Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season seven episode “Internal Affairs.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.
It’s always nice when a story comes to its resolution. The internal affairs investigation into Deeks has been building since it was first introduced near the end of season 6. It was always a story in the background with just a few mentions here and there along the way, but as we come to the end of the investigation, the story comes into full focus. “Internal Affairs” culminates as a great team-centered episode that wraps up everything nicely.
As I said with previous episodes like the season opener “Active Measures” and the recent episode “The Long Goodbye,” an episode is much more interesting and entertaining when it’s focused on one of the main characters. Instead of an outside investigation to someone we don’t care about, we get one that directly affects the characters we tune in to watch every week. This one is, of course, very focused on Deeks.
There is a lot of screentime for him as he gets interrogated, held in jail, and the opportunity to escape and clear his name. These are all interesting opportunities to watch how Deeks reacts to everything, but what makes this episode even better is that it doesn’t neglect the rest of our main characters (except for Eric and Nell, but that’s every episode by now). Callen and Sam get to discuss Callen’s love life along with the broader topic of getting along with people. These regular discussions between the two are always fun to watch even as it helps develop and define their personalities. Kensi gets a few excellent moments, such as when she tells Hetty she’s angry about how little headway they’re making into the investigation, and later when she talks with Deeks’ mom about trust. It’s not often we get the opportunity to see Kensi get so emotional. She’s usually so focused on being professional, so it added another facet to the story for the audience to see her so emotionally invested. A good story is one that incorporates all the characters and gives them moments of development even if they aren’t the main focus.
While it’s true that a lot of people get to shine in this episode, none shine brighter than Deeks. I’m glad the writers didn’t make his character darker or angstier than his usual chipper attitude. It would have been out of character if Deeks had acted completely upset or angry the whole time. Instead we get a snarky sarcastic Deeks, throwing jokes about coffee and harmonicas around in order to deflect from the seriousness of the situation. Eric Christian Olsen plays him a bit more subdued than usual which makes sense, but he never loses the essential parts of his character. The attitude is a good reflection on what kind of person he is. When we reach the end of the episode and the conversation with Hetty, the reveal that Deeks really did kill Boyle to save Tiffany the prostitute doesn’t seem very shocking or out of place. We know by watching the episode (like during that conversation with his mother in the holding cell) that the only thing Deeks has ever wanted to do was protect people.
Since the character work is so rich in this episode, the actual investigation almost seems inconsequential. It’s a nice change of pace for those in the audience (like me) who might want to watch something different every now and then. Putting Deeks in the position of the interrogated is a fun reversal. And I really enjoyed that the episode didn’t end with a grand shootout as they were able to intercept Steadman before he did anything drastic.
Overall, this was another solid episode in an already solid season. We finally got answers to the internal affairs plot and the conclusion was well-done in order to make it more interesting. Now that this story has been wrapped up, it’ll be fascinating to see what the fallout will be afterwards. It might not be all at once (we already know The Long Goodbye was supposed to happen after this episode) but the writers have been scattering bits and pieces of tiny stories in the background all season long. I’m looking forward to putting together all those pieces as the season continues.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- Deeks had some really hilarious lines even for a serious episode, but my actual favorite line of the night was from Sam. “I carry my joy inside,” he says to Callen who simply responds with an affectionate “the hell does that mean?” Those two are the best when they’re together.
- Eric and Nell didn’t do much like usual but I was sort of amused by their attitudes to the case. Eric’s was sort of like a “somebody just died” vibe while Nell’s attitude was pretty much her typical “let’s get things done” mode. Poor Eric seems like a very sensitive fellow.
- How do you all feel about Deeks’ mom? Do you think we should see more of her or less?
- I appreciate that the writers did not use this as an opportunity to throw in some cliched relationship drama between Deeks and Kensi. Their romance remains interesting because it’s not the front and center of every episode and it hasn’t run into cliched territory yet. The conflict of crossing professional and personal boundaries is a good one that the writers should stick with.
- Next week is the Christmas episode! Looks like a lot of people will be dressing up! (I hope somebody puts Granger in an elf suit but I doubt that will actually happen)
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.