Category Archives: TV Reviews

S08E20 From Havana With Love

Sometimes it is not always appropriate to view a TV show as nothing more than pure entertainment, and some episodes are specifically designed for the enjoyment of the audience on a ‘pop corn’ level.  This is exactly how ‘From Havana With Love’ should be viewed.  There is nothing particularly taxing about the case of the week, doesn’t rely on continuing previous storylines and does little to progress characters journeys.  Instead the pure entertainment value is garnered by character affirmation, oodles of fun and an engaging plot. Continue reading

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S08E18 Getaway

The trend of season eight has been to shake up the partnerships, to bring back characters from previous seasons and to allow Nell and Eric the opportunity to develop outside the safety of the ops centre.  Much of this has been due to Daniela Ruah’s pregnancy  and the influence of new showrunner Scott Gemmill, and the result has reinvigorated the show. Getaway not only sees the return of Anna, but also reintroduces NCIS Agent Dave Flynn, last seen in season four’s failed backdoor pilot of NCIS Red.  Dave is now with the Cyber Division in San Diego and Hetty ‘borrows’ him to run ops, which allows Nell and Eric to work together on their first undercover assignment – as a couple. Continue reading

S08E16 Old Tricks

Season 8 has been fairly serious.  Kensi has fought her way back to full fitness, Deeks has struggled at times to support her, Callen was forced to confront the reality of his father’s abandonment and Granger’s deterioration has been heartbreaking.  It was only fitting that after the intensity of the three episode mole arc, that Old Tricks should be heavy with amusement.  It’s such a shame that this fails to live up to its potential, a rarity for writer Andrew Bartels who has created gems such as Allegiance (S5), The Grey Man, Humbug (S6), Angels & Daemon (S7) and this season’s Glasnost, which reunited Callen with his newly found father.  It has frequently been proven that the case becomes irrelevant when the focus is on character development.  But here the case is not particularly interesting, and on the surface at least, is in no way connected to the development of Callen or the exploration of Nell and Eric’s relationship, or even the psychological impact their work. Continue reading

S08E13 Hot Water

Hetty’s self-imposed deadline for a successful mole hunt has just expired and Under Secretary of Defence Duggan arrives at NCIS to accept her resignation.  But it seems that the mole is also aware of the deadline as bang on the ninety days, the team is sent in to disarray when Granger, Sam, Deeks and Callen are all arrested by different agencies and for different crimes. Continue reading

S08E10 Sirens

During the last few episodes, the hunt for the mole has taken a back seat but the chase is on again after an unknown female assailant shoots dead two men masquerading as sheriffs, outside Callen’s house late at night. The scene is set extremely quickly, allowing the episode to focus on the team’s investigations, and it is indeed a team affair.  Sam and Callen work the crime scene, Deeks spends time with Eric in Ops and later partners with Hetty in the field.  Once again Nell is allowed out of Ops, this time to interrogate the ‘original’ mole Carl Brown, something she has apparently done before.  Even Granger pops up with a key piece of information.

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S08E05 Ghost Gun

Ghost Gun had the daunting task of interweaving three plot lines within a forty three minute episode.  There is the continuing story line of Kensi, the usual case of the week and the search for the mole starts in earnest.  This week, the team investigates a Navy machinist’s rooftop murder, leading them to a custom auto parts fabricator shop which is a front for the manufacture of ‘ghost guns’.  Continue reading

S08E03 The Queen’s Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit picks up a day or so from the previous episode. Hetty has sacrificed herself as the mole to safeguard the rest of the team’s jobs and Kensi is still in a coma, having arrived in the States and been successfully operated on.  Even with two of the team out of action, it is business as usual and the others are tasked with investigating the kidnapping of a Muslim by a female Marine. The first thing of note is that this is a proper Marine related case – yes there turns out to be a loose terrorist connection – but the Muslims are not the bad guys, and NCIS is asked by the Marine Corps to investigate. Continue reading

S8 Premiere: E01 High Value Target & E02 Belly of the Beast

The season 8 premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles was a treat, with the first two episodes merged together to create a two hour movie; an epic adventure that ends in tragedy.  There may have been no cliff hanger at the end of the previous season but there were plenty of threads to be pulled, the main one being the mole, who has been floating around since season six.  That mole may have been captured but there is another at large, one that has infiltrated the Office of Special Projects.  And that is where the opening episodes take us, running in parallel with the team’s investigation in to stolen radioactive material which leads them to Syria and a mission to capture a high value target.  And incidentally this target was in US Naval Intelligence, a Syrian born American national, who betrayed his adoptive country and defected to Syria. Continue reading

Looking Ahead to Season 8

To date there have been very few snippets of information as to what will await fans in September, but one thing is certain – I would like to see a continuation of the quality that season seven brought us.  The character driven episodes are clear winners as they allow for development and emotional engagement.  When the episodes are written well and with a great guest cast, original characters can also be just as rewarding.  The references to older episodes and cases, and the continuation of old, previously unfinished storylines are also a pleasure and very much heightened the enjoyment of season seven.  The balance between the personal and professional lives is currently at about the right level.  Too much of ‘Densi’ at home turns the show into a soap and so far the show has resisted this. Instead of seeing the partners investigate in pairs, team based episodes allow a different level of interactions, as do partner swaps.  Changing the dynamics allows the show to remain fresh, maintains audience interest and hopefully allows new viewers to become fans.

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S07E19 The Seventh Child

Callen and Nadir hugSometimes it is the simplest storylines which are the most rewarding. Without complex plot twists, the narrative can focus on character development, the themes and most importantly, the story itself.  This is the case with The Seventh Child; a child suicide bomber is talked out of blowing himself up.  The pre-opening credit sequence sets the mood and tone for the entire episode. Twin boys decide to run away from the men forcing them to blow themselves up. They inadvertently split up but one twin is hit by a car, his suicide vest instantly detonating.  The FBI call on NCIS as the explosive is Binetex, which the team investigated earlier this season in ‘Unspoken’. Continue reading