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Question #2: Why is Deeks’ name different than his father’s?

What We Know

We’ve known since he was shot in “Personal” that Deeks does not share his father’s name. While it was teased throughout the episode, in the end we finally get confirmation that Gordon John Brandel was Deeks’ father and that Deeks was 11 years old when he shot the man in self-defense. We met Deeks’ then-nameless mother several years later at the end of “Citadel“. Her full name was revealed in “Internal Affairs” when she phoned Kensi and greeted her with “It’s Roberta” and Kensi called her Mrs. Deeks twice in the conversation that followed. Bertie even referred to herself as Roberta Deeks in “High Society“, so we can be pretty confident of it at this point.

We know that Roberta Deeks and Gordon John Brandel were married, likely after Deeks was born. According to Mama herself in “This is What We Do,” “Kensi honey, you don’t need to wait to get married to have children. I didn’t, and look!” In addition it was revealed that Roberta has actually been married twice in “Till Death Do Us Part“: “I’d offer you a drink, but it’s a little early and you probably should be sober for your vows. A mistake I won’t make a third time.” (Given that she admitted to being drunk at her wedding to Brandel, I certainly hope it happened after Deeks was born!) More support that the wedding took place after little Marty’s birth is found in California law, which states that an unmarried woman has the sole authority to choose her child’s first and last name while a married couple has equal rights in the naming. I find it hard to believe from what we know of him that Gordon John Brandel would allow his son to have a last name other than his own if he had any say in the matter.

Finally, we know that Deeks is obviously a name our favorite detective is proud of. After all, he uses it like a first name (yes, in part that’s a cop thing, but some friends outside of work call him Deeks too, and most importantly his wife does). Deeks is Roberta’s last name and we know from their jailhouse conversation in “Internal Affairs” and their dance in “Into the Breach” that her son loves his mama and credits her for making him the man he is.

What We Don’t Know

It is easy to assume that Deeks was Roberta’s maiden name and that’s why she chose to put it on her son’s birth certificate, but that is not the only option. It’s also conceivable that Deeks was named Brandel at birth but had his last name legally changed, either at his choosing or Roberta’s, sometime after the divorce. Given Brandel’s abusive nature, it wouldn’t be surprising if they wanted to be rid of any connection to the man. Another possibility is that he was born Brandel and was legally adopted by Bertie’s second husband, whose last name is/was Deeks. Kensi called Roberta Mrs. Deeks in “Internal Affairs,” which might suggest that she was married at the time. However, that could just be because women of a certain age, especially if they have been married/have children, tend to be referred to as Mrs. by default. This leaves Roberta’s maiden name and/or the name of her second husband as essential pieces of information that we don’t know at this point.

Also unknown is whether Roberta’s pregnancy was the reason she and Brandel even married at all. More about this next…

Why It’s Important

The knowledge that Roberta and Brandel weren’t married when she got pregnant begs the question: is that why they married? As wikiDeeks’ own Karen stated in her review of “This is What We Do,” “I can see how an abusive man like him might have blamed the pregnancy, and by extension little Marty himself, for forcing him to tie the knot. It might even have totally derailed big plans that he had for his life and could easily have resulted in a lot of bitterness.” Even though his history with his father is one of the significant parts of Marty Deeks’ life we have in canon, there is so much more that can be delved into there.

Additional questions are brought to mind (and beg to be answered!) if other scenarios are played out. For example, regardless of his last name, what happened to Roberta’s second husband? Does Deeks have any contact with him? If Deeks is Roberta’s second husband’s name, does that mean our Deeks had a good enough relationship with his stepfather that he would take and use his family name to this extent? If so, I for one would love to hear about that. We know something about the tragedy in Deeks’ young life, but could he have had a father figure whose name he wanted to carry on and possibly give to his own children? No matter the answer, one thing is for sure: we want to know more about the events that shaped Deeks’ life.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!


