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NCIS: Los Angeles - Defectors - Review: "All About the Arrest"

“Defectors” sets into motion the LAPD internal affairs case against Deeks that we’ve been hearing about since last season. IA has been investigating him for a while now, and it seems they finally have enough evidence against him to do something about it. In the final few minutes of the episode, Deeks is arrested for murder – the murder of a person named Francis Boyle.

The rest of the episode dealt with the search for a terrorist who was recruiting young girls to be Isis brides. When a car accident leads NCIS to the home of a young woman who’s gone missing, Sam figures out she was likely recruited through a modeling agency. So Kensi goes undercover as a prospective model to see what she can find out. Ultimately NCIS saves three young girls who were on their way to Iran, though the team never catches the original terrorist who recruited the girls.

This episode was okay for me. There were moments I felt the tone was off and things weren’t as serious as they should have been. I understand why CBS pushed back this episode after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Hearing about Isis recruitment was a sensitive issue. But fortunately the episode wasn’t too difficult to watch. For me, it had some fun scenes. But the final scene was the highlight. I was happy to see the IA plot finally moving forward, even if we already knew what was coming.

Kensi and Callen

I enjoyed the fun, taunting chat between Kensi and Callen at the beginning of the episode where he confronts her about the chaos of her desk. That desk was pretty crazy! It was hard to miss. It’s funny how she thought her desk was Zen, though, and wouldn’t admit she had a problem. In reality that desk was overcrowded with colorful knickknacks that migrated into Callen’s clean, organized space.

I loved their exchange as Kensi grew more and more defensive. By the time Callen gives her a self-help book, she throws his lack of clutter right back at him, telling him he has no clutter because he has no stuff. (That amused me because it’s true). She also claimed it was a sign he couldn’t commit to anything, even a serious relationship. Callen looked amused and mentioned Joelle. But Kensi acts like even that relationship isn’t serious. (I was a bit surprised she went there as Callen has been dating Joelle a while now, even if they’ve had some problems. Kensi was going for the jugular with that one!) After she’s done with her ribbing, Kensi figures out that Deeks put Callen up to this discussion. (Though Callen had no problem agreeing to it.)

Kensi and Deeks

Deeks obviously thinks Kensi needs a little purging and decluttering in her life. It kind of amused me that he sent Callen to do his dirty work. But it doesn’t make Kensi too happy with Deeks. She didn’t really seem mad, just good-naturedly annoyed. But throughout the episode she isn’t about to let Deeks forget what he did.

Many of the Deeks-Kensi interactions were pretty routine this week. But they did have a few small fun or sweet moments together, either by themselves or in a group. I loved the scene where Kensi volunteers to go undercover at a modeling agency and Deeks gets jealous. He wants to be the model. All of them were funny as Callen claimed a male model was a good idea, and Sam should do it. Kensi’s and Sam’s facial expressions were classic. Kensi looked like quite satisfied Callen had burned Deeks, and Sam looked like he was thinking, “Oh, brother! Get serious.” (I would have liked to see Sam as a model!) Deeks’ response was also hilarious as he claimed they didn’t make Italian clothes in Sam’s size. When they finally agree that Kensi will go undercover, Deeks wants to tell her what to wear. I loved the way she raised her finger at him, as if he shouldn’t say another word. She is not about to let him get away with anything after the clutter discussion.

When Kensi shows up at the modeling agency looking beautiful, the agent immediately notices her and offers to test her potential with a photo shoot. (This is not really how modeling agencies work. People just don’t show up and get a test shoot on the spot. But we will overlook that.) It doesn’t take long before she’s really into the job. Looking through the rack of clothes, she is very particular about what she wants – or doesn’t want – to wear. And she acts like a typical haughty model who isn’t very nice to the woman helping her. As he listens to her, Deeks notices she seems to be enjoying the assignment. He tries to compliment her, saying she looks good in everything, but Kensi won’t let him charm his way out of trouble. It was also cute that Deeks wanted to make sure Kensi would be okay before he went after the CFO of the company.

