Review: NCISLA “Subject 17” (S13E01)
Welcome back to NCIS: Los Angeles! Can you believe we have begun the 13th Season?! Besides time flying by and all those clichés, it truly is amazing when you look back over all the years and see how far these characters have come. Every year we return expecting more and looking back at what may have been. But I’m just happy we can return to our favorite fictional characters and share in their lives one more year. As fans of this show we are truly blessed. We have some reoccurring story lines starting off the season opener, “Subject 17,” with Callen still wondering what Hetty is still hiding about his past and Joelle returning to find Katya. And of course, we are still wondering if Deeks and Kensi are ever going to have little ninja turtles of their own in their quest for their first baby Deeks. One of my favorite directors, Dennis Smith, is sitting behind the camera for this episode that was written by R. Scott Gemmill.
Looks like Callen is still grappling with his past. I suppose if I were him I’d feel the same way, but he is surely a dog with a bone who’s not going to give it up any time soon. I could go along with the mystery and intrigue but I wished it just hadn’t taken thirteen years to get answers. Speaking of continuing story lines, Densi is still searching for a way to parenthood and it looks like they have accepted it may take an adoption to fulfill their dreams. This is a big step for Kensi, who has to accept the fact that she’s not Wonder Woman after all and her body has betrayed her. But she knows that even adoption has its blessings and has agreed with Deeks to go in search of a child in need. I had to laugh when she asked for a reference from Hetty, who truly knows her limitations. Not one to win ‘parent of the year’ accolades, Hetty refuses to give the couple a reference and instead promises one from the Director of NCIS. Kensi suspects from her response that Hetty could be detrimental to their adoption process. I don’t know why she is surprised.
As Kilbride told Callen, Hetty creates people and Callen is still searching for answers. What if he is Subject 17? Will it truly make a difference in his life? What can he gleam from these files that will change is life after all these years? LL Cool J’s portrayal of Sam made me smile in this scene. After all these years with his partner he can only humor Callen at this point and try and bang some sense into him… but we all know how far that will get him. Callen is never going to let this go despite Sam’s Pandora’s box warning. Ye shall know the truth…
Meanwhile back at the ranch or the boatshed. She’s back! Joelle is still searching for Katya and is desperate for revenge. In the scene, Kensi and Deeks find no clues that will aid in the search of Zasha. Kensi instead turns her thoughts to Hetty again with Deeks jokingly reminding her that Hetty did go through that cannibal phase. “What is more serious than people eating other people? It’s one of the seven deadly sins!” It’s as good a hypothesis as any, Deeks.
I think I’m going to enjoy Hetty and Kilbride playing off of each other this season. Poor Sheldon. But my money is on Hetty when it comes to Kilbride’s bossy ways. Linda Hunt’s facial expressions were priceless. I think she is enjoying this as much as Hetty.
While assessing Katya and Anna’s background, Callen is remembering more about his childhood and training. What if he was part of a school to recruit secret agents right out of the cradle? Callen is desperately determined to go down this rabbit hole. Kilbride is not giving anything up but I don’t think he knows the whole story either and would rather throw it back on Hetty’s shoulders instead. Callen bullies Hetty to know if he is Subject 17 and he gets his answer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hetty back down so fast. Will Callen regret knowing the truth?
Kilbride forces Callen to concentrate on the mission instead. He will have to deal with Hetty later. For now he needs to force Joelle to come to her senses and bring Zasha to the boatshed. Another showdown at the boatshed corral with Joelle and we find that Zasha is working with NCIS. But Joelle is being defiant and has no intention of giving up her prey. Callen knows how to play the blackmail game too. Who’s going to break first? Can they work together and both get Katya in a joint mission?
Looks like the NCIS boys have some better and more sophisticated weaponry this season. Those SUVs were blown up in style. As the Russians herd Zasha back into the building, the banter between Sam and Joelle gets extreme. There is definitely no love lost between these two. Kilbride wants a non-lethal confrontation and as little involvement from NCIS as possible. The team knows this confrontation is only going to end one way. The team is going in. We get a Densi chuckle of the hour as the team goes crashing into the building.
Deeks: Shock and awe is my specialty.
Kensi: God I wish.
With Zasha and Joelle secure, Callen decides Joelle is worth more to them in their search for Katya than throwing her behind bars. The rogue CIA operative leaves, threatening Callen to stay away from her family. This storyline is not over and we’re already being set up for more confrontations between the two.
Little genetic ninja assassins may not be a reality for Kensi and Deeks but Deeks is philosophical as always. Ready to trust and give into the universe, Deeks uses his superpower to make Kensi laugh and forget about their problems. Deeks knows how to talk Kensi off the ledge and she is lucky to be married to her surfer guru.
Hetty starts a new arc by traveling to Syria to clean up a mess she left behind. Kilbride is not too optimistic about her chances, but we have seen Hetty survive worse. Callen will always have a love/hate relationship with Hetty. But he’s torn between finding out more about his past and keeping Hetty’s future safe. Callen sends Zasha to keep tabs on Hetty. It will be interesting to see where this storyline will take us.
All in all, a good first episode. Having all the characters share their fears, hopes and uncertainties is always an episode that gets my vote. Although I’m a bit tired of this Russian arc, maybe this new storyline will take us into unknown territory. Also, still missing Nell and hope that she and Eric make an appearance one episode in the future.
Hope you had a chance yesterday to watch our first video from Eric regarding Deeks’ storyline and arc for this season. We have two more coming up, so be sure not to miss them! Deeks’ Surf Log is back this year along with Kensi’s Journal, for all of you fans who like to sneak a peek into the minds of our two favorite characters. What did you think of last night’s opening season episode? Why don’t you leave a comment below and join in the conversation!
Thank you for the lovely review. I have a lot of feelings here, and this’ll be a long post, just warning you all in advance.
