Question #9: How are Ray and his family doing?
What We Know
For such a gregarious and friendly kind of guy, Deeks surprisingly has very few friends. Currently his world revolves around his wife and best friend, Kensi, and his teammates at NCIS, but there was a time when Deeks had a very special relationship with a young man he grew up with on the streets of Los Angeles. In Season 2 episode “Plan B,” written by Dave Kalstein and Joseph C. Wilson, Ray Martindale was introduced as Deeks’ childhood best friend and current snitch and informant.
Fans were intrigued by the complicated relationship they witnessed on screen. We found out it was Ray who gave Deeks his first gun that was used on his father when Deeks decided at one point that enough was enough. Deeks also lived with Ray and his ex-wife on and off during his LAPD undercover days as Max Gentry. Only Ray knew Deeks’ true identity and helped him to collar criminal baddies by informing on these street acquaintances. In “Plan B,” it was Deeks’ turn to stand by his best friend as Ray testifies in a federal arms-trading prosecution. Deeks and the NCIS team helps him go underground in order to evade retribution from the very gangs he gave up to the police. But things go wrong when Ray goes rogue. Deeks dons his Max Gentry undercover cape again to find out what happened to Ray. The team eventually discovers that Ray is protecting a pregnant girlfriend and begs his best friend to allow her to go into hiding with him. After running a scam on the arms cartel, the team is able to secretively whisk Ray and Jenna away and into a federal witness protection program and into obscurity.
What We Don’t Know
It’s been more than nine years, and there has been no mention of Ray or Jenna despite Ray teasing Deeks about his relationship with “Wikipedia Kensi” and begging to know what happens with the ‘thing’ he has between him and Kensi. Deeks of course insists ‘there is no thing’ but after a decade-long courtship and a wedding you might think Deeks has a lot of news to pass along to his old friend by now. So where is Ray and what has he been up to? Has he been in touch with Deeks?
Why It’s Important
It would have been unconscionable for Deeks and Kensi to invite Ray and Jenna to the wedding and expose them to any current dangers that may still exist. But Deeks had a very special relationship with this man who was like a brother to him. It would be nice to know that somehow he kept in touch with his friend and was able to tell him the good news regarding his wedding to Kensi. Ray promised Deeks he would go straight and live the good life for his family but was he was able to fulfill that promise? If not, the result could make for an angsty episode that forces Deeks to examine his own past and how differently his life might have turned out. If Ray has been safe this whole time, his experience as a father would no doubt provide a great opportunity for Deeks to explore his own desire to have children, and maybe to lessen some of the self-doubt he has about becoming a father.
We would like to know not only if Ray and his family are safe but maybe as a result more about Deeks’ early life growing up with Ray. What was it like living on the streets and how did Ray help Deeks after he shot his dad? Did they continue to remain close? Ray might be the perfect vehicle through which we could learn all sorts of things about Deeks’ past, including what happened after he shot his father, why he decided to become an attorney, and maybe even why he changed course and joined LAPD.
If you could sit down with Ray what questions would you ask him regarding Deeks? Leave your comments below.
Wow, I didn’t see that coming! What an intriguing question, I think I’m going to be coming back more than once.
The questions that spring to mind:
Did Deeks’ dad have a job, if so what?
We think he went to jail before Deeks shot him, but what for?
What job did his mother have, we think she did have one.
What was Deeks like as a kid?
What was Deeks relationship with his mother like, before the shooting?
I like to think that no news is good news and Ray and Jenna are doing well. Ray is one character I would love to see again.
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I think Ray and his family are doing well.
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This triggers some real disappoint I had with the wedding. Only Mamma B at wedding. NO Bates,Whiting, Kip. No mention of Ray. It would have made for a nice moment with Kensi or even with Bertie. Instead there was other nonsense going on.
Good job Diane
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I know this opinion is not going to be a popular one, but what if Ray couldn’t handle being a father and he took off on Jenna and their child. Whether it was when baby was born or a few years later. He got into legal troubles, AGAIN, and comes back to town with trouble right behind him.
Or maybe Deeks and Ray’s fathers were friends. Ray’s dad helped fake the other’s death. They’ve been plotting for years to get revenge on their sons. Ray figures this out and comes to earn Deeks…
Lots of possibilities here…
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Would love to explore Max Gentry – was he a bad ass or an outlaw? How does this fit in with Ray? Would love if they could explore why Deeks has such anger in him – we’ve seen it in a couple of episodes that don’t mesh with the Deeks character. Lots to be explored. Another topic to explore is the time Kensi lived on the streets. She’s said that she did a lot of bad things – wonder what they were and did she ever tell them to Deeks.
