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Review: NCISLA “Can I Get a Witness?” (S9E06)

This week’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles gave us the first real Deeks-centered storyline of the season. Written by Chad Mazero and directed by James Hanlon, it may not have risen to the same level of high drama as Mazero’s previous outing “Internal Affairs” (co-written with R. Scott Gemmill), but it delivered a good team episode with some fantastic Deeks-Bates chemistry.

Bates is One of the Good Ones

Whew, a big sigh of relief was had by many of us with the reveal that Bates was – of course! – not a dirty cop. That was merely a nasty rumor Whiting was foolish enough to believe. Luckily for us, Bates as a suspect provided an opportunity to get him into the field with Deeks, enabling us to fully enjoy Patrick St. Esprit’s curmudgeonly lieutenant. I’m pretty sure I didn’t follow all the details of the plot, but it didn’t matter when every scene with Deeks and Bates made me laugh.

Bates: Let’s cut the crap.
Deeks: I think it’s pretty obvious which one of us is the officer and which one of us is the gentleman.
Bates: I’ve had kidney stones that passed easier than time with you.
Deeks: [to Simon] Listen, Mommy and Daddy fight. The important thing to remember is it’s not about you…
Bates: [to Simon] Is there any way we can speed this up? I need to get home soon so I can reconsider all my life choices…

His appearance included laugh out loud banter that easily rose to the show’s high standards for hilarious wordplay. Again, I must make the case for a spin-off featuring Deeks and Bates as partners or in-laws or anything really, as long as they get to play off one another. (And come on, he has got to meet Roberta – they would have just as many wisecracks flying between them, a match made in heaven.) This week’s banter was Deeks and Bates’ best yet, surpassing the somewhat over-the-top version we had in the season premiere “Party Crashers.” This dialog felt slightly more disciplined, as if the two were sticking to the script or were more focused with their improv.

It was also nice to see Bates’ character developed a little bit more, which happened when he explained to Deeks why he wasn’t dirty (“I can’t control everything Deeks. But my honor – that’s one thing I can control”). Of course things didn’t stay serious for long, with the duo going right back to their fantastic banter as bad guy Wallace walked through the door.

Wallace: Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?
Deeks: Based on the lack of emotion in the forehead, I’m saying a spokesperson for Botox?
Wallace: Who are you?
Bates: You’re not gonna see us again, that’s the way this works.
Wallace: Oh great. So I’m shelling out money to a bunch of mall cops.
Deeks: Oh that is an offensive stereotype, besides malls can be very scary places. Have you been to a Hot Topic lately?
Wallace: Some federal agents showed up at my office. We are running out of time. So what I need from you is to SHUT UP and help me see this deal through.
Bates: I don’t like the cut of his jib.
Deeks: His jib is not cut well.

I love you Kensi, but I would pay money for more episodes featuring Bates and Deeks as partners.

No Mosley? No Problem

There were a few people missing from tonight’s episode and I have to say that their absence made the entire thing feel, well, better. Mosley and Hidoko’s unexplained absences (which are in fact explainable by the episode being filmed at the end of Season 8) gave what became a strong team-centered episode a more traditional NCIS:LA feel than some others this season. Even though Deeks and Kensi weren’t together and Hetty is far far away, everything seemed more balanced. It felt downright refreshing to let the team do what the team does (to borrow from the upcoming 200th episode title). And Mosley and Hidoko being gone gave Mazero just a little more time to spend developing Bates and Whiting’s characters, which added to the episode. I did keep wondering where Mosley was, given her disdain for Deeks thus far. I can’t imagine she’d have much approved of how the team handled this case, given its lack of a military angle.

Even Stone Cold Whiting Isn’t Immune to the Deeksness

With the return of Bates, how could Detective Whiting not be far behind? I still enjoy Karina Logue’s take on the proverbial thorn in Deeks’ side. This time we even saw a little softening in their relationship. Their opening scene was all about Whiting exerting her power via blackmail to get Deeks to do her bidding, and we saw his open frustration as he walked away, slamming the interview room door. But it turned out Whiting called in Deeks’ help in part because she wasn’t sold on Bates being dirty and wanted to give him a shot to clear his name. Combine her good motives with her apparent non-hatred of Deeks (“I have nightmares about Deeks friending me on Facebook – it doesn’t mean I don’t want him safe”) and by the end of the episode the two felt more like they were actually on the same side, fighting together against corruption. It really does seem that no one is immune to the Deeksness.

