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Review: NCISLA “A Fait Accompli” (S12E09)

It should come as no surprise that at wikiDeeks, our enjoyment of an NCIS: Los Angeles episode is directly tied to the quality of our favorite character’s scenes. We can overlook major flaws in the rest of an episode if we get a lot out of Deeks’ scenes, but sometimes the opposite is true. Unfortunately this week’s “A Fait Accompli,” written by R. Matt Klafter and Kyle Harimoto and directed by Eric Pot, fell into the latter category. Because the Deeks scenes didn’t work for me, I’m afraid the rest of the episode fell short even though it had some strong elements to offer.

Combos and Chemistry

I debated whether to even write this review as I feel like I’ve been the voice of a lot of negativity lately, and I sincerely don’t want to diminish the enjoyment I know a lot of you likely experienced with this most recent episode. But then I just started writing, and here we are. Let’s start with the positives and go from there.

One of the episode’s strong points was its direction. The slow motion and interesting angles for the action scenes really caught my attention. After twelve seasons of shoot-outs, these scenes are part of the show’s DNA and a key element of its success, yet they can sometimes feel repetitive and lacking in tension. Some of the techniques being employed for the last season or so have brought a freshness and flair to these scenes that have made them worth watching, and Pot made the most of them here.

The partner shifts worked pretty well overall, starting with Kensi and Sabatino continuing together from last week. When Kensi’s been partnered with Fatima or Rountree, the writers and Kensi have seemed to feel pressure to have her fill the humor void left by Deeks’ absence. It’s often felt slightly out of character, even as I’ve wanted to see it as her learning from Deeks to “lighten up.” This week, Sabatino stepped up to fill his share of that void, even if he came off as more carefree than I remember him. It let Kensi mock him and contribute to the humor without having to generate the momentum in the conversation, and it worked well.

But let’s be clear, Sabatino is no Deeks. His zany humor felt a tad forced, and even though the two actors worked well off each other, they certainly didn’t have the magic that is Sallen or Densi. If anything, they and the Fatima/Rountree duo have shown just how special those original pairings are, and how hard they are to replicate.

Sabatino also failed to carry his weight as a partner. Again, he was no Deeks. Last week he led Kensi into a warehouse where they were outnumbered, and both then and in this episode’s final firefight, failed to do much more than hide from the hail of bullets. He also let Kensi take the lead in figuratively disarming the group of “Sasquatches.” It was a nice opportunity for her to show off all her field skills, but Deeks would have been far more helpful in that situation.

Admiral Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) is always welcome to swing by to check up on the team. His crotchety old guy routine provides another welcome dose of humor. Unfortunately he’s at his funniest when paired up with people he understands less well than Sam, like Beale. (“It was a statement not a question.”) And I won’t mention the irony of elder Sam and elderly – and retired – admiral working in the field when Gramps Deeks has struggled so. Nope, I don’t hold a grudge about that, not at all.

As for the newbies, their action scene with Rountree running and Fatima shooting was very cool. And I can’t complain that we’re learning more backstory. Fatima was an actress? Didn’t see that one coming. It’s interesting that these two look to be set up as long-term partners. It would seem to go against Sam and Callen’s stated goals for mentoring, but it’s also a smart move from the showrunners, since breaking up the existing partnerships has been unpopular and detrimental to overall harmony. If they’re going to be partners, we’ll have to wait and see exactly what kind of balance they find in terms of which character drives scenes forward and which one does more reacting. With Kensi and Deeks, Deeks tends to be the driver; with Sam and Callen, they often take turns. I just hope Rountree can maintain his sincerity and dry sense of humor because it’s quite likable. And I hope that Fatima’s growing collection of backstory facts can round itself into a character who feels real. (And here’s hoping that “Bye, bitch” does not become their catchphrase.)

Flashbacks and Fate

No, we’re not a Callen site, but I wanted to say to the Callen fans out there that we know how it feels when your favorite character disappears for most of an episode. Sadly we Deeks fans don’t know what it’s like to have multiple flashbacks to your favorite character’s childhood and young adulthood (nope, I don’t hold a grudge, I swear). This week we had two flashbacks that were beautifully photographed. The hazy focus and bright light gave them a lovely dreamlike quality that made them feel like real memories. And either the actor’s voice (Johnny Jay Lee) was eerily like Chris O’Donnell’s, or COD actually did the voiceover.

Unfortunately they also gave us the return of de-aged Hetty. I thought we had all agreed after “Rage” that we would never try that again? She’s just a little weird and distracting. The scene could have been shot without showing her face at all. More importantly, I don’t know how in character those flashbacks were. Since I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on Callen, if you’re interested, I’d refer you to this very interesting post if you want to read more.

Poor Callen, going ahead with his romantic gesture despite his unfortunate conversation with Arkady, only to find out that something’s amiss. I took his final scene at the motel to mean that Anna had been lying to him all along. I hadn’t anticipated that but realized that I should have. It was never in character for her to go off to rebuild houses; it’s much more likely that she’s gone rogue- she is Callen’s soulmate, after all.

But is there something more complicated going on? Might her disappearance tie into what happened to Kam? Only time will tell.

Desperation and Deservedness

Had we not had so many issues with Deeks’ portrayal in last week’s “Love Kills,” my reactions to his scenes in “A Fait Accompli” would have been very different. For example, the first Densi scene, with Deeks on the phone from FLETC, worked well on its face:

Kensi: Hey recruit.
Deeks: Hey.
Kensi: Whatcha calling me for? Shouldn’t you be on deck for PT?
Deeks: Yeah, no. I’m headed up there right now. Listen I just wanna say that I’m so excited that you’re coming to graduation.
Kensi: Oh, I know. It’s gonna be so much fun. Uh, hey. So listen, I got approved for my days off, and I booked my flight. Why are you breathing like that? What’s wrong?
Deeks: What? No, why would something be wrong? Everything, everything is fantastic. I was just practicing my meditative breathing.
Kensi: Ah, since when do you practice meditative breathing?
Deeks: Since I realized that we have to do a roadtrip across the country together. Do you think that our marriage can survive such a roadtrip all the way back to LA?
Kensi: Well I think I’m going to need some mandatory silent miles.
Deeks: Well, how many miles are we talking about here?
Kensi: Um, I’m thinking probably… 10 minutes every 100 miles?
Deeks: Ten minutes of silence, that seems like a missed opportunity for bonding and also for safety, I gotta be honest, is it even safe to drive in silence for that long? Because people fall asleep and then they die. I don’t wanna be a statistic, do you wanna be a statistic?
Kensi: You just upgraded yourself to a 15 minute silent period.
Deeks: OK.
Kensi: You know what babe, Ops is calling me, I gotta go.
Deeks: OK, alright, listen, so then that’s fine. We’ll, ah, five, ah, five minutes for every 200 miles. Is that good?
Kensi: I love you, bye.
Deeks: Love you too. [Kensi hangs up] You got this. [groans]

This scene could be taken as a classic example of Deeks being silly and the two bantering about road trips. But what I saw was a Deeks trying his best to hide his injury and ongoing struggles from Kensi as he listened to her plans to come see him and his potential failures in person. The final line, said to himself, showed us the tremendous pressure he was under to keep his head above water, to not let Kensi and Hetty and everyone else down. His inability to stop talking felt like a desperate attempt to keep Kensi on the phone with him as long as possible in an effort to find solace, strength, and just a little of the peace she could provide in the midst of such a stressful situation.

Then we learned that he’d washed out of training and again my heart broke for him. Hetty’s hand was obvious here, so there was never a concern that he’d actually flunked (and come on, CBS Press, do you have to give away quite so much with promo photos of Deeks holding a badge?). Yet Kensi knew just how freaked out Deeks was as he hurriedly packed his things. Her firm “I love you” showed her concern over his mindset. It’s painful to think about Deeks’ shame and the self-flagellation he experienced on the long flight back across the country.

The final scene, as Deeks himself said, was twelve long years in the making:

Deeks: All she said is go to her office.
Kensi: Typical Hetty. She gives you just enough to keep coming back.
Deeks: Hmm. I’ve always thought she’d make one hell of a drug dealer. OK, right. I’m here. Office with creepy doll heads everywhere, anyway…
Hetty: Mr. Deeks.
Deeks: Whoa!
Hetty: Where do you think you’re going?
Deeks: To change my underwear?
Kensi: [Boom] Hetty, are you OK?
Hetty: No time for idle chitchat. Mr. Deeks, open the top drawer.
Deeks: Open the top drawer to whaaat… [Pulls out badge]
Kensi: I found out an hour ago.
Deeks: Henrietta Lange, uh, this is the most savage, inhumane, messed up, greatest thing that anyone has ever pulled on me. I mean, I gotta be honest, this is… this is pure gold.
Hetty: I could never in good conscience allow strangers at FLETC to give you that badge.
Deeks: Thank you.
Hetty: Bugger. Now, go celebrate with your team.
Deeks: Oh yeah, we about to get it.
Hetty: On Saturday.
Deeks: What? Wait what? What did she say? Did she say Saturday?
Kensi: Yeah.
Deeks: No, because what she meant was… I think she could… did she mean today? Because today is a word that also means this day, not Saturday.
Kensi: I think it’s just that Callen wasn’t available so she wanted, you know, all of us to celebrate together or something.
Deeks: Callen. I barely even know the man. I can’t even pronounce his first name. No this right here is twelve years in the making and now we’re gonna put it on pause? I’m about to go Richter. You and I? Ragefest-
Kensi: Baby. I am so proud of you.
Deeks: Thank you… 
Kensi: And you know what? Nothing is stopping us from, you know, celebrating today.
Deeks: Today?
Kensi: Just the two of us?
Deeks: The two of us today- ah! Whoa! Yeah, I got a rib thing. I think it may be broken.
Kensi: I knew it.
Deeks: Or fractured.
Kensi: You lied to me.
Deeks: I didn’t lie.
Kensi: You lied.
Deeks: I just withheld the truth because you can’t…
Kensi: Does it hurt right here?
Deeks: Ah, that’s, that’s, oh…
Kensi: Sorry, that’s what happens when you lie to your wife.