I’ve been sorting through my mixed feelings about last night all day, and there’s 1 word that can definitely describe how I feel about this episode: Insulted.
As most on here know, I’m a huge fan of Hetty and Callen, and their mother/son like bond. But last night, was a terrible one for me as a fan of them.
First off: What is with all this rewriting of Callen’s past?! The orphan thing was revealed in Raven and the Swans! Was it all changed just for that awful angsty scene in the burn room (which was also the first scene that they’ve had together since Fortune favors the Brave!)?! ‘shakes my head’.
2nd off: Why, was Kilbride, kept??!! He annoyed me so much!! From that confrontation with Callen in the shooting range, to bringing up what happened to Hetty in Season 9 in the most inappropriate way (she should’ve smacked him!), just. I have no idea what is so appealing about him.
And here’s the part that made me want to explode in a fit of anger: Seeing ‘Special Guest Star’ next to Linda’s name. I’ve never seen anything so insulting in my few years of being a TV fangirl.
If this is the direction that this show wants to go in (rewriting Calen’s past, revolving around the never ending Densi baby drama, pushing Hetty aside for a mission that we won’t see until something bad happens), then I think it’s time for me to stop watching these episodes live and just record them and get the info on Twitter and see if I want to actually watch the episode. I don’t want to, but I’ve completely had it with the promotion lies and the terrible writing, and the fact that the beating heart of this show is being treated like this!!
Here’s the bits I actually enjoyed:
Hetty and I are both night owls (Tee hee hee)
Hetty and Kensi’s talk (I love their talks)
The familiar banter and humor
What Sam said to Callen early on in this episode.
Callen showing that he’ll always be concerned about Hetty by sending Zasha to look after her.
But all in all, sigh. I don’t recognize my favorite show anymore, and that makes me really sad. 😦
(Also, Hetty is not the villian here. As bizarre as most of the things she’s done, she’ll always look after her team, and they’ll always look after her, and that can’t be changed.)
I enjoyed this episode alot. I know people miss Nell and Eric, but although I miss Nell, I don’t miss Eric – not the actor’s fault, but I think they had written him to be ridiculous.
Thanks for the review Diane, always great..I really enjoyed the episode, the hour went way to quickly..loved the banter between kensi and Deeks, they seemed relaxed and funny..I had hoped with callen finding his father, that would be all the answers he needed, but the saga of callen, joelle and anna continues…sounds like hetty is out for awhile again. I do like seeing hetty and kilbride bantering and bickering…enjoy the teams back together…loved the opening segment.. looking forward to season 13..❤️❤️❤️
I may be in the minority here but I didn’t like the episode despite my hopes and excitement for this new season was very high. I’m so bored and this Callen storyline makes no damn sense. I don’t know where his problem is coming from. We’ve known that Hetty knew about him since childhood and she knows his mother and she also was the reason that made him get his life together and prepared him for this life and he wasn’t the only one, so what is the dilemma here and why making such a big deal about it ?? And why was he so angry with her for something he already knows? How did he know to look in that file cabinet? It has been there all along and suddenly he has to break into it. Also, can we please take a timeout from Callen looking for his past, Russia and Joelle? I don’t care about Callen’s past or identity issues anymore. He already found his family, now please just let the man move on and be happy and focus on who he is right now. And he should take Sam’s advice and move on and not go to that rabbit hole
All the shouting and yelling felt like OOC Callen & Sam , Callen & Kilbride, Callen & Hetty I thought it was a bit overkill.
DEEKS was always and will always be my heart in this show. With that being said the scenes between him and Kensi last night just felt repetitive and confused me a little bit. I didn’t know whether they want to adopt or will try another alternative so they get pregnant but can’t wait to see what happens with them. Loved his scene of humor last night it wasn’t over the top.
Definitely missed Nell and Eric is not the same without them in OPS.Didn’t missed Roundtree and Fatima.
PS, Changing the theme song and the intro felt weird for me. Why in hell would they do that!!! Are they really gonna reinvent the whole series again?
For me I hate changes and don’t do well with them. When you think of your favorite TV show, you can hear the theme song in your head and A good theme will be recognizable by a fan within seconds. I see that TV show’s theme songs are so important because they leave a lasting impact on the audience. So please bring the old theme song back again.
To end it on a positive note I’m Just glad the show is back, and It was good to see the team back together again in the bullpen even if it was for a few minutes, loved Deeks little dance when he was saying “wait for it”.
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I can definitely agree with you on the Hetty/Callen angst. Like, he already knew her, yet now he’s suddenly mad at her because a new retcon now makes him think that he knew her from when he was 6 or 8? Terrible writing.
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Densi pregnancy and Densi twins – boy and girl.
Fans will be happy!
I’m still not sure about the rewrite of Callen’s backstory, but THIS is the Callen from the earlier seasons–someone who doesn’t settle for lies, who gets emotional and yells when he’s angry (he was so angry after Janvier killed “our people” and in “Ravens and Swans” he yelled at Hetty), and argues with those in authority (always loved the Callen-Granger confrontations). But that’s family. Family members yell at each other, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. Chris was amazing in this episode, and I loved his scenes with Sam, Hetty, and even Joelle. (I’m so glad he threatened to tell her family. It’s exactly what she would have done.) And when Sam shoved her through the trap door. lol
I liked everyone in this episode, and for me, it had the right amount of drama, action, and humor. I’m anxious to see where this season goes.
No episode is perfect, and this one wasn’t, but I really don’t care. I’m just happy to see Deeks, perm and highlights included. I have missed seeing them all, but especially Deeks and Kensi. I think the word of the day must be patience. I will happily wait to see what the hell Hetty is doing in Syria, and hoping the whole team will end up there. I’m also sure they will soften Kilbride somewhat as the season progresses, and hopefully give us some decent backstory on Roundtree. I actually liked Callen’s intensity. It was missing last season, and I felt they softened his character too much. As much as I loved all the scenes with Deeks, especially when Callen chose him to be his right hand man as they went after the bad guys, it was Sam who had the best scene. I loved it when he calmly pushed annoying Joelle down through the trap door into the water. He had such a cool smirk on his face. Loved it.
