The Evolution of Densi: A Retrospective
Thirteen-plus years. We’ve been blessed to witness the birth and evolution of a thirteen-year relationship. How does one comprehensively, yet concisely, summarize all the celebrations, struggles, turmoil, mistakes, and growth over such a long period of time? It’s a daunting task.
To gain needed perspective, I found myself on a winding path of reminiscing through my DensiLand blog that started 10 years ago. Oh glorious hindsight….
I keenly recall the exact moment Kensi quickly captured my attention, intrigued me to know more, and (oddly) created a connection. It was in “Legend, Part 2”, the cross-over from NCIS that introduced the spinoff. To demonstrate her status, Kensi grabs a random metal pipe and smashes the headlight of a silver sportscar. As some threatening dudes approach, she pulls her weapon and warns, “Not today, boys.”
Then the introduction of Kick Ass Kensi/Bad Ass Blye was quickly reiterated and solidified in the fourth episode, “Search & Destroy.” Here Kensi effortlessly retrieves a battering ram from her trunk and smashes it into the front of a Cadillac Escalade. This results in discharging the airbags on an unwanted security crew and making the vehicle useless. A nearly giddy Kensi cheekily (and disingenuously) asks the passengers, “You boys need me to call a tow truck?”
Next was the episode that changed everything and technically bore Densi: “Hand to Hand.” In my first analysis post I wrote, “I remember thinking Kensi is awesomely bad-ass, which I admired, and Who is that over-the-top dude?” From that day forward, no one’s life at the mission would ever be the same.
Densi becoming Densi
To this day I still hold seasons 2-4 as my favorites. (It was the evolution of Densi during this period that prompted my blog!) During this period we are gifted with an overflow of character development, both individually and as partners, such as:
- The slow revealing of bits of backstory
- Personality characteristics with common phrases and physical reactions
As much as it’s easy to bask in the fun during this period, it’s also layered with pain. We see both reacting to the loss of former partners, the aspect of lying in their profession, handling children in danger, a former fiancé, and complicated and lost parental relationships.
Luckily this is also the time we get Densi Classics. True fans will understand:
- Pepper spray
- A wicked sweet tooth
- Overly aggressive driving
- Her riddled-with-meaning punches
- Their “Thing”
- Implications of being “fake fired”
- Styled by pillow
- The Box
- Glorious golden Viking mane
- And a long and creative list of nicknames
As natural as breathing, Deeks effortlessly, immediately, and instinctively knew how to push Kensi’s buttons. We see Deeks quickly and comfortably outright flirting, both as an element of his nature and out of the suspicion Kensi maybe doesn’t completely detest him! Over the years Kensi involuntarily altered her reactions to him ranging from aggravation, irritation, and frustration, to neutrally tolerant with hints of intrigue, and eventually to begrudging endearment. In the midst of this we see Kensi being outright rude and demeaning to Deeks. Yet it’s just a combative natural self-protection mode under the theme of “The woman doth protest too much.” However, it’s fine because Deeks sees any attention as good. After a long, slow burn, Kensi’s futile resistance faded to the point of silent desire.
These seasons gave us the greats like “Anonymous,” “Plan B,” “Blye, K.,” “Neighborhood Watch,” “Skin Deep,” “Wanted,” “Parley,” “Descent,” and most of the Christmas episodes!
The Good ‘Ship Densi
The episode that perhaps launched Densi to their true “’ship” status was Season 3’s “Neighborhood Watch.” What genius from the writers to put our duo undercover and give the fans an outright “fan fic”! The entire series of events gave both characters license to express true words and emotions, yet not be accountable, using the guise of their cover personas as justification. Epic!
Another is Season 4ʻs “Wanted.” It’s a true encapsulation of all that is Densi (at this point in time). Danger, action, and humor, all culminating in honesty. The partners shift from taking verbal and physical swipes at each other to teaming-up in using their personality powers against fellow LEOs and foes. I still remember being at my friend’s house and melting out of my chair from the “Sunshine & Gunpowder”. Looking back now, each of them can embody either of these terms given the right circumstances.
All of this made for wildly complex emotions and the incredibly important layer of engagement, a la: The Banter. With these two, my preferred term is Verbal Sparring. The push & pull, both veiled and authentic emotions, outright flirting, inside jokes and barbs, etc. THIS is what elevated Densi – individually and together – to being a unique ‘ship and what will forever keep them as an adored couple in television history.
