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Review: NCISLA “Hard For the Money” (S13E18)

Welcome back, gentle reader.  Oh, wait… wrong show review!  Sorry, this isn’t Bridgerton and I’m not Lady Whistledown. Although reviewing Bridgerton would have been a lot more fun, instead I am here to review this week’s episode of NCIS:LA and the first of two episodes that aired last night.  Unfortunately, “Hard For the Money” stands alone as the opening act to the second episode that aired last night which will become another jewel in the crown for Eric Christian Olsen. I know you are waiting for that review (me too!) because this episode pales in comparison.  It’s a good thing that it preceded Eric’s episode because that would have been a very hard act to follow!   

“Hard For the Money” was a decidedly vanilla episode: courageous sailor tries to stop sniveling boss from selling classified documents to Libia and gets killed for her efforts.  Sure, Sam and Sabatino made a cute couple with all their funny banter, rivaling the Sam/Callen bromance, but the storyline was banal at best.  Not a whole lot of action or energy, very little Callen, and no Kensi at all.  So, we’re going to do something totally different this week and withhold a detailed review.  Since this website is dedicated to the magic that is Marty Deeks, let’s discuss what happened to Deeks during this episode instead.  It turned out to be the most significant revelation to the Deeks backstory that we have had in a long time and is worthy of a brief discussion here.

With Kensi stuck at a deposition, Deeks is left behind to see to the home improvements needed at Chez Deeks to prepare for a possible adoption of a new family member. Deeks is frazzled and stressed as he races against time to get ready for the home study by social services. A few more quick measurements leave Deeks exasperated and tired of all the hoops that he and Kensi have had to jump through in the foster parent process. He’s beginning to wonder if it’s all worth it. 

This leads us to the outstanding scene between Deeks and Kilbride at the close of the episode and successful completion of the case. Like Owen Granger, it has taken Kilbride a bit of time to warm up to Deeks and his unique style of police work, but Kilbride is slowly beginning to appreciate Deeks and the dedication he brings to the job.

Kilbride: You know, I’ve known you long enough to know that there are few things in this world that you like more than your work here and… talking incessantly. Now that being said, only a fool like me comes in on his day off.

Deeks is exhausted and frustrated but feels he can be of more value doing the work he loves best than trying to demonstrate that building new stairs and closets will make him and Kensi into proper parent material. The bureaucracy is overwhelming, and he’s had enough of trying to prove that they can indeed provide a loving home to a child in need. 

Deeks: So every facet of our lives has been probed and prodded and dissected. It’s like a white glove inspection on steroids. 

His sour mood makes what he says next to Kilbride even more telling. Despite Kilbride’s explanation of what his family life was like serving in the military, Deeks is stunned at Kilbride’s admission that he was more than lacking as a husband and father. When Deeks asks if his son is OK, Kilbride admits he hasn’t spoken to him in ten years.  When Deeks suggests that he still has time to fix things, Kilbride walks away defeated. Deeks calls out:

Deeks: I guarantee he doesn’t hate you half as much as I hated my father. I mean I shot the guy. In all fairness, he was pointing a gun at my mother and I and I was eleven years old, but I still shot him. I stopped talking to him and now he’s dead. What’s crazy about that is despite all that if he was to ask for a second chance, I would have given it to him in a heartbeat. You know, just to see, as hopeless as it may have been, just to see if there was any way to salvage that relationship. My point is I think you should call him. Like it or not, you’re still his father.

Deeks leaves angry and hurt, remembering a sadder time that changed the entire trajectory of his entire life. He also admitted to himself, maybe for the first time, that he really loved his father and would have given up everything to change that one moment in time when he decided to pull the trigger instead of trying to save a doomed relationship. Deeks was just a boy, but he has been wrestling with this moment his entire life. It has colored all the decisions he has ever made in his life and whether they were right or wrong. He knew there was no way to salvage that relationship, but he always wondered if firing that gun and waking away was the right decision. He’s angry and jealous that Kilbride still can make things right again with his son but won’t. Deeks knows he doesn’t have that luxury anymore and will have to live with that choice  for the rest of his life.

This scene was a quick but telling look into his past and a little gem into what is going on in Deeks’ mind and heart. Just think how much more we could get with a full-blown episode that would be entitled “Deeks, M.”? Well gentle reader, we’re not giving up hope just yet…

So, what did you think about this latest look into Deeks’ past?  I know we are all interested in reading next what Karen P. has to say about EOC’s episode and that will be coming up soon. So, stay tuned but remember to return this week for Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal. See you next time.

About Diane (436 Articles)
Founder, Writer and Contributing Editor of wikiDeeks. Always wanted to put together a talented team of writers and graphic designers who loved NCISLA and Marty Deeks in particular! My dream came true! Hope you enjoy what we have created!