I saw this first episode as a continuation of the never ending drama waiting to be rehashed.
Anyone seeing NCIS LA for the first time would probably be disenchanted with it as its laurels rested on the past. The morning bantering, where the fabulous four sat at their desks and discussed and teased one another, is greatly missed. The tone has become so serious and, without starting the day together in ops – it has lost its “ spark”. I really miss the comic relief they had when they were together. Was it necessary to bring Sam in so early in the morning for Callen to vent about his past once again? Was it necessary to have Kensi so worried over Hetty declining her request? Was it necessary to bring back Noelle as she is just so vicious and cold!
I am hoping the story line gets better and that each episode is an episode unto itself and not full of disjointed moments from the past. Just my take on things! I miss the old camaraderie the fabulous four shared in the past. They need to lighten up like the old days!
You are not in the minority, Jessie, and neither is Maria. I am a huge The Walking Dead fan and both shows aired at the same time, so I DVR-ed both, but decided to go with NCIS-LA since it was the premiere. I switched in less than 10 minutes to The Walking Dead.
Though I had some hope, I was not that surprised with the way it turned out. I have been predicting this since season 12, including the way TPTB were shooting the promos out vs what would actually appear in the episode, and people were not happy with my predictions. Well, here we are.
Btw, I love how you, Diane, very tactfully, gave a summation rather than a review, lol!
Hetty looked very frail, I felt her ‘pizzazz’ was gone. I think the toll of her car accident and the lockdown during Covid affected her deeply and it shows. She could barely hold her own during the scene in which Callen pressed her about being Subject 17. That is not the Hetty we used to know.
Callen’s birthyear, earlier on in the series at some point, was given as 1970, now it’s 1976. They erased 6 years and thought nobody would notice….? Plus, if he was Subject 17, then who and where are Subjects 1-16? And are there more after Subject 17? What were they subjects for? Hetty recruited orphaned children starting at age 8 for experimental mind games and reprogramming their psyche? A dark (and honestly kind of sick) story arc like this does not belong in a series like this.
If you look at Callen alone, she did a real number on him. He is incapable of leading a normal life, of forming any kind of relationship, of any type of healthy attachment in a family setting….I could go on. This is what happens when you experiment on children. Why on earth they chose to go this route is beyond me. In their 13th year no less.
I found the moment Hetty confirmed Callen is Subject 17 gut wrenching. I am not a Callen fan, but Chris did a good job there. I could see this hit him hard. The only person he had that came as close to a mother-figure in his life, reduced him to a “subject” and not just ‘a’ subject but just one of many.
The scene itself was sacrificed to terrible writing with Hetty stuttering cliches such as “the truth is a fickle thing” – “ask me no questions, I will tell you no lies”….., after 12 years, this is the best thing the writers could come up with?
I found the fact that 76-year-old Hetty’s travel request to war torn Syria was approved absolutely perplexing. If anything, the team would have been sent without her. I’m sorry, but she looked barely strong enough to be approved to go get a latte at Starbucks.
I felt that Kilbride’s outburst against Callen in the shooting range was completely uncalled for and out of line, considering how many times Callen has had to take the lead for this team when they had no leader. Kilbride is a retired interim, not even a full-time hire. I agree with Jessie, complete unnecessary overkill (although after years of thumbing his nose at Deeks, maybe Callen had this one coming). If this is the Kilbride we will have to deal with for the next 18 episodes, I’ll fast-forward.
Also, Kilbride, a self-admitted non-techie, was the only one in OPS “guiding the team” Nell and Eric were made to be so detrimental for full-time for 12 years? Uhm, no…..?
What was he actually looking at when he was standing in front of the big screen shouting that they should go in non-lethal (he is not wrong, NCIS is a civil agency), which was obviously an impossibility, way too late, and ignored by everyone. In the preview of next week, Kilbride states that Rountree is to join him in OPS, and Rountree is also not trained as a technical analyst.
Did anything in this episode actually have anything to do with Naval Investigations, btw…..? As I said before, the writers just continued with whatever season 12 was and actually managed to make it worse.
On we move to my personal reason for watching: Densi.
So happy to see DR’s heavy make-up is mostly gone and her hair is growing out. Would love to see Deeks a bit more cleaned up. He’s in his mid-forties now and an NCIS official.
I was really shocked by Hetty turning Kensi’s request for an adoption reference letter down (which should have been done by Deeks and Kensi together sitting down with Hetty IMO, not a casual walk into the armory). An adoption reference letter needs to be very personal, not formal and ‘from the highest ranking’ (the latter might help with bureaucracy, but the former is so more important getting through those first steps).
After what Hetty put Kensi through in Afghanistan, she owed her that much. It had nothing to do with Hetty being a parent herself, this was about what she knew about what exists deep down within Deeks and Kensi as people to make them good parents. I myself felt slapped in the face when she said no. Not the right thing to do here, Hetty. The team constantly sacrifices for you, all they wanted was a letter not a favor in the form of a phone call. This was personal.
I could not make a lot of sense about the parking lot scene when Deeks asked Kensi why she looked so sad when she walked away. I had to double back on that one. She didn’t even sound upset, let alone look sad. Then he turned it around and started babbling about cannibalism in a failed attempt of….well….I am not sure exactly what.
They had another ‘personal’ scene towards the end in the armory, and again, can they PLEASE, for the love of anything, have a serious personal and private (at home) conversation about this and make a decision so it won’t have to be dragged out for the next 18 episodes? Also, can they PLEASE, for the love of anything, at least kiss and hug and hold hands like a married couple and not college room mates??
