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Review: NCISLA “A Diamond in the Rough” (S10E09)


A Diamond in the Rough was written by Chad Mazero, a name I will confess that I did not recognize as a writer (although according to IMDB he was a story editor on many of my favorite episodes and he is now on my favorite writer list for all the Densi goodness he delivered this week) and directed by James Hanlon.

The case itself had a lot of twists and turns before we found the actual villain. Often the villain is identified early and the suspense is derived from chasing down the target before whatever the deadline is for that case, along with stuff going boom! This case was different in that all of the potential suspects seemed initially plausible and there was a longer process of running down leads until they finally found the real threat in Sadat. For an NCIS: Los Angeles episode there was surprisingly little boom and bang and a really low body count. I thought it was actually a nice divergence from how the storylines usually unfold. Despite a few things I didn’t love, what made me love this episode was the number and quality of Densi scenes, especially a couple that really felt like the classic Densi I first came to love. After last week where Deeks was barely present, it felt like Deeks/Densi got more airtime than the case itself and more than most of the other characters, which suits me fine! I honestly can’t remember the last time there was an episode with so much Deeks/Densi goodness. Part of what took me so long to get this review up is that I had to keep re-watching and re-winding so I could transcribe and analyze my favorite scenes and decide which ones to use. Spoiler alert – I think I included all my favorite scenes so lots of gushing ahead!

Things I Didn’t Love

Unlike many of the recent episodes I don’t have a rant about this episode – although I will say I watch those opening credits like a hawk to make sure Mosley isn’t there. There were some things that I did not love with the episode and I always like to air them first and then focus on the good stuff.

I know the “missing [insert electronic item] laden with military/national security secrets” is a favorite plot in procedurals, but I’m not sure why. I work in healthcare and we have greater security requirements for patient information than what we are to believe exists for sensitive national security information. However, I don’t suppose this is the last time we’ll see a case like this so we’ll just pretend that the missing laptop was really a security threat.

I am also always puzzled when small, easily remedied inconsistencies or inaccuracies appear in a show (not just this show). Pakistan – officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – is 95-98% Muslim. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam and Pakistani women would typically wear a hijab, so serving wine at a dinner with a Pakistani General whose wife is not wearing a hijab seems like such an easily fixed contextual inaccuracy. Same with Sadat – hard to believe that an assistant to the consular attaché from Pakistan would be a woman in Western dress, although I appreciate that she was a British national and not Pakistani herself.

Neric – I like Nell and Eric as characters, but I’m not really a Neric super-shipper (is that still the word for it?). I’m always a little bugged at the airtime their relationship gets when Densi has often been short-changed. Eric’s weird gadgets were just… weird. The scene at the end where they were about to kiss on their way out – I’m with Deeks: “Oh my virgin eyes. Oh get a roooom.” (with an Irish accent).

The bar. So we’re really doing the bar, are we? I don’t know what to think. I really hope this doesn’t mean Deeks is leaving the team – and since it seems that Kensi is also involved with the bar, maybe this will be a side gig for both of them?? But from what I know about that sort of business, it’s not really a part-time side gig. Also – looks like they’re still fixing the place up, so I’m not sure why we’re hiring staff already. (Although the interviews were hilarious.)

The Good Stuff

One of my favorite parts of NCIS:LA has always been the Densi banter and the scenes where their facial expressions say as much as their words. Both Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah do such a great job communicating without words, in both serious and light-hearted scenes. This week we got a lot of Densi banter, a lot of funny scenes, lots of great facial expressions and – my other favorite – a lot of Deeks’ mega watt smiles. I love those. Some of them had that impish quality that sometimes makes me wonder if he’s ad libbing – but it happened too often this episode that I can’t imagine he was just winging the whole thing. He seemed to be enjoying this episode as much as I was! Either way, I love funny, smiling Deeks and classic Densi.

