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NCIS: New Orleans - Checkmate Part One & Two - Review: "I Did Not See That Coming!"

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NCIS: New Orleans - Checkmate Part One & Two - Review: "I Did Not See That Coming!"
4.23 and 4.24 - "Checkmate Part One & Two"
Directed by Not Listed
Written by Talicia Raggs
Reviewed by Kelly Anne Blount

"Checkmate Part One" starts out with great music in Pride’s bar. Pride’s friend Attorney Elliott Newman is sitting at the bar. Pride tells him that he’s being set up and he needs a lawyer. He also tells him that he’s being “railroaded” and the only way he’ll get out of it is if they can prove he’s being set up before he’s indicted. Before his friend can respond, the opening scene ends with the FBI walking through the front doors of the bar, ready to arrest Pride.

Early the next morning, Loretta breaks the bad news to Christopher. Pride has been arrested and the grand jury is scheduled to meet shortly.

The team is devastated. They need to figure out who is behind Pride’s character assassination in Washington D.C. They want to start with investigating Max Burris further; however, he’s still at his lawyer’s office. The team thinks that the law firm is somehow connected to the people who are setting up Pride in D.C.

Pride’s lawyer apologizes to Pride. The Grand Jury met and it didn’t go well. Pride tries to assure him that it wasn’t his fault, but he’s still upset. While they are talking, Assistant District Attorney, Eric Barlow comes into the room. He’s comes down all the way from Washington D.C. Barlow explains that Pride has been on his radar for a long time. He offers Pride a one-time deal to avoid twenty plus years in prison. The deal is simple, Pride simply needs to quit NCIS and he’ll stay out of prison. He can even keep his pension. Pride turns down the offer immediately.

Before Barlow can leave the room, he’s handed a document. He places it in front of Pride and says, “Lucky you! It looks like you just made bail.”

Loretta is the one who bailed Pride out. She’s such a good friend. She has interesting news though. Pride’s bail was only one hundred thousand dollars, which means she only had to put up ten thousand dollars. They are both wary over the amount and as to why Barlow didn’t seem bothered that Pride was let out on bail so easily. I hope this doesn’t mean someone is going to try to kill Pride!

Pride and Loretta sees Barlow. Pride thinks Barlow looks familiar, but he can’t place him. Pride leaves Loretta to go handle something, but he asks her to call LaSalle and tell him and the others to stand down.

LaSalle and Gregorio receive Pride’s message, but they know that Max Burris is their best shot at proving someone is trying to set up Pride. Burris finally leaves his lawyer’s office; however, he almost dies as two hit men on motorcycle chase him down. Luckily, LaSalle and Gregorio save his life.

With Burris back in their interrogation room, LaSalle asks him who paid him to kill Amanda Bowers and set up Pride. Burris doesn’t want to answer at first, but he changes his tune when LaSalle informs him that they are probably the same people who put a hit out on him.

Max Burris tells them that he didn’t kill Amanda. He admits that a man named Lonzo killed Amanda and just tried to kill him. Burris tells them that he won’t last a day without protection. LaSalle tells him that they need info in order to help him.

Captain Estes shows up to HQ. LaSalle and Gregorio ask him to keep Burris safe while they investigate Amelia Parsons, who works at the law firm and serves as the facilitator to the higher source.

LaSalle and Gregorio ask Sebastian to put Pride under surveillance. Yikes!

Pride’s lawyer meets with Pride on the streets of New Orleans. Turns out that Barlow is from New Orleans. Both of their fathers used to “run this city back in the day.” Barlow’s father was busted for corruption, so he took his mother’s last name. Now he has returned to New Orleans and wants to run the city.

Pride introduces his lawyer to his other crew, which includes Elvis the computer wizard/king of hacking, Sydney Halliday, his ex-military friend, and Oliver Crane, the journalist who was responsible for stirring up a lot of trouble for Pride in the first place.

Uh oh! Loretta shows up to the table, which Pride isn’t thrilled about. He gets over it in like two seconds, because duh, it’s Loretta.