Now they are leaning towards adoption. What have they filled out on the adoption forms? Two of my friends are currently going through the adoption process (another couple adopted last year, it took them 4 years and they both work from home). They have been fostering 2 children they are in the process of adopting. It is a rigorous, frustrating, closely monitored, and lengthy process. I know I will sound repetitive again, but there is no-way-no-how Deeks and Kensi will get so much as a foot in the door of an adoption agency in their current jobs and a house under a fake name. Which names have they filled out on the adoption forms if they are trying to hide from Kessler?
I found the things Deeks stated about “the Universe” strange. He mentioned the life of Kensi’s parents. Her dad was a Marine, he had a great life, her mom was a housewife, she had a great life. Before her father died, I can’t remember any mention of hardships. If anything, it was Deeks who had a horrible childhood. He referred to his mother as Mama Deeks as opposed to “my mom”…..? And, btw, where is Mama Deeks and the bar? Do they still have it? Is it still open? Is she still running it?
Yes, Sam shoving Joelle calmly but surely through that trap door, haha! The best!
Tired of Joelle, tired of Anna, tired of anything Russian. Won’t watch anything with Rountree or Fatima in it, I just cannot stomach it (btw, whoever dresses that poor girl needs wardrobe classes), no offense to anybody who does like them, this is just my opinion.
But most of all tired of and disappointed in the complete loss (destruction?) of intimacy between Deeks and Kensi. Almost everybody, including myself, posts Densi throwbacks on social media now because there hasn’t been anything else to post in years.
If this was any indication of where this season is headed, and I think it is, I will, like season 12, be DVR-ing and fast-forwarding. I shudder to think what they will do with the Kessler story arc.
End of rant, lol! Sorry but not sorry…..chuckle chuckle…..
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I’ve been waiting for you. And here’s my thoughts on your comment:
Not sure if it’s because I’m just me, but Hetty didn’t look that bad. I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t looking that closely, or because that’s just how I see her, or it’s just my OP.
I don’t find Hetty saying no to Kensi’s offer offensive or bad. Her parenting experience involves training orphans to fight crime, I don’t know much about adoption agencies, but I’m pretty sure most of them would frown upon a reference from someone with that kind of experience. So, her saying no actually helps Densi in this situation.
I don’t find rewriting Callen’s past really smart on the writers. And i know this might not be easy to understand, but I don’t find what Hetty did in the past that sick or bad at all. Back in the 70’s, Vietnam ended badly, the Cold war had started, tensions for another war was really high. And I think with Hetty’s experience as a spy and a solider in Vietnam, she felt that there needed to be highly trained soldiers to fight for this country, so I think that’s why she did what she did.
And yes, I still love Hetty and Callen’s relationship. She is the closest to a mother he’s ever had, and even when he’s mad at her, he still shows he cares about her. Like sending Zasha to look after her in Syria.
Medalion confirmed on CBS’s Twitter account on Sunday that this Season will be 22 episodes.
I just couldn’t stand Kilbride at all. I know plenty of fans love the actor, but he just doesn’t fit in here. Wasn’t just his yelling at Callen either, it’s what he said to Hetty as well.
Honestly, I don’t care anymore how Densi has kids, either surprise pregnancy or adoption, I don’t really care anymore.
I’m already choosing to record future episodes where I suspect there won’t be any Hetty in them and just read spoilers on Tumblr and Twitter, not just because I don’t want to go through the ‘Is Hetty going to be in this episode?’ charade again, but because seeing ‘Special Guest Star’ next to Linda’s name, was just too big of an insult and gut punch to me.
Hope to talk to you soon! 🙂
Good to hear from you, Maria! Made some follow-up comments below!
Totally agree- fans need Densi kisses – they are married!
The whole time I kept thinking does Hetty have a file on Deeks too, starting around age 11.
It’s good to see you back and read your thought about the premier M.
I’ll have to agree with most of what you have demonstrated in your comment. (Well Done M)
I think Callen’s story began to sound more and more like the Black Widow (LOL), and I think the writers made the same mistake Marvel has done with her, as Black Widow represents the MCU looking back when it should be moving forward.
That’s what TPTB is doing with the show and specifically with Callen’s story.
You were right about Callen’s birthday, but that wasn’t their only mistake they downsize Densi’s house from 3 bedrooms to 2 bedrooms. They really need to check their facts and what they wrote before submitting the episode unless that’s their intentional and they are missing with the fans and they leaving them like Easter eggs (LOL). Looks like their
continuity and inconsistency issues get worse.
Hope it gets better despite I’ve my own suspicious of how they will handle the rest of the season with Kensi being injured (again) and the whole Kessler and the adoption storyline, and Hetty in Syria(which is unbelievable), and Callen rediscovering his identity and background(also again).
So all we’ve to do is wait and see, then vent our emotion and frustration here.
Good to hear you too, Jessie! We think a lot alike!
I thought I was the only one who noticed the misinformation in the story line. It is obvious that the writers have not followed these characters from the get go or they would have known such details – or maybe they just don’t care! Kensi and Deeks moved into get a 3 bedroom/ 2 bath home. Callen is older than what they had on Subject 17 papers as his 1976 birthday puts him 5 years older than 40 year old Deeks! Not so! I have been disillusioned with the stories going back to Season 11. The close relationships amongst the characters is lost in the twisted and rehashed plot lines. Initially, this whole series revolved around the interpersonal relationships of the characters and that has slipped away with time. They can grow and diversify but they should still remain true to their loyalty to one another. In the Kessler episode, I saw Sam telling Deeks he is going to rip the coms from his ears with a pair of pliers -yet- if that was Michelle being threatened he would have stopped at nothing to protect her. He would have gone rogue! Why wasn’t he compassionate towards Deeks’s concerns for his wife.The connections are gone. The morning sessions at their desks kept these characters in touch and that is what is really missed. The lightheartedness from Deeks is gone. Everything now has a serious tone. He needs to kid around and put that gorgeous smile back on his face to keep this series alive. The writers need to understand that the success of this show was from the characters and not the plot. These people are a close family and that has not been evident – even before Covid.
