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NCIS: New Orleans - The Last Mile - Review: "Opioids & Undercover Work"

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NCIS: New Orleans - The Last Mile - Review: "Opioids & Undercover Work"
4.15 - "The Last Mile"
Directed by Stacey K. Black
Written by Chad Gomez Creasey
Reviewed by Kelly Anne Blount

The episode opens up with Raymond Isler sitting at a dinner with a young man named Cyrus. Isler appears to be undercover and the young man is really nervous. Isler tells him to, "Eat your biscuits and gravy, you'll feel better!" Good advice, Isler.

They are waiting for a man named Donny Bellanger to show up. Isler tells Cyrus that he's there solo and off the books. This makes Cyrus even more nervous.

Bellanger shows up and is immediately wary of Isler a.k.a. Ray Jones. Bellanger announces that he needs help from a wheel man for a job tomorrow. Being the newbie undercover operative that he is, Isler tells Bellanger about a "shock and awe" crew that robbed a place in West Virginia. Bellanger immediately points out that the only people who refer to the crew as "shock and awe" are the police. With that, Bellanger gets up, shoots Cyrus in the chest and runs away.

Bellanger takes off in a black Charger with Isler on his heels. The police join in the pursuit, putting on the pressure for Bellanger to make a drastic move. He drives his car off of a makeshift ramp in a construction zone. His Charger miraculously flies through the air and lands on the other side with some damage, but the car is still drivable, so he manages to get away. Isler on the other hand, stops before the ramp and is apprehended by the police.

Down at the NOPD police station, Pride walks into the jail and finds Isler sitting alone on a bench in a cell. Pride wants to know what's up. Why was Isler going off the books and acting as an undercover agent? Isler says that the reason he asked the police to call Pride and not the local FBI field office, is because he couldn't trust anyone besides Pride. Talk about a full circle moment here, people! He tells Pride that he's on a big case and he needs Pride's help, off the books. This makes Pride nervous, but Isler says, "This is important. I need your help."

They head back to Isler's apartment. It is bare. Pride gives him a hard time for not making his place feel more like home. Isler says that he'll, "but a plant," when the case is over.

Isler shows Pride why he's brought him to his apartment. He has a wall with a map filled with pins and string, photos, and more evidence. He says that a robbery crew is stealing opioids directly from trucks who pick up the medications from the manufactures. So far, they have stolen over 30 million dollars worth of drugs and every single robbery points back to New Orleans.

The FBI hasn't gotten involved yet, because the robberies don't appear to be connected. When Isler asked for help, they told him to back off and, "stay in my own lane."

Isler tells Pride a story about a close friend at work, who got hurt on the job. He was prescribed pain medication and became addicted. Isler says that the pills destroyed his friend's life and he lost his job because of it. Pride gives Isler a knowing look and agrees to help.

Isler tells Pride that Bellanger is hiring drivers for the next heist. Isler needs Pride to sanction the investigation. Isler has an overdose case of a young man at Belle Chasse, who most likely died from pills stolen during one of the heists. If Pride accepts the case, he will be able to investigate the opioid robberies.

Pride tells the team about their new case. Percy is skeptical and appears not to want to make any waves with the higher ups. LaSalle points out that Isler has helped them in the past, they need to return the favor. I agree, Christopher! Gregorio is all about the irony of Isler needing their help. Me too, Gregorio. Me too.

Ah, good! Pride already talked to the FBI field office in New Orleans and has their permission to work the case.

The team goes over what they need to do and what they already know. Turns out that Bellanger used to be a NASCAR driver a.k.a. he has a thing for fast cars.

Pride sends the team out to look for Bellanger while he heads to the lab with Isler.

Loretta proves that the chemical makeup from the pills the officer at Belle Chasse overdosed on were an exact match to the pills stolen in one of the heists. She says that he isn't the only one to die from this batch of pills. There are six other victims.

Sebastian is at the lab watching car chases for research. He and Isler have a moment where they fanboy over the Fast & Furious movies. Sebastian points out that the car Bellanger was driving was modified. He also tells Isler, Loretta, and Pride that Bellanger's car was damaged during the getaway. He will need a new oil pan and oil for his car before he can go anywhere else. Luckily, he uses super fancy oil and there are only a few shops in New Orleans that carry it.

LaSalle and Gregorio head over to one of the mechanic shops that carry the special oil. They find Bellanger, who makes a run for it. Thinking on his feet, LaSalle hits a switch and drops a car on Bellanger. With Bellanger's hand pinned underneath the front tire of a care, LaSalle looks at Gregorio and quips, "Pretty sure he ain't going anywhere, New York!" Points to the writers for that one!