The scene caused me to flash straight back to the Hetty who jumped out from behind Deeks’ curtains in “Impact,” the one who seems to have a poor understanding of what makes for a happy surprise. Only that time, the joke was mostly on Deeks himself; we audience members weren’t actually scared by it. Here, the joke was also played on us (unless we look at spoilers like promo photos). We were made to believe Deeks had flunked out right up until the final scene, and I didn’t appreciate it. Kensi was wise to make it known that she wasn’t in on it. The cruelty of making Deeks – and large portions of the audience – suffer for all that time for no good reason may be in character for Hetty, but it’s one of the reasons she’s, shall we say, flawed.

The larger issue here is really the one that began last week and there may not have been much Klafter and Harimoto could have done about it. That’s how Deeks was made to struggle in a way that was out of character. His incompetence, played for laughs, is something that Deeks – and the audience – know happened, badge or not. He and we will always remember those moments and think less of him for it (or try to forget them and just blame the writers).

And that’s what I read into this scene in Deeks’ reactions. The way he hesitates and looks down when Kensi tells him she’s proud of him tells me that he’s not proud of himself, and what a shame and a missed opportunity. This was twelve years in the making and this character has done more than enough to earn that badge, and yet it will always be tarnished by the way he obtained it. It should have reinforced his own understanding of that worthiness, but it may have done the exact opposite. He’ll likely always wonder if he was really going to make it, always wonder if Hetty pulled such a mean trick as a sneaky way to save his butt.

Deeks’ over the top desire to celebrate also felt forced. It was like he felt he needed to project happiness at the occasion. He’d shared some of his struggles with Kensi but apparently not all of them, and he didn’t want her to know exactly how close he’d come to really failing. I think he clearly felt relief that his life hadn’t completely caved in on him, but it’s hard to get past that look away, that feeling like he isn’t sure he deserved it.

Because I didn’t buy that Deeks was genuinely happy, and because I think the best case scenario is that he thinks he barely passed, I couldn’t really enjoy the occasion. I look forward to hearing your interpretations on the subject- I am hoping that many of you did get a lot of satisfaction out of Deeks finally becoming a federal agent.

Or, did he? I believe his badge says “Investigator,” not “Special Agent.” I guess we can still call him a generic “federal agent” though? I’m curious about the backstory there. Does it signify that he failed to earn the title of “Special Agent,” making it another way to humiliate him? Or was it just the only way to work around the age rules?

More than One Fait Accompli

This week’s title was intriguing. I could see it in the fact that Deeks was inevitably going to get his badge one way or another thanks to Hetty, even if it didn’t play out how he wanted it to. But then again, that’s one of the issues with this storyline. Because they set it up with Deeks needing this job, without having any other way to stay with the team, we knew it was a fait accompli, and the roundabout path they took us on to get there didn’t satisfy most Deeks fans.

I could also see the title in the Callen flashbacks, which showed a life set in motion by his traumatic childhood that made it a fait accompli that he would never be able to have a “normal” relationship. I’d been hoping that had changed with Anna, and I think it has, but we’re going to have to wait for some more angst before he gets his happily ever after.

The title also could tie into proud papa Sam. It was a fait accompli that his and Michelle’s children would grow up to be patriotic high achievers. Sadly, that arc took a dark turn with Kam’s kidnapping at episode’s end. This turn would be disturbing no matter which character was taken, but knowing what Sam, who’s already lost his wife and nearly lost his son, will be going through is too painful to think about. It feels a little unoriginal, and almost too cruel a choice on the part of the showrunners, and I don’t look forward to watching his pain when the show returns in February.

Memorable Moments

  • Rountree’s rescuing the homeless man had to be the closest any of them have come to contact with a guest actor this season. Glad they’re doing so much testing!
  • I love the Porsche- it’s so pretty. And although Fatima did park it like 2 feet from the curb (Deeks would have told her, “That’s OK, I can walk from here”), so far at least she seems a capable driver. I’m tired of seeing every female character on the show be mocked for their driving skills.
  • Wow, sorry USC Trojans out there! First we learned that Rountree’s sister is at UCLA, and this week Sabatino mocked the bad guy relentlessly for his alma mater. (Have you ever liked anyone that went to USC?. See?….. Sit down, Trojan boy.) As a UCLA alumna, I’m enjoying it, but I will say that I have known many good people from our cross-town rivals.
  • The Quiet Riot sing-along between Kensi and Sabatino was quite a little moment. It felt simultaneously out of left field and yet such a dose of sunshine. Now why can’t we get the same thing with Kensi and Deeks singing together? That would be magical.
  • We continue with the show’s fixation on age jokes with the jewelry store girl and her dad jokes. Sigh.
  • Sadly, Deeks wasn’t wrong about not really knowing Callen after all this time. The man is hard to get close to!
  • Do we know where Nell’s been? There are so many characters it’s getting hard to keep track!

Overall the previous episode made it challenging for Klafter and Harimoto to sort matters out satisfactorily this week. I’m glad we can put the whole Deeks FLETC arc to bed and look forward to seeing more of Deeks and Kensi hopefully working together in the field when we start back up in February.

Be sure to come back later this week for new editions of Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal. In the meantime, what did you think of “A Fait Accompli”? Were you frustrated like me? Or did you love seeing Deeks get his badge? I want to hear either way- maybe you can give me a different perspective that will make me feel better. I can’t wait to hear, so share your thoughts in the Comments below.

About Karen (287 Articles)
wikiDeeks Writer & Assistant Editor. I never wrote for fun before... until my ECO-obsession. Now I love to analyze any and all aspects of the best character on television.

87 Comments on Review: NCISLA “A Fait Accompli” (S12E09)

  1. Unlike just about everyone else, I enjoyed this episode quite well. There are times where you just have to suck it up and just enjoy the ride, especially if you know you’re going to see someone you love. (aka, Hetty).

    I actually enjoyed the silliness a lot this time around.
    I really liked the Callen flashbacks. Big reminder that he’s come a long way from being the ‘lost boy that Hetty has taken care of since he was 5’. (and I don’t really find de-aged Hetty creepy at all).
    And as I expected, I really loved the Hetty/Densi scene. Deeks becoming an agent has been a long time coming, let’s just all be glad he’s finally a real part of NCIS! (Now if only they could find where Hetty is already!)
    I think Nell is looking for Hetty. (just a theory for now, but you never know)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Valentina Vella // January 19, 2021 at 10:34 AM // Reply

    Hello Wikideeks! I can say I enjoyed the episode in general but I agree with you karen, the way they put this storyline and the way they showed Deeks as week and not able to be an agent drove me crazy. Also I think that is not good the the badge say Investigator and not Special Agent.. Is he an Agent or not? And I didn’t appreciate the final interaction between deeks and kensi, it was fake… But In general I’m happy he’s be back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is not a Special Agent.
      Investigator is a different job series than Special Agents.