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Yes the possibilities are endless. As I’ve said I’d love to see Ray again, but it would probably be bad news.
Maybe I’m seeing something that isn’t there but I’ll call it the Deeks effect. We only saw Ray in one episode, in Season 2. Yet we remember him, he was the guy that gave Deeks the gun he shot his dad with. We’d like to know how he’s getting on. We heard about Kensi’s friends, the ‘Cupcake Girls’ on and off since Season 5 or 6, yet we saw them at the wedding, and well, not very interesting. We didn’t meet Deeks mother till Season 7, but we love Roberta. We met Julia, Kensi’s mother in Season 3, a nice enough lady, but only interesting when she went off for a drink with Roberta in Season 8. So not only is Deeks arguably the most interesting character, his friends and family are more interesting too. Only Arkady as Callen’s friend comes close. Not to say I disliked Michelle or Nell’s sister Sydney. Okay when I say ‘we’, I guess I mean ‘I’
Another question for Ray would be, when he started his career in crime, what stopped Deeks joining him? Both their fathers were on the wrong side of the law, and they must have had other friends getting into trouble. Theses friends might still be around if they’re not in jail, perhaps one of them will turn up.
I tend to think Ray drifted into crime or the fringes of it more than anything. Consider this: Deeks grew up in strained monetary circumstances (as did Ray). Maybe Deeks got a scholarship (or three) for college and Ray didn’t. They’d automatically diverge there. Ray might have wanted something like that, so he used the tools he had (his skill with weapons) to try to hustle some cash. I’m actually working on a fanfic dealing with the first appearance of Max Gentry, so I think a fair amount about this stuff. Ray, I think, factors into some of the roots of Max, even if it’s just the look.
Personally I think Ray and his family are doing well. Maybe not perfect, but Ray was willing to give up everything to be a dad. With that level of dedication I don’t see him just walking away from it. Sure, he’d struggle, but I don’t think he’d bail. And if he had that kind of streak in him, does anyone really think Marty would have remained friends with him in the first place? And I would have liked to have seen at least a mention of Ray at the wedding. Maybe a note or word delivered by Hetty.
I honestly couldn’t really see Deeks turning to crime, I don’t think he had it in him, but he must have been tempted, it would have been easy. I just wonder if something, or someone, focused his mind to set him straight. Could someone have stepped in as mentor or something, after he shot his dad?
Ray and Deeks must have been apart several years before they met up again. Deeks was undercover as Max Gentry, wasn’t he? It’s widely accepted that Max Gentry was based on Deeks’ father, but was he? Probably so, but Ray knew Deeks as a child, (although I guess he wasn’t called Deeks then), and later met Max. He is ideally placed to tell us how much Brandel is in Max, and how much is Deeks. It’s complicated, as they say.
Deeks comes across as a kindhearted and fairly well balanced individual.Given the trauma in his childhood I’d like to know if he ever had a normal home life. It seems Brandel was an alcoholic, did something happen to escalate his drinking? Was he just a loser with a temper, or was he a charmer who turned into a monster after a few drinks? What was the Brandel household like in the early 1980’s?
Add me to the list of people disappointed that there was no mention of Ray at the wedding?
I think Max is a composite. Part of it’s Brandel, part of it might be Ray’s dad (who Ray said wasn’t the greatest dad in the world), and I think another part is Deeks himself. We’ve seen the dark side of Deeks, and it’s part of what makes him such a believable character. The light is stronger because of the shadows behind it, if you will.
If I could sit down with Ray the questions I would ask him regarding Deeks are:
1. How are you and Jenna and your baby doing? (Interested to know if they made it since obviously he couldn’t make a go with Nicole.)
2. Under what circumstance did you meet Deeks? (I realize they were childhood friends but Ray looks older than Deeks and an age difference could drive a friendship apart especially living in a gang infested neighborhood and being drawn into a life of crime.)
3. Where did you get the gun you gave Deeks? ( I don’t recall this point in the show.)
4, What made you turn to a life of crime? What type of crime? (We only know that Deeks turned him into an informant so he could avoid jail time [or did I miss something].)
