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 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
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.