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NCIS: Los Angeles - Inelegant Heart - Review: "Trouble and Fun"

The second episode of the new season (“Inelegant Heart”) found Hetty in trouble – with that trouble spreading to the rest of the team as well. While Hetty faced an intelligence oversight committee in Washington DC, the Department of Justice sent investigators to Los Angeles for a forensic audit of the NCIS operations facility and all its employees. But an even deeper threat came later as we learned Hetty may be in real physical danger.

While this episode centered on Hetty and the challenges she’s confronting, it was also filled with fun scenes of the team. When a Navy contractor with cyber security access turns up dead, the team begins investigating. To do that, they have to bring Sam and Callen off an undercover assignment where Sam is a corrections officer and Callen is an inmate. Seeing Callen in an orange prison jumpsuit was classic. And I loved how when Sam received the get-here-now call from Eric, all he had to do was start talking to Callen and his bearded partner knew exactly what was needed. These two really are on the same wavelength. Callen immediately got himself in trouble so that Sam could handcuff him and they could both leave. (I hope they return back to their undercover roles later – that was great!)

Meanwhile, Kensi and Deeks apparently work out together boxing and wrestling. I loved this scene. Watching the two of them spar on the mat just mimicked what they already do on the job. Since Kensi loves to constantly slug Deeks, I guess this is really a perfect place for them! Here they can whack each other to their hearts’ content and make fun of each other while doing it. I loved watching Deeks dish out the smack talk while trying to win, making fun of Kensi, saying she lacked poise because she had been a tomboy instead of taking dance or gymnastics. Then as she wraps her legs around him and wrestles him to the floor, he says, “Wow – that’s a pretty nice move. Did you learn that in pole dancing?” I had to laugh. But in the end, Deeks is the one who taps out and Kensi emerges the winner. (I also loved the following scene with Eric as they make fun of him for not watching wrestling and then Deeks leaves Kensi’s mouthguard on Eric’s shoulder.)

Back in DC, Hetty is being grilled by a man who believes Hetty is hostile and stonewalling their questions. When they ask her about why she sent Kensi to Afghanistan rather than a trained Navy Seal, Hetty gives a great answer. She tells them it was better to send a woman with whom the local Muslim women would be allowed to talk. That way she had the capacity to gain more intel. But that doesn’t squash the questions. Next they question her about the German agent Hetty had shot years ago who later reappeared to live in LA at a nursing home - with a wife who matched Hetty’s description. (If you remember from earlier seasons, she placed him in a retirement home and masqueraded as his wife.) To this she admits that she kept him as an asset until he was murdered by his own country. Her lawyer doesn’t like her admitting this information but Hetty is controlling things here – not her lawyer. At one point she even counsels him to pretend to give her advice. Typical Hetty – always in charge. It is clear she is really advising him.

On a break, NCIS finds a way to slip Hetty a secret phone to tell her the DOJ has sent investigators to LA. Granger and the rest of the team know exactly what is going on. The DOJ is trying to bring down Hetty and then intends to come after the rest of their team and operation. They are all in trouble. But for now Nell stalls the DOJ interviews by turning off the power.

As the team investigates the Navy murder, they have more funny scenes along the way. I always find it’s these scenes, rather than the actual cases, that make the episodes so enjoyable. First Deeks and Kensi search the victim’s home while kidding around. They joke about geek toys and Kensi not being able to keep things alive. Deeks tells her even a mouse who lived in her cupboard died of starvation – and then he laughs his little involuntary Frenchman laugh that always cracks me up!

Then Sam and Callen talk to the victim’s sister who is trying to find a home for her brother’s dog. That prompts a hilarious discussion between the partners. Sam tells Callen a dog would be good for him and to that Callen replies, “You know – come to think of it – I feed you, I take you for walks, you are very protective of me.” Though Sam warns him to stop, Callen can’t resist. He finishes his thought by telling his friend with a gleam in his eyes: “You my dog!” To that Sam locks him out of his car and drives away. I was laughing out loud by the time Callen yelled back at his friend, “Come back, Big Dog!” These two are so great paired together.

