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The Top 3 NCISLA Seasons

This week’s topic has only eight potential candidates for The Top 3, and yet somehow I think it could inspire quite a debate. Today we’ll discuss The Top 3 Seasons of NCIS: Los Angeles.

The Premise

The only constraints on the judging here are that the choices need to be based on Deeks and Densi storylines.

The Top 3

I went about this task by making a series of lists. For each season, I listed the episodes still on my DVR, the great Deeks and Densi episodes, and the disappointing Deeks or Densi episodes. My choices for The Top 3 drew from the combination of them all. In reverse order of importance, my Top 3 is…

#3. Season 3

The race for the #3 spot was the tightest, and it came down to Season 3 or Season 5. I still have more episodes from Season 5 on my DVR (9 versus 6), and it had a lot of memorable Deeks and Densi episodes. Unfortunately it had a lot of things I disliked, including 8 episodes I’d list as disappointing, so Season 3 gets the #3 spot for its better consistency. It has nothing I disliked, although there are quite a few less than memorable episodes. But it has classic Densi episodes like “The Debt,” the “Blye, K.” pair, and “Neighborhood Watch.” There are also other solid episodes like “Sacrifice” and “Touch of Death.” The season takes us from a Deeks and Kensi who have just begun to be friends to a couple with unacknowledged feelings for one another. I enjoyed it because their relationship continued to progress (unlike Season 4 where I felt they floundered a bit until the very end).

#2. Season 7

Season 7 is wonderful because it gives us a domestic Densi who are happy and committed but still entertaining. They are even allowed public displays of affection (unlike Season 6). They show that you can put a will-they-won’t-they couple together and not lose the audience. There are a few less than inspiring episodes (“Blame It on Rio,” Callen’s Russia arc) and one that I actively dislike even as others love it (“Come Back”). But we also get a wonderful Domestic Densi in “Active Measures” and “Command & Control.” Even better, we have a compelling continuing Deeks storyline that culminates in “Internal Affairs” and is complemented by “Cancel Christmas.” And we get two absolutely fantastic stand-alone episodes in “An Unlocked Mind” and “The Seventh Child.” If every season could be this good, I’d be a very happy fan.

#1. Season 2

Ah, the season when I fell in love with Marty Deeks. The season where I realized there was a thing between him and Kensi. What’s not to love? There are no hated episodes, just a few which are light on Deeks and a few where the team has a little too much fun in mocking him. But we learn a huge amount about his past in episodes like “Human Traffic,” “Personal,” and “Plan B,” and we really see his character come into his own. In Season 1 there’s no time to learn all the facets of his personality. Season 2 is where they all become visible, and we can truly appreciate what an interesting character he is.

As if that’s not enough, we also see Deeks’ thing with Kensi develop from “Borderline” through “Bounty,” “Deliverance,” “Disorder,” and into “The Job.” Their relationship evolves more in this one season than in any other. They begin their partnership quite wary of one another, and over the course of the season develop a great deal of trust, and even come to the beginnings of a real friendship. It’s beautiful to see the slow but steady building of their relationship, and it made us look forward to what would come. (Who knew it would take so long to get there, but hey- at least we weren’t subjected to Tiva 2.0!)

Also in the Running

The only season I actively disliked was Season 6, so all the rest were up for consideration:

  • Season 5: Great early episodes with Deeks as the show’s emotional center, but WTH Hetty and a shaky Afghanistan arc, plus a dreadful final run where “Three Hearts” gave us metaphors and a turn I didn’t want in Densi’s thing
  • Season 4: “Skin Deep”, “Wanted”, and “Descent,” but also “The Gold Standard,” “Drive” and the “Reds”
  • Season 8: A challenging year handling another maternity leave and the death of Miguel Ferrer. There have been many high points, including Deeks’ multiple proposals to Kensi and seeing Desperate Deeks in action in “Payback.” Still, a final assessment is pending the last few episodes.
  • Season 1: A little too little Deeks

Next Week

A few weeks ago we put together a trilogy of episodes to introduce a new fan to Deeks. As we move into the final four Top 3’s, next week we’ll engage in an even more challenging exercise, putting together a set of three scenes that sum up Marty Deeks.

In the meantime, what are your Top 3 NCIS:LA Seasons?

Or, go back to last week’s Top 3, the Top 3 Episodes for a New Densi Fan.

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.

13 Comments on The Top 3 NCISLA Seasons

  1. Rhonda Lara // April 23, 2017 at 7:33 AM // Reply

    Great Choices! 💙

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your great list, Karen. I have the same top 3 and I have a lot of the same reasons, but my order would be 1) season 7, 2) season 2 and 3) season 3.

    I just loved season 7 and the Densi relationship and I loved meeting mrs. Deeks. No cliffhanger at the end of the season was great (even though it kind of was a cliffhanger when we started to hear about Kensi/Densi in season 8).
    About season 3 I would like to add that I loved meeting Granger (I didn’t love the character at first but he became such a big part of the show and I really miss him) , I liked that Hawaii Five-0 crossover and Janvier is such a great villain in season 3. It was hard for me to choose between season 3 and 4 , but I enjoyed season 3 a little bit more.
    For me personally season 5 was too dark and angsty and that is why it didn’t make my list.
    I don’t dislike season 6, there are some very good episodes, but it does lack something special that my top 3 (in my opinion) has.
    I am still kind of on the fence about season 8, I liked the beginning (especially that great acting from Daniela and Eric), but really disliked the middle of the season (I really didn’t like episodes like Kulinda and Christmas episode, or the mole hunt “conclusion”/Joelle, the first part of Kensi’s recovery was amazing but in the second part of the recovery the writing wasn’t as coherent, in my opinion) and now I have really enjoyed these last episodes so I guess it is up to the season finale will this season make it to my list 🙂


    • AnneS I love your assessment and your reasons. Thanks for pointing out Granger and Janvier in Season 3. And I understand how you feel about Season 8. It’s had a lot of great stuff but not in the most consistent way. I may have to rewatch it all in order to really figure out what I think about it. (Not a terrible summer assignment!)