      As per the NCIS rankings in wikipedia, currently Deeks is outranked by Callen,Sam,Kensi,Fatima and Roundtree (rankings below). From what i read in various forums, he is not allowed to carry a gun unless he has approval from the Director and he needs to secure the firearm when he is off duty.
      Outside of work, he is not allowed to carry a gun unless he has a proper gun permit (and not based on his NCIS status)
      – Special Agent, issued a golden badge inscribed with the words Special Agent.
      – Agent, issued a silver badge inscribed with the word Agent.
      – Investigator, issued a silver badge inscribed with the word Investigator.
      – Operational Representative, issued a silver badge inscribed with the words Operational Representative when it is deemed necessary by the concerned Special Agent in Charge or Deputy Assistant Director.
      – Administrative Representative, no badge issued

      Liked by 1 person

  3. FLETEC is not the final training point for NCIS…it’s more of a joint Federal training program. If they’re being picky about it, Deeks would still have to do NCIS-specific stuff (all of which, for him should be a cakewalk given his police and legal background).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked this past episode (not great, but it’ll do). I love the show no matter what.
    Regarding Callen’s flashback scenes. I’ve had enough. I like CO’D and Callen and I know that the show was mainly focused on him and his past, but I didn’t see the point this week. I think we’ve learned quite a bit about his past in 12 seasons while other characters’ pasts, ( Deeks…) we haven’t seen anything. (Deeks, M please, maybe even in 2 parts 😉)
    I also don’t want to see another family member of Sam’s I danger. Hasn’t he been through enough? And besides, I thought Kensi was the one who was suppose to be in danger this season (Kessler), not Kaman.
    I also think, regarding Deeks, they told him one day we was on track to graduate, then they told him he was washing out. I believe that Hetty TOLD them to tell him he was washing out because she wanted to be the one who gave him the badge. Just like she said, SHE wanted to be the one who gave it to him.
    I think this scene should have been the last scene of the episode. Just because they’re going on hiatus for 3 weeks didn’t mean they had to give us a cliffhanger. They could have left it with Deeks and his badge. jmho

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Karen , I want to believe that Deeks earned the badge on his own, and that when hetty said she wanted to be the one to give it to him, was true..I know everyone has their own thoughts on it…But I want to believe in NCIS La and love the main characters..I also want them to continue if that’s what they all want..I just can’t see it without, callen, Sam, Deeks and Kensi on the show or as partners..( as yes I know one day that won’t happen) I like Sabatino, but I think he was a little to goofy in this episode..usually everyone hates him because of what happened to kensi when she was kidnapped, now their are best friends it seem..I still don’t think Fatima or Roundtree bring much to’s kinda of like Mosley you love them or not…missed seeing Nell and always miss Hetty..stay safe everyone..😷

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m on Team Karen – Yes to everything. Nothing else to add. Continue your truth.
    Sidebar: for Roundtree – #RollTide

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Good recap of the episode, and a good rant too. I agree with you on most things about this episode, except for Sabatino. He’s a sleaze, and this time he was even worse. But this isn’t about him or any of the others except for maybe Kensi. This is about Deeks and Hetty. I’m not sure how I feel about how Deeks was written or even acted. Your review helped me come to the same feelings you have…that Deeks was uncertain about his accomplishment. ECO expressed that, and it was painful to watch. Yet I can’t deny that I was still happy that he got his badge. Hetty’s line about her need to be the one presenting him with that badge was the only thing that salvaged that scene for me. But it was torture that wasn’t warranted for Deeks to have to be told he’d washed out and then whiplashed by Hetty’s little stunt.

    I’ve been recalling the last episode and comparing it to this one. Desperation is the word that landed in my mind. In these past two eps he seemed desperate to stay with NCIS, that he had no other options. Yet I clearly remember in previous seasons Deeks wanted out of law enforcement, promising Kensi that if they left they could have the most amazing life together without being shot at. I’m finding those two conflicting messages hard to reconcile. I feel as if I missed an episode about his change of heart, or perhaps I lost it in amongst the scattered scenes in this year from hell that featured so little screen time for him. I have no idea where they take his storyline from here. Unfortunately we have to wait to find out, if we even will now that Kam is kidnapped and Anna is off doing who the hell knows what. I think Callen and Deeks need to talk, because they both got kicked in the gut in this episode.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I hate to be the voice of negativity but Deeks is not a special agent.
    His badge says he is an investigator which is different.
    As per wikipedia:
    Special Agent, issued a golden badge inscribed with the words Special Agent. Credentials and badge are only issued to 1811 Criminal Investigators and Marine Corps personnel designated as Special Agents.
    The bearer’s authority is outlined on all Special Agent credentials as: “is authorized as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer to carry firearms and conduct investigations of violations of the laws of the United States of America for the Department of the Navy.”[16]

    Investigator, issued a silver badge inscribed with the word Investigator. Credentials and badge are only issued to 1810 Investigators who perform investigative and/or counterintelligence duties.
    Does this mean that Deeks again is the lesser of the bunch? And he is not allowed to carry a gun (as the firearm is explicitly mentioned only for Special Agents)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1810’s even more low-key than you imply. It is intended to work cases not involving violations of Federal law, although there is a provision in the NCIS manual for 1810s to be used in a law enforcement capacity. Technically he would also have to complete a fair amount of additional training and then a two-year trial period.

      If you look closely at Deeks’ NCIS ID (the lower card) you can see he’s authorized to carry firearms, meaning he’s the law enforcement capacity version of the 1810. This is from the rather massive NCIS manual (volume one…it’s a two-part set).

      Liked by 1 person

    • This makes sense. He’s a recruit, and now on probation. Probably recruits are called investigators. On my department, patrolmen and detectives carry a silver badge and sergeants and above have gold. The others are special agents and have been on NCIS payrolls for at least 13 years (I figure Kensi had at least a year on when the series started). It wouldn’t seem right that a recruit would get the same title. He’ll still be doing the same job, it’s just a title, and maybe they’ll make a big deal about it when he gets off probation and gets his gold shield..

      I already responded to this but you looked it up and what you posted explains why he has a silver shield. At least to me. It’s an accomplishment, not a disgrace.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It doesn’t seem to be the case that recruits are called investigators.
        Looking at the ranks in NCIS there is Investigator, then Agent and then Special Agent.
        We know based on Kensi’s resume that she joined NCIS in 2006 and OSP in 2008 and in the pilot she was already identified as Special Agent.
        And if memory serves, Fatima and Roundree are both Special Agents and their years of experience are minimal.
        In any case, I am sure there is a reason the writers have done this. It’s definitely intentional that he is not a special agent and he is given a low key position.

        Liked by 1 person

        • These are more positions than ranks, really. They’re all tied to occupational codes within the Federal service structure (so 1810, 1811, and so on). If Deeks is an investigator he’s 1810, and per the NCIS manual they can be trained and used in law enforcement duties, but they also don’t go through a full FLETC (just the use of deadly force sections). This could be an example of a production “woopsie” or someone not fully understanding the structure.

          Special Agent is just an 1811 who’s completed the proper training (FLETC, SABC, and so on) and has started the probationary period. Years of experience don’t necessarily matter. And there really isn’t a “ladder” where they pass through various titles before becoming special agents. Technically most 1810s are involved in investigative, non-law enforcement duties (although they MAY be ‘trained up’ to work in that capacity), while 1811s are involved in cases involving violations of Federal law and thus engaged in law enforcement duties.

          But it’s all TV, so who knows what they’re doing? At least they try to be more authentic than, say, CSI.

          Liked by 1 person

      • starla miller // January 31, 2021 at 9:44 AM // Reply

        Isn’t Roundtree a Special Agent? If so, why he didn’t have to go through a period of on-the-job to get that rank?

        Also, they should have cut Johnny Jay Lee’s hair short, because COD’s hair is curly. Other than that they nailed it. As for how he young Callen could behave so well-adjusted to his girlfriend’s family life, we must give a little credit to Hetty’s training him to fake normal, and I have met one orphanage-raised person who was what I would call socially talented, though most I’ve known were not.


    • His badge WAS gold, not silver.
      It doesn’t really matter. It’s a TV show. He IS an agent. 😊


  9. The needs to find some writers who like and respect the character of Deeks and some that still believe that a couple even though married can be flirty loving and happy toward their spouse.But i did not like Kensi hurting Deeks on purpose knowing her was alreadyhurting.Would have loved her to be a little tender with Deeks.And how much fun would it had been if it was Deeks and kensi singing together cause we know Eric can sing.I will always hate Sabatino.Die sabatino sorry but not sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ivelina Plamena Georgievi // January 19, 2021 at 1:27 PM // Reply

    Fans need real Densi kisses!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for a great review Karen. I wasn’t going to comment but then there were some things in your review that got me to thinking so here goes.

    I have to admit I am disappointed in the turn the program has taken concerning Deeks. Over 40 does not mean you are less than capable. With the shape Deeks (ECO) is in he should have been able to keep up with the 20-year-olds. The man has obviously been working out. Did anyone else notice the muscles he’s sporting in the scene where he is wrapping his ribs? It’s almost laughable to portray him as inadequate with all his years of experience too.

    The last couple of episodes with Sabatino irked me. My goodness, he was one of the moles discovered in Season 8 when Kensi was abducted by Ferris. Plus. he was the one who “hit on” Kensi when she was in Afghanistan back in Season 5. Give me a break! Why are Kensi and Sabatino all buddy, buddy and working together like nothing happened. What did Hetty call him in, was it, Payback? A parasite? Yuk! What are the writers thinking.

    I just about cried at the “washed out” statement when Deeks was talking to Kensi. This man has endured 40 plus years of negative reinforcement. Give the guy a break already! This character has made this show what it is with his excellent acting. Gee! Stop portraying him as inadequate. I’m tired of it.

    I sure hope future episodes are better than these last two. I haven’t been impressed. Sorry for the less than stellar review.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. My head is spinning, and it’s all the writers fault, where is my scotch?! Deeks goes from struggling in FLETC and looking like a buffoon, to 4th in his class(unless I was hearing things) about to graduate, to getting bounced out just before graduation, only to have Hetty give him the badge, that actually doesn’t make him Special Agent because it doesn’t say Special Agent but Investigator which is completely different from what he was trying to accomplish. And I agree that because of how this was done, he is gonna wonder if he really could have done it himself without the help from Hetty. That’s it, I’m pouring a double!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Elaine Conway // January 19, 2021 at 3:41 PM // Reply

    I think he earned the badge. Hetty pulled a fast one on him by having them send him home so she could give him the badge. As she said, she didn’t want him to receive it from strangers. I think he was down because he couldn’t figure out how he went from passing to being washed out with no explanation. Of course that was because it wasn’t true.