Isler and Pride interrogate Bellanger at NCIS HQ. They want to know who Bellanger was working for and the names of everyone involved in the heists. Bellanger tells them that he doesn't want to talk to either of them. He wants to see a doctor for his broken arm, which was stabilized by the EMTs on the scene. Bellanger says, "I'm terrible with names and I don't respond to threats." Pride offers to make a call to the Head Orthopedic doctor, if Bellanger helps them out.

Bellanger caves. He tells them that he doesn't know a lot. He says that a friend from Angola, Hal Cranston reached out to him last week about a big job. They are supposed to meet up later in the afternoon to go over the plans. Bellanger tells them when and where the meeting is, in exchange for Pride's help getting him in to see the orthopedic specialist.

Gregorio informs the team about Hal Cranston's background. He's a "stick up guy" with a background in "smash and grab" robbery. They determine that he isn't smart enough to plan the heist, so he's obviously working for someone else.

Pride wants Percy and LaSalle to go in undercover, as driver (Percy) and muscle (LaSalle) to work with Hal. They can work with him and get him to give up his boss. Isler says that's a good plan, but one thing has to change. He wants to be the muscle.

Percy thinks the idea is ridiculously. She says, "You were made in a minute at the dinner. You reek of cop."

Isler says it's too important to him and he doesn't want anyone else to get hurt. Pride says that Isler can go undercover with Percy. Gregorio and LaSalle will coordinate and be nearby in case they need back up. Sebastian and Pride will work the coms from HQ. Pride tells Percy to work with Isler for a few hours. If he's not ready, Pride says that Percy can, pull Isler from the case.

Isler and Percy are at Pride's bar practicing his background story as Alton Webber. She thinks he's too stiff. He tells her he can do it again. He starts telling the story over again with, "I like pills, that's really how I lost my job." He says there was an accident and someone almost died. He ends by tells her that he almost lost everything fifteen years ago. That's when he got sober and he hasn't taken a pill since then. Sonja is impressed with this version and makes him tell her again, but this time, "with more emotion."

Gregorio and LaSalle are in position, in the middle of nowhere, ready to back up Percy and Isler. They bring Bellanger with them, who has his arm bandaged and in a sling.

A door slides open and someone invites Percy, Isler, and Bellanger inside. The moment they step inside the building Gregorio and LaSalle lose connection. They can't see or hear anything that's going on. They approach the building, ensuring that Percy and Isler are okay.

Bellanger tells Hal that he broke his arm, so he brought a new driver, Percy, and new muscle, Isler. Hal doesn't believe him. He hits Bellanger and accuses Isler of being a cop. Percy tries to diffuse the situation, but Hal has his gun pointed directly at Isler's head. Luckily, Isler manages to convince Hal that he's not a cop, by taking down one of Hal's guys.

Hal, who now believes Isler isn't a cop, smiles and says, "This job is going to be crazy!"

Hal throws Isler and Percy for a loop when he tells them that the job is going down right now. They head outside, where Gregorio and LaSalle pick up reception again. They can hear Percy and Isler.

Hal tells Percy and Isler they are just waiting to hear from "Charlie" a.k.a. the boss, for their next move. He has a special phone, where he receives instructions from Charlie.

Pride tells Gregorio and LaSalle to follow Percy and Isler. Before they take off, they cuff Bellanger to the building and tell him that NOPD is on their way. He shouts, "NO COOL!"

Patton has info. The heist crews are taking backroads and crossing county lines to new jurisdictions. This is how they are outsmarting the system and getting away from the police after every robbery.

Pride wonders if Charlie is a current or former law officer. Perhaps that's how he knows how to avoid detection, which drugs to steal, which to avoid, and how to keep the FBI off his back.

Hal is in the backseat, with Percy driving and Isler in the front seat. They receive instructions from Charlie. They are only a few minutes out from the location Charlie wants them to pull off the robbery. They slip on masks and lay out a spike strip to blow the truck's tires.

LaSalle and Gregorio are watching nearby. They are worried about the amount of gun power at the heist. If something goes wrong, someone could end up getting shot and/or killed.

The truck hits the strips and squeals to a stop. Isler and Hal rob the truck and get ready to make a break for it. Unbeknownst to everyone, a man in a truck pulls up. He gets out and points his gun at Hal, another robber, and Isler, who are still wearing their masks.

The other robber shoots at the man, who appears to be attempting to be a good citizen and stop the robbery on his own. Gregorio and LaSalle get out. Gregorio gets shot. Luckily, she's wearing her vest, but she's still hurt. LaSalle takes out the other robber. Hal and Isler make it back to the car. Hal tells Percy to drive. They're leaving the other guy behind.