About Psyched (94 Articles)
Turns out I've been writing fan fiction since before it was a "thing" on the internet (okay, even before there was an internet). I spent many a boring junior high history class coming up with more exciting stories for my favorite soap opera characters. I continue to enjoy the creative outlet it provides in my still-boring but now adult life.

16 Comments on Question #2: Why is Deeks’ name different than his father’s?

  1. Catherine Betham // June 15, 2020 at 10:47 AM // Reply

    many thought provoking scenarios here, well done you!
    I can attest that I have been referred by my first marriage name due to older 2 sons back in the day.
    Good catch remembering Berties musings at the bar about mistakes time 2.
    And while we’re on the subject of names, CAN WE PLEASE FIND OUT DEEKS’ MIDDLE NAME!!!
    Enquiring minds need all of this!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Plenty of good scenarios here! I hope we eventually find out who Bertie’s second husband is.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A lot there to digest, and it seemed such a simple question. All the scenarios are completely plausible. To my eternal shame I can’t remember the name of the episode where Deeks refers to grand-pappy Clifford? Deeks, the one that went bald, so I’ve always assumed Deeks was his mother’s maiden name, but maybe not. I am routinely called Mrs and I’ve never married.

    Thank you Catherine I thought I was the only person who wanted to know Deeks’ middle name.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was so good! I must admit to not having paid close enough attention to this question over the years. I think part of me just chalked Roberta’s appearance up as the writers forgetting the past, although my attitude has changed over time as I’ve come to realize exactly why Deeks wouldn’t have wanted Roberta to show up at the hospital in “Personal.”

    It’s so helpful to have all these facts assembled in one place and I really enjoyed thinking about this question. I agree that I also want to know his middle name, and I wouldn’t mind meeting Uncle Bob, who got drunk and peed in the toaster at Christmastime. I wonder whose side of the family he’s from? #SoManyQuestions


  5. Oooh, I like this! These are all such good questions! And I love how you’ve laid out all the different possibilities for the scenarios! I personally lean towards the version that he was a Brandel at birth but changed it when GJB and Bertie divorced (?) and she changed her own name back. Additionally, I have to say, I’m also on team “What does the A stand for!?!” My new thought is perhaps it is a family name (probably on Bertie’s side if not immediately loathed by association), otherwise, if it were something awful that he didn’t like, I feel he would’ve been able to convince Bertie to let him change that too.

    Though, as I’m typing this, I realize that we don’t even know if his middle name is a name he likes or not (fanon has seemed to lean towards him not, but I’m almost certain that’s not been confirmed in the show). It could just be he chose to go with the middle initial when he started his career as a lawyer, and he kept it that way professionally? Since we didn’t hear/see it with the wedding stuff (I was REALLY hoping for that!), I have a feeling we probably never will, unless we happen to get a “Densi naming their own kid” scene at some point. Kensi’s middle name was the only one we knew on the show for a long time, but that was only because Deeks had said it (in Bounty). When we see her (actual) license in Black Widow, there is no middle name listed there. Since then, we have had visual confirmation of the name on her Agent data sheets in Spoils of War and Black Market. But, going back to Deeks, at one point (6×18), Nell is reviewing an NCIS “Background Check Summary” on Deeks, and it still only has the middle initial. I wonder if this is to line up with his records in his “official” file, because otherwise, I would have expected a background check to include the full name.

    This got long and rambly, but the tl:dr is: I WANNA KNOW! I WANNA KNOW ALL THE THINGS! Thanks for all the new questions/possibilities running through my head! Grrr! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great to read all the wonderful comments, and you even started a new #somanyquestions topic! In terms of Deeks’ middle name, I’m beginning to think A is the actual name. Maybe a preggers Bertie saw A Martinez in “Shoot Down the Sun” (a 1978 movie) and thought he was a real cutie with an interesting name?