And Bates is no exception, for despite how annoying he always finds his detective, at episode’s end he invited him to come back to the LAPD. Still, whether he’s at LAPD or NCIS, it’s got to suck for Deeks to have the specter of Whiting’s return hanging over his head. Logue and Eric Christian Olsen both played this complicated relationship beautifully, and I for one am glad that Whiting may return yet again. It will at least mean another Deeks-centric episode.

A Dearth of Drama… and Densi

Maybe my expectations are permanently low for having the team support Deeks, but I enjoyed how they all immediately jumped into action to track him down. Their sense of urgency was much improved over what we saw in “Internal Affairs.” In the boatshed, it almost felt as if Sam and Callen were about to fight Bates over Deeks, which would have been so gratifying for him. He shouldn’t have been so quick to play peacemaker between the two groups.

Later in the ep we got the best explanation from Deeks yet on why he wants to continue liaising between the two organizations – “I’ve kinda got the best of both worlds right now, right? Representing LAPD’s finest and with NCIS working with a team that I respect the hell out of.” Too bad he couldn’t have mustered that explanation for Mosley. Thank goodness Bates accepted it. After all, as he pointed out earlier in the episode, he does have the power to commandeer Deeks anytime he sees fit.

Bates: Well, just remember that for one fleeting moment I had something nice to say about you.
Deeks: It’s going straight to the diary.
Bates: I’m moved. Alright. I gotta get home. Wife #3’s just betting for a reason to leave me…
Deeks: See ya. I miss that moustache.
Bates: I quit ya, Deeks.

I loved the callback to the moustache insults from “Internal Affairs.” With this show it always seems to give the continuity a boost when the same writer is involved in an on-going storyline.

As much as I enjoyed every scene of the episode, I never felt a ton of suspense once Deeks crashed his pretty red truck past the police cruiser. It became more about banter and teamwork than about any juicy Deeks- or Densi-related dramatic scenes. I’d have been excited to see them investigate the dirty cops and take on some bad LAPD officers, or even try to go undercover with Wallace to the meet, but alas there was no time. We’ve seen relatively little drama from Deeks and Densi so far this entire season. It really made me wish for the long-sought (and maybe never-to-be?) “Deeks, M.” episode. After handling Season 5’s PTSD and Season 8’s Kensi recovery storylines with so much vulnerability, Eric Christian Olsen deserves more chances to show off his dramatic skills.

Memorable Moments

  • Someone needs to tell the CBS staff person in charge of drafting episode descriptions for my DVR that Bates is not Deeks’ “former partner,” unless there’s more to their backstory than we’ve been told.
  • Nice red truck Deeks! Is that the first time we’ve seen it?
  • Aww, I’m a little disappointed in Deeks’ attitude about cats (“notoriously evil and hard to trust”). Did Monty have a run-in with an intimidating tabby?
  • Alex Wyse, who played bioengineer Simon Atwater, did a nice job of playing the (stereotypically) nerdy scientist. It can’t have been easy to rise to the high level of banter displayed by ECO and St. Esprit in that interrogation scene, but he held his own and contributed to the scene’s success.
  • Nell practicing her knife skills in the opening scene only to put them to use in the field by episode’s end felt a little too neat. I’d have rather seen her do so a few episodes down the line.
  • Love all the talk about purpose with Callen and Sam. How sweet is it that Callen sees his as making sure Sam lives his life to the fullest? And how lovely is it to see him express that caring to his partner?
  • We got a much better feel for the direction Hetty’s storyline is heading, as it looks as if the team may need to stage a rescue sometime soon. Hmmm, seems like it would make for a good 200thepisode story, although I don’t believe that’s in the plans.

I simultaneously fear and can’t wait for next week’s Frank Military penned episode, given that it might give ECO a chance to show off his dramatic skills with at least one great Densi scene, even if they’re not physically together. Given the relative dearth of Densi so far this season, I can only hope it’s as good as ECO has described. Military is my favorite NCIS:LA writer for his ability to bring the angst as well as to work the personal into the case, but he definitely scares me (that’s a good thing in my book).