The crew head back to the second floor of Pride’s bar and get to work. I love it!

Sebastian passes on the latest Pride info to LaSalle, Gregorio, and Patton. They are worried that if they don’t bust this case wide open soon, Pride is going to end up in prison for a long time.

Patton has info on Amelia Parsons. It turns out that she has several different identities and she’s connected to Eric Barlow. Interesting! Also, Barlow’s father set up the law firm that represented Max Burris before he was murdered. If they get any dirt on Amelia, she could help them bring down Barlow.

Patton tries to break into Amelia’s computer, but Elvis gets the one up on him and gets the job done first.

Sebastian stops Pride and his team as they get ready to leave the bar. LaSalle, Gregorio, and Patton show up and try to convince Pride to stay put. He’s not happy about it, but he listens.

The two teams also convince Pride that the only way to get through this case is if they work together. Pride is wary of this plan, as it could lead to a lot of his friends getting in trouble, but they aren’t going to leave or handle things on his own. He decides his best option and only option, is to give everyone his blessing to work together.

As both crews sit down to a table in Pride’s bar, they go over what they know. First and foremost, Barlow is most likely the guy in Washington D.C. that wants to take Pride down. All of his dirty work was done via Amelia Parsons. Halliday plans on breaking into Amelia’s office. The team decide that this is the best way or the only way to take Amelia down.

Gregorio and LaSalle start surveillance on the law office. Patton can work some magic with the surveillance videos, but he can’t help when the security guys come out with guns blazing.

Pride’s lawyer has news. Turns out Barlow was the person behind the plan for the ship yard at Clearwater. That was bound to make Barlow angry. Pride and Newman have a plan to distract Barlow while Halliday, Loretta, and Elvis break into Amelia’s office.

Loretta pretends she’s in the building for a job interview while Halliday and Elvis sneak up through the staircase. Loretta stops in Parons’ office and pretends to be lost. She asks Parsons to help her find the recruiting office, to which Parsons reluctantly agrees. Elvis and Halliday get to work on hacking her system.

Pride and Newman meet with Barlow. They anger him while Pride tells him for the second time that he’s not taking the deal. Barlow wants to know the real reason Pride and Newman showed up to his office.

Uh oh! Elvis and Halliday barely make it out before Parsons gets back to her office. She notices that something is different with her computer system. Not good!

Everyone walks out of the law office like a proper heist team and I love it. Parsons, Barlow, and a man with a lot of tattoos walk out of the door moments later.

Back at Pride’s bar, Newman is freaking out. He’s worried that everyone is going to get caught. Pride asks him to buy enough time to let Elvis decrypt the files and Patton enough time to erase the footage from the law firm. Elvis, Patton, Sebastian are working their bottoms off. They aren’t having much luck, yet.

Barlow, Parsons, and their lawyer show up to Pride’s bar. Newman and Halliday are there to stall them. Newman asks for the warrant. Halliday is tough! Amelia tells her that they have some unfinished business. Halliday stays tough. I love it!

Newman finds a flaw. The warrant hasn’t been signed. This gives them Elvis just enough time to finish decrypting the files. Now, all they need Crane to do is share them on his website.

Parsons is freaking out. She tells Barlow that Pride has the files and it’s, “only a matter of time.” Barlow tells her to “eliminate some of the pieces.” She smiles and walks away. Uh oh! Who is she going to take out?

Loretta meets Pride on a balcony. She’s amazed that he is still looking out for the city after all he’s been through. Elvis has something from Parson’s computer. It looks like a hit list containing pictures of Pride, Max Burris, the Mayor, and Captain Estes, who’s picture is dated tonight. Pride calls Captain Estes to warn him. OH NO! IT’S TOO LATE! Captain Estes’ SUV blows up while he’s on the phone with Pride! Oh, that is sad! He’s gone.

Pride and LaSalle head down to the scene of the crime. Deputy Chief Gossett also at the scene and he’s devastated. Pride tells him the less he knows, the better. Oh no, things are even worse than Pride knows. LaSalle tells him that Max Burris was found dead in his cell. It looks like Parsons has been busy tonight.

