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NCIS: LA - One of Us - Review: "Vigilante"

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We open on a couple who are CLEARLY unbelievably wealthy, based on their heated debate about which is better - Paris or Los Angeles. I mean… Is that a debate people really have? I love LA, but shouldn’t Paris be the clear winner here?

As the girl is changing clothes, the guy is hanging out on his swanky patio that overlooks the ocean when someone sneaks up behind him and kills him.

Speaking of people who love LA, Anna’s dad is busy trying to convince Callen that the City of Angels is the greatest, especially because it now has LeBron. (Another losing argument - unless you have Steph Curry, who cares. Feel free to fight me in the comments.)

Their conversation is cut short when Anna is led into the room in full orange prison garb and handcuffs. She’s sporting bloody knuckles and not feeling any of the small talk Callen is trying to make. When he says he’s going to do everything he can to get her out, she remarks, “I wish you’d done everything in your power to get me out of here in the first place.”

Even though she’s ticked at him - FOR TELLING THE TRUTH, for the record, he did the right thing - she kisses him and says not to come visit her again.

Sam is at the gun range and Deputy Director Ochoa shows up to give us a little backstory on his life. In summary: He was a troubled youth but it’s all good now. I bet that will come into play within the next few episodes.

Callen arrives and he and Sam get the rundown on the Richie Rich murder. The victim was Rick Dotson, arms dealer. His main competitor in the U.S. is Colby Talbert and his girlfriend is Karen St Pierre. What a great name.

The partners go to check the security at the Malibu mansion and deduce that the killer would have to be special forces - someone who can swim two miles in the ocean at night, sneak onto Dotson’s property from the beach, kill him and leave undetected in under three minutes.

Unrelated to the plot: Kensi talks about donating her wedding dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer, which looks like an interesting charity. I haven’t done any research beyond the basic Google search, but maybe it’s something soon-to-be brides reading this can look into.

Anyway, the happy couple is interviewing Great Name St Pierre in the boat shed. She said her boyfriend had been alerted by his security team about three men when he returned to LA. Nell runs their photos and instantly eliminates mystery man #1 as he was in holding the night of the murder for DUI, identifies mystery man #2 as Jerry Fuentes, and cannot find any record at all on #3.

Sam and Callen are staking out the nearby area and Sam spots mystery man #3. He runs when he realizes he’s been spotted and thus begins a pretty fun chase sequence with Sam pursuing on a motorcycle. When he catches up to our no-name friend, he greets Sam by name and title.

Sam and Callen bring him in and learn that his name is Lance Hamilton and he was a former Marine, FBI, and SWAT. He used to be a good guy but no one really knows what’s been up to since his wife passed away two years ago.

Turns out he was investing Dotson’s murder too on his own. He suspects its part of a pattern of high-level criminals recently killed by someone with special forces skills.

Honestly, a special forces vigilante taking out billionaire criminals sounds like a TV show I would repeatedly binge.

Elsewhere, Kensi and Deeks track down Jerry Fuentes. He tries to run but Kensi shuts that down almost comically fast. It becomes clear that Fuentes is thrilled Dotson is dead because he owed him a debt and now that debt is cleared. But alas, he has an alibi so he’s not the mystery vigilante.

The team gets security footage of the public access beach they think the killer used the night of the murder and ID the vehicles. Casey Aguilar was the owner of one of those vehicles and her ex-husband was military so Sam and Callen go to talk to her. She has no idea of his whereabouts and seems surprised to learn that he’d left the service.

Two years ago their son was killed in a drive-by shooting and she says her husband Danny wasn’t the same after that. So it looks like we’ve got a backstory for our vigilante.

A very, very sad backstory, but a backstory/motive nonetheless. Sam remarks that maybe they’re all just a hair away from falling into the rabbit hole of going on revenge sprees but Callen has a more hopeful view, thinking they can provide Aguilar with peace. Hamilton seems concerned with Sam’s comments.

The Wonder Twins profile his next potential victim, a big-time cocaine mover.

Deeks and Kensi head to a fancy Malibu restaurant where the cocaine guy is dining and Deeks flirts his way into a table. He’s proud that he’s still got it until the hostess says he looks just like her dad. Ouch.

Sam spots Aguilar approaching the restaurant and after Kensi and Deeks scuffle with the security team, Sam and Hamilton corner Aguilar. He confesses that he’s going after local criminals like the ones who killed his son. They’re talking him down when he suddenly pulls a gun on Sam and Sam shoots him. He dies and Callen tries to keep Sam from beating himself up - Aguilar wanted to die, he pulled the gun so Sam would kill him.

After telling his ex-wife about Aguilar’s death, Sam and Hamilton have a heart-to-heart about losing their wives and how life has changed. Hamilton says he would be honored for Sam to partner with him in the future if he ever needs to leave NCIS. Interesting.

Time to bring this episode full-circle: Callen sits in the courtroom and watches as Anna is sentenced to 7 years with the possibility of parole after 3 for killing Sokolov. She gives Callen a look that says she won’t forget that he put her in this position.

I’m sorry, but you can’t be mad at him for telling the truth. He did the right thing, Anna. But something tells me that Anna won’t go down without a fight.

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