Hurrah! NCIS LA is back!
WTF, so is Joelle.
Puleees, Russians again?
Chegwidden should have beaten Joelle to a bloody pulp in the boatshed because she was holding a gun on Hetty, and was part of a rogue CIA team who were corrupt to the core in Afghanistan, and then assisted in kidnapping a convalescing Kensi. (Season 8 )
When Joelle went running off in to that warehouse, I was hoping for her death. Perhaps another time.
Callen’s new canon makes him much younger than Sam. Really? I hope TPTB do not forget fans of the show have a lot of skin in the NCISLA game and have long memories.
We know Hetty was a mentor of Callen (and others). Are we to receive a re-hash of the excellent ‘Mother’ episode from Season 11? Instead of Arcos we get a variation named Callen.
Sam ‘the Wise’ Hanna because of Callen’s DoB change is now Team Leader. Or is he temporary promoted as Callen’s reverts to childish rants?
I enjoyed the shootout at the warehouse and we had BOOMS!, gun play, and repelling by Callen and Deeks. Finally some Team action after the tragic Covid pandemic.
Speaking of Deeks, was his hair styled by pillow or humidity? Or heated rollers? I thought it looked silly. Good to see the Densi interaction, although still mostly baby oriented. Baby plans started season 11 and continues to Season 13. Time elapsed could reach wedding plan magnitude.
Densi a married couple who hug and walk arm-in-arm but not kiss.
Kilbride was less grizzled than earlier appearances. A character that is beginning to grow on me. However, I still miss ADA Grainger.
Hetty ‘the Duchess of Deception’ is on her travels again. Vietnam, anyone? Her guest star appearance will allow her to disappear for another few episodes.
No matter how hard I try, I cannot see Rowntee and Fatima as anything other than make-weights.
I miss Nell, but not the pantomime character that became Eric.
Hate, HATE the new arrangement of the signature tune.
The beginning tune is the least of the issue. The writers need to go back to NCIS LA older seasons and episodes and really study how the characters were interacting with each other. The drawn out current story lines need to end and they need to focus on the characters and their relationships with one another and as a team. Every week it was so much fun watching the opening scenes at their desks as they kidded with one another. I fully agree with Christine as she stated they have focused too much on soap opera like continuing story lines instead of the very characters we have grown to love. Give us more of their passion towards one another instead of worrying about Joelle’s revenge. Get to the point with Anna and Callen. End the small talk on Kensi and Deeks waiting for a pregnancy and move on with the adoption. Make all of this about the characters surrounded by a given situation and not about the situation itself as the focus. This series was so much more worthwhile to watch when the characters were the focal point and not the “ continued next week” stories which have been dragging on way too long!
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Totally agree Jane, the best part of the show was in the bullpen ( or whatever it was called) the banter, just listening to the 4 of them started out the show. Then went to the storyline , catching the bad guys, blowing up building. Enough of Callen , Anna, Joelle and Russia. We are over it. Love kensi and deeks, go back to your banter and being partners, with benefits. , a little kiss here and there would help. I happen to like the opening segment. But that’s me. I agree go back to the 4 main characters, and do what they have always done, be a team and catch the bad guys.
I was just watching a U Tube version of Season 2 Episode 17 “ Personal”. Someone commented – way back 10 years ago- “ this show has the best character chemistry hands down.” This was my thought – but not anymore – thanks to the writers ruining the interaction of those great characters and their personalities!
I understand how you feel, Maria, in that you really don’t care about anything anymore after the blow Linda Hunt was dealt. I feel the same way about Deeks and Kensi. Their intimacy, romance, and passion has been completely destroyed.
I don’t quite get the demotion of Linda Hunt’s credit/title (because, let’s face it, that’s what it is). CBS is notorious for ‘punishing’ their female leads, as they are for paying their female leads significantly less than their male leads. LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell make $350K per episode where Linda Hunt makes only about 80K per episode. Numbers for ECO and DR are hard to pin down, but the ‘educated consensus’ is somewhere between 100K and 150K per episode. Personally, I think all 5 are leads with Densi being a TV “IT” couple on top of it, along with Upstead, Stellaride and Rollisi.
I say ‘punishing’ because everybody knows what happened to A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster after they demanded equal pay. Maybe this is CBS’ way of punishing Linda for not wanting to be on set during the Covid lockdown. I can think of no other reason. I doubt an actress of her caliber would voluntarily go along with a credit demotion, not after 12 years (!) of loyalty to and appearing on the show.
I see what you mean by it being a different era with regards to Hetty’s recruiting, but she was targeting children. And I don’t mean children barely under the age of consent, like 14-15 year olds, but 8 year olds. Orphaned 8 year olds. To mind-reprogram as “soldiers”. I don’t care which era that was in, that is wrong on a whole different level. Black Widow wrong, as Jessie said.
I was a bit taken aback by Linda Hunt’s appearance. To me, just my opinion though, she looked pale, thin, and very frail. I hope she didn’t actually have Covid.
The adoption letter wasn’t about Hetty’s experience as a parent, it was a reference letter as to who Deeks and Kensi are as people outside of their job, on a personal level; and if anybody knows them on a personal level, it is Hetty. Even better than Mama Deeks or Mama Blye at this point, I would say. SecNav doesn’t know them nor does the Director. They know their resumes and completed missions.
Therefor, to me, it was a big deal. The scene should have been written with the both of them sitting down with Hetty and Hetty saying “it would be my honor’. It was a slap in the face on a personal level. But that’s just me, who knows what other people think, sigh.
