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Question #7: Why did Deeks swear off female partners before he met Kensi?


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.
Kensi: Why?
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!

About Psyched (34 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.

18 Comments on Question #7: Why did Deeks swear off female partners before he met Kensi?

  1. Huh. I thought this question was already answered. hmm.
    I really dunno with this one. He obviously didn’t have any romantic feelings for any of them. Maybe 1 of them was abusive?

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  2. Catherine Betham // July 13, 2020 at 9:28 AM // Reply

    Is it possible Bates was baiting Kensi to gauge the connection between the two? He was an army intelligence officer.

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    • Oooh, there’s a thought! Though Deeks didn’t attempt to deny it or even look surprised when Kensi asked him about it, which makes me think he did say something to Bates. Even if it wasn’t a formal, “Don’t ever partner me with a woman again,” I do think he probably made a comment of some sort to that effect.

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    • I personally think Deeks might’ve slept with traynor because in the episode the team has to save him the “bad guy “showed a picture of Deeks walking out of traynor house I mean he could’ve just went or they could’ve had been seeing each other I also think this because right before Tryanor died she was talking to Sam Callen and Kensi and she said Marty then said Detective Deeks and no body calls Deeks marty but his mom later on. But I’m not sure. Also maybe deeks always had trouble with girl partners emotionally or anything

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  3. I might be alone here but I think it is a myth Deeks swore off women partners. Yes Catherine, I think Bates told Kensi a porkie just to get her rattled, and it worked. The whole episode was based on lying to Kensi and I think Bates inadvertently joined the party. The only other female partner we know he worked with for any length of time, was Traynor, and he had already worked with NCIS when she was killed, so when is he supposed to have said anything? We only have Bates word on what Deeks is supposed to have said, do we believe cops don’t lie?

    I really don’t remember Deeks having a problem when he was partnered with Kensi. In fact early Kensi, Miss Snarkypants, would have been an excellent reason for him to give up on women partners. He obviously likes the company of women and worked comfortably with Eva and Talia.

    Giving up on partners altogether after Boyle is another question, but surely as a rookie cop you don’t have too much say in who you do or don’t work with.

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  4. Very interesting question. Deeks feeling guilty, maybe, about Traynor’s death etc… This could also explain why, in “Three Hearts” he decided to pull back on his and Kensi’s relationship.
    I really hope the writers are paying attention to these questions. I would love to have ALL of them answered. Maybe not all in this episode. There’s too many questions to be answered. I think we should get a whole season of these answers. That might be fun. Don’t you think?

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  5. Gotta say – Love this!! “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.)”

    There are so many possibilities with this. Maybe it was something Deeks threw out to Bates as an excuse not to partner with a particular female (someone similar to Whiting) and Bates latched onto it. Or as you suggest, Deeks maybe thought he’d have a hard time separating his natural over-protectiveness to a female partner. Or he knew his mother would latch onto a female partner and start envisioning grandchildren. 🙂 I’d like to think that Deeks never did actually sleep with Traynor because to me that makes him someone who then fell in love with is next partner (Kensi) and therefore by a (admittedly weak) argument that he just can’t his romantic urges. I know I know but that’s where my brain went.

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    • Thanks for bringing up the possibility of Deeks being the “type” to fall for his partners or be unable to control his romantic urges, as you put it. I had the same thought but couldn’t quite get my words right to describe it (and then I forgot all about it, lol).

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  6. HMM. Makes me wonder if this was a Bates assumption. Maybe he tried to partner Deeks with a woman that didn’t have that strong and confident persona and it didn’t work. It doesn’t appear Deeks has a problem working with female partners but they would need to be strong, confident women. Good question. We need a Marty Deeks episode or two to get his backstory and get answers to some of these great questions.

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  7. I tend to think Deeks bonded with the Gurkhas because they had the same commitment to the mission, but on a more primal level than Sam’s. Look at the number of times Deeks has come out of his hospital bed to save members of the team, for example, or his silence in Descent. It’s a deep thing with him…an essential part of his character as opposed to a learned behavior or something else. I think his connection with Thapa was based on that. After all, they bonded very quickly…and you’d expect Sam to want to bond with the warrior.

    I always thought Bates was just testing Kensi with the female partner line. Or maybe Deeks said something like that to him in order to shift a female partner away from him at a particularly dangerous time. Or maybe they wanted to put a female partner with him when he was under as Max Gentry. Assuming Bates is telling the truth, there are just too many variables.

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  8. Deeks swore off poodles after he was bitten by one. Yet in ‘Out of the Past’ he bonded with Chaucer, the standard poodle. As I remember they worked very well together, after a shaky start. Just sayin’

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  9. Considero que al inicio Deeks nunca consideró a Kensi como mujer, por todas sus características de agente, poco a poco fue enamorándose de ella y eso superó cualquier posición sobre las mujeres como compañeras!

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  10. (Above comment translated via Gooogle Translate):
    I believe that at the beginning Deeks never considered Kensi as a woman, for all his characteristics as an agent, little by little he fell in love with her and that surpassed any position on women as partners!

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