This week we tackle a mysterious comment whose meaning we’ve long wondered about.
What We Know
Bates: I always wanted to meet the woman that changed Deeks’ mind. He swore he’d never work with a female partner again.
Bates: Well, if he ever calls you back, ask him that too.
[later] Kensi: Bates said that you swore off female partners. Is that true?
Deeks: Oh, I don’t really think of you as a female in that sense of the word.
Deeks dug a hole for himself with Kensi with that comment and subsequent attempt at getting out of it, but he never did answer the question. Nice dodge there, Deeks. And yet since those words were uttered in Season 3’s “The Debt,” we’ve had no further indication of why our favorite detective might have sworn off female partners.
Here’s what we know about Deeks’ former work partners of any gender: Jess Traynor was described as both his case officer by Hetty and his new partner by Frank Scarli in “Human Traffic.” It was insinuated that Deeks and Traynor slept together, but he neither confirmed nor denied it. In “Active Measures,” Deeks described Frances Boyle as his partner when he was a rookie detective and said he started doing undercover work soon after that partnership ended. (Deeks also told Kensi in “Black Widow” that he did two years in LAPD’s Robbery Division but didn’t mention any partners from that time.) So from canon there isn’t much to go on aside from one female partner with whom Deeks might have had sex who was subsequently murdered.
What We Don’t
How many other female partners did Deeks have and what were his experiences with them? He might have been partnered with a woman either as a uniformed cop or in the Robbery squad. There also could have been any number of female partners he worked with once he started going undercover. There is no indication at this point if Traynor was his only female partner even though she is the only one we know about.
Whether or not she was the only one, if in fact Deeks and Jess Traynor slept together not long before she was killed, would that be enough to make him swear off female partners? Were they actually involved before they worked together, making Jess’s loss greater than we believed? Did Deeks think he was somehow responsible – that because he was physically and/or emotionally involved with a fellow detective it led to her death? Deeks seems to have a deep desire to protect people, especially women. Perhaps he feared that his tendency to protect women would interfere with a safe and effective partnership with a woman. Or is it because Deeks recognized that strong, kick-ass women are his “type” and that it is too risky to be attracted to his partner?
When we consider new women Deeks has paired or partnered with, he definitely had chemistry with both of them. In “Sacrifice,” Deeks actually comments on the connection between him and Eva Espinoza (a police chief from Mexico). Who knows where that might have gone had she not returned to her job in Loreto? And had Deeks not already been involved and falling in love with Kensi when he met Talia Del Campo in “Fish Out of Water,” I think Talia would have had a better chance with him, at least for the short term. While it’s not really relevant to this question, I do feel compelled to point out that Deeks also connected with Thapa and Ehsan, two men he partnered with for a short time as well. (I’d feel more confident in the women-who-work-with-me-are-more-likely-to-die hypothesis if Deeks had sworn off working with Gurkhas too.)
Why It’s Important
Deeks is not a misogynist; there is nothing in canon that reflects anything but respect for the women in his life and those he comes across in his work. He didn’t want to be partnered with a woman, but it wasn’t because he thought women were incapable of doing the job. We’re left to conclude that there must be another significant reason. If we already have the answer – that his possible relationship with Jess Traynor was short-lived because she was killed on the job – does that have any relevance to his early relationship/partnership with Kensi? Is this why Deeks denied the existence of a thing between them for so long? Or why he’s so anxious to get both of them out of the field now?
Tell us what you think in the Comments below!