Back at HQ, Elvis and Patton have news. Barlow is planning something major with ships from the US, Canadian, and British navy. They are all going to be coming into town shortly for Fleet Week, which is celebrating the city’s tricentennial. It’s going to be a massive city-wide celebration.

"Checkmate Part Two"
opens with Parsons and her tattooed friend meeting another man out in the middle of nowhere. The man has hidden some kind of contraband, perhaps weapons, in his flower truck. Amelia throws an envelope of money at him, but before he can take off, she shoots and kills him. Parsons tells the man with the tattoos to hide the body. Oh wow! Sydney Halliday has the entire thing on camera! How did she know they’d be there?

Back at HQ, the NCIS crew mention that they can’t find Halliday. How did she know that Parsons would be there? Ah, Sydney just sent LaSalle and Gregorio a text with the video. It turns out Parsons was purchasing guns.

Down at the dock, Deputy Chief Gossett and Mayor Taylor are preparing for Fleet Week. Pride runs down there and tells to warn everyone of an imminent attack. Before he can tell them who he believes is behind the upcoming attack, Barlow steps out and tells them that Pride plans on accusing him of the attack. The Mayor and everyone with her dismisses Pride and heads into the building with Barlow. I sure hope the Mayor believes Pride. He saved her life a few months ago. The least she owes him is the benefit of the doubt, right?

LaSalle and Sebastian give Pride a call. They are at the scene of the murder that just took place. Ohhhh! The guy with the tattoos is Lonzo, the man Burris warned LaSalle and Gregorio about before he died. Pride is extremely worried that Sydney is still in town and investigating, according to him, she was supposed to leave. Pride begs LaSalle and Sebastian to find her, which won’t be easy, seeing as she turned off her phone.

Gregorio calls Halliday, who is still surveilling Parsons. Lonzo leaves in a van while Parson’s stays behind and lights a fire to burn evidence in a sketchy looking hotel room. Oh my gosh! Halliday and Parsons get into a major fight that ends in Halliday tackling Parsons through a window and falling on to the concrete in front of Gregorio.

Halliday is back at HQ. She’s pretty banged up; however, she’s doing better than Parsons, who is in a coma. That means Parsons won’t be talking to them anytime soon. Gregorio and LaSalle are upset that she went out on her own. Halliday explains that she will do anything to defend Pride. He was the only person who believed her when everyone else, including Gregorio, thought that she was a killer. She’s not wrong, but Gregorio reminds her that, “we’re a team here.”

They are interrupted by Special Agent Silvera from the IRS. Oh no! She’s there to talk to LaSalle about a major tax fraud perpetrated by his family’s oil company. Gregorio and LaSalle think Barlow is behind it, but none of that matters. Now Christopher is off the team and they are another man down.

Sebastian joins Pride above his bar. Turns out Loretta called him and Mayor Taylor, who shows up with Deputy Chief Gossett. Loretta shows up and they go over everything they know about the case. Sebastian and Pride tell them about Amelia and Lonzo. Sebastian thinks that Lonzo may have propelled rockets, that’s what they killed the flower guy over. What that means is that the attack is coming from the water.

Pride wants to get back to work and search for the suspects. Deputy Chief Gossett tells the Mayor that Pride is right and that he can ride with him. Gossett also adds, “It would be a pleasure.”

LaSalle is talking to Agent Silvera. He’s in deep trouble with the IRS; however, he thinks Barlow is behind it.

Gregorio and Sebastian are trying to figure out a way to get LaSalle back. They are coming up blank. That’s when Crane, the journalist who started all of this, shows up. He’s back early from Washington D.C. and he has news. He has news on Eric Barlow.

Before Crane can tell them what he knows, Patton has an important update! He’s found the van Lonzo was driving around, but there’s more and when Gregorio looks at the images Patton found, she freaks out.