Funny Smiling Deeks

The first big grin was early in the episode as they were interviewing potential employees. I loved the look on Deeks’ face when they were interviewing the defensive guy.
Deeks: What is HAPPENING?
He looked surprised enough there that I really did wonder if that scene was ad libbed by defensive guy. Whatever you think of the bar, they seem to be having fun working on it together, which is nice. And based on my past experience in college, I think they got a good snapshot of the wide range of people who work in the service industry!

A little while later as they’re on their way out of the hospital to investigate the step-daughter we get another big grin:

Deeks: So, uh, stepdad almost dies and she doesn’t bother to call back? She must really have hated him.
Kensi: Or, she’s actually in danger. You wanna find out which one it is?
Deeks: You know I’m a sucker for a good “choose your own adventure?” (GRIN)
Kensi: (sneaky grin)
I watched that a few times, because I’m honestly not sure what was so funny there. I can’t remember a prior reference to “choose your own adventure” – can anyone else?

Ultimately, though, this was early in the episode and I was just happy that they were happy and smiling so I didn’t think too hard about it.

I did laugh out loud at Photographer Deeks at the party house. He’s great with the undercover personas. The first great scene was when he was interacting with Tricep Guy. (This episode also had to have a record for number of weird guest cast between the party house and the bar).

Tricep Guy: Dude, snap me.
Deeks: I’m sorry, I don’t speak frat.
TG: Let’s go bruh, I want to get the sun while it’s on my good side.
Deeks: While it’s on your… you’re gonna flex your tricep and…definitely do that. Ho ho, that’s actually a really good picture. Yeah we got it.
TG: (hands Deeks a card)
Deeks: What’s this? Oh good, we got a card. Nice to see we don’t have a shortage of entrepreneurs.
TG: Whut?
Deeks: WHUT? (BIG GRIN)
TG: Oh, slide that photo into my DMs.
Deeks: Yeah, that’s definitely not going to happen…

And then after snapping some pics of the “celebutante” and her criminal boyfriend in the pool:

Deeks: OH YEAH, that’s gonna get a lot of likes (and another grin)

And then there was the final scene in the bar. I know – it was in the bar and about the bar, but if you overlook that fact, it was both funny and unexpected with Roberta suddenly joining them. Plus, it’s been a while (I feel like Karen would know exactly) since the final scene of an episode ended with Densi.

Kensi: I’m so glad we didn’t grow up in this day and age. Just the pressure, you know?
Deeks: It’s a miracle these kids even make it through DJ academy.
Kensi: No, I’m talking about the need to be perfect all the time.
Deeks: What are you talking about? We are perfect! We would have been fine. What are you drinking?
Kensi: Ah, let’s do two two Sazeracs.
Deeks: Two Sazeracs, that sounds delicious. Quick question, what exactly is in a Sazerac?
Roberta: Rye, absinthe and bitters.
Deeks: Kensi, why all of a sudden does it sound like you lived a hard life of menthols and disappointment?
Roberta: Save it for my euology.
Deeks: Oh my god mama. So why are you here exactly?
Roberta: I heard there was a job opening.

So Roberta is retired, bored, looks terrible in plaid and has ditched her boy toy Guy because she couldn’t teach him anything more and he wasn’t entertaining her. She said just enough to create a vivid mental picture and Deeks’ response was perfect!

Deeks: GROSS!! (and the facial expression)
And then Kensi and Roberta gang up on her “boo-boy” (do you think we’ll hear Kensi use that in the future?) to persuade him to go along with the “terrible plan.” Now I have more questions! Does this mean Roberta will have more guest appearances? Or is this a way for Deeks to have the bar, but stay with NCIS? I guess time will tell, but for now all we have is Deeks’ final words on the matter:

Deeks: What could possibly go wrong? (as screen is dark)

Classic Densi

In addition to all the funny scenes, we got one of their classic Densi car arguments, which somehow went from barkeeps to dog walkers to personal trainers in short order with a well-placed “touché” followed by a discussion of short shorts.

