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Review: NCISLA “Maybe Today” (S14E17)

The Case

I really enjoy the premise of cold cases because it’s an extra level of difficulty with the degradation of physical evidence and memories over time. I also really respect the dogged determination and unreasonable optimism of folks who keep trying to solve crimes when it seems impossible.

The number of plausible suspects is what you would expect when evidence is no longer recent and clear. I actually thought it was Aaron Baker’s wife because she sure seemed antsy about everything when Callen and Sam were at the house. Especially when we learned about Jen Anderson. I was kind of thinking Aaron was a serial rapist and only one of those girls survived his crimes (Jen) and that his wife knew about it and/or had helped him cover it up, bury a body, etc.  I also wondered if maybe it was someone else in the car and that Jen maybe knew Britney was alive and hiding out somewhere. I was all wrong about all of it – good work on the part of the writers!

When they finally determined that it must be Aaron’s father, his past in the military was certainly concerning, because he had the knowledge and skills to take out the team. Instead of a sniper attack though, Sam had to deal with a suicide by cop. What a difficult situation. Sam was the one who connected with him over their shared military history when they first stopped by his house. Seeing that Jack had the safety on the gun made it clear that he only wanted one outcome for that situation, but you could see that Sam wished he had been able to talk Jack out of it. Very sad for all involved.

Daisy Van Zant

Continuing on in the series-long tradition of incredible guest cast, the actress who played Daisy Van Zant (Rose Abdoo) was absolutely stellar. I feel like she stole every scene she was in. That agent has earned every single line on her resume and she is not shy about it – nor does she have any reason to be!

When Callen teases that he likes her modesty after she claims to have solved more cases than the next two agents combined, she’s right back at him with this:

Daisy: Confidence in a woman make you uncomfortable Agent Callen?
Callen: If it does then I’m about to marry the wrong woman.

You go girl! Loved that.

The scene at the end where she goes back to where the cold cases are stacked shows that determination in her refusal to back down from the mountain of unsolved crime. She is one tough woman! And very entertaining. She would have been a great recurring character!


The scenes with Kensi and Deeks talking to Britney’s mom and Jen Anderson were so poignant. Kensi is so great with those situations. And although Deeks let her take the lead, when he did speak it was equally empathetic. Not that Callen and Sam can’t do that well, but Kensi and Deeks are always the best in situations like that.

This exchange was incredible. The look on Kensi’s face at the end – wow.

Kensi: She sounds like she was a really wonderful person.

Mom: I’ve been waiting for this day for 30 years, hoping someone would find her. Now that it’s here I would give anything, anything to have one more day of not knowing, of not thinking, that someone… Promise me you won’t give up on her this time.

Kensi: I promise.

Return of a Beloved Undercover Persona

Callen: We have just the guy for that.

Homeless Deeks returns!!

I couldn’t believe it – I was sure that coat was burned or buried somewhere along the line.

I’m pretty sure we’re now into the episodes after the series end was announced and this just felt like a nostalgic nod to all of us over here that have been so fond of this undercover persona over the years. It’s so nice that they put him in one last time. And it was perfect for the situation. Deeks did a great job using Mr. Baker’s assumptions and prejudices about homeless folks to scare him off. That was classic.

And this line needs to go on a T-shirt!  I mean really, who amongst us has not hyped themselves up with a pep talk like this at work:

Deeks: I love my job, I love my job. I have a law degree. I love my job.

That was fantastic!

Kilbride and His Son

This fairly significant sub-theme in the episode was exceptionally well done. There was very little dialogue, but there was so much communication throughout the scenes, in Alex’s nervous body language, Kilbride’s stiff posture and disapproving sighs and scowls. Alex making excuses and promises. Kilbride glaring around the space. The turn to a spark of conflict that quickly builds, turns to recriminations and judgmental words followed by Alex echoing all the things he’s heard from his dad over the years. And then the blow-up with Kilbride walking out.

I see a lot of folks who live with substance use disorder in my work. One of the things I always ask them is “Are you still in contact with your family or have you burned all those bridges?” I long ago lost count of the number of times a person has told me “No, my family got sick of me years ago. They no longer talk to me.” The initial scene with Kilbride and Alex shows so clearly how that could happen, and the enduring pain and suffering on both sides of that relationship.

I really appreciated the visual depiction of the apartment Alex was living in. The room is organized and looks nice, if a little plain. The closets have boxes of stuff that hasn’t been unpacked. What a perfect visual metaphor for the reality of living with SUD, particularly for folks from more affluent backgrounds. A colleague once commented “The difference between rich people who have addictions and poor people who have addictions is that rich people have doors to hide their shit behind.”

That’s exactly what the visuals in the apartment showed. Alex may not be “rich” – but he’s not (yet) homeless and he has a lot of shit hiding behind those doors. And Kilbride has certainly not been transparent with Alex’s challenges. This may be to protect Alex’s privacy. It could also be to protect his own reputation, and I’m not saying that’s wrong. It’s a reality for folks with loved ones who use substances and there is no one right answer.

This sub-theme with Alex and Kilbride also depicted the agonizing reality that addiction can and does affect anyone and the impact is so deep and significant, not just on the health of the affected person, but on the relationships with those closest to them. And it was so well done.

