Miguel Ferrer’s Assistant Director Owen Granger began as a tough character to warm up to. Gruff and seemingly uncaring, he provided a foil for Hetty and her team, someone they distrusted and disliked. Memorably at the end of one episode (“Fallout”) where he’d been kept in the dark about their plans, he disgustedly told them, “You all deserve each other.” But over time, he started to show he really cared. He offered words of advice and looked out for them. Plus, he consistently had the show’s funniest one-liners, delivered with an utterly straight face. It was that deadpan delivery that made me first start to love him.
At the first NCISLA Magazine meet-up, attendees had the opportunity to submit advance questions to the cast, some of which were answered via video. I was lucky enough to have Miguel answer one of my questions, about whether he thought Granger was misunderstood. I don’t remember the details of his answer, but I remember he did think so, and very sweetly spoke about his character. Miguel’s passing has left a huge hole. He’ll be sorely missed.
So at Cladani’s excellent suggestion, let’s use this listicle format to celebrate some of our favorite Granger moments.
I have to admit to having less time than usual to research this topic, so my list is likely quite incomplete. You all will have to help fill it in! In an effort to keep things simple, and closer to what I’m likely to remember, I’ve limited it to scenes that involved both Deeks and Granger.
The Top 3
In reverse order of importance, my Top 3 is…
#3. Deeks “not really” backing up Granger in “War Cries”
“War Cries,” written by R. Scott Gemmill and directed by James Hanlon, came in the midst of Kensi’s Season 5 Afghanistan arc. At the time, Deeks was worried sick about his partner and blaming himself for her dangerous reassignment. Early in the episode, Granger makes an unexpected appearance at OSP and Deeks quickly pounces on him for information. He’s also quick to question why Granger would have left Kensi without back-up and offers to go himself. Granger in turn mocks Deeks’ ability to function in a war-torn country halfway around the world. It’s a great scene, but I think it’s merely a set-up for my #3 pick.
That scene comes later in the episode when Deeks invites Granger into the field in a continuing effort to get information about his partner. Deeks tells him he’s “not really” in communication with Kensi. Granger tells Deeks there’s “not really” anything he needs to know about Kensi’s mission. A few moments later, Deeks gets some payback by allowing a bad guy to force Granger to his knees before coming to his aid. Granger asks him if he couldn’t have come out from hiding a little sooner, and Deeks replies, “Not really.” This scene was also in the running for The Top 3 Cheekiest Moments because of Deeks’ bold behavior with the Assistant Director.
But I don’t like it merely for the humor and for getting to see Deeks get the upper hand for a moment. It’s a great scene because of how directly Deeks addresses Granger when he tells him, “Kensi and I aren’t just partners. She’s my friend… and I look out for her. And so I’m asking you man to man, is there something I should know about?” Unfortunately Granger doesn’t know what’s really going on either (thanks for nothing Hetty!). Deeks doesn’t learn anything new, but it was satisfying to see him be so direct – and cheeky – with his boss’s boss.
#2. The hug at the end of “Black Wind”
Written by Joe Sachs and directed by Dennis Smith, this scene almost made the top spot, but I figured I’d keep the list in reverse chronological order. Deeks has just spent the last part of this episode trying to protect a mother and her son from cartel bad guys. He and Kensi have brought them over the border into the U.S. with promises to them and their father-in-law/grandfather that they’ll all be kept safe. Unfortunately he didn’t really have any power to make good on his many promises. When ICE arrives to take granddad into custody, and they learn that mother and child will be sent back to Mexico where they’ll likely be killed, Deeks is beside himself with worry and feelings of guilt (I sense a theme here!), something not helped by Granger’s chastising words (“Don’t make another promise you can’t keep”) or those of the little boy (“You said you were the good guys!).
But give the Assistant Director a few hours and he works some bureaucratic magic behind the scenes and makes Deeks’ promises a reality. Deeks is so filled with relief and gratitude that he hugs Granger in one of the sweetest team scenes ever.
“Oh my god, I’m gonna hug you,” he announces to Granger.
“No you’re not” Granger replies.
Deeks contradicts him with a big “Yes I am,” as he gives him a big, genuine hug. Granger seems completely surprised and befuddled by what he must see as rather unprofessional behavior.