Kensi: OK, well (glancing at his legs) I think it’s time you dust off your short shorts. (Wicked look)
Deeks: Dust ‘em off? Whatever do you mean? I wear them underneath just in case. Huzzah!
Kensi: That is so weird.
Deeks: Quick release.
Kensi: Nooo. No Velcro pants.
Deeks: Straight to the paint.
Kensi: No.

I had forgotten how much I miss these kinds of scenes that were so commonplace in the early seasons.

Later in the episode when they get the fence (Billy Freedman) who was selling the stolen property, we had a partial throwback to a classic Deeks line:
Deeks: No Billy…That looked like it hurt.
Was it just me, or were you also waiting for him to ask “Did it hurt? Or did it just look like it hurt?” Although we didn’t get the full classic Deeks quote, the follow-up here was just as funny.
Deeks: How you doin? How’s that head?
Billy: Not good.
Deeks: That’s right. That’s the sound of a bad decision. Just to clarify. (Deeks & Kensi both grin)

Memorable Moments

I loved the scene where they are heading into Billy Freedman’s house. The close camera angles and jerky picture are often used in scenes like this – and I enjoyed it here too. But what really kicked it up a notch was the audio of their heavier, more rapid breathing. I don’t recall that being as prominent in previous scenes like this and I thought it really added to the drama of the situation.

A little while later when we see Kensi driving straight at the van carrying the Abidis we get another repeat of classic Densi with Deeks complaining about her driving, not to mention having his life is obviously flashing in front of his eyes as he hollers at her to marry him right there and then.

Kensi: We’ll go around and cut her off from the front.
Deeks: That’s a stop sign. OK. I should have drove. WHOOO oh my lord. Oh my God I should have drove.
Kensi: Stop talking!!!
Deeks: Hahah!!! (horn honking as they go around a car) Let’s get married. LET’S GET MARRIED RIGHT NOW!!
Kensi: They’re not gonna stop. We’re not gonna stop.
Deeks: OK, that’s Plan A, what is Plan B? I don’t like Plan A. Son of a (unintelligible).

Those scenes are always entertaining as Deeks clearly has control issues when he’s sitting in the passenger side. And yet Kensi almost always drives and has never failed to get them out of a jam. It’s a schtick that could get old, and yet it never does as they always find a slightly different way to play it. I was also happy that this was the only wedding reference this week, sparing us from more cake, venue and “Tiffanies” discussion.

Well that’s it from me. So, what did you think of “A Diamond in the Rough”? Did you love it as much as I did? Did you count how many times I said “love” in this review? What do you think of Roberta working at the bar? And can someone help me with the title? I really did not make the connection between the title and the episode this week. Looking forward to hearing all your thoughts in the comments.

38 Comments on Review: NCISLA “A Diamond in the Rough” (S10E09)

  1. I didn’t love episode, but your review was very good. I too am not a Neric shipper either. The less screen time the better. I just know we will hear “boo-boy” again this season. Again well done Brenda, you’re one of my favorite reviewers.

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  2. Brenda, what a great review. I think you covered this episode so well.

    I absolutely loved Deeks and Densi in this episode. It was classic Densi, the chemistry between the costars was in every scene they were in. Just when I thought it could not get any better , Mama Deeks appeared . Pamela Reed and Eric Christian Olsen are really wonderful to watch. I think it would be a wonderful spin off to have a Detective show with a married detective team Deeks and Blye who also run a bar operated by Deeks’ mother, Roberta. I think a show like that would draw many viewers!

    The case of the week was not very good. I am beginning to wonder if they let some technical experts go in a budget cut. As you said , the premise with the classified laptop was unrealistic. I have dealt with classified, it is against the law to put classified on a laptop and take it home, people go to jail for that. They needed to make it accidental somehow.