5. Did you remain close friends after Deeks shot his dad or did you drift apart? (We don’t know enough about what happened to Deeks and his mom after this incident. I wonder if he became a ward of the state for a time. Although his mom was a victim too, she should have taken some action to protect herself and her son.)
6. Does it bother you that Nicole seemed to make a connection with Deeks/Max that you weren’t able to make. (I’m curious, if Deeks/Max periodically crashed at their place did Nicole come onto Max while Ray and Nicole were still together because that would break my heart cheating on his best friend with his wife. BTW, the passionate kiss between Nicole and Max really bothered me. This is his best friend’s wife [or ex] . Did they have a relationship after her and Ray’s Divorce? )
That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll think of other questions.
I’m not sure this is the proper place for this post because it’s probably not something Ray can help me with, but I didn’t know were else to put it. It was,however other people’s comments on Max Gentry that set me thinking. I hope you’ll bear with me.
Max Gentry is Deeks’ alias people remember, and why not? He is a strong, charismatic, ‘badass’ character that captures the imagination. I can only recall two episodes we’ve seen him, but there may be more.
The alias we see more often is my personal favourite, Artie the homeless guy. Nobody notices him because he is,well, homeless and keeps in the background, but he must have a story. He does have a small part in my fanfic. I think we first saw him in the opening sequence of ‘Borderline’ or an equally early episode. I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since the scene where he had to go down an alley and break into premises to plant cameras/bugs. All the time guys inside were trying to throw him out, until eventually they threw him up against a wall or fence. No idea what episode it was. He briefly appeared at the end of ‘Parley’, another Max Gentry episode. The one where Kensi all but neutered Max/Deeks. After the shootout Monica said she was better of with Max, poor Artie. An easy guy to put down, not unlike Deeks.
In ‘Crazy Train’ Deeks tells us Artie has PTSD and hears voices. So did Deeks turn into Artie after his torture, or shooting his dad. Is there a bit of Brandel in Artie? He must have had issues. Unlike Kensi’s time living on the street, it’s never been suggested Deeks was ever homeless, but it is possible. Deeks does seem to like Artie, how much of Deeks is in Artie? Where did Artie come from? Who is he based on? Did Artie really take Monty undercover with him, or is that just fanfiction? I hope he did.
Max Gentry is an alias Deeks had all but given up when he joined NCIS, reluctantly pulling him out of retirement. Artie seems to have been with Deeks a long time and still keeps popping up, long may he last. Not that I would expect to see him in ‘Deeks M’.
I suspect Artie existed well before we meet Deeks, and likely before Max as well. As a cover Artie’s perfect for wandering the streets of LA and getting close to people as you mention. I think Deeks might have assembled Artie as a composite of some of the people he would have defended as a PD before becoming a cop. We’re given the impression more than once he worked with people like Artie, so he’d know how they acted, how they looked, and so on. Deeks is also likely comfortable with him because he doesn’t have to go to a place in himself he doesn’t like in order to be Artie.
Yes I think all Deeks aliases are a hotchpotch of various people in his life, mixed with a portion of Deeks. Artie certainly doesn’t show the anger/aggression we see in Max. He does show more of the vulnerability/insecurity we see in Deeks. We have seen Artie more often but take him for granted, while we have seen less of Max, he is more spectacular.
Although Deeks seems to have used several other aliases Max and Artie appear to be the ones he has used most often. Do we see the spectrum of Martin Deeks, with Max at one end and Artie at the other? After all, Deeks and Kensi equals Densi, then Max and Artie equals Martie, maybe not. Perhaps I’m getting carried away now.
My headcanon is that Ray and Deeks have keep each other up to date regarding the big events in their lives even if they can’t talk or meet anymore. A few pictures exchanged via Ray’s assigned US Marshal would do the trick: for example a baby pic with a first name written on the back soon after Jenna gave birth might have shown up at Deeks’ address one day. And in return I always imagine Deeks took a pic of the mess his apartment was with all of Kensi’s boxes when she first moved in, wrote on the back, “It’s official, there is a thing” and sent it to Ray c/o the marshal’s service. I like to think this is how they communicate all the major events in their lives. No identifying faces/names, no locations, no dates, but they get the point across.
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Very similar to how Kensi and Deeks communicated while she was in Afghanistan on that whole White Ghost thing. Both Ray and Deeks are very savvy, and clearly have a deep bond. I can’t see them NOT staying in touch somehow.
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Wow, guys, this is some serious discussion going on. I enjoyed it very much during these warm and soggy days. Great posts!