Shoot, I didn’t see what was going on in the images. The cameras cut to Pride and Deputy Chief Gossett talking beside the water. Gregorio calls Pride. It turns out that Barlow is setting Pride up to take the fall for the attack. PRIDE IS IN THE PICTURE! Barlow’s people have doctored the photo to make it look like Pride is the person behind the attack. Not good!

Deputy Chief Gossett asks if everything is okay. It’s not. He and Pride head out on a ship to find the suspects, who are already on the water. They need to get their hands on those rockets (RPGs)!

Crane shares his info! It turns out that Barlow’s high school class was plagued by a cheating scandal. Four students were expelled over the incident. While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it all starts to make sense when Crane tells them that Barlow was the fifth highest achieving student at his school and his set up his competition, just so he could come out on top. He’s doing the same thing to Pride now!

Ah! Barlow is setting up the attack on Fleet Week, just so he can help solve it and get national exposure. Halliday interrupts, she thinks she knows where the attack is going to take place. She shows them a picture of an invitation to a reception on one of the Navy’s ships. There are going to be Navy Generals, politicians, and loads of important people on board the USS Kearsarge, including a very special guest, Mayor Taylor. Uh oh! The reception started twenty minutes ago.

LaSalle is still trying to leave the IRS building. Agent Silvera tells him this is serious and he could lose his entire family business. She also admits that someone told her to investigate LaSalle’s family business, but there was actually something there, which is why he’s with her right now. LaSalle looks down at his phone and sees that his team needs him. He practically runs out of Agent Silvera’s office.

Down at the docks, LaSalle meets up with Gregorio. They need to warn the Navy of the attack on the USS Kearsarge, but it’s going to be particularly tough, as they didn’t believe Pride this morning when he warned them.

Gregorio is looking for Mayor Taylor when she bumps into Barlow. He says that they need to talk. LaSalle tries to alert the Navy, but instead of believing him, they see the doctored photo of him getting out of the van.

Deputy Chief Gossett tells Pride that he’ll help clear his name. Bad news, Gossett tells Pride that there’s a speedboat heading straight to the USS Kearsarge.


Deputy Chief Gossett points a gun at Pride. Lonzo shows up a few seconds later. The rockets are on their ship and they are going to make sure Pride goes down for the attack once and for all.

Pride sets his weapon on the counter. Deputy Chief Gossett tells him to get on his knees. He also says that he’ll end things once they get close enough to the USS Kearsarge.

Deputy Chief Gossett reveals his plan. He’s going to tell everyone that Pride hijacked his ship, shot him, and fired the rockets at the USS Kearsarge. After Lonzo shoots Gossett, he places a mayday call. LaSalle overhears it and urges the Navy General to think about it before taking action. LaSalle isn’t able to convince the Navy General.

Back on the dock, Barlow and Gregorio are talking in front of the USS Kearsarge. Sebastian calls Gregorio and shares the bad news, Gossett is in on it. Gregorio is worried about one thing, why would Barlow be standing near ground zero? He is supposed to solve or even perhaps prevent part of the attack, but wouldn’t he be at risk standing so close to the ship?

Still holding Pride at gunpoint, Deputy Chief Gossett tells Pride that he loves the city and that he plans on replacing the Mayor. Uh oh! He gets a text telling him just how close her motorcade is to the USS Kearsarge. That’s their plan, to murder her with the rockets, the people on the ship are safe, including Barlow.

Just as the motorcade comes to a stop, Gossett’s ship comes to a stop. Gregorio calls Loretta, who’s sitting with Mayor Taylor in her car. Gregorio warns Loretta that Mayor Taylor is the target and to, “GET OUT OF THERE NOW!”

Pride attacks Gossett and makes it on to the deck of the ship, but not in time to stop Lonzo from firing the rocket.

Oh thank goodness! The Mayor and Loretta are safe! They got out of the car in time!

Luckily, LaSalle gets a text proving the doctored photo is really Lonzo.

Oh my gosh! This is too much for me to handle! The Navy shows up and shoots Deputy Chief Gossett just before he kills Pride. That was a close call! One of the men on the boat that came to his rescue says, “Agent LaSalle sends his regards.”