    However, the case this week was really not important, The teams of Densi, Sallen, and Neric provided an hour of entertainment that just flew by, and will be enjoyable in rewatch . Ochoa continues to be a solid addition to the show. My only rant, is the usual rant, about how TPTB could get season 9 so wrong and kill the chemistry that has been developed between all these actor pairings over the seasons; so wonderful to have this season 10 with our favorites back working cases in pairs .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps there was more going on behind the scenes then we were lead to beleive. Ive heard Nia Long does have a habit of diva like behavior. Plus she didnt seem to be trying to work with the cast.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Brenda (@bpnp) // November 29, 2018 at 8:47 AM // Reply

      Thanks for your comment! So glad you enjoyed the episode as much as I did. I’d watch the spinoff! And I agree – Ochoa has been a solid addition. He’s certainly not the mother hen that Hetty is, but so much better of a character Mosley was. Definitely have to wonder why this season has been so much better.

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  3. I really enjoyed Deeks this week. He was charming and funny, and looked pretty damn terrific, although I was surprised he had a pair of pink board shorts in his go-bag. Great review, Brenda. You touched on all the major points, so I will just do a small rant about the bar. The idea that Mama Deeks will run it made me smile, even though Deeks comment at the end was probably a foreshadowing of future problems. My rant however, is about the bar itself. My husband and I had a design firm and he designed a lot of restaurant interiors. The cost of rehabbing the interior of a bar can be exorbitant, not to mention waiting for all those permits to come in and for inspections to be completed. Plus all of a sudden everything is done and we haven’t heard them talk about all the work it must have taken, or about where they got the money. No stories about contractors, subcontractors, or troubling inspections. It was as if it were built by elves. I guess what I’m saying is that the whole scenario just doesn’t seem believable. I’m happy Roberta now has a reason to hang around her boo-boy, but they could have given us some great conversations and banter about the project. It would have been a lot funnier than the constant talk about wedding plans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The bar stuff does seem like “let’s put on a show!” in its execution. Details and costs be damned.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Brenda (@bpnp) // November 29, 2018 at 8:44 AM // Reply

      Lindy,

      That’s exactly what I was thinking of when I said a bar (or restaurant) is not a part-time side gig. Its $$$, lots of time, lots of headaches and high rate of business failure. Definitely elves that built it! And I totally agree that talking about the bar would have been far more interesting than the incredibly annoying wedding planning. I was just too much on a sugar high from all the Deeks/Densi goodness so I was feeling rather charitable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your review was so enthusiastic! (I’ll have what she’s having) 🙂 I think I will have to re-watch this episode. I wasn’t as enthusiastic. But you’re right about ECO’s smile. All day every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The addition of mama deeks to the bar actually reassured me a bit about ECO staying on the show! I had been quite concerned that the bar stuff was there to give him a way to shift into being a recurring character rather than a main cast member; but Mama Deeks being their bar manager makes me feel like that’s less likely to happen!
    Totally agree with your wonderful review! Lots of great Densi banter and giggle out loud scenes! Have missed those!
    Thanks again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Brenda (@bpnp) // November 29, 2018 at 8:58 AM // Reply

      Glad you liked the review! I agree – having her run the bar gives me hope that ECO will stay. Plus he seemed to be having a lot of fun this week. Hint to writers – write more for him so he doesn’t have a reason to leave!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Also just write more for him because he’s a great actor and does so much with the material! It adds a different dimension to a show that could very easily become a basic procedural and nothing more!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for your amazing review, Brenda, it was a pleasure to read. I admit this was not my favorite episode of the season so far, but I did enjoy all the Densi scenes this week, they seemed well-written and well-acted and they really warmed my heart. And then Deeks’ smile is always priceless. Roberta Deeks is just perfect for the show, a great addiction. I can’t help not laughing when she interacts with her son, so fun! What seems quite weird, instead, is her sudden availability to manage Deeks’ bar, it just seems a little forced, even if I’m glad this may mean to see Bertie more often.
    After the awesome premiere, I have been looking forward to another Season 10 episode that could parallel it, though, but sadly I still haven’t found it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra Gillespie // November 29, 2018 at 12:52 AM // Reply

