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NCIS: Los Angeles S09E04 Review


When weapons with a street value of over one million dollars are stolen on the way to Camp Pendleton, Kulinda security guard Byron Brown is identified as a prime suspect when the thief is caught on camera with him and the truck containing the haul.  This is a rather standard run of the mill case and the main focus is on the investigation.  There is little in the way of character development but plenty by way of character interactions, with an abundance of banter and a smattering of seriousness.

Byron featured in last season’s episode Kulinda, where Sam was sent undercover to infiltrate the security company.  The upshot - Byron is one of the good guys and as such Sam has trouble believing Byron as turned to the dark side, as Callen put it.  One of Sam’s characteristics is his ability to see the good in everyone, contrasting with Callen’s natural suspicion of everyone, prompting the latter to ask a deep and philosophical question:

‘Just wondering if we ever really know anyone.’

This is not fleshed out further although is a cue for banter when Callen acknowledges that Sam didn’t even like him when they first met.  Referring back to their opening scenes (which this week serve as an alternative to the bull pen), Callen is ‘supervising’ Sam’s boat repairs and voices his desire they buy jet skis.  His annoyance of Sam ensures their relationship remains normal in the wake of Sam’s life changes and makes it extremely believable that Sam initially disliked him.  Further to last week, Sam continues to question Callen’s character, wondering if he has bodies buried in the garden after he references an agent / murderer.  

On a side note it would make a great plot line if Callen were to be investigated as a killer or double agent.  Point in case for Callen, that first impressions can be wrong particularly when you barely know someone, such as Sam with Byron.  As usual though Sam’s radar is working fine, and it would have saved a lot of time if Sam had considered what might persuade an inherently good man to become involved in a weapons heist in the first place.  Byron’s family were being held hostage.  Sam should realise by now that people would do anything to save their family. 

The majority of the episode is split between Callen and Sam undercover as bodyguards for EAD Mosley, and Kensi and Deeks running down leads on the weapons and buyers.  This works well as it is the first time the team and audience have seen Mosley at work outside the office environment.  She has scored a VIP invite to the charity sports shooting event held by defence contractors .  Livingston-Bradford, which is also the current location of Byron.  Livingston-Bradford are trying to scupper rumours of supplying weapons to both sides of the Western Sahara conflict.  They’re also split between running a small philanthropy arm and fulfilling weapons orders for governments and private companies.  Already alarm bells are ringing.  Mosley networks, as her role demands and the agents are left to follow Byron. 

The first time Kensi and Deeks are seen this episode is arriving at the address of petty criminal Tony Young...in a Porsche borrowed from the car pool.  This smacks of trouble but Deeks seems unconcerned with how legitimate his borrowing is and more concerned with how he looks.  Kensi is less than impressed and worries about the practicalities.  Their scenes are a cue for banter and smart ass remarks between themselves and their suspect Tony.   It would be good to see a little less of clown Deeks and there is a feeling actor Eric Christian Olsen has been given some freedom to ad lib.  Sometimes less is more.  Regardless, they find their hapless thief who takes them to the weapons buyers.  After a phone call with Sam, the pair realise the truck is missing.

Poor Nell and Eric are barely seen during the episode.  Much of the information they usually disseminate is discussed between the agents and Mosley, although Eric has a great scene impersonating Scotty from Star Trek to a less than impressed Sam and Callen.  Hetty is only seen at the prologue ‘previously on NCIS: Los Angeles’, presumably to explain her absence to the casual viewer.  Her story is not progressed but her boat is found in Hawaii prompting Callen to question (like Deeks last week), if she has really retired this time.  Sam, with his radar working at one hundred percent is sure she’ll be back.

This is one of several unforeseen twists and false leads which nicely counteracts the predictability.  Byron is seen several times in the company of Real IRA member Travis Coogan but there is no terrorist threat.  The weapons were a necessity to secure the branded truck supplying weapons to the Livingston-Bradford shooting event, meaning the event wasn’t a front for selling weapons in plain sight but a cover for an assassination on one of the company directors.  On the flip side it was unsurprising that Byron’s family were used as leverage and even less so, that Sasha, the haughty looking wife of Charles Livingston, was the real mastermind.  

A shooting event brings its own challenges, namely mixing alcohol and loaded guns which again is a thread not followed.  Instead Mosley is given the chance to demonstrate her expertise in shooting with a double pull using her expensive hand guns, which Callen states she’d been practicing for days.  The teams skills are all on show in the field with Sam taking out one of the snipers, Callen shooting at a target based off shadows.  Also ably supporting them in the field is Hidoko who shoots the assassin approaching Callen from behind.


The episode closes with more banter and more question marks around Deeks.  Last week he was justifying his wanting to stay with NCIS and later debating the merits of leaving law enforcement for the sake of his future children.  Here he has taken a Porsche from the car pool without question which of course turns out to be Mosley’s car, returned to the pool with scratches.  Body language and eye contact from Mosley to Deeks suggests she is convinced Deeks took it and asks Nell and Eric to scrub through footage to find the culprit leaving Deeks to frantically delete his incriminating selfies.  Just as reckless albeit currently in a theoretical way, Callen reverts to badgering Sam about jet skis once the case is closed, coming across as an annoying child to Sam’s father-like insistence of ‘no’.

All in all this was an enjoyable stand alone episode with enough plot and action to ensure the entertainment level remained high.  It does mean there was little character development among the main cast.  Mosley only interacted with Sam and Callen and currently seems to have the upper hand, prompting the odd sarcastic comment.  Is she starting to appreciate how the team work in their existing partnerships?  Or is there still more change to come?

What did you think about ‘Plain Sight’?  Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.