8 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Hard For the Money” (S13E18)

  1. sarge4501 // May 2, 2022 at 9:56 AM // Reply

    Good idea to focus on Deeks and Kilbride and their stories and lives. So, again the best that the writers can do is to have Kensi stuck at a deposition? How many times can they use that excuse to not have a main character (i.e., Deeks) appear in an episode? I can’t remember when that was used to get someone in the cast from being included in the story (except when Deeks got called back to LAPD) and wouldn’t Kensi want to be involved in the whole home improvements in order to prepare for a possible adoption? Not a big fan of most episodes in seasons 11 thru 13 and not enthusiastic about S14, either.
    Great job as usual! Just MHO.


  2. Thanks for this review, Di. I liked how you went straight to the episode’s highlight. What an incredible scene between Deeks and Kilbride. I didn’t see Deeks as being so much angry, as just sad. I love that he felt comfortable discussing one of his most painful secrets. I mean, sure, Kilbride might have already known (he didn’t look surprised), but that Deeks would want to bring it up, to me shows that he’s grown to accept it and to feel less shame about it. That made me happy for him.

    And what a conversation, for each man to share something so incredibly private and painful with the other. I hope it’s the beginning of a long friendship.

    And, oh my gosh wasn’t this the perfect set-up for a “Deeks, M” where Deeks’ dad is still alive and comes back, giving Deeks that second chance he clearly would want to take.


  3. I thought this was a very well written episode. It was full of twists and turns with the plot line very convincing.I loved that they brought Sabatino back. This is a perfect set up for him as a US Marshall to be seen more frequently and to fill in when a member of the team needs a partner. .(Yes they all do -now and then- take time off from filming ! ) The bantering he gives adds to the lightheartedness and camaraderie of the show. He is genuinely a keeper in my book! They should offer him a senior discount to FLETC to become a real NCIS agent! As far as that ending with Deeks and Kilbride – it was very moving. We know his father is dead from the second season “ Personal “. Deeks was shot and Hetty was looking for his next of kin. His father died in an auto accident 2 years after being released from prison. In this story he did not seem angry at all but rather perplexed as to why Kilbride would not have tried to contact his son – after all he is his father! This episode and the one that followed are some of the best written that I have enjoyed in a long time. They added a necessary “human touch” that has been missing for quite awhile.


  4. Christine // May 3, 2022 at 5:39 PM // Reply

    I agree with Jane that the writers did justice to this episode. They have my vote to write more as they hit the core of the characters and produced drama balanced with emotion and lots of character involvement – both humorous and serious. Sabatino deserves more time on the series. He blends well with everyone as well as does Talia. They are keepers. I think the sub plot with Callen has gained my interest as he is caught in a web of his past tangled with his future with Anna. I would like to see how it plays out for him. Overall it seems like they are getting their groove back with the characters, their interactions ,the playfulness , and the touching moments that bond them together. This is really a great “ family” of actors, who, unlike most of the other shows, has done an exemplary job of working together in such a friendly and wholesome environment. I have great respect for all of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was a wonderful scene. I didn’t see Deeks as angry either. More resigned to what that part of his story is, and a compassionate outreach to help someone else avoid the same fate.


  6. Debra Gillespie // May 5, 2022 at 1:24 AM // Reply

    Probably plenty of fans were more interested in the second episode of these back-to-back episodes because of the Team Olsen collaboration, but as great as their episode turned out to be – and it was terrific! – the Deeks/Kilbride scene at the end of this one is what I’ll remember the most. A wonderful scene with quiet, heartfelt emotions, with Kilbride opening up and a glimpse of Deek’s backstory that we haven’t seen or heard for a while. A delightful surprise. Kilbride seemed a bit surprised when Deeks started talking about his dad, and I don’t believe it was because Kilbride didn’t know about Deek’s shooting his father….rather that the California surfer dude that he often believed didn’t take things seriously was so personal and forthright with him.
    In part 2 of season 10’s “Smokescreen”, Deputy Director Ochoa confided about losing connection with his daughter due to addiction; that storyline didn’t continue, but I’m wondering if this similar situation with Kilbride will in season 14.
    I don’t believe that the news that the show was renewed was out when this episode was filmed, but I agree with Jane that Sabatino possibly changed jobs so he could be more available next season as a partner when one of the agents are absent in an episode. Talia could show up more often for the same reason. And perhaps it will happen more often, what with LL Cool J and Chris producing that new show on CBS, and Eric busy with that first responder show he’s developed for the network.


    • Patricia Abbott // May 5, 2022 at 5:39 AM // Reply

      I totally agree with you Debra. The only scene I have watched is the ‘Delbride’ scene. (sorry I don’t think Delbride works). It’s always risky to comment on a single scene watched out of context, but I don’t think that scene needed any context. I always thought Deeks and Kilbride should have some connection and there it was. I do believe Deeks felt a connection with Kilbride’s son, a man he had never met. I hope it is just the start of a deeper look into Deeks backstory.


  7. Just an afterthought. Would anybody else like to see an excerpt from ‘that scene’ as a ‘previously on’ ?


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