I think you are right about Hetty’s appearances in upcoming episodes. I said it last year, it will be a series of promos with empty promises and 5 minutes of Linda Hunt or none at all. Guess work. I can understand how you, as a Hetty fan, feel about that. I feel the same way about Deeks and Kensi. It was already made clear last year they wanted less screen time to focus on BTS and personal projects. But where does that leave loyal fans who gave them their fame and fortune to begin with…..?
This show has always taken liberties with time lines. Almost none of the characters’ (or their friends and loved ones) timelines add up. And now they aged Callen 6 years back, lol (Deeks is 43, btw, Kensi is 38 and I believe Sam is 52). Wish I could do that with my life! I have a regret or 2 I’d like to erase!
Look at Kensi for example. Between the ages of 16 and 21, she went back to and graduated from high-school (apparently making up the year she missed while on the street somewhere in between too), full attendance of Cornell-U, was the agent afloat for an aircraft carrier (!), graduated sniper school, graduated FLET-C, and became engaged to be married to Jack (she was 30 when she saw him in Afghanistan and they were engaged 9 years prior).
On a side note; Christine; Callen and Sam have never shown Deeks any respect. It has been a thorn in every Deeks fan’s eye out there! Deeks would do anything for his team, has done everything for his team, but it is not returned. Not even by Kensi in season 12.
I don’t mind the “soap opera” parts actually (I love my Densi after all!). It’s just that you have to balance it out with the action and story arcs, and this is something the writers on the show completely lack or just don’t care about. There is a lot of “soap opera” on other network crime shows (marriage, divorce, death, pregnancy, ect), but it is well done with great background development on all characters spread out over years.
I think a lot of it started to show when people binge watched back to back during the pandemic. Then the details, or rather lack thereof, started to float to the surface.
The characters need to drive the plot not the other way around, it’s a death sentence for a procedural. The passion and the connection disappear, and they sure have here. And as opposed to rebuilding Callen’s back-story (which is way too late anyway after 12 years) why not patch up what you can from the last 3 seasons during the time this show has left.
Hope it gets better too, Jessie, but I have little hope given the promos from upcoming episodes. I don’t want to see Kensi go undercover with Fatima! They are so persistent about forcing Rountree and Fatima on everybody, nobody wants them (being repetitive again, but I don’t care, lol!) Deeks and Kensi undercover together was always the best!
Thank goodness, indeed, there is always WikiDeeks! And yes, I know it was a looong post and I am nit-picking again, but that’s my favorite thing to do, lol! Thanks to everyone for listening!
Today, I got a negative comment on my thoughts on the premiere on my blog. Not going into details of what it said, but the person was saying things like that me being mad at the producers over the demotion was being disrespectful to Linda. Which is not true at all because I’ve never once blamed her for anything that has happened in the last 3 years! Me being suspicious that there’s more to this then meets the eye is not being disrespectful at all, it’s just me being curious as to if we’re getting the full story here, which I suspect that we’re not.
I don’t know if I’ll ever know the whole truth on these last 3 years, or if I want to know, but until I do, I’m going to suspect foul play. Because with all the unanswered questions, I can’t just assume that Linda wanted this. And her being paid less then the main 4 is just maddening. (And I have no idea if didn’t want to be on set last Season at all, or if she was forced off. But my instincts are going with ‘forced off’ for the time.)
If actors say (and I mean actually ‘say’ instead of their bosses saying it for them) that they want less time, that’s fine. But knowing how to actually handle it on the show if a whole different thing. And I haven’t see anything in the past 3 years that say ‘we’re handling this well’.
I wouldn’t mind the soap opera angle that much if it wasn’t pushing other interesting arcs aside all the time.
Another reason why I’m so ticked over the demotion is, Since that accident occured 3 years ago, I’ve been hoping and dreaming of Hetty coming back better then ever. And what happened on Sunday, made all that hoping and dreaming for nothing. And that stings so much.
Thanks for the comment!
I did not read the comment on your blog but to me, from reading your comments here, it feels like you are standing up for Linda, nothing else!
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Thank you! I feel like I’m doing the same.
Totally disagree about Callen and Sam never showing Deeks any respect. Both have shown Deeks respect (Callen was the first one to welcome him to the team and Sam has complimented him many times). They’re not going to genuflect when they see him, but he’s definitely a valued member of the team. That’s why Callen demanded that Mosley bring Deeks back on the team in season 9. It was also Callen who told Deeks to saty and continue to try to reach Kensi in “The Silo” while the rest of the team went to catch the bad guy. But Deeks, on the other hand, was the one team member NOT willing to help when Hetty had tasked the team with keeping Nikita in the U.S. He was more concerned about Kirkin’s well-being than he was about the well-being of Callen’s dad. The one time he spoke up for Callen–defending him to Mosley–Callen didn’t need him to speak up and it would’ve been better had he kept his comments to himself because he only ended up getting fired which didn’t help anyone, but that’s not how Deeks is and that’s okay. That’s his character.
I like both Kensi and Deeks, but I’m not a fan of the soap opera–of any soap opera on the show. It’s a crime show. Sure, they can have their scenes, but to have the same conversation every episode is too much. Give the other characters time to live their lives. Whatever happened to Katherine? Let her and Sam have some time onscreen. (I liked that they brought Kam back and we saw her and Sam interact.) Let’s see what Fatima and Rountree do on the days off, and if Callen and Anna are going to be a couple, let’s see them onscreen as a couple doing normal couple things and having normal couple talks. That would be a welcome change. And no, we don’t need to see Anna every episode, but more than fifteen minutes in an entire season would be good.
I liked this episode and loved seeing Chris get decent scenes. It’s been a long time since he’s had some good material to work with. I also don’t have much of a problem with the change in his birthday because I always thought it weird that anyone KNEW his actual birthday given his history. I mean, how would they? Hetty said she didn’t even know he and Amy were in the U.S. until after they arrived, and obviously neither carried their birth certificates if they didn’t know what “G” stood for.
