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NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 1 Review



Season nine picks up a number of months after the traumatic death of Sam’s wife with a case that is extremely topical in the current political climate.  The team investigate after the body of a DEA agent lands on a limousine, and his last text is warning of a North Korean missile attack on Los Angeles.  Throw in to the mix the fact that Hetty has retired - she has sold three of her houses, another is for sale and her yacht missing from the marina - coupled with a new Executive Assistant Director who is more than ‘by the book’, Sam’s refusal to return to the team, and the episode is set up for confrontation, excitement and intrigue.

Granger made a flamboyant entrance in S3 and was instantly disliked.  He was almost a caricature with his overt arrogance, dry humour and hidden agenda.  The introduction of EAD Shay Mosley was rather flat in comparison as she is very much her own person. Her interactions with the team are minimal with the exception of Callen, who for once, refrains from open hostility.  Remember his behaviour when Hunter replaced Hetty the last time she ‘retired’?  Change is natural in the workplace and life, and Mosley brings with her a world of change.  She believes she is protecting national security by sending Deeks back to LAPD, effectively terminating his liaison position.  She wants the team to be the best of the best, to follow the rules and minimise casualties.  With Deeks missing, that argument holds no water with Callen who challenges her after a suspect is shot dead.  This result is the temporarily reinstatement of Deeks.
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The NCISLA team do leave behind a high body count and to a certain extent are a bunch of cowboys - which keeps the viewers tuning in each week. They frequently circumvent the rules and fly by the seat of their pants, which is evident when Sam attempts to disarm a bomb in the back of an ambulance being driven by Callen like a maniac.  The communication links are live in ops and Mosley is listening to their frantic banter and Callen’s lack of substantial information on a plan B.  The team thrives on the adrenaline rush their job entails; look at how animated Callen becomes when he may have to sacrifice himself to save others. 
Mosley is less than impressed with the team’s style which is not the ‘NCIS way’ and she refuses to listen to Callen’s argument that their unique method of operating works. The other new cast member is NCIS Special Agent Harley Hidoko, who seemed rather naive and a little nervous, unable to push images from her iPad to the big screen (clearly DC do not have the latest technology at their fingertips, unlike the ops centre). She did loosen up as the episode progressed and her interactions with the wonder twins in ops allowed information about Mosley to be circulated; she enforces the rule of sacking staff for utilising federal resources for personal use.  Mosley doesn't like excitement, kidding or anything that Hidoko can currently fathom. She almost seems a spare part, duplicating the role of Nell and Eric in disseminating information, but maybe she will venture out with the team or remain in ops to allow Nell more field work.  Regardless, she is quietly on the side of the team.


Deeks’ return to LAPD was punctuated by two set pieces with Lieutenant Bates and both underline how he doesn’t have a home there.  He’s given a desk by the kennels and is not needed by Bates or any other officers and so visits his mother.  This is a cue for humorous scenarios which break up the seriousness of Callen versus Mosley. Deeks has not told his mum he’s engaged whereas Kensi has told hers...meaning Roberta Deeks has heard the news second hand.  Personality wise, Roberta is every bit as flamboyant as her son, with a healthy appetite for the opposite sex and always has to have the last word in a conversation or argument.
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Deeks’ encounter with his mother also lightens the episode from Sam continuing state of grief. Sam has adopted a number of traits usually associated with Callen, having isolated himself from the team and living in a trailer at the beach.  He appears to have lost his drive, advising  it would take a miracle for him to return and encouraging Callen to find a new partner. 

The impending missile attack on LA was the catalyst for Sam’s return and his presence prompted Callen to understand the real threat; if the US declared war on North Korea, all the troops would be withdrawal from the middle east, allowing terrorist groups and countries like Iran to act without the scrutiny of the US. The twist was unpredictable and clever, full credit to episode writer and show runner Scott Gemmill. Sam sauntered back to the mission as if he'd returned from holiday, which contradicted his earlier attitude with Callen. Will remain as relaxed or will the veneer crack as the season progresses? Another odd scene was Eric dressed as an avocado which demonstrated that he needs further work on his ability to surveil unnoticed!

Hetty takes the closing scene and is in Vietnam, obtaining information about a seemingly rogue 1970s CIA agent. This will form part of a secondary plot line for at least the early episodes, maybe leading to a return of retired Admiral Chegwidden. Deeks' days may be numbered again when Mosley realises he and Kensi are engaged. Her desire to return him to LAPD may also be setting up the internal affairs investigation into Lieutenant Bates, as last season Deeks was 'persuaded' by IA Officer Whiting to assist in her investigations. The eventual return of Hetty (if her retirement adventure is not her swansong), will hopefully ensure his permanent return and may serve for an understanding to be reached between Callen and Mosley, who are already embroiled in a battle of wills. 


The new characters and the absence from the field of old ones, allows for new dynamics among such a well established team. In a now rare move, Kensi partnered with Callen and the two worked well together before returning to the status quo. Mosley and Hidoko's introductions has not set the show alight with larger than life personalities, but they are so far acting as the serious buffer to the exhilaration of the team's adventures in the field. But will Mosley learn to appreciate the NCIS LA cowboys work perfectly well without following the rule book too closely?

What did you think of the episode?  Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the episode.