Barlow is standing near the motorcade car that’s on fire. Gregorio confronts him. He makes threats and says, “I’m a winner,” before walking away. He heads over to the law office to shred documents, but Halliday is there waiting for him. She has his gun and tells him, “The game is over. You lose.” She shows him the expose that’s on Oliver Crane’s website with a direct link to Amelia’s hard drive. Halliday says that she’s the source and that she’ll fade into thin air. Barlow tries to bribe her. She gives him back his gun and recommends that he disappears. The gun goes off as Halliday walks out of the law office.

Over at Pride’s bar, the team, including Mayor Taylor, celebrate. He’s been cleared of all charges and has been given an accommodation by the Mayor. Everyone is excited for Pride to move back to his place at HQ (he had to leave after he was ordered not to have contact with anyone at NCIS); however, he admits that he really likes his digs above the bar and that it might become his permanent home. The crew is ready to celebrate. Pride tells them that he’ll be right back, he just needs to head upstairs and change before joins in the fun. LaSalle shows up to the bar. His family’s company is in big trouble and even though Barlow was the one who ordered the investigation, what they found is “very real.” He has to take off in the morning to sort things out.

Upstairs, Pride sets a picture of him and his daughter on top of his piano. He then looks out over his balcony at the city he loves. He’s interrupted by a knock at the door. He tells the person to hold on, “I’m just enjoying the view.”

As Pride walks toward the door, Amelia enters his new apartment and shoots him three times in the chest. The episode ends with Amelia smirking as she walks away and Pride bleeding out on the floor.

My Thoughts:

This was a fantastic season finale with a double episode for fans to enjoy! There were so many moments that sent me into an absolute panic, it was unreal. The most shocking, was of course, Pride being shot at the end! Why do you think Amelia Parsons shot him? How did she get out of the hospital? Was she faking a coma? Can you do that? Why did she smirk after she shot Pride? Is she still working for someone? Is she working for herself? Why, why, why? And most importantly, is Pride going to be okay?

Also, I did not see Deputy Chief Gossett betraying Pride and working with the bad guys! Did you? He seemed so effected by the loss of Captain Estes, I thought he could be trusted.

I really liked the two different teams all coming together to stand up for Pride and crack the case! Elvis is always fun and he has great chemistry with Patton and Sebastian. I really liked Crane’s character during this episode as well. He definitely redeemed himself (at least somewhat) from the previous episode. While I like Halliday and think she’ll make a good addition to the team (if that’s the plan), she definitely does her own thing, which could be a problem. That being said, she isn’t part of the official NCIS crew yet… So, she’s allowed to do whatever the heck she wants, right? Also… she reminded me a lot more of Percy during the finale. Maybe that’s just me missing Percy’s character and really hoping we have a smooth transition for the new full time NCIS agent? What do you think?

I’m worried about LaSalle. I really hope he can sort things out quickly. Luckily, he’s used to taking care of himself and he doesn’t live an extravagant lifestyle. The problem is, he needs money to help take care of his brother. Losing everything could have a disastrous impact on his family on many levels.

Loretta really showed during this episode that she has Pride’s back. I mean, we know that she always does, but she went above and beyond this time. Everyone should aspire to be as good of a friend as Loretta is to Pride.

One thing I found frustrating about the episode was that Mayor Taylor didn’t believe Pride. In fact, she acted like she didn’t even have time to hear him out. That’s some major disrespect, seeing as he just saved her life a few months ago. What did you all think?

There were three things I didn’t like about the episode. First, was the fact that Captain Estes’ character was killed. I thought he and the team, especially Pride, had developed a nice rapport filled with just the right about of banter. The second part was the hail of gunfire that brought down Deputy Chief Gossett. The last scene that bothered me the most was Halliday all but telling Parsons to kill himself. We heard a shot as she walked out of the law office. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee that he took his own life, but that’s most likely what happened. In a country filled with gun violence, I personally would have rather seen them all get arrested and go to prison for life.

What did you think of the season finale? Any predictions as to what’s in store for next season? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Be sure to leave a comment or two below!

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