NCIS: Los Angeles





Paul Asay
Emily Clark
Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

When CBS finds a formula that works, they stick with it. NCIS: Los Angeles is the newest crime procedural to glut the network’s prime-time docket, and as such it deviates little from its predecessor, NCIS (or for that matter NCIS’ predecessor, JAG). Each episode serves up a self-contained mystery to be cracked through nifty technology, creative problem solving and a shoot-out or two. Granted, the crime-fighting environs are a bit sunnier than the original NCIS (which takes place in Washington, D.C.), but beyond that small detail, along with a few new faces, this could be NCIS on TiVo.

Senior Special Agent “G” Callen—renowned for his uncanny ability to work undercover—is the man on point here, supported by partner Sam Hanna, forensics experts Kensi Blye and Marty Deeks, tech operators Eric Beal and Nell Jones and brainy dorm mom Hetty Lange. Together, they solve the thorniest crimes.

Episode Reviews

Nov. 8, 2020: “The Bear”

When a Russian bomber jet goes missing off the coast of California, the NCIS team has to track it down and figure out the intent of its crew.

People armed with guns shoot at each other (but miss). A woman knocks a man out with a gun. An airplane self-destructs (nobody is hurt). We hear bombs and gunshots in the background of a phone call. We hear discussions about nuclear bombs and a potential third world war. Callen negotiates with a Russian pilot, convincing him that killing is not the answer to their problems.

A man lies about being armed. A man uses gas to render his crewmates unconscious. Someone complains about receiving a counterfeit bill. A man gets drunk at a bar. There are a few jokes about sex, addictions and vomit. We hear about alleged UFO sightings. A woman wears a hijab. Several people offer sympathies to a woman who recently lost her mother. There are a few misuses of God’s name. We also hear “a–,” “b–ch,” “d–n” and “h—.”

Dec. 16, 2018: “Joyride”

In this fall finale, Agent Sam Hanna is joined by outside agent Nicole DeChamps to find a gun-wielding Marine suffering from susbtance abuse. Agent Callen visits his former lover and ex-agent, Anna Kolcheck, in the hospital. Agents Marty and Kensi prepare for a staff Christmas party, while tech operators Eric and Nell try to bring the Christmas spirit to their new boss.

Marine soldiers crash into a building and destroy private property after being unknowingly drugged. A man sustains head injuries (we see a little blood) and a woman sustains multiple injuries after being attacked by fellow inmates (she lays unconscious, covered in cuts and has multiple broken bones). Drug dealers are tackled to the ground when they attempt to escape authorities. A man mentions someone who plummeted to his death and a man who was in a coma.

Multiple conversations include references to narcotics and marijuana. A man says that he smells vodka and multiple people discuss (and drink) hard liquor and beer. A holiday party is held at a bar. A woman wears a slightly revealing outfit. Couples kiss and flirt. We hear the words “h–” and “frickin'” once each.

NCIS: Los Angeles: Apr. 1, 2018 “The Monster”

Kensi, Sam, Eric, Marty (former member of the LAPD and now an NCIS Special Agent), Nell (Eric’s partner in Intelligence) and the newest member of the gang, Special Agent Hidoko, work together to track down an infamous group of serial killers, known to specialize in the dismembering and sewing together of body parts.

New Assistant Director Shay Mosley recruits Callan as her partner. The two work together to arrest an arms dealer whose been selling U.S. weapons to Iraq.

We hear “h—” five times. God’s name is misused twice, and the words d–n and d–mit are each uttered once. A group of serial killers torture, kill, dismember and sew back together the body parts of their victims (we don’t see the acts themselves, but we do see the dead bodies and the gruesome weapons they choose, such as a saw, as well as blood). People are shot in the head and torso and jokes are made about violence. A woman wears a tight shirt revealing cleavage. Characters drink beer and whiskey.

Nov. 24, 2009: “Random on Purpose”

The NCIS: Los Angeles gang gets a visit from a familiar face when Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), NCIS’ forensics specialist extraordinaire, arrives to capture a serial killer she calls the Phantom.

Yes, it does sound a little like the beginnings of an amped up Scooby-Doo episode, so we shouldn’t be surprised when the Phantom—thinking Abby’s both kinda cute and a serious threat to his lethal hobby—kidnaps her with the intention of a) turning her to the dark side, b) chopping her to death with a fire axe, or c) both. Only a nifty bit of sign language and a timely rescue by Callen manages to save the metaphorical bacon of television’s most famous vegan.

Viewers are subjected to a shooting, a throat slashing, a fake marital squabble (Blye flings a crystal vase at Callen), a bloody body and more than a dribble of subpar dialogue. Sam and Callen knock a bad guy off a motorcycle, causing the villain serious cuts and bruises. “Are you hurt?” Callen asks. “Good.” We also see some serious glass clinking at a bizarre, goth-inspired nightclub.

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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