I thought the entire episode was good and I like the darkness around the Callen-Hetty relationship. Hetty started off as a “mother” figure to Callen, but that was a long time ago and a lot has happened in Callen’s life–a lot of problems he’s faced alone, without any help from Hetty, at all. I’m interested to see where this relationship goes. I found seasons 11 & 12 mediocre, so season 13 can’t be any worse but it can be much better.
I honestly don’t know if I’ll even bother with this season. There’s so little left of the show I used to really enjoy I don’t think it’s worth it. You may not like fan fiction, M, but it seems better than what they’re coming up with now. If I want reheated leftovers I’ll dig up some episodes of SUV without Elliot.
And for an example of how they could have handled COVID intimacy, they should check out the pandemic episodes of Chicago Fire. Very well done given the circumstances.
Totally agree. So many shows (love Stellaride and Upstead) handled intimacy during Covid, and not one of them suffered. I think you are making a good point about being ready for fan fiction right now.
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I can write fics that are 10 times better then what is being offered in the show’s canon right now. (Humble brag) 🙂
Same here, Maria. We can write the episode together!
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I’ll stick with my own take on Investigator Deeks. I can create continuity, tie it in with what we’ve seen on the quality episodes of the show, and go from there. It’s the only way we’re going to get the kind of plot lines Deeks deserves, sadly.
Here we go again with another disappointment. According to RSG’s latest revelation on “TVLine” that we will not have a “Deeks, M” this season because they have enough on their plate this year. Bear with me here for a second but why do you bother to create new plots and arcs if you didn’t cover what you have already. To prepare for a new season you should plan the stories you want to show and prioritize them on which would make an impact on the show and which would consider a letdown. Other than being occupied by adding new characters (Fatima & Roundtree not interesting to me at least ) or rehashing the same old song about Callen’s identity crisis(which does not make sense after 13 years and is repetitive), or drag the adoption and the pregnancy storyline for 3 seasons like they did with the wedding, or create a new arch out of nowhere (Kessler) that didn’t click with the viewer as they hoped, instead it has a negative impact and most of the audience wants it to be wrapped ASAP.
If you want to give Callen a story why don’t you go and bring his oldest enemy” Janvier” or his half brother or his history with the CIA, or see him planning for his future for once, What about Kensi being agent afloat and her background that would be interesting and worth to watch? That is just my opinion.Many many many missed opportunities – but I don’t think it’s too late (Fingers crossed)
I think Deeks fans will forever feel cheated that he’s had many potentially good storylines opened up, and never followed through (Thank goodness for FanFiction!)
I also have to agree with “Christine, Jane, and Kathy” they really bring a good point to the table, which is the only thing that matters in this show is the interactions between the characters and the light-hearted banter without making anyone of them the butt of their jokes.
Oh “M” I think you summarize it all, and I share the same fear for next few episodes with Kensi being partnered with Fatima and being injured it feels like they’re going in a dark phase.
Sorry If I upset or offend anyone with my thoughts.
I read that today, and I knew that’d be a big disappointment for the fans of this site. 😦
I found the ‘too much on their plate’ comment amusing, like what are they too busy for? Rehashing Callen’s past? Finding more excuses to avoid bringing up what Hetty is doing in Syria? So amusing and pathetic at the same time.
Wow, Jessie! We’ve been waiting and asking for years. Maybe they should consider having ECO write it himself if they ‘have so much on their plate’. Which I do not buy. They are just rehashing old plots, dragging out storylines and forcing boring characters into the mix. For goodness sake, I could write it myself if they can’t find the time!
Usually, a show does not write an entire season in advance, but 4-5 episodes ahead. According to my employers, Covid put a big halt to the hiring of freelance/gig-writers. Since many writers lost their jobs due to show cancellations during Covid last year, the industry (union rules?) put those above freelancers. The hiring month for staff writers on a show used to be June, no staff writers would be hired before or after the month of June, with the exception of freelancers. That all went out the window last year as well.
That being said, other [crime] shows have not suffered quality-wise.
Though I do miss the bull pit banter, I was getting tired of the jokes always being at Deeks’ expense….. ☹
Oh, and you never upset me with your comments, they’re great!
Oh,Thanks M, you you always know what to say.
Actually, at this point, I don’t mind if the showrunners take a step aside and leave it to the fans to decide what they want to watch or to check the facts about the characters as they appear to fail at this recently, or even consider the possibility to bring/ borrow the fanfiction writers and/or the hardcore fans to write pols and arcs that are more interesting and satisfying than what they bring to the table.
Oh, and thank you for explaining the writing process for the TV show, it really was enlightening as I’ve no prior knowledge nor experience about the industry or the process itself. So thank you for this.
Oh, And Maria, I can really feel and relate to how you’re feeling with your devotion to Hetty & Linda Hant as it’s the same with me for Deeks character. I think we all feel manipulated & tricked by the TPTB but for different reasons, but we are all here to vent out our disheartenment and find some solace.
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Has anyone else noted Callen’s re-hashed identity crises coincides with Shane Brennan’s return as Exec Producer? Is Callen the alter ego of Mr Brennan?
I would like TPTB to run a Wikideeks survey about what true fans want to see. I am a reader of fanfic, especially over the past three years because of the stasis development of the main characters and the disappointing plots. The likes of RobbieC, Sweet Lu and Tess Corsi have authored excellent fanfic universe stories that out shone most of what the staff writers have been producing.
The heart and soul of the show has always been the character led stories, the chemistry, banter and the great throwaway funny lines. All of which were evident in earlier seasons. The show is becoming stale and the stories regurgitated.
I am someone who needs to ‘hang his hat’ on a hook to watch any show on a regular basis. My NCISLA ball-cap is becoming battered as it consistently falls to the floor, Has apathy set in to the show because of its own success, an attitude that the fans will watch regardless. Perhaps it can be called ‘Captured Viewer Syndrome’.