    I couldn’t quite figure out why he was so emotional about becoming NCIS since he had the papers in his desk drawer since the end of season 2 and never acted on it because as he told Kensi he was afraid they would reassign him. I didn’t think it was something he had wanted for all those years. Maybe I’m just confused especially since he also went through that phase when he wanted out of law enforcement. The writers have been all over the place. However, if he’s not a special agent what was the point – to make sure he remained the omega Wolf of the pack? Hopefully we’re wrong about his status.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Enjoyed your review, as usual, but unlike you I actually liked this episode. I think, maybe, an investigator is what a probationary NCIS agent is called, and once he gets off probation he becomes a special agent. Or, maybe a special agent is like a promotion to sergeant on a police department. I’d have to check it out, but whether we like it or not, even with 12 years with NCIS, Deeks is still a probationary agent. The others have many years with NCIS and are still “special agents” so I imagine that’s part of it. Heck, it’s just a title. He’s can honestly yell “federal agent” now.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The Topiary Cow // January 19, 2021 at 7:45 PM // Reply

    Excellent review, Karen!

    I would love to make you feel better about this episode but I can’t.

    ECO did a great job as always, and thank you for the shirtless scene, but this whole storyline about Deeks/school has been stupid. As a lawyer and experienced operative he would have had many options; agree with you, his desperation was misplaced.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with the whole unemployment thing being a bit unrealistic.
      We are talking about a guy who is certified lawyer with public defender experience for some years, 10 years working for NCIS and another few years in Robberies division and as Detective.
      He could go back to being a lawyer, start his own PI office, be a mercenary for hire, a bouncer etc like so many others.
      The only angle that could make sense is that he wanted to be with Kensi on the field but he could have waited while doing something else rather than sitting at home doing nothing.
      Without knowing more about his past, we can’t understand why all these options were disregarded.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually I think we can make some basic assumptions. For all his “not a team player” stuff, Deeks has always seemed very determined to be part of something bigger than himself. Some greater good he could work for or toward (public defender, cop, and then Federal agent). Sure, he’s wary of organizations, but that pull toward the greater good is always there. All those other things (PI, lawyer, etc.) are essentially “lone wolf” operations. Being in the field with Kensi is part of it NOW, but it couldn’t have been his motivation earlier when he made his choices.

        But Deeks also likes to have an exit strategy in case things go south (and who could blame him?). I think that’s what keeps him on the outside at times. And his experience with Boyle would also have reinforced his notion of being ready to jump in case the bad actors took control of things.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is question for the writers/producers of the show.What is on the page is on the scene.I would have love the writers to have been working another job as pi or what ever but the writer did do that.Inho they drop the ball wasting alot of interesting story lines.Oh well………


      • I’ve been telling myself for years that they want to prevent viewers impressed with Deeks anymore.As you said, He could become a PSI like a former FBI agent Fornell(NCIS).Or, He could make a lot of money more than the bar’s liabilities more easily if he go back to being a lawyer.However, they just couldn’t choose because it would make Deeks look more competent and reliable guy than anyone else.
        As you can see, Deeks has a fandom that defends him like this.I guess more people are watching the show for him, not just those who comment on social media.TPTB have been trying for years to get viewers interested in new characters than Deeks.Unfortunately, they have failed many times because they proceed in the wrong way.I don’t know why they can’t introduce a new character without damaging Deeks’s honor except Hidoko.They need to be smart enough to make better use of his fandom before he really leaves If they want this show to be more successful without Deeks.I’m just saying.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Topiary Cow // January 21, 2021 at 12:13 PM // Reply

          Hi Tess,

          Agree they do not seem to want to give Deeks his due. They put him in a box of “comic relief” and seem rarely to let him out, sadly.

          I don’t know if they don’t introduce the new people correctly or they just don’t pick the right actors. No matter how they introduced Nell, for instance, she was a star.😊


  16. Another excellent review Thank You, Karen. You filled in a lot of blanks for me. I’ll admit I only saw the Hetty/Densi and shirtless Deeks scenes, oh yes and a bit of Sabatino. So although I’ve got nothing to bring to the party, I’ll sit here and try to unjumble my thoughts. Like Mike I am confused, as you can tell.

    Sabatino has been around a long time and has developed a bit over the years. We don’t need to like him, but he has got something about him and he isn’t in awe of Sam, unlike say, Hamilton. Has he found a place as the NCIS tame singing parasite?

    Like Topiary Cow I appreciated shirtless Deeks, and as others have mentioned, we’re supposed to believe he is unfit. Really?

    Then the ‘badge’ scene. I did like it when Kensi said she was proud of Deeks, I can’t imagine many people have told him that. I thought Deeks was happy to get his badge at FLETC, didn’t care who gave it to him. So Hetty’s stunt was just so she could see him get his badge. The only saving grace here was that Hetty and Kensi are probably the only people who care whether he’s an agent or not. Certainly I don’t think the other field agents would be bothered. Under normal circumstances the entire team would have been present. Under Covid rules, no crowd scenes, we were spared seeing Sam point out Deeks’ badge said Investigator not Agent. When Deeks said he didn’t know Callen, it was a statement not a joke, right? Have they been in contact since he was ejected from OPS? It’s going to be interesting to see if the dynamics of the team change. I think probably not, but if they do for better or worse?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Donna l Hartle // January 20, 2021 at 6:00 AM // Reply

    no complaints from me on this episode. I liked all the interactions between the characters.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I liked what happened to Deeks in this episode as well as the prior ones as it is all a part of his growth over the last 12 years. He said it all when he exclaimed – “12 years in the making.” He has progressed and matured as we all do with the passing of time. He is not the man he was 12 years ago – physically , mentally, and emotionally. We know that ECO is physically fit but his character may not be as so. As followers of Deeks we are bias and do not want to see our hero falter but such is life and life is often not fair to some of us. We cheer him on because we favor him but he still belongs to the world and often has to deal with what life hands him whether it be justified or not. He reminds me of a Hemingway hero – a man who struggles but becomes so much stronger because of life’s challenges. The way ECO handles Deeks emotions is what really is so appealing to me. The look of his face, the eyes tearing, the open expressions of all of his emotions draws us in to loving his character. Although we want him to be recognized by his co workers, his goodness, his overall dedication to his job, it does not always happen like that in real life. What bothered me most about this episode is Fatima and Roundtree again. I just do not see them “clicking” with the others as part of the close 4 man team of Callen, Hanna, Bligh, and Deeks. I feel like their lines are “ forced”. Fatima is just too matter- of- fact for me. Roundtree stands a chance as he is nflre laid back in nature and his youth would balance the others as they age especiallye if the running and jumping scene. If the keep Fatima, just keep her in ops where she belongs!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Shows like this become cluttered when they add too many characters into the “regular” mix. I tend to think NCIS LA was running perfectly when you had two agent teams, the meercats in Ops, and Hetty and Granger behind the scenes. Any more than that and things start to derail. You see it in so many shows. Adding field agents just crowds out other things, and they never really got over (in my opinion) the loss of Granger. Having him there allowed them to ease Hetty off stage from time to time with no real loss in dynamic. Granger could fill in when needed, serve as a kind of mentor to Nell and Deeks (most memorably), and keep Sam’s ego in check.

    My perfect world would have had them retain Harley (she was growing into a really solid character) and bring one of the retired admirals in as a surrogate Granger (my personal favorite would be Bridges since he could keep Sam in check, but Chegwidden would be good, too…I leave out Kilbride because he feels a bit too far up the food chain). Still kinda crowded, but it allows for a solid replacement for one of the regulars if they need to ease back and gives us another foil for Hetty (along with a believable stand-in when needed).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nobody liked Granger to start with, but eventually he became ‘the man’, always had the teams back. They need somebody with gravitas, certainly Harley was getting there, she too had the teams back. I really liked both of them. My first choice for a Granger replacement would be Chegwidden, but Ochoa or Rogers would do, if they were working for the right agency. Having one newbie could be a good thing, having two doesn’t work.


  20. Thanks for the review Karen, always on the money. I was really looking forward to seeing a good bit of Densi screentime as I really thought the title was related to Deeks success in getting his agents’s badge.( I’m afraid the spoilers gave too much away this week.)
    I was very disappointed to say the least. I know the way he found out was typical Hetty, but I could understand her wanting to be the one to give it to him. It broke my heart to see the look on his face and those eyes tearing up. He says so much with those eyes. Eric was outstanding as usual.
    A bonus was seeing a shirtless Deeks this week, how coud anyone believe this character was not fit enough to get through FLETC, writers really???? Of course he had to have cracked ribs, nothing good ever happens to him without there being an accident of some kind.
    I’m afraid that I have never been a Sabatino fan, don’t trust this character ever since Season 8 and was not impressed this week with Kensi and him partnering up. He always makes fun of Deeks and makes these derogatory remarks like him being too old for FLETC and calling him “lover boy”.
    His banter with Kensi was amateurish and boring and not funny at all.
    Fatima and Rountree are not a great match, they don’t gel and are poles apart, just can’t see that being a long term partnership. When either have partnered with Kensi, the dialogue feels really strained and uncomfortable.
    Really heartbroken for Callen when he found out Anna had lied as to what she was doing. No doubt we will find out what is going on there later in the season.
    Apart from all of the above, I loved seeing Deeks get his badge and hope we get to see him celebrate with the team next episode.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It is difficult to be dispassionate about matters concerning Marty Deeks, but I’m going to give it a try. The writers, showrunner, all of them have a tough enough time just bringing us the show, and they’ve done a great job giving us something to talk/grumble about. I don’t know all the constraints they have filming the show so I don’t want to be over-critical, and of course Deeks is only one of the main characters. As this is wikiDeeks I will assume he is our favourite character.