      Agree with you about the premiere Cladani….no following episode has matched it yet, sadly. And so far I just haven’t seen the intimate, emotional exchanges between Deeks and Kensi that we got in episode 1…that’s what I’m especially missing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Brenda (@bpnp) // November 29, 2018 at 8:56 AM // Reply

      Thanks for your comment.
      I agree it is a little random for her to suddenly be available. Maybe they thought they could dazzle us with a bunch of Deeks’ smiles and it would gloss over details like her availability and the elves (see Lindy’s comment) that built the bar!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was surprised too, when Mama Deeks showed up, but it did make it interesting. Also, I guess she dumped Guy…so no more awkward meetings between him and Deeks. I wonder how protective Deeks will be when he sees his mama flirting with the bar patrons? Might be fun.

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  7. Debra Gillespie // November 29, 2018 at 12:44 AM // Reply

    Excellent review, Brenda. The case wasn’t the greatest, as I actually figured out early who the “baddie” was, and that doesn’t happen all that often. I wasn’t too excited about the Neric scenes, although the Densi/Neric one I thought was funny.
    All in all the Densi scenes were wonderful, although my enthusiasm wasn’t as great as some of the commentators here. I especially liked the banter in the car in front of the frat party..great writing there and classic Densi. The car chase with an overly nervous Deeks just didn’t ring true for me…for eight plus seasons Kensi has done much of the driving, so you’d think he’d be used to this by now. Unless, he was having a bad memory of the car explosion in Mexico?
    Hooray, Mama Deeks is back! I agree with the people here how wonderful Deek’s smile is, but I like his comical grimace in the conversations with Pamela Reed almost as much. And with her managing the bar (it would take a brave son to let his mother go after a week’s trial) I agree with jozza that it’s more likely that Deeks will stay as a main cast character, and I wouldn’t be surprised that we see Pamela Reed more often in the episodes to come, especially with the upcoming nuptials. It’s always so fun when she shows up in an episode. I wasn’t too thrilled with Deeks buying the bar in season 9, but with Mama Deeks at the helm I could imagine some interesting scenarios…since Callen is moving into the apartment above the bar, it’s possible that there could be some amusing scenes between Callen and her when they bumped into each other. At least this could be another place for the team to gather – so far this season the boatshed has been used so much that I’m thinking that they might as well put in a revolving door. Frankly I miss the pre-case banter in the bullpen in OPS that they used to have…perhaps when Linda Hunt returns they will go back to having some of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brenda (@bpnp) // November 29, 2018 at 8:53 AM // Reply

      Thank you for your comment! Glad you enjoyed the review. I have always like Pamela Reed as Roberta, so having her as a more regular character would be a plus, in my opinion.
      I had forgotten that Callen was moving in above the bar. Who knows – maybe he’ll be Bertie’s next target for a boy toy! 😉 (yeah, yeah, I hear the eewww’s out there)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Chris A Ortiz // November 29, 2018 at 8:28 AM // Reply

    I’m sorry but deeks has to go from the show I’m vary surprised he lasted this long… his character kind of brings the show down he is never serious especially for a drama show . Another thing that bugs me is when they are tracking a subject down then they spot him then they yell NCIS like a block away .I’m old school I watched shows such as barnaby Jones …police woman Hawaii 50…streets of San Francisco..the shows these days are ok I know that’s the past .to me these shows are pretty much copying each other by the same writers it seems like .but going back to Deeks he has to go …

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    • Lol! Thanks for your comment but that would pretty much put us out of business. Don’t think it’s going to happen unless he leaves on his own. He’s very much a fan favorite.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if Deeks leaves, I stop watching. I started watching this show Season 2 because they added Deeks to the show . Eric Christian Olsen is a superb actor and he created a really fascinating character .