Sailing through the sun & storms with Densi
The ride with them has been a glorious, if sometimes frustrating, roller coaster. As they say, what goes up, must come down. Thus, we were presented with the Season 4 finale of “Descent,” where Deeks finally puts it all out there, ironically not with words, but rather an overt action – The Kiss. Then it all goes to H*** (with a final scene that I will never again watch)! This was a turning point episode where one of them (Deeks) finally admits their true feelings, opening the door for another long, slow burn, waiting to see if and when the other (Kensi) follows suit.
As a continuation (and author’s point of privilege), I have to call-out Season 5ʻs “Impact.” While a minority opinion, when pressed, I must name this as my favorite episode. It’s a challenge to not choose one of the fun, undercover banter-y episodes, but this one has must appreciated depth. We get individual insight into both character’s response to PTSD, primarily Deeks (in a stunning ECO performance) AND the affirmation our couple will continue. Not to mention the perfectly improv-ed “Pastry Baby.”
They (and we) spend the next many seasons following not a beautiful dance, but rather realistic and messy chapters of opposing magnets fighting to come together. This obviously brings us to the renowned episode of “The Frozen Lake.” It’s here we get honest, raw, anxious “adults” and by the end, a commitment to their “thing.” But again, the positive status of their ‘ship is this time put on hold with Kensi’s overseas reassignment.
Cruising along with Densi
As with every journey there’s smooth sailing and rough seas. They (and we) settled in for a long journey, enduring the lows and celebrating the highs. Some of the milestone along the way were:
- Boldly skating on their Frozen Lake in Season 6’s “Humbug”
- Deep-diving into Deeks’ time in LAPD – and the case that jeopardized his whole career (Season 7’s “Internal Affairs”)
- The season-long fallout of Kensi getting significantly injured abroad (Season 8’s “High Value Target”)
- A consistent topic thread of “future kids” throughout
It started with snide remarks and references to “walls.” Then it was protesting and punches. Eventually she moves onto provoking banter. After so much time in testing trust, what better way to demonstrate the long path of progress than for Kensi to propose to Deeks. And with a grenade ring! A perfect milestone finale for the eighth season (“Unleashed”).
In the final two Season 9 episodes, a stunning argument in a nondescript parking garage leaves our duo emotionally grasping and in tears. This is no playful banter. No, just a year later the roller coaster takes a wild turn with these two people who have worked so hard and love so deep, calling off the wedding.
Yet hope springs eternal! After yet another near-death experience at the top of Season 10, they are reunited (and it feels so good)!
The big day finally arrives in Season 10’s 17th episode, “Til Death Do Us Part”! In classic Densi fashion, this is no fairytale. Yet everything about it is quintessentially them. Uncertainty, the long-awaited payoff of The Box, Kirkin flirting, chase scenes, a car wreck – featuring Hetty! – a fistfight resulting in Kensi’s dress ripping… But they make it, just like they always do.
And the story continues…
There was settling into married life, a bar (that has come and gone), and the Detective becomes an Investigator. The topic of kids gets more complicated as efforts fail and stall.
Season 12 delivers Kensi a stalker. (My one hope is that we get a continuation & closure of this storyline!)
A foster/adoption storyline finally presents Densi with a “child” in refugee, teenager form. It allows them to finally show a glimpse into their parental personas. As a sensitive topic, the future was forever and will continue to be unknown regarding “kids.”
Parting is such sweet sorrow
While the show may end and these characters are destined to be frozen in time, no words can ever express the truly deserved appreciation to their creators and actors. The bounty of entertainment by all those who brought them to life will be unforgettable to this fandom. Deeks, Kensi, and Densi will forever live a glorious life in our memories.
To Eric and Daniela, please consider this a standing ovation from your fans. We wish you significant vacations with restful sleep, successful careers, and most importantly loving, healthy lives with your family and friends. All the best and here’s hoping to see you again soon.
This is a fantastic and concise summary of the complex and unique relationship that is Densi! I agree with you, Gayle, in that those earlier series were so special and crucial in revealing the depths and layers of both Deeks and Kensi’s personalities. So many great scenes to cherish from a on-screen romance like no other.
Thank you Eric and Dani for bringing to life such an amazing and authentic love story.
This is a fantastic summary of the journey that gave us the unique Densi romance. I agree with you, Gayle – those earlier seasons were where the magic started and were so crucial in developing the layers to both Deeks and Kensi’s personalities.
Eric and Dani, thank you so much for giving us a special onscreen love story. A romance which surely last a long time in the annuals of TV history.
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