Last night's NCIS: Los Angeles was essentially the conclusion of a two-part episode that began February 1, when Sam helped bust a notorious terrorist leader out of prison.
"Lockup" was also notable for the death of Moe, who we'd seen several times before. Moe's demise left Hetty concerned about Sam's motives heading into "Harm's Way."
When Abdul Habaza contacted his alias, Hakeem, with a one-way ticket to Yemen, Sam was all too eager to get on that plane. But was he heading straight into a trap?
The overwatch Sam sprayed on Abdul is starting to wear off and with time running down fast to capture Abdul and his brother Sadat, Hetty reluctantly agrees to let Sam go.
After finding a man shot dead, he discovers a fake passport and plane ticket. Given that the passport photo was from his time in "Lockup," he may have been compromised.
Perhaps he shouldn't have gone, but they determined it was worth the sigificant risk. Callen was sent as Sam’s backup, of course, undercover as a corporate textile buyer.
Sam soon learns Abdul's intentions - to hold for ransom the son of a Saudi prince in hopes of freeing captured Al Qaeda terrorists, or just killing the boy to make a point.
There were a couple of surprising twists in this episode. First, the fact that Habaza's brother was living in the U.S. the whole time. Second, the appearance of this guy ...
When Callen follows Abdul and Sam to the secret hotel location in Yemen, we learn that Hetty's "asset" in the country is none other than Nate, who had been watching Abdul.
It's great that while Peter Cambor's character was quasi-written off the show, he can still turn up in this capacity. It's also realistic that an agent would shift roles as he has.
The show did a nice job of closing potential plot holes last week, as clearly Abdul could have recognized Nate from the prison. This was readily acknowledged in the plot.
Moreover, it was the reason Sam almost met his end.
Back in the states, Kensi and Deeks track Abdul's location before he left for Yemen and are surprised to discover that his illusive brother, Saadat, had been under their noses.
Posing as a Colombian night manager at the hotel Abdul stayed at before he fled, Saddat is outed, shot and killed by our agents. But as unexpected as that was, NCIS was equally shocked to learn he wasn't the real mastermind of the Warriors for Islam.
He knew Sam worked for the U.S. government and lured him to Yemen in hopes of gaining leverage, holding a federal agent hostage. Fortunately, Callen rode to the rescue ...
His hesitation was ever-so-slight, just to make sure he was doing it for the right reasons. Avenging Mo would have been justifiable enough, but Sam Hanna is better than that.
While the predator drone's missile strike was incredibly precise, the groundwork was laid early enough (with Hetty, Vance and the CIA working together) for it to be believable.
Action-packed and even more intense than usual, "Harm's Way" was also notable for its extensive set design. For a TV show, they did a nice job of making it feel like Sana'a.
It's neat to see the team travel abroad and for it to really look convincing. It wasn't perfect (it could have been a little dustier and shabbier), but pretty close. Kudos there.
Once again, NCIS: Los Angeles delivered a terrific hour comprised of sharp writing, fast-moving plots and strong continuity. My expectations keep rising, and keep being met.
What did you think of last night's NCIS: LA? Discuss!