      Liked by 1 person

    • I, of course, disagree with you, and your insistence makes me wonder if you’ve really watched very many episodes. Try watching Human Traffic: season 2, ep 1, Personal: 2/17, or Plan B: 2/22. Might want to watch Descent: season 4/24 and follow it with the season 5 opener, Ascension and the following episode, Impact, or Frozen Lake, and finally, Spoils of War: 5/19. Any one of those episodes or one like Internal Affairs, where we see the turmoil he’s lived through in his life. If you read this and want your mind changed, watch them and you will have to admit just how talented ECO is.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You certainly picked many of my favorites too Lindy. You may not agree with this, but I enjoyed Densi much more before Humbug.

        Like

  9. nancy ferraro // November 29, 2018 at 4:31 PM // Reply

    I absolutely love this episode it was a throwback to the original ones with the the light banter. A serious storyline but these two make it fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Edith Wright // November 29, 2018 at 7:56 PM // Reply

    Whatever happened to Nell and what episode shows her leaving? Also, what happened to Weeks and what episode did he leave too?

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  11. I have an unpopular opinion in that I don’t like Roberta Deeks. I find her character annoying. This version of Roberta now makes me wonder how she couldn’t stand up to Brandel and take her son away from him and his violent behavior. This Roberta doesn’t take crap from anyone yet she didn’t or couldn’t protect her young son. All she seems to do is tease Marty and give him a hard time. I’d like more serious scene between the two of them. Maybe some explanation of how she let Gordon beat on Marty and not just one liners and purposely irritating Marty at every chance. I hope she’s not on the show more often than she was before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you Daisy. I never cared for her at all, but apparently she must have some fans. I suppose we’ll see lots more of her now that she’s tending bar. I don’t like the way she talks to Deeks either.

      Like

    • Brenda (@bpnp) // December 2, 2018 at 8:07 PM // Reply

      Whether you like her or not, is certainly a personal taste and I appreciate hearing your thoughts.

      I think her behavior makes sense. At least I would say it’s consistent with my experience of individuals who have survived domestic violence. Within the range of experiences are those who come out the other side and eventually find their voice and their power, especially as they get older. The abuser works hard to make the victim(s) feel powerless and it is often only when that power is broken and people are free that they can see how wrong everything was. It is not uncommon to have relationships within a family where adverse experiences (such as abuse) happened that are more superficial and avoid discussion of the past trauma because it is so painful. There is usually a lot of guilt in parents who worry about the effects on their kids (including adult children), which may explain why she gives him a hard time now – over-compensating, but not necessarily in a helpful fashion. Even those who escape domestic violence with their lives have scars – both visible on their bodies, and invisible on their minds and relationships.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. RE: “I can’t remember a prior reference to “choose your own adventure” – can anyone else?” I’m pretty sure that’s a reference to those children’s books where the reader actually gets to choose their own adventure by deciding the next step.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dianne Gough // December 2, 2018 at 9:05 PM // Reply

    When was the last time we say Kensi and Deeks actually kiss each other? It’s that connection I’m missing from the show. I love all their banter and interactions but please can we have just a little more romance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They’re kinda like an old married couple.

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    • I agree. I think it’s a pity we have lost such an important aspect of their (like any couple’s) relationship. I’m not saying they should kiss in every episode, but a little more romance and attraction would be appreciated, just to show us they still like each other. I have found my personal (quite frustrating, though) solution: whenever I feel the need to picture such romantic Densi scenes again, I go read some of my favorite NCIS:LA fanfictions written when Deeks and Kensi DID have chemistry.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Brenda (@bpnp) // December 3, 2018 at 6:48 AM // Reply

      Exactly! And that’s why Neric kissing at the end bugged me!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Great review Brenda! I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as you, but Deeks line about “a hard life of menthols and disappointment” might be one of my all-time favorite lines. I guess if they’re going to stick with this ridiculous bar storyline, at least we can have some fun with Callen and Roberta both there. But seriously, I want the sitcom version more than anything. Can one of these people get bonked on the head and at least hallucinate it for a few minutes, laugh track and all?

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