Kensi, it turns out, is great at modeling. (No surprise.) It was fun to watch her working the camera. But her real job comes after she’s done, snooping in the agent’s office. She doesn’t have time to find anything, though, before the woman sees her and puts up a fight. Kensi, of course, wins – but the photographer gets away and hits Kensi with his car when she runs after him. Ouch. That looked like it hurt.

Meanwhile, Deeks follows the CFO who sneaked out of the building and got into a car in an alley. It was amusing to watch Deeks think he is about to uncover a terrorist, but instead he finds the man having an affair. (How those two got their clothes off in the five seconds it took Deeks to get to the car is beyond me.) Deeks’ attitude was pretty funny as he pretended to take the woman’s side and claimed he was just there to keep the peace.

Later we saw more cute small moments between Kensi and Deeks. As the team looks for the photographer, Deeks begins joking about double entendres. I enjoyed how Sam had to step in and give them a “time out.” He was fed up with their joking and didn’t want to listen to another “touché” debate. Then after they find the missing girls and resolve the case, Deeks sweetly tells Kensi in front of the team that she was amazing talking to the girls and convincing them they needed to go home. (Honestly, I thought that scene with the girls didn’t carry the forcefulness it should have. And I wondered if Kensi’s comment to them that ‘you don’t leave people behind you care about’ was some kind of foreshadowing.) But Deeks’ affirmation of Kensi’s work was a sweet moment that showed how proud he was of her skills.

I also loved the moment right before Deeks’ arrest, as he and Kensi joked about the musical “Annie.” (As they began their conversation in front of the team, did you see Sam and Callen give each other looks like, “Here we go again?” Those guys put up with a lot from these two!) Kensi and Deeks’ dialogue and interaction showed how great they play off each other – and the funny, lighthearted moment, with Deeks laughing hysterically when Kensi says he has a thing for redheads with daddy issues, was the perfect contrast to the very serious moment that followed. It just emphasized how much they were not expecting what came next.

And what came next was the arrest. I found it interesting that Deeks didn’t seem especially shocked at what was happening. Or maybe he was just resigned. He became very quiet as the officer and detective handcuffed him and read him his rights. Of course, what else could you do? You can’t change the situation by talking.

Kensi, meanwhile, was in shock. She was struggling to process what was going on. But unfortunately the tone of her reactions seemed a little off to me. I would have thought she would be more freaked out and worried for Deeks. But instead she seemed almost upset at Deeks, as if it was his fault that she didn’t know what was happening. She continued directing her questions and comments to him, expecting him to explain why this was happening. But he couldn’t explain. All he could tell her was, “I love you.” (Which almost made it seem like he knew exactly why he was being arrested and just wanted Kensi to know how he felt.)

I think part of the reason Kensi reacted this way was because she was stunned and didn’t know what to think. A murder charge is a very serious allegation – anyone would be concerned at that. But it was kind of weird that one of her first reactions was to almost get annoyed with Deeks. I hope this isn’t a hint of what’s to come because I really want to see Kensi stand behind Deeks and trust him, knowing his true character. This case will no doubt test her faith in her boyfriend. Doubts are naturally going to arise when something this serious happens, but I hope her first instinct is to believe in Deeks and think he couldn’t have done anything horribly wrong. (And I hope he hasn’t.) I hope she can get past feeling blindsided and give Deeks the support he will need moving forward.

Not a lot of information was given to us about the actual case against Deeks. All we know so far is Deeks is accused of killing a person named Francis Boyle. My first thought was, is this the same old-school detective Deeks had mentioned being partnered with in the past, the man Deeks had reported for torturing people? (Deeks said the man had later been found dead in a motel, shot with his own gun.) I don’t recall Deeks ever mentioning the detective’s name, so it’s hard to say if that was Francis Boyle or not. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. I, for one, though, don’t believe Deeks would have done anything malicious against an innocent person. If there truly was a murder and Deeks was involved, I have to think he must have had a good reason to act. I can’t picture Deeks doing anything terrible. He’s too honest and sincere for that. That has been proven through the years. Now, could he have gotten caught up in something over his head and covered it up? It’s possible. But that would still taint his character. So I have a hard time believing he’d do that, either. Because of all this, I’m not overly worried about the case. But I am looking forward to seeing what the writers have come up with. I can’t even predict at this point where the case is going. I am eager to see how it unfolds and how it is going to impact Deeks and his relationship with Kensi.

