It’s hard to believe we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy twelve seasons of NCIS: Los Angeles. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the fact that we have another season coming our way. We don’t yet know what this new season will hold for our favorite characters, but there are a few things I’m hoping to see. Without further ado, here are my top 10 wishes for Season 13, in increasing order of importance:
10. Less Russia, less Russia, less Russia.
I haven’t done an official count, but Russia-themed episodes last season felt more frequent than ever. Sure, the show’s main character has Russian roots and a Russian name, but these story arcs have begun to feel a bit stale. It would be great to see the show come up with some new long-running arcs, new subjects, and especially, new villains. We know Frank Military’s creepy bad guy, David Kessler, is bound to make an appearance or two, but it would be great to have even more charismatic villains we can enjoy watching the team face, particularly when they don’t win every battle. I’m thinking about arcs like the (admittedly Russian-themed) Sidorov/Janvier episodes, ones that involved scary villains with scary henchmen that felt deliberately planned, where we actually had time to get to know the bad guys enough to fear them and enjoy their demise.
9. More LAPD.
Yes, Deeks is finally an NCIS employee, but I hope the show doesn’t forget about the LAPD. Among my favorite recurring characters are Lieutenant Bates, played by Patrick St. Esprit, and Detective Whiting, played by Karina Logue. Of course, I may be biased because these characters have always brought Deeks-centric stories with them, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be involved in more team-centric episodes. On the other hand, there is one Deeks-centric LAPD story we’d still like to hear, and that’s learning the exact details around the death of Frances Boyle.
8. Consistent respect for Competent Deeks.
Last year was a rough one for fans of Competent Deeks. It sure would be nice to see the showrunners and writers making sure Deeks maintains his competence even when he’s cracking jokes to alleviate tense situations. And for bonus points, a few kind words from Callen and Sam would mean sooo much to Deeks, and to us Deeks fans too. Oh, and extra bonus points for giving us a skilled Surfer Deeks. We’ve been graced with two episodes featuring a surfing Deeks, but we’ve never gotten any clear shots of Eric Christian Olsen actually tackling the waves with aplomb.
7. More reasons to embrace the newbies.
We get it, they’re young. (Speaking of which, can we request a moratorium on age jokes?) Oh, and Rountree runs fast. I understand that we need Fatima and Rountree, along with whoever replaces Eric and Nell in Ops. The core four actors are likely all wanting to reduce their work time to focus on other things, which is understandable after so many years. I’d love to get more reasons to care about these two. I want to learn more about their stories. And I have to say that less whining from Fatima also wouldn’t hurt.
6. Bring back the bullpen. And the undercover ops.
OK, this is really two different things, but I would argue they’re both representative of classic elements that have made the show great. Remember those wonderful pre-COVID days where most episodes began with team banter in the bullpen? I want that back. Really, anytime we get to see them all working together is fun, and now something I’ll value all the more for its frequent absence last season. And how about giving the newbies desks- there’s plenty of room to add a couple more next to Deeks and Callen. Let’s see how Fatima handles the kind of group teasing Deeks has long been subject to.
As for undercover operations, they’ve been few and far between despite being one of skills OSP is supposedly known for. There’s nothing more fun than seeing our favorite characters play people other than themselves. The possibilities are endless and this is one seriously underutilized plot element that could bring interesting dynamics. How about a happily married Kensi and Deeks playing an unhappily married couple? How about Rountree playing anyone other than himself? How about Deeks and Callen playing brothers? And I’d enjoy Sam and Deeks together in just about any undercover roles. It’s not hard to imagine lots of interesting scenarios to challenge the team and liven up the storytelling.
5. More Densi variety.
No one loves the angst more than I do, but last season’s pregnancy storyline never seemed to let up, except to give us Deeks’ struggles with his employment status and their worry over Kessler. I’m very happy to have lots more angst, but I’d appreciate it if we also got to see moments of lightness, of flirting, of downright silliness and fun. Deeks and Kensi don’t have to limit their scenes over the course of an entire season to a single topic, whether that be wedding planning or pregnancy. They can deal with lots of different issues and experience many different moods. Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah are the best at delivering strong emotions to the show; I just want them to have a break every now and then.
4. Better balance the dark and the light.
NCIS:LA has always run the gamut from silly (“Neighborhood Watch,” “SEAL Hunter”) to incredibly dark (pretty much everything else Frank Military has written). It’s one of the things that’s made the show so interesting over the years. Last season we definitely continued to get both elements, but the humor felt like it was taking over more than in the past. Some characters, like Beale, went full-on cartoonish. Even a character like Arkady Kolcheck, whom we all love, has really evolved over the seasons from a pretty dark and serious guy in Season 1 to kind of a buffoon now, albeit an entertaining one. When Deeks started to look like he was headed down that same Bealish path, alarm bells sounded amongst wikiDeeks readers (and contributors).
It would be great to see the show find a healthier balance between the all out humor of R. Scott Gemmill’s apparent inclinations and the all out darkness of Frank Military’s. Any individual episode can definitely go silly or dark- it’s one of the things we enjoy about the show. And it’s not that Military has grown darker, it’s really that Gemmill has grown sillier. I’d just like to see that silliness stay grounded in reality and carried out without making our beloved characters feel less real, less capable of taking on the bad guys, and less themselves.
3. A new episode from writer Eric Christian Olsen.
ECO’s first effort at writing an episode, the show’s 250th episode, “Mother,” co-written with Babar Peerzada, was a home run. It was exciting, funny, dramatic, emotional, filled with fascinating literary references, and a great team episode, one of the show’s best ever. I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next, and I’m thrilled that we’ve already received confirmation that he’ll be penning the season’s 19th episode. Consider this the first of these 10 items I can cross off the list.
2. “Brandel, M.”
Yes, I know I sound like a broken record. It’s just hard to fathom how we’ve gotten to Season 13 without the show’s best character (according to us at wikiDeeks but also according to Frank Military) getting an eponymous episode. Ironically, he’s quite possibly a character with two names, assuming he took his father’s last name before his parents divorced (again, we assume). It’s a tailor-made set-up for a two-part episode to answer all the questions (OK, some of the questions) we’ve long wanted to know about Deeks’ past.
1. “Deeks, M.”
See #2. What a great gift it would be to long-time fans of this character to get an episode (or two) devoted to his intriguing past. We won’t give up on it happening and we won’t stop asking for it.
. . .
What do you make of my list? And more importantly, what are your wishes for the new season? Tell us all about it in the Comments below!