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
The mole storyline has been ongoing for three seasons now but just as it starts to reach a crescendo, US TV scheduling meant the third and final part of the arc to flesh out the mole did not air – for three weeks. There was also a two week delay between parts one and two which has caused some of the intensity to be lost. There would have been a good argument for NCISLA to have had a mid season break (a la Arrow and Blindspot), which at least would have allowed the momentum to build and viewers to know where they stood each week. Regardless, the disjointed build up was soon forgotten as Payback picked up exactly where Under Siege left off, with Kensi about to lose her leg. Continue reading
Last week’s episode left the team in dire-straights as planted evidence meant the men (bar Eric) were arrested by different agencies and Granger was fighting for his life. The rest were left holding the fort and finally inroads were made to identifying the mole or at least who is behind their security breaches; the CIA. In Under Siege the focus again is on individual predicaments as Hetty deliberately separates herself from her team and then Kensi is kidnapped. There are numerous threads and sub plots and all of it is worthy of attention, from the men in jail to Hetty’s daring plan and Kensi’s ordeal. And that is before tackling why the CIA want to bring down the team. Continue reading
Assistant Director Owen Granger has been looking and sounding progressively ill over the twelve months and with the lack of a press release stating actor Miguel Ferrer was ill, I refused to believe the rumours. I thought it was stage make up, lighting, post production special effects and part of the long game the writers and producers love so much.It was when my son (who last watched NCISLA in season 7 – The Seventh Child – and then recently watched a season 8 episode) said Granger looked really ill, did it occur to me that he could be sick. Even when the news trickled on to Twitter, I was still in denial. I wanted it from an official source, lest I were to perpetuate a hoax. Continue reading
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
The case of the week sees the team investigate a private security firm who are under suspicion of being in cohorts with criminal gangs, and Sam is sent undercover as himself, to investigate the security firm, ‘Kulinda’, from the inside. Continue reading
This year’s festive offering centres around the search for a missing Navy Lieutenant who’s been working with the NSA on cyber threats. The team discover her boyfriend is missing too, and make the connection that she has been kidnapped due to his journalistic involvement with drug cartels.
The case itself is not particularly memorable; what does make this episode is the discussion of Christmas traditions between the characters, and they are each given their chance to shine. The notable exception is Assistant Director Granger who is absent throughout. Hetty puts in an appearance at the start and close, bracketing the episode as she and Callen discuss the thirty day countdown to D-day in the mole investigation, and finally by wishing everyone a merry Christmas. Continue reading
It seems like S08E14 ‘Under Siege’ (written by Scott Gemmill and filmed over the last seven days) may be the key ‘mole’ episode. Already the Christmas episode teasers are reminding viewers there’s thirty days left for Hetty to find the mole. ‘Under Siege’ features the return of the following characters – as seem on various Instagram accounts of the actors, RT from fans etc. A photo of a script page also suggests that Deeks is in jail in this episode – undercover or under suspicion that he’s the mole?
NCIS Agent Thompson – Jeronimo Spinx (IMDB cites S1 Ambush, Empty Quiver, S3 Exit Strategy, S4 Rude Awakenings, S5 Zero Days, S7 An Unlocked Mind
NCIS Agent Nassir – Tom Winter (IMDB -S1 Found, S3 Exit Strategy, S4 Rude Awakenings)
Carl Brown – Adam Bartley (the one and only original mole from S5 Traitor, S8 Ghost Gun, Sirens)
CIA Agent Randall Sharov (AKA Balinski) – Salvator Xuereb (S7 Matryoshka Parts 1 & 2)
Note these photos are not used by permission of the actors but are publicly posted on their own Instagram and / or Twitter accounts, so hopefully there is no offence caused or taken by anyone. The above text is all supposition but is certainly food for thought…whichever way, it seems that this will be one big episode!
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.
‘Glasnost’ is Russian for openness and famously coined by Gorbachev towards the end of the Cold War in the 1980s to promote a desire for increased transparency in Soviet politics. It is an ironic title choice for an episode pivotal to Callen’s life long quest for answers. Openness is the one thing seriously lacking and there are streams of lies and deceit, for good reasons and bad, that are unravelled as the narrative progresses.
Artem Fedor, arrested as a favour to Pavel Volkoff in return for helping Arkady escape a Russian prison (Matryoshka part 2) wants to exchange information on an assassination, for a transfer to a minimum security prison. Fedor was hired to track down Russian Katerina Polumin, who now goes by the name of Mary Reynolds. Katerina was poisoned four days earlier and as Deeks and Eric interrogate Artem in prison, Sam and Callen visit Katerina in hospital, an encounter that later leads to the discovery of Callen’s father Garrison in her room, having killed a would be assailant. Continue reading