Sam and Callen

Sam and Callen had some small, enjoyable scenes together this week. First Sam teases Callen for giving Kensi the self-help book, saying that “gift” really benefited Callen, not Kensi. I just love the way these two tease. And I had to laugh when Sam told Callen he was upset about Kensi “respecting the line,” because Sam likes that definitive line himself when it comes to boundaries.

Next we see Sam talking about why he won’t use Uber, and this time Callen teases Sam, saying he doesn’t want to give up control. Sam won’t admit that’s true, even though Callen insists he’s right. Half of the fun of their joking is seeing how well these guys know each other.

When Sam and Callen need to track down a passport forger to find out how many girls are planning to be shipped out of the country, they team up to harass the forger into giving them information. This was another scene I thought should have been more serious. With the light music and tone, it almost seemed like it was meant to be amusing. But I don’t see anything amusing about a man who is willing to forge passports for Isis. I wish Sam and Callen would’ve been harsher with the man.

On the flip side, I was glad to see how emphatic and disgusted Sam was when he and Callen interrogated the female modeling agent who was helping her Isis boyfriend. I couldn’t believe how heartless she was. Sam pointed out that the girls would likely be sold, whipped or stoned to death. When the woman said the girls must have done something to deserve that punishment, Sam was fittingly shocked and appalled at the disgusting thought.

I also enjoyed a few minor touches with these two. I enjoyed Callen yelling at the old lady in the elevator, showing his concern for keeping civilians safe. And Sam’s concern for the young woman Zara was sweet. After he finds her, he keeps hugging her to let her know everything is going to be okay. (Although the hug was also a little over-the-top.)

Eric, Nell, Granger and Hetty

I enjoyed the short scene with Eric playing the saxophone terribly. Who knew Eric would be so bad at a musical instrument? He was cute as he excitedly told Kensi and Callen about the very small number of viewers who had checked out his YouTube video. And I loved how he took Callen’s clear criticism (that it almost sounded like a saxophone) as a compliment.

I thought the respect between Callen and Nell shined through when he called her about the case and was about to tell her to get it done quickly, but she already knew what he was thinking. I liked his response: “That’s my girl.” It’s nice to see the agents appreciating the analysts who work hard behind the scenes. And it was also cute seeing how happy Eric was to help Nell with things she asked of him.

One scene that bothered me was the exchange between Hetty and Granger talking about how it didn’t take long for Isis to get on American soil. It felt misplaced to me. I wish they had actually cut this scene. Not only was the thought uncomfortable with everything that has happened recently, but Granger then goes on to compare Hetty to Isis. When she claims all bets are off with Isis, Granger responds, “That’s what people say about you.” The comparison made me cringe.

But I did enjoy the exchange between Hetty and Kensi. When Hetty makes a comment about Jackie, Kensi picks up on the fact she is referring to Jackie O. Wow – Jackie Onassis. Hetty really does know everyone! Then Hetty goes on to address Kensi’s concerns about why a young girl would want to join a terrorist organization. Hetty tells her it probably wasn’t one large decision that led to that choice, but a series of smaller ones. She specifically tells Kensi you can’t assume to know everyone – not even those you’re closest to. This comment was definitely referencing and foreshadowing the situation with Deeks. Does Kensi really know Deeks as well as she thinks she does? Are there things about him that we as an audience don’t know? Hetty may be the voice of wisdom, but I have to say, I think that comment was a red herring. We may not know the full story of Deeks’ past, but I do believe we know his true character.

What did you think of "Defectors?" Are you worried about Deeks' arrest? What did you think of Kensi's reaction? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author - Tonya Papanikolas
Tonya Papanikolas is an online, print and broadcast 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 loves covering NCIS: Los Angeles for SpoilerTV. (She's a big fan of Kensi and Deeks!) She also writes SpoilerTV articles on other great shows.

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