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
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
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
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
Season seven has been a roller coaster of a ride for all the main characters. Each has been allowed the opportunity to develop a little further and to shine in their own right. There has been no focus on one single character. And true to the show, the best episodes of the season have been the character driven ones such as Citadel, Internal Affairs, The Long Goodbye and The Seventh Child.
Like most NCIS Los Angeles episodes that feature a name in the title, the eponymous “Granger, O” focused on one character; the Assistant Director. Owen Granger first appeared in the season three episode “The Watchers” and was instantly disliked and not trusted by the team. He used them for his own means and investigated Kensi as a possible murderer, even ordering her to be held under house arrest. And in Kill House, he was responsible for Nell being captured by the bad guys. As a result, viewers generally have a love/hate relationship with Granger. Since season four, he has gradually warmed to the team and vice versa, and has even softened slightly since his poisoning last season in Traitor, occasionally showing a slightly more human side to him. Continue reading
Operational psychologist Dr Nate Getz has always been the soft-hearted good guy, and the press release for “Head Of The Snake” promised some high jinks with Nate, along the lines of ‘has he or hasn’t he turned bad’. From season two, Hetty has been cultivating Nate as a field operative, sending him to various corners of the world. He occasionally returns to the LA office to offer counsel, such as after Deeks and Sam’s torture and was last seen in season six, helping Nell after she made her first kill. Nate has also been the butt of Callen’s sometimes cruel jokes; in season four’s Paper Soldiers, he turns Nate’s caring question about his well-being back on him, by asking about how to find someone and how long he should wait before asking that someone out (Callen knowing full well that Nate spent a few years wooing Rose before they actually started dating). Now Nate has failed to check in from his undercover operation for three months, is a bad-ass and nasty, and this really does not sit quite right. But having been missing from the show for a while, anything is possible…
The case of the week began with a simple premise; a prisoner exchange goes wrong. Cuban prisoner Ricardo Pena held in America was to be exchanged for an former US Naval Officer held in Cuba. When Pena escapes the team are called in to investigate and quickly discover that it was Anna Kolchek who sprung him. The case then becomes increasingly complex, with the team challenging why Pena escaped rather than head home to Cuba, why the Department of Justice had two separate records with Pena’s details and why it was imperative that Pena be imprisoned. Eventually Callen and Anna realise Pena is actually a Russian spy who was keen to complete his mission and return to Russia. 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