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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S08E09 Glasnost

‘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

S08E08 Parallel Resistors

The high standard of episodes in season eight continues with Parallel Resistors, where the case of the week concerns the safety of national security, after a graduate student working on a classified navy project is electrocuted.  The investigation is dealt with in an intelligent and interesting manner, full of twists, but it is the underlying theme of family and the intriguing child guest character (superbly acted by Shree Crooks) which really lifts this episode.  Kensi is finally making progress, demonstrating the well thought out sub plot and the timing of each phase of her recovery, which is so much better than the white ghost story line from season five, which was so far removed from the agents in Los Angeles, there was little investment until the team had to rescue her. Continue reading

S08E08 Crazy Train

NCIS Los Angeles is an office that specialises in undercover work and it’s been a while since any of the team have been on assignment.  Recent cases have focused on the investigative side but watching various team members adopt different personas differentiates this show from the mothership.  Episode writer Frank Military (Spoils of War, Rage, The Seventh Child, An Unlocked Mind) has set the bar high for dark, character driven episodes and once again, he does not disappoint.  NSA Analyst Gary Dill has gone missing whilst investigating an ISIS cell who’s using a Mexican drug cartel to infiltrate the US.  Using information from two fellow analysts, the team believe Dill may have been committed to a mental health hospital under the name of Noah Leipzig, and Callen is sent undercover as a fellow patient to make contact.   Continue reading

S08E06 Home Is Where The Heart Is

The form of season 8 continues with another great episode that focuses on character and has a case that is worth caring about.  A Naval Engineering Lt Commander and his girlfriend are victims of a home invasion and are saved by the apartment’s maintenance man – John Martin, who fights and kills the perpetrator.  The team are assigned the case due to the Commander’s work but they become suspicious of John Martin who disappears when the media want to give him his fifteen minutes of fame.  A search of Martin’s apartment reveals a hidden cache of weapons and a newspaper article of a local school girl, Carla Stone.  Martin is not all he seems and the case turns in to a simple revenge plot.

There are more partner swaps this week as Deeks remains at Kensi’s bedside and Hetty is revisiting last season’s hobby of mole hunting off-screen.  Granger is left holding the fort and once again Anna is drafted in to fill the void, this time partnering Nell.   Continue reading

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

S08E04 Black Market

After the excellent three episodes which opened season 8, the fourth episode Black Market was rather disappointing.  The case of the week was not particularly memorable and did not really allow for any character development, with the possible exception of Nell who ventured in to the field as Deeks’ partner again.  Instead there were questionable moments with various team members that luckily were balanced out with the B plot of Kensi’s coma and the reactions of different characters. 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

Jason Bourne (2016)

Last seen in 2007, Jason Bourne is now living under the radar and off the grid, surviving as a bare knuckle fighter on the Greece-Albania border and scratching a living from winning these fights.  Meanwhile former associate Nicky Parsons is hacking the CIA’s systems from Iceland and downloading highly classified documents on black ops, including Treadstone and its latest incarnation .  Continue reading