Sebastian is worried sick after hearing that Tammy got shot. Pride reassures him that it's only a few broken ribs and that she's going to be okay. Pride tells him that he needs him to focus. Pride is relying on Sebastian and Patton to find Charlie.

They start with a clue, slang that Charlie used. It indicates that he's possibly a former officer from the Atlanta area. Patton and Sebastian start searching on their computers. Patton knocks it out of the park. He finds former FBI Agent Driscoll, who worked in Macon, GA and arrested Hal Cranston for weapons possession a decade ago. Cranston became Driscoll's confidential informant and they worked together closely for years. Driscoll has a house nearby.

Charlie gives Hal, Percy, and Isler instructions. Hal is bleeding out, but tells them to continue to follow Charlie's instructions. He doesn't trust either Percy or Isler.

Pride and Sebastian race over to Driscoll's house. They find computer software, relaying Charlie's instructions to Hal, but Driscoll is nowhere to be found. With Patton's help, Sebastian can find out where Driscoll is and therefore, where Percy, Isler, and Hal are going to meet him.

Percy and Isler pull up to the meeting point. Hal is dead in the back seat. Charlie pulls up behind Percy and Isler. He wants Hal to make the drop, but Hal's dead, so Isler does it.

Charlie gets out of the vehicle with a gun pulled on Isler. Percy tries to back up Isler, but Charlie tells her to get back in the vehicle.

Just as Isler is about to hand off the opioids, Charlie says, "Wait a minute. Raymond Isler?" To which Isler responds, "Driscoll?" Driscoll tells him to put his hands up and keeps the gun pointed at his face.

Isler tells Percy that he used to work with Driscoll. Driscoll says that they, "used to work together before his (Isler's) nasty little drug addiction." Isler looks back at Percy in horror. Driscoll is pissed that Isler made his way back up the ladder and he was stuck in the "boondocks." Driscoll says that he tried to get people in Washington listen to him about the opioid crisis, but no one would listen. So, instead of continuing to try to do the right thing, he got involved in stealing and selling the drugs instead.

Pride and Sebastian show up just in the nick of time. Isler charges Driscoll, but Driscoll gets the best of him. Percy takes a shot, but misses. Driscoll gets back in his car and begins driving in reverse.

Poor Sebastian, he's getting motion sickness from Pride driving extremely fast on a bumpy dirt road.

Pride is worried that if Driscoll gets out on the open road, he'll outrun them and get away. Just as Driscoll reverses on to the highway, he slams into a truck.

Driscoll is dead and the truck driver is hurt. Sebastian says, "I need to take a seat real quick. That was a little too fast and furious for me." Sebastian is the best. That is all.

Percy and Isler show up to the scene a few seconds later. Everyone is shook up.

Gregorio shows up to HQ with LaSalle. Everyone is super excited to see her. Her cracked ribs will heal in four to six weeks. Isler tells the team that he is about to catch a flight to Washington D.C. to discuss his future with his bosses. LaSalle responds with, "Off the bench and back in the game. Congrats, Isler." His accent takes these lines to a whole new level.

Isler and the team joke about staying out of trouble. Percy heads over to talk to Isler before he goes. He tells her, "I always thought your greatest skillset was snark. But, after what I witnessed today, you're as versatile of a field agent as I've ever met." Percy thanks him, to which he replies, "If this town ever gets too small for you, call me. The FBI can always use talent like yours." Percy stares at him, deep in thought, as he walks out the door.

Isler stops by Pride's bar to say goodbye. Pride admits that he had a feeling about Isler's past, which is why he took this case personally. Isler tells Pride that he owes him one. Pride says he doesn't, because they're friends.

Isler tells Pride that he'll warn him if there are any problems headed his way. Pride tells him that he's been good with the bosses for months. Isler tells him that it isn't the bosses he needs to be worried about. Someone with real power has their sights set on Pride and wants to take him out. If Isler catches wind of it, he'll give Pride the head's up. Pride tells him to let him know if he gets something substantial. Isler says he'll be in touch if he hears anything. Pride ends the episode by telling Isler to stay in touch, regardless.

My Thoughts:

Good episode! I agree with Percy, Isler is not very convincing undercover. I think this is the first we've heard of his addiction issues in the past. It's always interesting to find out more about the character's previous lives before coming together in New Orleans. The offer Isler made to Percy at the end was very telling. Since we know she's leaving, it sounds like this is her out. I hope this is the route the writers take.

Sebastian and LaSalle both had a couple of awesome lines that really stuck out tonight. I'm a big fan of the way the writers are working it with both characters.

What did you think of "The Last Mile" and what do you think Percy's future holds?

Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!

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