodes for which we’d love to have a DVD Commentary.
The only rules here are that we’re talking about commentary from ECO and DR, not other members of the cast. Also keep in mind that we already have commentary from Season 2’s “Anonymous,” Season 3’s “Neighborhood Watch,” Season 4’s “Wanted”, Season 5’s “The Frozen Lake,” Season 6’s “Expiration Date,” and Season 7’s “Internal Affairs.”
The Top 3
I started with a Top 3 that was filled with Deeks-centric episodes, including “Plan B.” And while I’d pay to hear ECO’s commentary about his work in all such episodes, in the end I tried to keep my Top 3 slightly more Densi centric. After all, we’re talking about commentary from both Eric and Dani, so I felt I needed to choose episodes that gave them both something to talk about. I don’t think anyone will accuse me of choosing Kensi-centric episodes, but I did the best I could- there are just so many great Deeks scenes I would love to hear about! One other note- I excluded episodes from Season 8, since I’m still hopeful that we’ll have another vote for the S8 DVD.
In reverse order of importance, my Top 3 is…
#3. “The Debt”
I’d really like to hear commentary on “Plan B” but I think “The Debt,” written by Dave Kalstein, is more of an essential episode for Densi. Throughout this episode, I was very curious about what Kensi was thinking- What was going through her mind during her talk with Hetty? What did she want to say to Deeks when she thought he was fired? For Eric, he had to play Deeks’ pretend guilt well enough to convince both Kensi and the audience, but not so well that looking back on it, we wouldn’t see a few clues. How did he approach that?
I’d love to hear both of them discuss that good-bye scene. How many different takes were there? Did the editors choose the least emotional version as they’ve done in similar instances? I’d also like to know what it’s like to work with Patrick St. Esprit, who plays Lieutenant Bates. And of course, there’s also the little scene where Eric walks around on a building ledge 10 stories up. That’s gotta be something worth talking about, as is the explosion at the red sedan, one that both actors apparently got to film instead of their stunt doubles.
I debated between this and “Descent” since they both had some iconic scenes. I went with “Ascension,” written by Frank Military, for its two absolutely huge Densi scenes. I would love to hear Eric and Dani discuss the scene in the garage where Kensi abandons Deeks. What did Eric think was going through Deeks’ mind? How did Dani think Kensi was able to do what she needed to do? Then there’s the heartbreaking scene between them at the end. What is it like to film such emotional scenes? How many takes did they need? What’s the mood on set before something like this, or something like the hospital scene between Sam and Deeks? Speaking of that scene, how did Eric get to such an emotional place that he actually sheds a tear? What was it like to take on a scene like that with LL Cool J?
Also, I’m sure it would also be interesting to hear how they completed those initial action scenes around a pregnant Dani. And I’d also like to know if there are any funny stories about working with Christopher Lambert.
The place where the magic began. The introduction of Detective Marty Deeks, written by Matt Pyken. The day that changed Kensi’s life. Stuck, smitten, whatever. We all know that famous story of how Eric and Dani met at the table read for this episode, but what happened next? What was it like to work together? Did they know right away their apparent off-screen chemistry translated to the screen? What did they think during filming of that scene at Zuna’s house? What was Eric told about his character? We see a much more subdued Deeks than the version we got in Season 2. What was Eric trying to convey in the choices he made? And were Eric and Dani told that these two would definitely end up together? What was the plan at the time for what would grow into Densi?
We know that filming the MMA scenes with LL Cool J was not a walk in the park (for a glimpse, check out this video or this one featuring the real-life MMA fighters who worked as extras). But was that fight actually the first thing Eric filmed? How much pressure was he feeling to make a good impression? At this point, he was still trying out for a permanent role. I can’t imagine what he must have been feeling. I think that scene in the boatshed where it’s him against the team must have had a lot of real life parallels, and I’d love to hear about that experience for him.
And then there’s that final scene with Linda Hunt. What was their first work together like for Eric? What’s Linda’s approach to a scene like that? It must have been a real thrill for Eric and I’d love to hear more about it.
Also in the Running
This exercise has made me think how much fun it would be to have an additional commentary with Eric and/or Daniela along with the writer of the episode. These great writers would bring a whole other perspective to the discussion. Here are a few other episodes that made my semifinalists:
- “Plan B” (Dave Kalstein, Joseph C. Wilson)
- “Borderline” (R. Scott Gemmill)
- “Descent“ (Frank Military)
- “Spoils of War” (Frank Military)
- “SEAL Hunter” (Sara Servi, Frank Military)
- “The Seventh Child” (Frank Military)
- “An Unlocked Mind” (Frank Military)
- “Impact” (R. Scott Gemmill)
We’re going to spend the next couple of weeks on the funny, starting with a look at one of Deeks’ special skills. We’ll discuss his Top 3 Uses of Humor to Defuse Tension. In the meantime, what are your Top 3 episodes deserving a DVD commentary? Tell us about them in the Comments below.
Or, return to the last Top 3, the Top 3 Missing Scenes.