While we wait, be sure to tune in later this week for new installments from Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal, plus the Drabble of the Week. In the meantime, what did you think of “Can I Get a Witness?” Did it live up to your expectations? Are you a Bates supporter? And are you mad or glad that we likely haven’t seen the end of Whiting? Tell us all your thoughts in the Comments below.

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.

22 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Can I Get a Witness?” (S9E06)

  1. Great review, as always.

    I really enjoyed this one. It wouldn’t break my heart if they brought Bates and Whiting into the show on a regular basis. They have great chemistry with not only Deeks, but the others, as well. And the banter? I’d love to see banter like this every week! It does make one wonder if they aren’t alluding to the fact Deeks will go back to LAPD eventually. Maybe Harley would get teamed up with Kensi. That could be interesting…

    I do think this is the first we’ve seen Deeks in his own vehicle. The last one I remember was the red Malibu from clear back when they introduced him to the show, and I always assumed that was his LAPD issued ride. The only other thing he claimed as his own was the motorcycle that Hetty confiscated from him.

    I’m hoping the rest of the season builds off this ep, even though it was filmed out of sequence. I have been somewhat underwhelmed so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Karen for your your great review. I really liked this episode, I love Deeks/Whiting and Deeks/Bates scenes (great acting and on-screen chemistry) and I agree with Karen ; no Mosley, no problem at all . I did expect this episode to be more dramatic and give ECO a chance to show those dramatic skills Karen mentioned, but I am also really relieved and happy that nothing bad happened to Bates, he is one of my favorite guest characters and I was really worried about his storyline. I like Whiting, but I do wish this storyline would be over. I don’t know if it is the acting, writing, on-screen chemistry or something else, but in my opinion there is strength and personality in Whiting’s character that I really like.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great review Karen, you described my thoughts perfectly! My opinion about this episode is really simple: I loved it and it is already one of my all-time favorites. I enjoyed all Deeks’ scenes with Whiting and Bates; they all have great chemistry, and play really well off each other. I always like and laugh at their back and forth conversation; they’re so sarcastic and cheeky and they always make for great and funny moments. And this episode was even better because both of them showed respect for Deeks and his work, and it always makes me happy when my favorite detective is appreciated. Along this same line, I loved what you pointed out, that unlike some past eps, this time his team was ready and willing to support and fight for him.

    I loved Bates trying to bring Deeks back to LAPD fulltime and the way Deeks respectfully declined, offering nice words for both halves of him (LAPD’s finest and a team that he respects the hell out of). I was also pleased that Bates wasn’t dirty because in a weird way I see him sort of like a father figure to Deeks. I do think it would be interesting if they revisit the storyline of dirty cops in the force. Overall, my main takeaway from this ep is that I really hope the show brings back Whiting and, especially, Bates for more episodes (loved them together on the field).

    The only thing I missed was an ending scene with Deeks and Kensi, but hopefully fanfiction will fill that void. As for the rest of the characters I loved the scenes with Callen and Sam, they quickly became some of my favorite moments between the partners. And, I’m looking forward to the day Hetty’s storyline connects back to the team in LA. And on a final note, what about that promo? Was that really Kensi saying goodbye to Deeks and then apparently getting blown up? I mean, I know she’s not gonna be killed, but still I’m already predicting that episode will break me. And it’s written by Military, my fave writer but also the one that scares me the most. At least it should allow for some good Densi drama and strong ECO’s acting, and I’m all in for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Spin off — Bates and Roberta are dating. Arkady is their next door neighbor. Whiting and Deeks are forced to be partners to investigate a Russian/Internal Affairs long-term undercover op. And … go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes peakae! We definitely need Arkady in this spin-off of ours. (Just so long as his daughter never makes a guest appearance.)


  5. Brenda (@bpnp) // November 7, 2017 at 11:28 AM // Reply

    I agree – loved the banter in this episode. And I really liked the absence of Mosley/Hidoko – felt more like the old NCIS:LA. The add conflict, but not much else in my opinion.

    And I am so with you on ECO’s dramatic skills. There were a few scenes with fewer words and more facial expressions and I was reminded of how good he is with that. That aspect of his skill set has been so under-utilized so far this season. He doesn’t need dialogue, he can speak volumes with his facial expressions – both happy and sad – let him do it more!! I really liked the scene in the boat shed with Whiting where he flashed her one of his killer grins. Made me wonder why we don’t have scenes like that with him and Kensi anymore. Definitely need more of the Densi magic than we’ve been getting too.

