What We Know
One of the reasons I fell hard for Marty Deeks was because there were so many layers to his personality that came from the many career choices he made during his life. We learned about his legal background early on, when Jess Traynor briefs the team in “Human Traffic” about Deeks’ undercover assignment. We eventually find out that Deeks chose to become a public defender, even meeting one of his former clients in “Drive.” Deeks jokes with Kensi in “Paper Soldiers” that public defenders are “the rebels of the legal profession,” explaining how he was able to maintain his shaggy look even then.
Even though he didn’t spend too much time practicing law, you can tell that those skills served him well. During his tenure with NCIS, I think he’s enjoyed being teased by Kensi and the rest of the team whenever he was able to spout some term or legalese regarding a case. He was proud of his legal education and the time spent as a public defender. Just look at him take on the whole team in “Cyber Threat,” asking which of them had passed the California Bar exam. It’s a huge accomplishment coming from his background. He obviously worked hard to climb out of the rabbit hole and make something out of his early years spent on the streets.
What We Don’t
Why law? What exactly was it about Deeks’ past that inspired him to make this particular career choice? Did he have a legal mentor while going through the court and juvey systems? If someone was able to work with the young troubled teen during this time did they steer him in the direction of studying law? The sensitive young man may have envisioned a career in law as a way of paying back the people who encouraged him and set him on the right path after shooting his father.
Might such a mentor have been a public defender? On its face, it’s a slightly surprising choice given that public defenders spend much of their time representing clients who are likely guilty of the crimes they’re accused of. People like his father. What did Deeks see in this particular legal role that appealed to him? Was it the idealized version of the job that captured young Deeks’ imagination, the version that would defend the unfairly accused? Maybe defend clients like little 11-year-old Marty who had shot his dad in self-defense?
Deeks is smart and his comic side is just another undercover persona. He probably enjoyed the rigors and challenges of learning to use the law for good and helping the oppressed. But how did he get through college and law school and what was his motive? Did exotic dancing pave the way or was that part-time gig supplemented by scholarships or maybe even by Roberta or her second husband?
Why It’s Important?
Was Deeks guided by a mentor or did his experience in the court system as a young child lead him to a career in law? We want to know about this part of his life because we assume that his motivations came out of his childhood and adolescence in some way. Hearing him talk about his decision to pursue law as a public defender could illuminate all sorts of details about his life before that time.
Why do you think Deeks became a lawyer? Let us know in the comments below. And stay tuned for a very related Question #5 next week.