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Review: NCISLA “Under Pressure” (S9E12)


Happy New Year everyone! I’m afraid I’m a bit under the weather (and under the influence of cold medicine) so this review is going to be short and sweet. Or maybe not so sweet, as I only found a few things to enjoy in “Under Pressure,” written by Joe Sachs and directed by Diana C. Valentine.

Where’s the Deeks?

I am very happy for Eric Christian Olsen, who seems to have negotiated multiple weeks off from what must be an exhausting NCIS:LA shooting schedule. On the other hand, I am quite a bit less happy for us Deeks fans. “Under Pressure” felt like the most Deeks-free episode since the completely Deeksless “The Gold Standard.”

Nevertheless, having the entire team together for the opening and closing scenes felt like old times. Of course, Detective Deeks, who takes great pride in his “detecting” skills, would practice honing them. It actually reminded me of the scene in “Backstopped” where he offered to run lines with Sam before his undercover. The man doesn’t get enough credit for taking his job (what he’d likely call his “craft”) seriously. And while Kensi may have been unnecessarily unenthusiastic about his little game, Sam and Callen refreshingly ignored the chance to mock him for not being a “special agent.” Plus his cheekiness with Mosley (“Is this punishment because I asked if ‘Mosley’ was Irish?) was much appreciated. This woman needs to be teased at every opportunity, and yet her complete lack of a sense of humor makes me feel like even The Deeksness won’t be enough to make her less stiff.

Memorable Moments

No Deeks means not much to review here at wikiDeeks. Let me just share some random thoughts:

  • For those of us obsessed with Deeks, there was a lot to read into his reference to the LAPD dental plan. And yet somehow I feel like this was just a random joke inserted by the writer or improvised by ECO.
  • For as much as I like Hidoko, she still sends signals that she’s with Mosley and not the team. Here it was reporting to Mosley on their progress without Kensi knowing. Not a big deal, but she’s sending a message that she’s not 100% trustworthy.
  • As much as I love the girl power of the Kensi/Hidoko partnership, there’s no humor in that relationship whatsoever. It’s a really telling illustration of what Deeks brings to the show, and what it lacks when he’s not around. It would actually be nice to see the silliness that Deeks has brought out in Kensi displayed when he’s not there, as a way to bring Hidoko out of her shell even more.
  • Maybe I’m just too old to tell, but Tara Robinson, the actress playing Amanda, looked like she was about 25 years old.
  • I don’t need any of Deeks’ deductive reasoning exercises- it was completely clear to me that the solar power guys were evil right from their opening scene. (And I’m guessing I’m not the only one.) It was so obvious that it made Kensi and Hidoko look bad for not being more suspicious.
  • Again, it’s just us obsessed fans, but it’s hard to think about Kensi in high school without wondering how her year spent living on the street affected her experience. It must have had a huge impact. Of course, it’s also not something we’d expect her to share with Hidoko.
  • Eric’s quoting Hetty (“In the words of a great woman, ‘I sense impending mayhem.'”) just made me miss Hetty. Yes, as much as I have come to dislike her character, I do appreciate all that Linda Hunt brings to the show. (And in comparison, all that Nia Long has been lacking.)
  • So many traffic miracles were included here, with Sam and Callen getting from the desert back to town and with Nell, Eric and Mosley getting their drone airborne over fictional Bayside in less than an hour in rush hour traffic.
  • Although the team brought a good sense of urgency to tracking down the bad guys, the final confrontation seemed bizarrely relaxed. The bad guys, particularly the father, just seemed way too laid back. I was never convinced that he was prepared to die for his cause.
  • The final scene with Sam talking to Kamran was a perfect ending, tying in the episode’s bullying theme and showing us what a caring dad Sam is.

It’s hard to believe,  but we have one more episode before a very long NFL-Grammy-Oscar-Olympics hiatus for the show. Hmmm, I wonder if we’ll have a mini-cliffhanger next week as the team heads off to rescue Hetty?

In the meantime, come back later this week for new installments of Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal, plus the Drabble of the Week. And tell us what you thought of “Under Pressure.” Did you enjoy it despite the lack of Deeks?


About Karen P (173 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.

9 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Under Pressure” (S9E12)

  1. Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for your great review Karen.
    I, too, missed Deeks (Hetty too especially after these Hetty free episodes) and I wish there had been at least couple more scenes with Deeks. I did love those team moments that Karen mentioned and that Sam and Kamran phone call. Sam interacting with his children is something I have really been hoping to see. Mosley still doesn’t impress me as a character, even though she has scenes and screen time, the character still doesn’t feel like a major character/main character for me personally. Hetty and Granger are so strong characters that they have set a really high bar and, in my opinion, it would had been better to make Mosley’s character more different from Hetty and Granger.
    I can’t wait for the next episode, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a mini cliffhanger in next episode, the long hiatus will feel long enough without cliffhangers for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen, thanks for the review, hope you are feeling better. I agree with everything you said. The comparison to “Gold Standard” with regards to Deeks was perfect.

    This seemed like a filler episode to me that would have greatly benefitted from having Deeks in it, to provide some humor, and pick up the slack in the plot. I did enjoy Callen and Sam. I was happy to see Nell and Eric partnered in ops, and they were really good. Mosley was written better but her scenes were still not good, she delivers every line in the same flat tone, just devoid of emotion.