    However, overall – loved this episode. First one in a long while that I didn’t delete from DVR after watching it.

    So Karen – do you feel sorry for Hetty seemingly about to be locked up in a rusty old prison cell? Or is this just finally her comeuppance for Kensi/White Ghost?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Brenda thanks for pointing out ECO’s expressiveness. It’s amazing how much he can convey without a single word. And that “killer grin” in the boatshed? It’s no wonder Whiting cannot resist the Deeksness.

      As for your question about feeling sorry for Hetty? I wasn’t thinking about it as comeuppance for Kensi/White Ghost, or for setting Deeks up with Whiting (that’s not to say I don’t still harbor bad feelings- I can hold a grudge with the best of them). I was thinking more about her arrogance in thinking she had Dang under control. I wish I felt more suspense over her storyline but I’m afraid I’ve grown indifferent to her fate. You?


      • I am liking the storyline for Hetty. I can see the team getting so fed up with Mosley and Hidoko that after the wonder twins discover her location they have to go to Vietnam to rescue her, and that would be fun and a nice break from the LA streets and warehouses. My only fear is that this storyline is the way they take Hetty out of the series. If they kill her off, we will be left with Mosley and that is definitely NOT a good thing.


  6. Thanks, Karen, for your review.

    This week I liked the episode more than the previous ones of this season and I’m very glad they didn’t ruin Bates making him a dirty cop, but I have to admit I probably expected something more from this storyline. I did enjoy the Bates-Deeks-Whiting interactions and scenes, though, very much, their chemistry and banter, and I would like to see more of them together. The only thing that bothered me was how long Whiting may go on blackmailing Deeks. It seems as if the authors want to leave this situation unresolved so that it may be used again in future Deeks-centered episodes. But I wouldn’t like all the (few) Deeks-center episodes to have to do only with Whiting and IA and Boyle. I would like to see more of his backstory, if only the writers decided to write it!

    The other aspect that disappointed me a little this week was I had hoped to see a nice Densi scene sooner or later in the episode, hopefully by the end, but nothing, the Densi storyline has been almost non-existent up until today and I’m starting to wonder why. As I have said other times, I have been watching this show since the very first episode, long before Densi was in the authors’ radar, but I admit they were the main reason NCIS:LA became my favorite.
    It’s ironic we saw more of Deeks and Kensi together in very beautiful and touching scenes last year when Daniela was on maternity leave than this season so far. I hope this will soon be fixed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sometimes Densi scenes aren’t always needed. Kenai looked troubled when Deeks texted her at the beginning and when they found out what happened in the bullpen, she called him immediately and looked upset. Further when they found the truck she looked devastated. Now when they were in the overwatch they were happy and smiling.

    Another point to consider is that they may not want to draw attention with themselves with Mosley around. They don’t want to be separated again. Mosley already knows they live together. Don’t stir the pot. Just some thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Densi scenes are not always needed, but in some episodes in which they both go through a lot, such “calm after the storm” scenes (one minute, two at the most) don’t take much from other characters or stories and will always have a special place in our (Densi fans) hearts. This week I expected something similar to the beautiful hug at the marina at the end of “Internal affairs”, one of my favorite Densi moments ever, nothing more, nothing less, but life goes on and I can obviously do without if this is the authors’ decision.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Karen for a great review of a great epsiode. I totally enjoyed it . I am not sure I can add much to what the other reviewers have already said. I loved how they wrote Deeks and Bates, and I was glad Bates was one of the good guys. Although Whiting is not likable as a character, I think Karina Logue and Eric Christian Olsen are both excellent actors, and their scenes together are always superb.

    I wish we got more episodes like this one.

    It was an added bonus that we did not have Mosley, she is not a boss, she is just a bully , and showcasing bullies is just wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great Review! I agree the Bates and Deeks banter in this one was spot on. It did feel pushed a little too far in the pilot. I’m glad Bates wasn’t a dirty cop. I enjoy both him and Whiting. I’m sure Deeks can breath a little easier now, but I’d still hate to have the threat of Whiting telling someone over my head.