    Leaving aside other characters and storylines, I think it was a brave move to have Deeks join NCIS fulltime, at this time. How cheated would we have felt if he had just walked in with his new badge? So there had to be problems and angst, it’s de rigueur. No issues, no story. It was admirable that they incorporated real life issues i.e. police defunding. The arc was going quite well, then we saw the spoilers for ‘Overdue’. I will hold my hand up here, I was quick to question the ‘not a team player’ remark. Was I the only one who thought his team mates might not be fulsome in their praise of Deeks? As it turned out Deeks played a blinder and got himself accepted into FLETC, which we thought at the time was all he had to do. Of course not. Realistically he was always going to struggle at FLETC. This is where the wheels came off. If we had seen him struggle with the class bully, it would have been good. Showing Deeks struggling at something he is good at, for laughs, showing weakness where there is none, not good. Granted the jokes came from Deeks, his way of handling difficult situations. We know Deeks is fit, we’ve seen him working out often enough. He is known as the class clown, could have got some laughs there. There’s no humour watching anybody struggle, not just Deeks. We’re so used to Deeks being depicted as less than able, this was a step too far. It didn’t sit well, to say the least.

    So we go into ‘A Fait Accompli’ already out of kilter. We find Deeks being messed about with. He’s hurt, he thinks he’s going to graduate, then he’s not. It’s not fair, it really isn’t. It does however, show us just how much of a man he really is. He kept going, didn’t give up and didn’t fail. We will probably never know the truth behind what happened. We got some great scenes from ECO that pulled at our heartstrings and scenes that made us mad.

    Where they will go from here is anybody’s guess. We’ve got a few weeks of festering till we find out. How will the team deal with this vastly experienced probie? Will TPTB take on board our issues and bring us a competent Deeks? My hope is that attitudes change rather than Deeks. I like Deeks just as he is, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Topiary Cow // January 21, 2021 at 12:04 PM // Reply

      Excellent points, Patricia!!!


    • The thing is…FLETC isn’t SEAL training. It’s a basic Federal law enforcement training program intended to give people coming into that career a common baseline. I might have accepted this particular angle if they had showed Nell having the same issues (or at least talked about having issues). But they didn’t. All of a sudden it’s Deeks taking it in the shorts. They could have balanced it with reference to him acing the classroom portion (which he would have done given his academic background), or even framed it in line with his apparent “Investigator” status and having him take mainly the use of force sections instead of the full deal.

      As for the probationary agent stuff…Kensi would have just come off probation when she joined the team, and if the two newbies have under two years in they should still be in that status. I would hope his change in agency affiliation wouldn’t matter, and it would be nice to see Sam stand up for the man who saved his wife if the newbies try ribbing Deeks (I don’t expect to see that, but it would be refreshing to see Sam be something other than a bully). Or maybe Callen could actually act like the team leader for a change (honestly, I don’t know why they keep setting him up this way…it doesn’t seem to be something the character wants to do at all).


      • The thing is, it’s the story they chose to tell. They’ve done brilliantly creating a character we like, feel protective of, care for even. We just don’t like the way he is treated, we don’t like it at all. However it is fiction, not a documentary, and if we expect the details to match real life, we’re on a loser because it’s never going to happen. If they got everything technically correct, there would probably be no stories.


        • I understand that. What I look for is consistency and character development. Shows that draw me in have both, and when they start to waver I lose interest.

          Deeks has had solid character development throughout (and I think that’s why this particular glitch is drawing so much attention). Kensi? So-so. Sometimes she’s really spot-on, and then you get the whole Sabatino thing people are talking about now (and their bad blood would go all the way back to the White Ghost arc). Callen and Sam are still pretty much right where they started, at least in my view. Super-Sam gets dull, and Callen is so riddled with angst they could almost dress him up in Goth or Emo gear and he’d fit right in. I keep hoping they’ll push the bar on those two, especially since there’s so much material for both of them. Sam has Jada and King on his conscience (Jada in particular), and Callen…well…there’s Callen. If they feel compelled to pair everyone off, I wish they would have kept Harley around and maybe had her and Callen get close. There were some interesting similarities there, and you could have had some interesting character development as they both came out of their shells. The banter is amusing, but even Crockett and Tubbs developed past that stage.


          • My comments yesterday were specific to the ‘Deeks joining NCIS’ arc, I left aside other characters and storylines. Still waiting for howls of disagreement. I think they have experts on hand to advise on protocols during filming, but they do play fast and loose with background details, all shows do.

            The subject of character development is different matter. One I think we more or less agree on. It’s a road we’ve been down many times before, but I am more than happy to take another stroll. Not allowed to go anywhere else.

            I think part of the inconsistency is down to each writers view of the characters. Sticking with just a few writers would give us very ‘samey’ stories so we need new writers. Somewhere along the way the team backstory gets lost, or just diverted.

            Sam comes across to me as a judgemental bully, who knows he is a hero and a legend because everybody tells him so. He should have enough gravitas to lead the team. Unfortunately, even though he is expert in everything, he has all the gravitas of a garden gnome (gnomes can be scary). His development over the years is minimal. He is well played by LL Cool J.

            Callen seems like an iceberg, cold and mostly hidden. If he went to FLETC they didn’t teach him to respect authority. He had no time for Hunter or Granger, at least not to start with. It was an improvement that he cared about Granger at the end. He has gone rogue often enough. To be fair Callen has shown signs of developing, he cares about Anna evidently. He hasn’t moved on from his childhood as much as Deeks but I think he is trying.

            Together Sam and Callen make a good team, with the banter and stuff. Inexplicably Deeks respects them immensely. It is about time this respect is reciprocated, but I think that is a long way off. I think respect is something missing from the team, mutual respect that is.

            Kensi has moved on a little bit more, not as uptight as she was, still a tad self-centred. She clearly loves Deeks and has fought for him, both Talia and in ‘Internal Affairs’. I think she would give up her life for Deeks, but not her job.

            I think it is disappointing that none of the team offered Deeks any support or understanding with his problems. Does that mean he wasn’t truly accepted as one of them, still being a cop? It would be nice to see the team working and pulling together, something which is problematic at the moment, with social distancing. It will be interesting to see how they treat Deeks now he has joined NCIS, I have to say I’m not expecting much change, I really do hope I am wrong.


      • I had a lot of points to agree with your comment.
        Actually, Sam wasn’t always a bully from the beginning.Sometimes he behaved like a bully when his car was stolen in the early season or when he threatened Eric to get his daughter’s Christmas present, but he grew up little by little.After “personal”, he monitored Deeks’s commute early in the morning and guided him on risk management as an agent.He came in to help when Deeks was threatened by a criminal who had been arrested a long time ago.Even before “Descent,” he sometimes laughed at Deeks’s joke to add his ideas.I remember being really confused when “Descent” aired, as their mentoring relationship sometimes seemed to work.After that, they settlement was finally and Sam seemed to grow as an older agent.He sometimes goes into protection mode to watch over the young partnership between Kensi and Deeks.He advised Kensi several times as a motto and encouraged Deeks in S8.So I may be a minority, but I have never wondered about Deeks’ respect, loyalty, and trust on Sam.Bully Sam is the same as incompetent Deeks and always starts with the whims of the writer, so I ignore it.But what I hate is that writers repeatedly regress Sam’s growth, sometimes making him a dishonest and inconsistent character.I mean, this is a Navy show and he’s a SEAL so “semper fi” is very important.From my point of view, Deeks seems to be the only field agent working on the team faithfully.


        • Have to agree that Sam was kind to Deeks in Season 8, although I did wonder if it was for Kensi’s benefit. You are quite right that the portrayal of the characters is at the whim of the writers. I might have been a bit harsh on Sam, but I still haven’t forgiven him for his remarks to Deeks in ‘Descent’, it came from the heart, I know I should move on. My take on Sam teaching Deeks risk management was that he knew Deeks didn’t have the same training, he could have pointed it out sooner. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to see Deeks and Sam work together, they are just so different. Of course the other variable is that we each have our own perception of each character and I think that is a good thing.