Then we’re treated to a fun team dialogue as Deeks sees Callen’s scruffy beard for the first time since he’s been undercover and calls his beard an “angelic bathmat” he just wants to touch. Sam tells Deeks that he shouldn’t comment on hair. (At least Sam admitted that he was clearly no haircare expert himself before he said that!) Deeks then responds, “Don’t be jealous of my glorious golden Viking mane.” And then they proceed to all make fun of Deeks with lisp jokes. I’m always happy when the show’s writers include scenes of the team talking and joking around. They have such great interactions with each other. Usually it culminates in ganging up on Deeks, who isn’t fazed and continues dishing out the humorous comments that just elicit more reactions from the rest of the team. It’s a never-ending fun circle of harassment until they all have to get back to the case. That’s one thing I love about this show. No matter which pairing or individuals you put together from the team, they all have fun together and give us some great scenes! (Sam with Deeks are often some of the funniest!)

When it comes to the case, they track down a thief who stole some surveillance equipment out of the victim’s home and they learn the killer slipped in through the doggie door. So they come up with a plan to lure out the killer by making him think the victim didn’t actually die. This means Kensi and Deeks have to go to the morgue and take pictures of the dead man to make it look like he is only injured. Deeks isn’t too thrilled about the job and doesn’t want the man leaking “dead-guy juice” on him. But he takes the opportunity to talk about the “lifeless women” he used to date, though they weren’t actually dead. Kensi in turn jumps on that opportunity to comment that they just wished they were dead. Even Deeks has to admit that was a good one, offering Kensi a “touché” and a high five. One thing I love about Deeks is he always reacts differently to Kensi’s joking. Sometimes he throws it right back; other times he accepts it and acknowledges her cleverness. And it’s the same way with his own jokes. Most of the time he is the funniest one of the bunch. But other times his jokes fall flat or go too far – like when he sarcastically comments to Kensi about how much her makeup does for her. Bad form, Deeks! But she just ignores him and plows right on with her business. Even Deeks’ non-funny comments become comical because he is just such a goofball that you have to laugh when he tries to be funny but doesn’t hit the mark.

I also loved the scene where Sam and Callen leave Eric in the victim’s house and tell him not to leave the computer room until their plan to lure the killer there works. Eric actually asks what he’s supposed to do if he has to pee (only Eric would ask a question like that!) and Sam empties a mug full of pens and offers it to him. What a great moment! The field agents interacting with the tech team is always amusing because they speak such different languages and think so differently from each other. But the plan works and Sam and Callen catch the hitman coming through the doggie door. After that Eric’s genius detective work tracks down the man who hired the hitman – Papa Legba, the pseudonym for a man operating a sketchy black market website offering illegal goods and services. It turns out the murder victim had found out Papa Legba’s real identity and blackmailed him, and Papa Legba killed him for it. So now the team has to go undercover to catch him. And they play their roles perfectly, to the audience’s amusement. Deeks was great as a homeless man, sifting through the garbage and singing as he scoped out the layout and security. Kensi posed as a girl getting abducted by Sam – and both of their performances distract the guards long enough for them to make their move and find the man behind the killing.

But as the episode ends, it becomes very clear that the trouble isn’t over. After searching the black market website for other important intel, Eric and Nell find a startling discovery – someone paid a quarter million dollars to find out where Hetty lived. The danger to her is far greater than anyone realized. In fact, as she heads to her hotel in Washington, she has a secret tail – a man in a car who has a gun and Hetty’s file next to him on his seat. All we know about this man right now is that he smokes and he’s after Hetty. Or is he? He certainly seemed to be - but is it possible he could be protecting her? That’s just a thought that may or may not prove true. We don’t know what is happening just yet. But the promo for next week showed poor Hetty on a stretcher. Yikes! One thing I do know is that her team is just as dedicated to her as she is to them. I’m sure they’re going to step in to try to keep her safe. After all, they are like family. I just hope they can get to her in time!

What did you think of "Inelegant Heart?" How much trouble do you think Hetty is in? Any predictions about the man in the car? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author - Tonya Papanikolas
Tonya Papanikolas is a freelance journalist who loves covering entertainment and television. She spent more than 10 years as a broadcast news anchor/reporter and now does everything from hosting to writing. She is excited to cover NCIS: Los Angeles for SpoilerTV. (She loves Kensi and Deeks!) She also writes SpoilerTV articles on other great shows.