    My biggest disappointment after basically no Deeks, was in the Kensi/Harley scenes. I think Daniela Ruah, who is a favorite of mine, worked very hard to save those scenes but they really came over as low energy and contrived. It is not just that the scenes were not Kensi and Deeks which would have been ideal. They cut from a scene with Sam and Callen who were energized, funny, passionate, or a scene with Nell and Eric who were also energized to Harley and Kensi, and I thought all those scenes were just flat and dull. I think TPTB are really giving Harley way too big a part, she is fine in small doses, but definitely not as a partner in the field, she is not ready for such a major role. I would have much preferred to see Nell partnered with Kensi.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gotta admit, I watched the opening scene with the team and that was it. I miss NCISLA. This isn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is it weird that I rarely watch the show anymore, but I record it and check the reviews (principally Karen’s) to see if it’s worth watching? I can’t remember the last time I deliberately watched it live – probably Can I Get a Witness was the last episode that I intentionally watched live. I used to really love this show, but now all my enthusiasm seems to have disappeared. I could probably come up with a list of reasons why, but I don’t even care enough for that anymore. What the heck happened?


  4. Thank you again, Karen, for a well-thought-out review. I hope you feel better soon. The crud going around is miserable at best.

    I realize ECO had some down time and so was absent for most of the episode but enough already with shoving Harley down our throats. I agree with Karen that she’s a mole for Moseley. Never have I ever become this sick and tired of new characters including the introduction of Emily Wickersham replacing Ziva. I finally started. Warming up to her after a few episodes but here it’s been over half a season and I still can’t stand the Moseley character and my opinion of Harley isn’t that much better.

    Regardless, this is still very much my favorite drama on television and that’s not going to change. I can only hope the writers prepare less scenes involving those two characters or loosen up Moseley. I have worked in law enforcement my entire career, have been a supervisor and have worked for women commanding officers. Only one was similar to Moseley and she was told by the Chief of Police to change her attitude or be demoted. She eventually
    resigned which is very unusual for a Deputy Chief so I imagine she was about to get busted. If only Leon would do that with Moseley. Oh,well, a girl can dream, can’t she? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Karen for your review of this rather dull episode. The only think that was crystal clear to me after I watched it was that there is no way I would continue to watch it if ECO leaves the show.

    Happy New Year!


  6. When you change ingredients, it doesn’t necessarily mean the new mix will work. Chemistry is something very mysterious and natural, not always easy to obtain, the least by force.

    I think this season the show is struggling to find its successful, old balance which had always been peculiar and unique. In my opinion, some episodes seem to work better and remind viewers of the most memorable NCIS:LA seasons, while others simply don’t work. If in an episode like this week’s you have Deeks only for a couple of (short and unimportant) scenes, Kensi is partnered with the omnipresent Hidoko, Mosley constantly makes you think about how much Hetty and Granger are being missed and how much they added, well, the result can’t be a masterpiece (at least for me).

    Now I am quite depressed to know after next episode we are going to have a two-month hiatus. Let’s hope Hetty’s Vietnamese rescue, which may have a cliffhanger, will be emotional and worth-watching, as a reminder of what the show was (is still) capable of doing.
    In the meantime, I hope WikiDeeks staff will always find ways to provide comfort for us fans with new features and will never stop supporting our favorite LAPD detective!


  7. I was not only disappointed in this episode, but it also made me sad. Of course I missed Deeks. He’s the spark on the team, so without him the luster dims. Without the interaction between Sam and Callen, the whole thing would have been completely forgettable. Which, in retrospect, probably will be. What makes me sad is, I can’t figure out what the hell they’re doing this season. Gemmill said they were doing a reset, and now that half the season is gone, I truly do miss Shane Brennan. My deep sadness comes with the thought I’ve had all year long, that Linda Hunt won’t be coming back. She is in none of the opening group scenes, and the one with the elevator door closing on her face plays like it’s the curtain closing on the end of an era. I fear they will kill off Hetty next week and leave us with the weak character of Mosley. Will this show remain my favorite if they do? Of that I’m not sure, because it will feel like a sinking ship. That said, Deeks will keep me coming back to the bitter end. I can only plead for a kick-ass episode from Frank Military to save us all and a wedding to save the season. Of course, if Gemmill really wants to reset, he could kill off Mosley and make us all happy.

    Karen…Get Well, my friend.


  8. Kathleen McCaffrey // January 12, 2018 at 10:37 PM // Reply

    I thought this episode was terrible, boring, boring!! No Deeks and Kensi partnered with Hidoko again, this arrangement does not work, what is Scott Gemmill thinking? Ratings are down 20% from last year!! Mosely as a character definitely does not fit, and Hidoko is like a robot, they are killing the great vibe that this show had before, why change a formula that worked so well. I too miss Shane Brennan, he had the Midas touch(and that’s not because he is a fellow Aussie!) I would hate to see this show bite the dust because of bad choices by the powers that be. I will always be a huge Deeks fan, for me he is the main reason why this show has retained its popularity up to now and I hope upon hope that Hetty comes back but sadly I am not confident


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