          • Patricia, you are not harsh.To be honest, I love it a bit that some of us never forgive Sam’s attitude of “Descent”.It makes me feel relieved to know that there are people who are very protective of our detective.That being said,I like the relationship between Sam and Deeks.My favorite ship between Deeks and Hetty, Kensi, Nell, or Sam.In that order.Maybe I’m just ignoring the existence of other version characters except when they’re nice to him.Or, Those fade away from my memory because I don’t watch episodes repeatedly when his treatment is cruel.I take only what I want to see, but you are honest in dealing with all characters.The funny thing is that I’ve always wanted Team Marty, so I really should move on,but I enjoy seeing him on the screen even though I know my dreams won’t come true.The character to be worth it.He may not be perfect and I’m too easy to be with him, but he’s almost perfect in terms of “character strengths and virtues”.I guess TPTB couldn’t create on purpose a character like him, and that’s the issue with this show for me.I’m basically a fan of NCIS mothership, but at the same time am a sucker for his personality and bring me a sense of well-being when he looks happy.
            I don’t know if it helps your doubts about Sam,but I remembered another good version of him.He taught Deeks that he was not alone after failed in the episode of “frozen lake”.Well Sam sometimes becomes a good senior by decent writer and disappears next episode.I love the fact that multiple writers portray Deeks as almost respecting and supporting everyone if they are ungrateful.No matter what kind of person they are, he has the gut instinct decide what is right and what to do.Sometimes i feel miss Detective Whiting,Bates,Kirkin,Arlo Turk, etc.
            Sorry, I started talking about too much praise of my beloved character and got off the track many times.I want to be a little more fair and objective like you, but I can’t.What I can do is not care about the screen time of other characters, and in fact I don’t.The only obvious thing is that I’m still watching this show just to watch him, and I have nothing to complain about unless they do something like unemployment arc as doesn’t respect his character and fans.


            • Thank you Tessmmmax, I try to be objective, but I think I fail miserably. I am 100% Team Marty and then some. I think Deeks teamed with anybody works, even Chaucer the poodle. That may come from ECO rather than the writers. I was a fan of NCIS and I’m not sure why I stopped watching, I guess I found NCIS:LA and never went back. I do think the characters on the mothership NCIS are, or used to be, written more consistently.


              • Patricia,Thank you for reminding me of Chaucer.After reading your comment, I re-watched the fun part of the episode Hetty and Densi and the dog show.
                I agree with you.ECO has just the right timing for the words he says that makes what he does very fun,thrill,or sad for us.Besides,I add that Linda Hunt, Dani were great.They would have been indispensable in creating Deek’s iconic scenes and impressive character.I miss Hetty and Deeks.Both of them have great chemistry, so their scene is always my favorite.It was good to me that she came back for crossroads of his life.I don’t know if I would have watched this show until today without part of their conversation at the bar in “Hand to Hand” and “Human traffic”.I suppose Deeks’s Bar reminds him of the moment when his life changed for the better.So if writers stopped the frustrating plot of “losing our money” I would soon be a fan of the bar idea.One more thing,Renée is so gorgeous on the screen and Nell’s character is always heals me.Writers,Cinematographers, Editors, Make-up artists and many other crew also did a great job until a few years ago.I understand what ECO is grateful to the crew, but that’s the actor’s point of view. They usually appreciate their opportunity. But I really don’t appreciate this show from a character fan’s point of view.
                I understand some people like you who never returned to NCIS.Actually, I feel sometimes they are in a rut, but in my case, it’s like a “Home” that makes me want to go home after a little while.They treat the characters more fairly and continue to expand their fandom.I don’t remember Jimmy’s miserable portrayal in recent years.Even if I skip some episodes, their team always looks like a team as it’s basically made up of open-minded people.That doesn’t mean that each of them has no background.


  22. The Topiary Cow // January 21, 2021 at 8:38 PM // Reply

    Goth Callen *snicker*

    Yep, agree that lack of consistency and character development is a problem.

    Like starting a small Topiary and never coaxing and encouraging it to spread its leaves into a beautiful Cow. 🙂


  23. I have a question.Did Kensi even tell Deeks she was working with Sabatino? When she on the phone with Deeks she hurried up and ended the call when she saw Sabatino coming toward her.Just curious what other thought.


  24. NutterButter // January 22, 2021 at 5:54 PM // Reply

    Thanks for a great review. I really enjoyed reading it. Eric was outstanding as usual. I Think the like this become a mess when you add many characters that don’t have chemistry with rest of the cast, What bothered me most about this episode is Fatima and Roundtree again why don’t they go to the basic and keep the interaction among the main characters or at least give us new ones that we can care about like Granger, Chegwidden, Hiddoko, agent dechamps,or even (Talia). What also bothered me was Callen’s background and the flash back scenes really enough is enough with his story and sadness I’m getting sick and really tired with this they always fail in the same stereotype and they always go with the obvious storyline they either gave us Sam background and put Callen in danger or they gave us Callen background and put Sam or his family in danger, it’s been 12 years now and we still have the same thing and they don’t even add new information about their personality or their characters(IMO), while in the same time we we don’t have the same luxury with the others. We don’t know about Deeks, Kensi , Eric,or even Nell.


    • You make some good points there NutterButter I have to agree. I don’t know what’s happening with Fatima and Rowntree, nobody seems to have time for them. To start with I thought it was because they had two young agents joining too close together. Then I thought of Season 2 when Deeks and Nell joined a few episodes apart, they fitted in seamlessly, and brought a huge amount to the show. It didn’t help Fatima’s cause giving her a motorcycle. We haven’t forgotten Hetty taking Deeks’ motorcycle away. Was it inconsistent writing, or were they seeing if we were paying attention? Perhaps bringing in a more seasoned agent like Dechamps and a beginner might have worked better, I don’t know. It was a nice idea of Sam, to train new agents, not sure it’s making good TV.

      We have to accept that NCIS:LA is really the adventures of Sam and Callen. They are the main characters, on the DVD covers, do the ‘previously on’ and all that. Sort of Starsky and Hutch become Federal Agents. It’s just that the support team are actually now more interesting and we would like to see more of them and their stories. While Callen’s backstory has been thoroughly documented, done to death some might say, the others not so much. In a nutshell, Kensi’s father was murdered when she was 15, she ran away and is still recovering. Deeks shot his father when he was 11 and is still recovering. Nell comes from a happy family, has a bullying older sister and a sick mother. Is Nell’s mother still alive? Then there’s Eric Beale. The only information I can remember, but I do forget things, he once mentioned a step parent. He is routinely put down and often written as a clown. I really don’t know what they are doing with him this season.


      • NutterButter // January 23, 2021 at 2:41 PM // Reply

        Thanks for noticing and taking the time to post your comment. I appreciate it and I agree with everything you’r saying. I am a huge fan of ECO and DR as well as Kensi, Deeks and the Densi relationship.
        I love the character of Kensi and my issue is not with her, but the way the character is handled. I’m tired of being lectured on twitter and Instagram of being too Deeks focused. Well, yeah! I only watch for him.Sue me. Don’t like Callen and Sam. I only like them during team interactions. I’m a bad fan I know, as I’ve been told. I still get a lot out of the show and consider it a favorite and I know They are the main characters, on the DVD covers and so, but let’s be honest most NCIS LA fandom came after season 2 or to be specific after the creation of Marty Deeks people didn’t care about the show before I for one till date didn’t see season 1 except of course “hand to hand” &” Fame”. Let’s take another look on the ratings the most viewed episodes either Deeks centric or have more screen time or Densi Centric. I didn’t say they shouldn’t show us their background stories all I’m asking is give us something more interested and treat the others characters equally. I think in season 6 they gave us Callen (and Sam) show and pushed back the other characters and for me it was the most boring season ever and most of the cast were out of the character Especially there was no need to reduce the screen time for the others due to pregnancy ,or illness.
        On the lack of any Densi scenes it’s possible that ECO was off that day to be with his wife and new daughter. Or due to the epidemic or maybe have another project he is working on and I really really respect that so much about him and how he is prioritizing his family first but I think we also as a fandom seek for our favorite TV shows and favorite characters to escape our reality and all the hard time we live in so at least they need to give us something we care about or help us pass this time. Like this episode here they could give us a story about Deeks or Kensi in flashbacks the young version of themselves instead of callen and by that they will be able to give us at least what we need and also maintain their time off screen to be with their families. (Just saying, However I’ll appreciate more screen time for ECO& Dani )
        The writing has changed and doesn’t do justice to all the characters and Deeks’s lines are not as good as in previous seasons. I agree with other comments that the story lines are weak and the writing is not as witty as the first 11 seasons. Love Frank Military’s writing in previous seasons and r. scott gemmill too but not in this season or the last one Idon’t know where they headed with please Bring Deeks back. His personality with the other team members makes the show. It’s a perfect team He is a great character and deserves to be with his team.


      • The Topiary Cow // January 23, 2021 at 10:11 PM // Reply

        Patricia, you are right about Beale being put down. I hadn’t thought of that till you mentioned it! Another mistake by the writers, he (Foa) is so talented!

        *adventures of Sam and Callen* hahaha!


