‘Matryoshka’ is the name given to the Russian nesting dolls. Each time a doll is opened, a smaller one is found inside until an entire family is revealed. The dolls are an analogy to the mysterious past of Callen. Every time a secret is revealed, he is a step closer to discovering the truth about himself, his family and the past he cannot remember. When he does encounter someone with information, they usually die (Eugene Keelson, Alexa Comescu, Hans Schreiber), and during the season six finale, Arkady Kolchek is also removed from his reach. Arkady is a tantalising link to Callen’s past; he’s met his father. Continue reading →
Last week’s episode focused on Callen’s character, but this week the attention is clearly on Kensi, with Deeks also under scrutiny. Kensi’s back story has been explored during earlier seasons; investigations into her father’s death led Kensi to be accused of murder and to the subsequent reconciliation with her estranged mother. Kensi’s spell of living on the streets as a teenager was also touched on in last season’s ‘The Grey Man’. She was previously engaged to a marine named Jack who suffered with PTSD and left her on Christmas day. Hetty used this to her advantage when she sent Kensi to Afghanistan on the ‘white ghost’ mission. She knew that when Kensi found and recognised Jack, she would not be able to pull the trigger, and would instead investigate. But Kensi deliberately allowed herself to be captured and found Jack was also being held hostage (and that he had found peace in himself and moved on). Continue reading →
Angels & Daemons is another strong standalone episode from the solid combination of Andrew Bartel’s writing, and James Hanlon’s direction. The pair have previously collaborated to bring us the important character based episode, The Grey Man (S6) and earlier this season, Driving Miss Diaz. Bartels’ episodes may not (yet) form part of the season’s arc, however they do provide amusement (S5 Allegiance) and key insights to the main characters (also think S6 Humbug and Fighting Shadows). Continue reading →
Core Values is an episode where the title really does have a meaning – in this instance, a dual meaning. In the literal sense, the title refers to the radioactive nuclear core but it also refers to the core values of NCIS, which in essence, is their (nuclear) family.
The case of the week is an investigation into how Marine Gunnery Sergeant Hugh Patterson suffered radiation poisoning, and yes this episode is a rare example of the Los Angeles team actually going back to their roots in the traditional NCIS sense. Patterson was exposed to radiation after moonlighting as a security officer at a decommissioned nuclear power plant. When Sam and Callen get the ‘PR’ tour of the plant, Kensi and Deeks go undercover to find the real story. It turns out that Chief Engineer Leon Chadmont, was extremely bitter about taking a hefty pay cut and also concerned about safety levels, so he decided to fake a nuclear accident to demonstrate his point. Unfortunately, Patterson was patrolling the pool area during the time the cores were exposed. Continue reading →
‘Cancel Christmas’ is another fun-filled forty-three minutes where the case yet again plays second fiddle to the characters, meaning there is a little something for fans and followers of all characters. There are insights into Callen and his relationship with Joelle, important conversations between Deeks and Kensi, and Sam is once again panicking over Christmas. Nell and Eric are indulging in their dressing up fantasies, Granger is confirmed as the Grinch, with a twist, and Hetty is – well, just Hetty! Overall the Christmas spirit and humour was overflowing, and those on the naughty list got their comeuppance. Continue reading →
A challenging day forces Callen to recall his past and revisit one of his better foster homes.
The team’s most recent case had proven to be tough on all of them, including those behind the scenes in the Operations Centre. Marine Intelligence Officer Southerly was suspected of feeding misinformation to his superiors about terrorist activities in Iraq and the case had been assigned to NCIS after the suspicious death of Southerly’s co-worker the previous day. Their first task had been to locate and arrest Southerly, which had proven to be easier said than done. Information on his whereabouts was secured by Nell and Eric, who had advised the team to go tactical at zero seven hundred hours that morning. The raid had yielded no results; there had been no sign of Southerly and no evidence he had ever been present in the leafy suburban house by the beach. Nell had subsequently found a small office space in the name of O’Kiefe, which was his mother’s maiden name, and she directed the team to an address twenty miles west of their current location. Again the raid was fruitless. Continue reading →
It’s been a long time since the last Deeks centric episode. There has been little detail on Deeks’ past, his background or his real character. This may not have been the eponymous “Deeks, M”, however the knowledge that Deeks had been arrested for murder and the question of how he would be freed, set expectations high and gladly, ‘Internal Affairs’ did not disappoint. There is drama and intensity, plot twists and subtleties, with a healthy dose of humour and some terrific acting by Eric Christian Olsen. Continue reading →
‘Defectors’ is the episode rescheduled from last week due to the ISIS terror attacks in France. The story centres around a note found after a car crash, which has the phonetic spelling of Luqman Badr Al Din, an elusive yet charismatic key ISIS member, who’s responsible for youth recruitment and propaganda. The team discover the man killed in the crash was an Uber taxi driver, and one of his passengers from the previous day was Iraqi Jahmir Yacoob, who was Special Forces during Saddam Hussein’s regime. The team turn tactical to assault his house and arrest him, only to find that his eldest daughter Zahra has been reported missing to LAPD. The parents confirm the note found at the crash is written in Zahra’s hand, and that she had access to her father’s Uber account. A photo on display from a recent model agency shoot suggests ISIS are using the studios to recruit girls, and Kensi goes undercover to obtain evidence of their involvement, whilst the team seek the girl and the terrorist. Continue reading →
The atrocious terror attacks in Paris on Friday meant the scheduled episode of NCISLA (“Defectors” – teenage girls recruited by ISIS), was withheld. The teasers had shown Deeks being arrested by LAPD, which led into the following episode “Internal Affairs”, and the re-jigging means both episodes have been pushed back by a week. Instead is “The Long Goodbye”, written by Dave Kalstein and originally scheduled to air after Internal Affairs at the start of December. The beauty of NCISLA being a procedural is there is a mixture of standalone episodes, two-parters, and those which contribute to an overall season arc. “The Long Goodbye” can be viewed on its own, but may well contribute to the Sam-centric finale (as teased by Shane Brennan). Continue reading →
An Unlocked Mind is another episode from the pen of Frank Military and this time directed by NCISLA actor Chris O’Donnell. As a result, expectations are already set that this will be a more serious episode, with a little less Callen than usual. And these expectations are indeed met; the episode deals with a religious cult, the Church of the Unlocked Mind, who target emotionally vulnerable high level executives and manipulate them into revealing corporate secrets which they use for their own financial gain. The wife of former DARPA engineer David Ramsey manages to escape the cult and turns to LAPD, who turn to NCIS. Evidence has been uncovered which suggests David has revealed secrets about the DODs cutting edge technologies; an executive cult member has been seen meeting with a Chinese National who is a suspected spy. Continue reading →