There has been something remiss for a while on NCISLA. The return of creator Shane Brennan as a Exec Producer might turn quality around. By the by, unless I missed it, I didn’t see Frank Military’s name on the credits, so the Kessler arc might never be resolved.
We do not need the show demolished and a return to year zero. We need sympathetic restoration of what made the show great. For starters, how about a return to early Deeks: intelligent, cocky, tough, competent, funny and a cheeky bugger. Only this time, with the respect he deserves from Callen, Sam and even wife Kensi. Previously, it was only Hetty who was aware of Deeks’s true worth to the team, hence she created the previously unknown post as LAPD Liaison.
Shane Brennan handed the show over to RSG in 2016. He is the current president of the Australian Writers’ Guild. His return is very unlikely unless he wants to make a ‘guest appearance’ for the 300th episode or the series finale. Though his name is in the credits as creator, he has had little to nothing to do with the show in years, leaving it to RSG and JPK.
I don’t know if anybody involved with the show actually reads WikiDeeks comments but I did find it interesting that RSG stated no Deeks, M episode is in the current future because too much time has passed and they don’t want to put some together that would sell the fans short, a point I repeatedly made last year. He repeated other points I had made with regards to the Densi pregnancy story line as well. Hmm….something to think about…? Who knows anymore….sigh…
I agree with the ‘character-led’ stories. As I said in my previous comment, the characters need to drive the plot, not vice versa.
I can understand BF and RFS wanting to leave the show to explore other opportunities, but their departure, as well as Hetty’s absence during Covid, could have been handled in so many different and better ways, as could ECO’s less screen time request, which led to the horrid FLET-C episodes. I also think a better decision would have been to replace BF and RFS as opposed to adding Fatima and Rountree as field agents when the fans clearly want the OC team in the field.
I don’t know how I would feel (just me, I don’t know about other show fans) about a return to earlier Deeks. A lot of time has passed and one of the pet-peeves is that none of the characters have been given any growth. Deeks is 43 now and Kensi is 38. We have seen no growth/development and, in Kensi’s case, actual regression during season 12 with the inexplicable anger towards Deeks.
Hetty did see the potential in Deeks, but she never stepped in and spoke to Sam and Callen about respecting him as a full team member. Though his title has not stated so before FLET-C, he has always fulfilled the same duties as they did.
I think what fans are missing most is the regular format; the show starting with pit bull banter (but without constantly making fun of Deeks, please), Eric whistling for a case in OPS, the team going out to deal with the case, and a solid/funny/happy show ending. This could have been easily kept up while at the same time allowing the characters to grow, adding in background stories, and personal struggles. Apathy set in a few seasons back, just doing the minimal to keep a regular fan base watching, throwing out little preview crumbs on social media here and there. My opinion…shrug….
And for me personally, as a Densi fan, a romance that culminated into a wedding 10 years in the making, not ending this in something completely void of chemistry, romance, and intimacy…
Is it fair to say TPTB never bothered with a ‘Deeks M’ episode because they were never bothered with Deeks or his fans? Now Callen fans are upset is it possible they might listen to us fans? Probably not. It does seem us fans care about the show more than TPTB.
Terry your comments are right on! I think you said it so well about about your ball cap becoming battered. I feel the same way. As an avid fan from the get go it is difficult to see the series slowly fade away as the original cast is now so disconnected. I miss the connections they shared, their laughter, their silliness. Seasons 11 and 12 were so disappointing. I was hoping that this would be the year the team bands together again but from the first episode it appears my hopes are shattered. If anyone from production reads these comments they should take them to heart as this series has a very strong dedicated group of actors who have worked well together for over a dozen years and the audience needs to have them get back together again. They are the reason we tune in every week. Our loyalty is towards the actors/ characters and not the plots!
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You are right on Christine, I miss the banter and Would love to see kensi and deeks and some of their married life on the show. We have seen enough of Sam and sorry tired of Russia. I think they have lost what the show was about. Covid or no Covid , put the 4 back in the bullpen area. And Sam and Callen and Kensi and deeks need to be partners full time. And sorry again , not roundtree or Fatima. I doubt the writers or directors will listen. But looking forward to the episode Eric has written and also Dani directing.. 😉
I really love the new Season 13 I think it is great I loved it and I hope they do more of DENSI cuz they are my favorite people on the show and I love the ending it is great with KENSI and DEEKS they did amazing job on the show Daniela Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen you guy’s are awesome on the show I love it! Amazing job and you guy’s make me happy! Love you guy’s stay safe
There is nothing better than a review of an episode by wikideeks. A sincere thank you for every one that is posted.
And there is nothing quite like the passionate discussion from the fans wanting to see the show how it should be. Each of us have in our mind’s eye a vision of NCISLA. Unlike TPTB, we don’t suffer from the apathy brought by the longevity of the show. I might be incorrect, but I believe fans want the banter, the humour, and the individual character’s reaction to the case of the week. This within character reaction is what endeared them to us in the first place.
If TPTB had any nous, they would read wikideeks, regularly. See the strongly held beliefs of the true fans. Unfortunately, that is just a pipedream. We fans might bandy comments on how we’d improve the show but for all the apparent care TPTB gives, we’re probably beating our heads against a brick wall. I just hope we’re not flogging a dead horse as TPTB allows quality to dissipate until cancellation of the show.
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Thank you Terry. We are happy that fans can come here and express their thoughts and reactions to the characters. Maybe one of these days they will listen to us. We are grateful that Eric does and for now that will have to be enough. 🥴
Well said Terry. I am so grateful to wikiDeeks for giving us a place to rant, discuss and sometimes praise NCIS;LA. A place where there is an outside chance of our views being heard and possibly acted on. Far better than the alternative, just switching off. You’re doing a great job Diane, keep up the good work.
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