    Actually, nearly 3 years ago (before I was a contributor here) I reached out to the great minds at wikiDeeks asking if anyone knew if Andrew was really his middle name or if it was just fanon. Diane responded that she didn’t know and reached out to Karen, who said, “That’s a really good question. I’ve wondered that very thing about Andrew” (she then provided me with a suggestion for where his name might have been seen). LOL, looks like we’re all still wondering!

    As a TL;DR aside, I outlined the research I had done on that topic, which I’ll paste here (skip to the last line; this really is too long):
    “I checked it out (it was Fighting Shadows), and the info on the big screen that Hetty and Nell are looking at when Deeks walked in was just a picture of Rivera. However, later when Eric walks in on Nell and she quickly hides what she’s working on, we can see that it is an NCIS background check summary on one Deeks, Martin A. Interesting stuff written there, actually, that makes me wonder why Deeks was even approved to as the liaison, and why fingers weren’t pointed at him as the potential mole (oh, the missed opportunities!).

    Here’s where else we see no Andrew (in case anyone’s interested):
    Hand to Hand: when Hetty has the paperwork for the liaison position for Deeks to sign, it shows a page close up, but it’s not the first page and only shows information on previous addresses.
    Personal: When Kensi is holding Deeks’ LAPD badge/ID, we can see the name on the ID is Martin Deeks (not even a middle initial)
    Imposters: When Deeks looks at the application to join NCIS, his name is hand-written (by Hetty, presumably) as Deeks, Martin A.

    Ones that are possibly still up for consideration if someone with better quality tech can get a clearer image:
    Personal: When Deeks is removing his nasal cannula. I can’t make out the words on his hospital bracelet, but none of them look long enough to be 3 names
    IA: Same as above with the bracelet LAPD puts on him in jail (I believe there are multiple instances where this can be seen, both when he’s in interrogation and in holding).

    Other things:
    I’ve been asking this question of several fandom friends the past few days, who like you, have also asked others. No one has yet to say, “Oh yeah, it was in [name of ep] when [we saw or heard something specific].” However, one friend asked a beloved writer/blogger who said Andrew was canon and had to have been before Season 3 ended because she had it in her notes from a story she wrote then. But she doesn’t have a reference for when/where/how it was revealed.

    Keeping that in mind, I have run a search for the name through every Season 2 and 3 episode transcript (and the few from S1) and have found no reference to it other than once when it was the first name of a dead guy or suspect. (I even checked around that just to make sure we haven’t all forgotten that Deeks said, “Hey, that’s my middle name” in response. No joy, of course. But really, would so many of us in the fandom have forgotten if someone had actually mentioned it?)

    I’m also considering scrolling through the screencap sites (who am I kidding, I already did it for a few eps) looking for reminders of anywhere else we might have seen Deeks’ name in print (through Season 3) aside from the ones I already mentioned. Again, no joy so far….Here’s to hoping that a) we get a Deeks, M ep. this season, and b) we find out what his middle name is then!”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A more recent post in this series made me think of a long-ago (2013) French interview with ECO where he talked about Deeks. I just went back to re-watch it and in it, he describes Deeks as having a “tumultuous” relationship with his father and “maybe no relationship” with his mother. I think that supports my (and others’) theory that Bertie was a late addition to canon and that Deeks maybe was thought to be an orphan at the time of “Personal.” Still, I think Bertie’s character really does fit into the “no next of kin” that we saw in “Personal,” so kudos to the showrunners for making it work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing this, Karen. Funny how he also mentioned a possible reason for Deeks leaving the law and becoming a cop. See, ECO has #somanyquestions too!

      I agree that Bertie’s (as we know her) existence was probably a late addition to canon, simply because of the way we heard nothing about her for most of Deeks’ time on the show before she arrived in S7. However, she was apparently “alive” in Borderline, which was only a handful of episodes before Personal (both were S2) when Deeks commented that she “still has” a newspaper article about him on her refrigerator.

      Liked by 2 people

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