  3. love the list.
    I agree with the candidates, but would change the order.
    just personally,
    I would put 7 at the top, followed by 2 and 3, in a tossup. season 2 was great, but how can you not love a season that brought us Neighborhood Watch.

    Season 4 had some big let downs and some OOC stuff that made me cringe…I wont write it, but it is D*** ep 4-11
    Season 5 had a big hole and too much to dislike…and made me want to give Hetty a beat down.
    season 6 was just a little off up until the Christmas ep. I think I was still mad about the 3 cat vomits episode 5-21….I just cant say it…
    Looking back on season 1 makes you realize how much Deeks brings to the show.
    Nate, although a good character, wasn’t lead material, Dom was not interesting in the slightest. and Kensi spent too much time in opps doing techy stuff instead of in the field.
    the show did a very good job of adapting and making changes…otherwise, I don’t really think we would still have it on the air.
    I love the product we have now.



    • Hey Ed, Excellent list. I think the period from “Three Hearts” through “Humbug” was maybe my least favorite stretch of episodes ever- it was so frustrating to not understand what was happening with Densi. And I loved your assessment of Season 1 and how the showrunners adapted to improve the cast. ECO sure did fill a big hole.


  4. I imagine I’m going to be controversial here.

    My favorite is Season 5. With Ascension, Impact and Omni starting it off; torture, PTSD and the return. Recovery with the challenge in the restaurant. Frozen Lake with the night after and the beginning of the separation. The episodes while Kensi was in Afghanistan with the cute scenes missing each other. The amazing Spoils of War. And the painful Three Hearts to create the separation again, this time self-imposed. Angst! True Love delayed!

    Season 4. Parley with a very jealous Kensi. And of course Descent. Just wow.

    Season 3. I guess. Neighborhood Watch. Lots of audience teasing. Rapport is building.

    Season 6, 7, and 8 have had some good moments …. but not enough for me to claim a whole season. They were “meh” to me. Not enough connecting over-arcing storyline for them.


    • peakae
      i’m laughing because I could have guessed pretty close.
      while we agree on so many things, it is no secret that your tolerance level and even love of angst is vastly better than mine. well played and a good list to make my heart hurt.
      Perfect for you, and I am almost crying over here…
      I think I do better with the love delayed thing when it is actually a slow burn, and not this on off, light switch, hot cold, yo yo, flip flop stuff we got for so long. drove me crazy.
      I made it through Afghanistan, and instead of some kind of payoff, I got Three…., nope, just cant do it…
      I made it through Kensi’s rehab, then got Anna at Christmas, Kulinda, and more Sullivan…
      there is the possibility that I may be impatient.

      Since you are quite possibly the queen of Angst and true love delayed…
      Please tell me that 7 years is delayed enough…please, please, please…
      don’t make me wait much longer…
      …i’m not blaming you…but if I catch you over there with a Ouija board or a Vodoo doll…
      we might have to talk.

      enjoy the rest of your weekend.


      • Oh heck yeah. 7 years apart like that is unnatural. People can still be sexy and romantic after they’re married. TV has never gotten that. Oh wait, Ghost Whisperer had them married happily for a few seasons until that went wonky.


        • I agree completely.
          ECO and DR have such great chemistry. they can play a happily married, bantering, bickering couple perfectly.
          I thing the majority of the banter can remain the same, some will go away and be replaced by something else. Less jealousy drama and more concern about the others feelings during under cover opps.
          I look forward to it.
          The last 2 episodes have shown a taste of the banter and interaction we can get with them in a healthy relationship. still plenty of room for romance, humor and drama.
          the characters and the relationship are so deep, there is a lot of flexibility.
          I am excited to see more.


    • Yay! I love dissenting opinions. I loved so much about Season 5 that in some ways it’s my all-time favorite, what with Deeks taking such a central role throughout. Yet when I looked over all the episodes, I also realized that many of them had frustrated me a great deal. I just couldn’t put it on the list even though I loved so much of it, but I totally get why you would list it as #1.


  5. Brenda (@bpnp) // April 23, 2017 at 3:26 PM // Reply

    Great job!! I agree!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My two favorite seasons for Densi are 3 and 7: Season 3 for some great episodes, turning points in their partnership/relationship (like The debt, Neighborhood watch or the Blye episodes), the awesome developing chemistry between them, the brilliant interactions, the banter, the trust and the idea that their feelings for each other may turn into something deeper than the normal ones for a partner in the field; Season 7 for committed and mature Densi, still with beautiful scenes and interactions (except some episodes in which they were written quite OOC), the idea to spend their life together, the plan to start a family, to get married and – who knows – maybe become parents.

    For the show in general my favorite season is 4, instead: unforgettable masterfully-written arcs, breathtaking episodes, many meaningful seeds planted with the purpose to develop them better in future moments, really evil villains, an unparalleled season finale and also some awesome Densi moments which made me fall in love with them even more (funny and sexy bed wrestling, the emotional “sunshine and gunpowder” scene, Kensi’s jealousy, terrible communication skills, the amazing hilltop kiss).


    • Cladani I love your descriptions of those two seasons. That series of episodes leading to “Descent” is really fantastically pulled together.


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