My episode notes for this review contained this comment on the scene where Kilbride leaves Alex’s apartment:

“You know Alex wants him to just show up and stay one of these times. Last scene with Alexʻs head bowed is heartbreaking.”

The scene with Kilbride in the cab made clear that he was also in agony.

And I was thinking they might just leave it at that, which would have been totally plausible, with both of them in pain and unable to reach across the divide between them. That’s reality.

But I’m a sucker for redemption stories (religious upbringing, what can I say?), so Kilbride doing what Alex needed, showing up and just staying, was really beautiful. There’s a long way to go still, but this was an important step and probably instrumental to Alex being honest with his dad.

Alex: You’ve got all that important work to get back to, yeah?

You can just imagine how often he heard something like that and you can see how he’s still wondering if he could possibly matter more than his dad’s work. Today, the answer is that working on his relationship with Alex is (finally) more important than his work.

They both recognize that re-building their relationship will take time and work, but they seem to have both reached a point where they are able to take some concrete steps to rebuild. The look on Kilbride’s face as he blows out a big breath at the end tells you it won’t be easy, but it’s time to try. It’s not perfect, but it’s hopeful. Given that we won’t see this through a long arc over more seasons, I thought that was a great way to leave it.

The impact of addiction on individuals and families is hard to do well, much easier to caricature. This was outstanding in both the accuracy of the content and in the visual portrayal used to evoke emotion and convey the depth of pain and heartbreak that words alone really couldn’t.

Awesome work by all involved.

Memorable Moments

The shoot-out at Jen’s house was a very well-executed sequence. Walking between the sheets in the backyard – super creepy. Kensi rolling away from the gunfire – yikes! I rewound that a few times – impressively done!

Callen was definitely getting on Sam’s nerves with the “plus-one” business. I would have taken Daisy if I was him, she would have been a blast at a wedding. But Sam solved the problem eventually.

Sam: Won’t hear about that no more. (Smirk).

Loved that!

The following exchange was great, awesome lines. My love for the writers is well-established, but I’m going to disagree here, these lines belonged to Kensi and Deeks, this is their dialogue – it was assigned to the wrong people and I’m just going to pretend it was Kensi and Deeks who said it.

Oh damn, Looks like an episode of hoarders down here. How’s it going?

Well, half of these files don’t even belong to our case, the other half are moldy, burned or chewed. And I’m pretty sure something is living in that one.

Britney’s mom with the candle floating in the water at the end was so poignant. That’s the thing about cold cases, the public may have forgotten the crime, the detectives may have changed over time, but the families don’t forget. That candle of hope and remembrance is always burning.


As promised wikiDeeks has donated $150 to Pets of the Homeless every time Homeless Deeks shows up in an episode. We are so happy to help out our furry friends of those in need. We will miss Homeless Deeks as the show comes to an end, because it gave ECO a chance to highlight his comic chops and he did not disappoint this time. Don’t forget we have Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal coming up later this week. Let us know what you think of this episode in the comments below and we’ll see you all next week!

4 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Maybe Today” (S14E17)

  1. I really liked this episode – the lady who works the cold cases was excellent. I agree, she would have made wonderful on-going character for NCIS-LA – kind of like Detective Whiting has been. The way Callen was trying to get Same connected with a plus-one was ridiculous, I thought, and so out of character – Sam handled it well in the end. Its obvious the writers are trying to put plausible end to some of the stories that have been ongoing especially for the last few years. I’m really going to miss this show.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Brenda. Great review. I loved Daisy. They should have taken her back to OPS. It would have been fun to watch her go up against Admiral Kilbride. She reminded me of Hetty. A tough, no nonsense lady with skills.

    I cherished the Densi scenes since we have so few to look forward to. Deeks’ expression when talking to the murdered girl’s mom were so poignant. So ECO. It tied in so well with his many worried comments about Rosa throughout the episode. He keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it was good to see Homeless Deeks and Artie again. My complaint through the later seasons was that they didn’t showcase a variety of his undercover skills other than Homeless Deeks. But he made me smile. I will miss them all.

    Wish I could get excited about Callen getting married, but I’m not. I do wish they had let Sam find someone before the end of the season. Maybe at the wedding. Until then, I will soak in whatever scenes they can give me of my favorite…Deeks.


  3. Thanks for the review. I, too, enjoyed seeing homeless Deeks again. He never disappoints. I’ll be sad when the series ends. I wonder if there’s a new spin-off in the works and this cold case was the test run? It seemed that way to me. Based off random cast comments about possible appearances on the remaining shows once the end was announced, maybe those were also hints at a possible NCIS: Cold Case? Yeah, maybe I’m reading too far into it, or it’s just wishful thinking – maybe a little of both.

    Anyway, thanks again for all the great content here over the years! What a ride it’s been…


  4. I have to make one more comment on this episode. I was very impressed with the mother of the victim describing how she had for 20 years wanted to know what happened to her daughter, but now that she knows, she’d give anything to go back 24 hours to a time when she didn’t know for sure. I thought that would be such a genuine feeling for someone who had in her heart thought her child was dead, but also having a slight hope that she would be found alive and then having that slight hope taken away would be awful. The actress that played that part did an excellent job of showing that emotion.

    Liked by 1 person

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