        • I’ve seen it said in various places that one of the original intents of this show was to create something with a Miami Vice-type vibe. That would explain the character pairings (Vice for the first couple of seasons was a show with partner teams) and other aspects. But what they seem to have missed is the growth of the characters (especially the main characters) in Vice. That’s what we’re noticing and commenting on. Callen is still pretty much Callen from the first seasons. Sure, he knows his first name now, but he still more or less lives on a rucksack and angst. Sam is still “hero SEAL SamHannah” who seems to have zero awareness of the impact of his actions on others (Jada, King, Deeks, even Callen). Kensi has changed, but I think she’s been dragged along by Deeks (if her character would have changed without him seems questionable, honestly, at least to me). The biggest changes (aside from Deeks, who was always fairly dynamic) have been in the meerkats. Nell and Eric have blossomed with minimal screen time. They’ve grown from awkward genius teens forced to share the same science lab workbench into a great pair (which TPTB seem to want to mess with now…).

          I write, so I dig into characters. I don’t do much fanfic, but I have done a bit with Vice. That show was erratic with character background (and that’s being generous), but it was fairly consistent with growth and behavior (especially for its time). Here we see kind of a reverse of that, with the secondary characters developing and maturing (if you will) in front of us while the primary ones remain static. I think that creates a lot of the tension we feel and some of the frustration when the show circles back to the same two characters with the same problems they’ve had every time the show comes back to them.

          Sorry for the long reply, but I look at the show from a writer’s perspective. And I see so many missed opportunities with Sam and Callen, along with the current regressions with Deeks. Shows like this, in my view, remain strong so long as the characters remain strong and growing. When they stop doing that, things get tough. Bringing in new characters (again in my view) just adds to the problem UNLESS they’re designed to enhance the team in a clear way (like a Granger replacement would). Characters for the sake of characters is kind of a Dick Wolf thing, and he’s already got enough clone shows on TV…. 🙂


  25. Nutterbutter // January 23, 2021 at 2:40 PM // Reply

    Thanks for noticing and taking the time to post your comment. I appreciate it and I agree with everything you’r saying. I am a huge fan of ECO and DR as well as Kensi, Deeks and the Densi relationship.
    I love the character of Kensi and my issue is not with her, but the way the character is handled. I’m tired of being lectured on twitter and Instagram of being too Deeks focused. Well, yeah! I only watch for him.Sue me. Don’t like Callen and Sam. I only like them during team interactions. I’m a bad fan I know, as I’ve been told. I still get a lot out of the show and consider it a favorite and I know They are the main characters, on the DVD covers and so, but let’s be honest most NCIS LA fandom came after season 2 or to be specific after the creation of Marty Deeks people didn’t care about the show before I for one till date didn’t see season 1 except of course “hand to hand” &” Fame”. Let’s take another look on the ratings the most viewed episodes either Deeks centric or have more screen time or Densi Centric. I didn’t say they shouldn’t show us their background stories all I’m asking is give us something more interested and treat the others characters equally. I think in season 6 they gave us Callen (and Sam) show and pushed back the other characters and for me it was the most boring season ever and most of the cast were out of the character Especially there was no need to reduce the screen time for the others due to pregnancy ,or illness.
    On the lack of any Densi scenes it’s possible that ECO was off that day to be with his wife and new daughter. Or due to the epidemic or maybe have another project he is working on and I really really respect that so much about him and how he is prioritizing his family first but I think we also as a fandom seek for our favorite TV shows and favorite characters to escape our reality and all the hard time we live in so at least they need to give us something we care about or help us pass this time. Like this episode here they could give us a story about Deeks or Kensi in flashbacks the young version of themselves instead of callen and by that they will be able to give us at least what we need and also maintain their time off screen to be with their families. (Just saying, However I’ll appreciate more screen time for ECO& Dani )
    The writing has changed and doesn’t do justice to all the characters and Deeks’s lines are not as good as in previous seasons. I agree with other comments that the story lines are weak and the writing is not as witty as the first 11 seasons. Love Frank Military’s writing in previous seasons and r. scott gemmill too but not in this season or the last one Idon’t know where they headed with please Bring Deeks back. His personality with the other team members makes the show. It’s a perfect team He is a great character and deserves to be with his team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Nutterbutter, the only thing I disagree with, is you saying you are a bad fan. My goodness you are a very good fan. You are passionate and you care, that’s a good thing isn’t it. There is no such thing as being ‘too Deeks focused’. You are right saying most of the NCIS:LA fandom came after Deeks joined. I thought Season 1 was a bit tedious so didn’t watch it very much. I only really watch it for Deeks, and I think Deeks-centric episodes are the best and most memorable. I can’t say I actually dislike Sam or Callen, they are what they are. I like Scotch, but too much gives me a headache. Not going to get a headache watching Deeks. All we really want is good stories, more Densi and less Sallen, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.


  26. The Topiary Cow // January 23, 2021 at 10:28 PM // Reply

    Hello everyone,

    I am new to the show and just now working my way through the DVDs. I am now in Season 9.

    Did anyone see in the Christmas episode, All is Bright, the very first shot of the episode shows a view of Los Angeles….was this an inside joke? Was this commented on at the time? Because it depicts LA with a backdrop of a (fake) snowy mountain range. There is no such mountain range in LA. It looks to me to be the same range they used for fake Afghanistan.

    If this imaginary snowy range was inserted for the Christmas episode to make it more “Christmasy” it does seem like a very good joke!

    Apologies if this was discussed at the time, I am late to the party!


    • Hello Topiary Cow, I can’t help you here at all. At the moment I’m re-watching my DVD’s, still on Season 4 but I’m now going to have to watch ‘All is Bright’ to see what you mean. I’m not familiar with LA, apart from what I’ve seen on NCIS:LA. Although I have been there a few times, mostly in and out, on the Greyhound buses. Do you still have Greyhound buses?

      I hope your leaves are lustrous


      • The Topiary Cow // January 24, 2021 at 12:53 PM // Reply

        Hi Patricia, how interesting that you toured LA on Greyhound buses! Sounds like you are an adventurous soul!

        I moved away 20 years ago so don’t know if the buses are still there. I’ve heard now they have Metrolink trains but have never seen them, would love to see an NCIS LA episode set on a Metrolink, heard they are very nice!


    • So I watched ‘All is Bright’ again, I see what you mean about the mountain range, but it was totally lost on me. I had forgotten what a nice little episode it was. It looked like ECO and DR had a lot of fun shooting it and we got the Densi we like. Also, I had forgotten how good Harley was. If they could write Fatima more like her, as a real person rather than a statement, people might find her less irksome. Or maybe not.


      • Harley was a character who grew on you, especially as she cautiously emerged from Mosley’s shadow and became her own person again. I really wish they would have kept her around, as she added a nice “one-two” to the show, because she could work either in Ops or in the field (basically covering for anyone who was out for whatever reason) and added a nice balance to whatever team she was with. And being a Marine she brought a nice balance to the “hero SEAL SamHannah” thing. They really missed a golden opportunity with her.


        • The Topiary Cow // January 24, 2021 at 12:47 PM // Reply

          Hi Robbie, I agree Harley was a good character. She had presence that Fatima does not. However if she posted that she couldn’t get along with someone on set, that was probably the problem.

          I agree that Fatima seems fake, as if they determined to make her cool so: give her a motorcycle. Next they will dress her in black leather and have her smoking, just like Sandy in Grease. Not working for me!


      • The Topiary Cow // January 24, 2021 at 9:00 AM // Reply

        Thank you so much for checking, Patricia! Glad you saw it too! I am going to believe this is the producer’s little Christmas joke.

        Yes, it is as a good ep! Funny that Kensi stole the sheep from the nativity scene!


      • Nutterbutter // January 24, 2021 at 1:52 PM // Reply

        I really did enjoy this episode, Densi scenes were funny and I loved Deeks & the bike, I liked that Callen and Finn moment at the end and overall a very nice Christmas episode the humor and banter felt organic not forced and all in all it was a pleasant hour of TV. Everybody had a role and no one was left out. Hidoko was hilarious hope they could bring her back. It was well balanced episode


  27. Thanks for the great discussion everyone. I enjoyed hearing the range of perspectives.

    Also, Topiary Cow, FYI Los Angeles actually is ringed by mountain ranges. They create the “Los Angeles Basin,” which is what makes it so difficult for smog to dissipate. The mountains at the beginning of “All is Bright” are, I think, the San Gabriel Mountains. They and the San Bernardino Mountains go as high as 11,000 feet, and when we get a good winter rain, they’re often coated with snow, making for that gorgeous shot of the downtown skyline against the snowy mountains. It’s shot with a long lens to make them look much closer together than they really are- they’re probably at least 15 or 20 miles apart. Here’s an example:


  28. The Topiary Cow // January 24, 2021 at 12:38 PM // Reply

    Thanks Karen. I lived in Santa Monica for 30 years and never saw the mountains, I’ve been to Mt Baldy but could never see it from closer than Covina on the 10, guess they have cleaned up the smog since I moved away and as you say, used a long lens. Thanks for the link!


    • Yes, TC, I had the same experience when I first came to California. Happily, strict emissions controls have made a huge different in air quality over the years.


      • The Topiary Cow // January 24, 2021 at 5:13 PM // Reply

        Karen, Good to hear that air quality has been improved. Maybe some day I will be able to return and actually see those mountains I thought were imaginary, haha!