“You’re giving me a hug,” he tells Deeks. But he returns it. Granger’s deadpan expression makes the moment funny, but we also know that Deeks’ action has touched him. With the whole team looking on, it’s symbolically a big moment, as if Deeks is pulling Granger into the team. I know it was a big moment for me as a viewer and as someone who had a very hard time warming up to Granger. If Deeks felt this way about him, then it made me believe I should too.
#1. The Granger pep talk in “Home Is Where the Heart Is”
“Home Is Where the Heart Is,” written by Joseph C. Wilson and directed by Eric A. Pot, comes early in Season 8, at a time when Deeks was spending most of his time worried sick about Kensi and doubting his ability to help her recover. Just after Deeks tells Anna that they refer to the Assistant Director as “Granger Grumpypants” or “Herr Geezemeister”, Granger walks into the gym and tells him (not for the first time) that “Assistant Director will suffice.” But Granger’s unfazed. He ignores the digs and pulls Deeks aside to offer wise words of advice and encouragement. The “two dudes on a bench” have a great heart to heart. Granger really makes an effort to get Deeks to talk about his feelings, and he tells him just what he needs to hear to be able to handle a combative Kensi later in the episode. Granger’s thoughtfulness and caring is so clear here.
Granger: So how’s it going?
Deeks: Kensi’s got a long journey ahead of her, but she’ll get there.
Granger: Mmm. But how’s Deeks doing?… Listen, you gotta roll with this a little bit here, help me out.
Deeks: Um, honestly I don’t know. At this point I can’t tell if I’m, if I’m comforting her or just myself.
Granger: Well if it comforts both, does it matter?
Deeks: No, no I guess it doesn’t, does it? You know what’s crazy about this is that, you know, we say these things like ‘we’ll go to the ends of the earth for somebody,’ but then you’re called on, and you realize you don’t know how. And I don’t… I don’t know how.
Granger: You’re at a place in your life right now where you have to realize you’re not just responsible for yourself. You’re responsible for all the lives you touch.
Deeks: Yeah, no, I realize that, and I’m, and I’m trying. Kensi, God bless her, she puts on a good face. I just don’t know if I’m doing a great job.
Granger: The only way you’ll fail her is if you quit. So don’t quit. You got this.
Deeks: Thank you, Assistant Director.
Granger: All my friends call me Granger.
Deeks’ emotions here were not unlike those he was experiencing back in “War Cries,” but we can see a huge change in Granger’s demeanor. He’s come so far with the whole team, Deeks included, to the point where he wants them to think of him as a friend. In the opening Granger Danger scene in “War Cries,” Deeks calls out to Granger by his last name: “Granger!” Just like in this scene, Granger responds with, “Assistant Director will suffice.” What a contrast with his last line here. What a great arc for his character to have traveled, from potential enemy to a real friend, a father figure even. It’s a tribute to the wonderful performance of Miguel Ferrer. Granger told Deeks that he was responsible for all the lives he touched, and on behalf of those of us at wikiDeeks, I want to thank Miguel for touching our lives with his work as Owen Granger.
Also in the Running
I considered a few other notable scenes, among them:
- Calling out Granger for getting fooled by the “Crimeleon,” who “is very, very good,” according to Granger (written by Frank Military and directed by Terrence O’Hara). “Good enough to have fooled you,” replies Deeks. (Also in the running for The Top 3 Cheekiest Moments)
- Bonding over Swedish nachos (which I had remembered incorrectly as Norwegian tacos, LOL) in “Forest for the Trees” (written by Gil Grant and directed by Diana Valentine)
- Granger ordering Densi to stop discussing circumcision and their future ninja assassins in “The Seventh Child” (written and directed by Frank Military)
- Granger reassuring Deeks that Kensi is “doing good over there” and that “She’s a big girl. She can take care of herself” in “War Cries”
- Granger staring as Densi babble about their need to carpool, whether Deeks wears his underwear on the inside of his pantaloons, and being “just partners” in “The 3rd Choir” (written by Dana Scanlon & R. Scott Gemmill, directed by Diana Valentine)
- OK, no Deeks in the vicinity, but I have to mention the hospital scene with Kensi’s mom in “Black Market” (written by Jordana Lewis Jaffe and directed by James Hanlon)
We’ll return to our regularly scheduled Top 3 next week, with The Top 3 Most Romantic Scenes. In the meantime, help us flesh out our list of the best Granger moments in the Comments below.
Or, return to the last Top 3, the Top 3 Funniest Scenes.