    I think so far we’ve seen comfortable and happily engaged Densi, even though we’ve only gotten little glimpses of it. I have a fear and an excitement that drama and angst might be coming in the next episode or two

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree with a great deal of what’s been written already, both in the review (great job, Karen!) and in the comments, so I won’t rehash. I found the ep to be somewhat choppy, though. For example, they should have had a scene that showed Kensi and Deeks “reuniting” (didn’t have to be anything big or dramatic, but a sincere “You good?” from Kensi would have done wonders, IMO). But instead, it goes straight to Sam and Callen already at the boatshed. I found myself thinking “Does Kensi know Deeks is ok? How’d the guys find out what’s going on?” And we get Hetty slapping Deng (Dang? Darn, I don’t remember his name!), part of a long scene that added nothing to the ep that we didn’t get somewhere else. I do like where they’re going with the Hetty story line now; I find the whole concept of the supposed former POW is-this-guy-who-he-claims-to-be interesting, especially since Hetty and the rest of her “old” gang made an effort of retrieve other soldiers from Vietnam after the war. Plus it opens the door for Chegwidden, Bridges, and Langston to come back and rescue her (hopefully with the LA team).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also noticed the jump between the scene in the warehouse and the next one in the boatshed; and remember wishing they had included at least a small transition to make the story flow better and the episode feel more cohesive. But it was a small thing compared to how much I loved the ep as a whole. I’m also liking the Hetty storyline, but my mind never went to the possibilities with Chegwidden, Bridges, and Langston; I totally loved those 3 characters, and now you have me really wanting they bring them back for her (most likely) upcoming rescue. I really enjoyed the way they interacted with the team so hopefully they will be back.


  11. I love this bromance. Hope we get to see more Deeks and Bates!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very good look at Karen, as always. I really liked the great talents of ECO (such a great actor) and showed us his skills as Detective, for me this episode is the best of the season 9. I was especially happy to see that Bates was not a rotten, but Whiting does not let go, maybe as she said she likes Deeks but she also likes to blackmail him. The scenes between Kensi and Deeks I miss, I loved and still look often season 8 for their beautiful scenes, Deeks so full of love and attention for Kensi and Kensi side who has demonstrated and expressed her love and gratitude to Deeks, she knows how much Deeks has missed love all through her short life It is true that we are at the beginning of the season so there may be some change. For me, season 8 was one of the best.


  13. heavenbenttotakemyhand // November 8, 2017 at 8:25 PM // Reply

    Thanks for pointing out that Mosely and Hidoko weren’t in this episode (How did I miss that?) and for another great review, Karen.
    Am I the only one who noticed the similarities between Deeks’ dialogue with Whiting at the end and his last conversation with Kensi before she left for Afghanistan – asking her to repeat what she said and then saying, “And there it is”?
    It was a real treat to have a Deeks-centric episode so early in the season.
    Thanks for the great recap of the Bates and Deeks banter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had the same thought about the dialog from “The Frozen Lake.” I guess when one watches those key episodes or scenes so often it’s easy to recognize similar lines or patterns. That “Frozen Lake” scene is one of my favorites. The expression on his face when she repeats her mention of their thing is so beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. evelynmarie2014 // November 8, 2017 at 9:37 PM // Reply

    I really liked the episode although I wish that when Deeks stormed out on Whiting,he would have locked her in the interrogation room. I would have loved to see her pounding on the door& shouting for Deeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This was my favorite episode of the season, due to its focus on Deeks, and the Deeks/Bates interactions. I also really like Whiting, in a love to hate sort of way, the same way I love to hate Janvier. She’s a worthy frenemy for Deeks. I found this Sallen scenes touching. I have never been a big fan of Nell in the field, I would have preferred to have Hidoko accompany Kensi, which also would have made for more tension, since Nell can be trusted with Deeks’ secrets if they come out, but we really don’t know about Harley. Sad to say, I didn’t miss Mosely at all.

    I hope we get another Deeks-centric episode with Bates and Whiting, preferably one that gives us some more insight into Deeks’ history at LAPD or as a lawyer.


    • I’m not a fan of Nell or the field either in the operations room. I do not find it credible on the ground especially when she is lying on the ground a man of 150 pounds, she is too small and small, so I do not believe it. And also that she always has to wait until she is congratulated for doing her job.


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