        It is quite an achievement that they have improved smog despite big population growth. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Nutterbutter // January 24, 2021 at 3:45 PM // Reply

    I think we all agree the show is not the same without as much ECO, and whether it is by his choice, or because CBS and the writers decision, at this point it does not matter, the show is not the same , and definitely not as good. I really hope they will change and try new formula in this season finale. I think they always go with the same pattern in last 11 seasons they always ending the season with Sam or Callen in danger situation, or their beloved ones, or meeting their nemesis, or missing, (except season 4 final with Deeks& Sam tortured however the story was about one of callen’s nemesis & saving Sam’s wife Michelle, and Season 9 final where all the team were injured). Also if they have Kensi taken by the serial killer and a total repeat of “Payback,” I’m going to be really really unhappy. Please try something new, out of the box that make us speechless and please try to listen to what the fans wants and give a try in at least 3 or 4 episode every season (I don’t think it’s too much to ask)
    Also I really hope they give us the long-awaited Deeks’ backstory “Deeks, M.” but if they are gonna ruin it or lose track of all his different characteristics that makes him the person he is the person who we love, and respect then and I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but if they can’t remember the character they had created then they should re-watch the previous seasons, or they can take the fans prospective, or maybe just maybe make the fanfiction writers take the hold of the show and give us some decent & considerate & sufficiently good stories(Finger crossed for the last part as I love& Admire the fanfiction writers ). and I know it’s alot to ask but maybe a Densi spine off just saying.


  30. I’m glad you wrote this review, Karen, despite your reservations. As always, I enjoyed your take on the episode (and not just because I agreed with much of it, lol).

    I agree, Kensi and Sabatino worked well together, better than I had anticipated, in fact. I think Sabatino’s more “carefree” demeanor was due to the fact that he wasn’t really there (and therefore wasn’t really accountable for anything he did). He’s definitely no Deeks, as our favorite former detective never would have led his partner into so many dangerous situations so cavalierly. If you watch carefully as the camera pulls away while Quiet Riot played, I loved how you can see Kensi continue to dance around–I do wonder how much of that was Dani, though.

    I too noticed the slow-motion, better used than some in the past, I think (can’t have too heavy a hand with that, IMO). I kind of liked the Sam and Kilbride scenes, I think they were used as a good means of exposition to catch people up. I have to say, everytime I saw the scene with Roundtree running toward the man as Fatima shot at the van, I kept thinking they were going to make him outrun the bullets, lol. That was a great scene. There’s something about Roundtree that I find very endearing in a young, inexerienced agent kind of way, and I think he and Fatima play off each other well. But I agree that if Sam and Callen are supposed to be training up the newbies to follow in their footsteps, they’e not doing a very good job. I wonder if that’s a function of the filming/production pods? Speaking of Callen, I really could have done without those flashback scenes. I found myself not caring and wishing they would end. I’m curious to find out what happened with Anna, though, as I am undecided if she has been lying to him or if she was kidnapped like Kam (that team of killers from The Monster hasn’t been found yet…)

    I took Deeks’ first scene more at face value, and was pleased to know he was already close enough to graduation that he and Kensi were making plans. I would have been happier if we (and Kensi) found out how he was hurt (fingers still crossed, but not holding my breath that we will in the next new ep), but I saw his keeping that from her as not wanting her to worry that a) he was in pain and b) that he might not finish with this class and perhaps have to take some or all of the training over. I was so happy to know that they’d planned a cross-country road trip for the ride back. I knew in advance that Deeks was kicked out of the program for some reasons, so I didn’t let that next scene bother me too much (despite Deeks’ clear heartbreak) until I knew the why. But boy, when I saw that last scene, was I pissed. I’m glad Deeks used the words “savage,” “inhumane,” and “messed up” and hope that the only reason he didn’t throw a chair or two right through Hetty’s monitor was because he was so relieved and in too much pain. Everytime I think about how selfish it was for Hetty to do that, I get even angrier. And here’s the thing–I’m not Hetty’s biggest fan from the days of Afghanistan, but I think this was OOC even for her (especially given that she’s not in in the country right now, are we really to believe she has the time and desire to pull these particular strings?). She couldn’t in good conscience let strangers give him his badge? I call bullshit, and I think it was (bad) drama for drama’s sake. A terrible arc that had so much potential and caused so much emotional (and physical) pain for our favorite detective. I loved your analysis of that scene, Karen, and I too was reminded of Hetty jumping out from behind his curtains.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, started having issues with Hetty around the White Ghost arc. It’s like the writers lost some of her earlier character mojo and just decided to replace it with this strange scheming version we see now.
      I honestly didn’t mind Hetty appearing behind Deeks’ curtains as part of the PTSD thing. Hetty has always had difficulty showing she cares about people, and for her to go to that much trouble just to check in on Deeks was (I think) her awkward way of showing she cared. I had far more trouble with the whole White Ghost thing and its aftermath. Some of the episodes in that arc were quite good (especially Deeks and the bad guy’s father), but on the whole Hetty to me really showed her true manipulative colors. Even Granger seemed put off by the whole thing.


  31. ‘A terrible arc that had so much potential’ sums it up perfectly, Psyched. I was so looking forward to this storyline. Even though I’m still not sure Deeks ever wanted to become an agent, it was a big deal for him. It started off okay, until he had so much gratuitous grief, angst for the sake of it. We never really knew what exactly was happening, the grief seemed to be coming from NCIS, not the ‘bad guys’. Okay Kessler excepted. I was expecting more insight into Deeks’ LAPD dealings. I was just expecting more. Of course Deeks was going to be downcast dealing with all this and giving him so much grief would have been okay if he been allowed his moment of triumph. The ending, if it has ended, belittled his big day, and left most of us disgruntled. I wish I could look forward to how the Kessler situation is resolved. I would love to see Deeks being the hero and save Kensi. I’d love to be twenty-five again, that’s not going to happen either. I’m still optimistic for a ‘Deeks M’ episode, well sort of…..


  32. Just watched ‘The Gold Standard’ Season 4. A lesson in how to write a Deeks free episode. There was humour but NO jokes or snarky comments at Deeks expense.


  33. Terry McQueen // January 31, 2021 at 2:55 AM // Reply

    Once again Martin Atticus Deeks is treated shabbily. Apparently, he doesn’t even qualify as a Special Agent. Once again, ‘inferior’ to his team mates. From cop to a half-step as an Agent. He’s still not on the same podium as G, Sam and Kensi, nor the Wonder Twins Eric and Nell.

    Mr Gemmill, given Deeks’s established prior service to NCIS and to the safety of the US, wouldn’t a recommendation by SECNAV, Vance and Hetty, and a signed Executive Order by the President, with an Oval Office presentation be more imaginative than a super fit, intelligent ex-cop who has been a quasi-agent for almost 12 years allegedly struggle for accreditation to carry a Special Agent badge?

    I am not a fan of de-aging Hetty. It always feels like a creepy film from Hammer productions.

    Come on… Sabatino partnering Kensi? Kensi has spent more screen time with Sabatino – a traitorous mole, CIA officer – during the last two episodes than she has with her own husband for the entire S12 combined.

    The episode has its moments, Fatima/Devin are starting to gel as partners. Sabatino continues, as usual from S4 onwards, to flirt with Kensi while dissing Deeks. And, finally, Deeks receiving his NCIS badge – albeit reluctantly. He must have noticed a different badge from that carried by the remainder of his team. He must have washed out for real as a Special Agent to be given a consolation Agent badge. Marty, why do you bother? Return to the law, pal, you’ll receive more respect working with Dr Jason Bull.


    • In season 12 after Kessler threatened Kensi (12X5), she was on cases with Sabatino (12X8 and 12X9) who never really had her back and she was vulnerable on those cases to be injured? He took a total of one shot during both shoot outs! SMH


  34. I can actually see a nasty plot spin way out of this…one that leaves Deeks in a better position than he started. But I don’t know if it’s something TPTB would do for Deeks…it’s more of a Callen-style spin. It’s also something I think they’d have to give to Military or Gemmill to write…it would require the Deeks touch and not the mocking of Deeks we see far too often from some of the other writers.


    • I don’t mean to offend you, but I don’t know if I can expect them.They aren’t my favorite writers for a while and I can’t remember last episode they made Deeks stand out or looks happy.Maybe now I prefer Chad Mazero or Kyle Harimoto.Joe Sachs was also a favorite writer, but I don’t know if he’s writing this season.The best thing to do is Shane Brennan, Dave Kalstein, Joseph C. Wilson, or Gil Grant will write an episode for him.I’m obviously not familiar behind this show, but I missed those my favorite writers.


  35. I think there are a number of ways Deeks could come out of this ahead, the collective minds of wikiDeeks could do a fabulous job, but realistically, I agree, it would have to be left to Gemmill or Military. It seems TPTB are more comfortable mocking Deeks or using him as the ‘cheeky chappy’, comic relief, it is the easy option. Far more compelling would be exploring the depths of his character. By depths I don’t mean depression or desperation, more the complexity of his character, his knowledge and experience. Possibly they have used up all the ‘Serious Deeks’ for this season, but the possibilities are endless. Such is the power of Deeks.


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