NCIS: Los Angeles

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NCIS: Los Angeles Season Premiere Review: Kill Them All!

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NCIS: Los Angeles started off as a show I watched because it was on right after NCIS and it was always enjoyable, even if the stories and character interplay didn't hold a candle to the original.

Nowadays, however, it's starting to approach that must-watch caliber. Simultaneously character-driven and action-packed, episodes like last night's can't help but leave you counting down the minutes until next week.

The third season premiere commenced just 53 minutes after we last saw "Lange, H."

We began with Hetty in dire straits, and what followed, unfolding almost in real time, was her team's frantic bid to rescue her. By the end of the episode, we learned so much, yet were left with yet another cliffhanger.

Romania, Anyone?

Viewers who have watched NCIS: LA from the start have waited two years for a substantive reveal of who Callen really is, and last night didn't disappoint, peeling back layers via flashbacks, stories and present-day actions.

Hetty, as we know, tried to con the head of the Comescu family into believing Callen was dead. What we didn't know, until this episode, was why. The explanation not only made sense, but exceeded expectations.

A longstanding feud that spanned multiple generations of Romanians left him as the sole survivor of his bloodline - and target of the Comescu family. Until Callen had been eliminated, they would not rest.

Meanwhile, Callen was reliving memories of his childhood, on a beach by the Black Sea, when his mother was brutally murdered and a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo appeared and took him away.

That woman could only be Ms. Henrietta Lange.

Because Callen's grandfather, an OSS agent (now the CIA) had killed one of the Comescu elders, the entire family had been marked for death. Callen's mother eventually returned to Romania under a new name, but was slain.

Hetty was supposed to save her, but was too late, although she did save Callen, obviously. One wonders how the assassin didn't simply end the little boy's life to if he was right there. Questions for another time perhaps.

After revealing the origin of the feud, the head of Comescu family shot Hetty, who appeared to be fine at first, only to collapse as the credits rolled. It's unclear how badly she was wounded, but it's not looking good.

Callen and Sam Picture

Will she survive? In the NCIS world, you can't take it for granted.

Another major twist in the premiere was the role of Agent Lauren Hunter (Claire Forlani), who appeared to be a member of the Comescu family, only to save Callen at the last possible instant following the team's raid.

Working undercover for years as a Comescu granddaughter who lived alone in Argentina and wanted nothing to do with them, Hunter infiltrated the family and likely fooled more than a few viewers as well.

Of course, there are plenty of unanswered questions - what is the link between Hunter and Hetty? And what is the true origin of Hetty's relationship with Callen? How far back does it go, and with what complications?

This 24-style episode, by nature, offered less of the witty banter and free-wheeling style the show is known for, but it was effective. It will be interesting to see the long-term ramifications of the mission and what transpires next.

There were some quality Kensi-Deeks exchanges, particularly playing tourists on the beach, while Eric and Nell did their best to offer some comic relief while putting together the pieces back in ops.

You really shouldn't eat in there, though. Just saying. Crumbs and computers? Bad combo.

Vance was also around, which made sense in that this took place in May, right after the Season 2 finale. By the time last night's NCIS premiere took place, in September, he'd have been back in D.C.

What did you think of the NCIS: Los Angeles premiere? How do you think it will play out next week? Will Hetty survive, and what's next for Hunter's character? Comment below and discuss!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (380 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Fascinating episode - every detail mattered....was riveted by the character of the woman head of Comescu family -- whoever she is, she is one spectacular actor and that was an Emmy-worthy performance. Was sorry to see her killed - would love to see her in more episodes - the combination of menace, bitterness and sympathetic was a tour-de-force (and thanks to the writers who came up with her, too).

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Callen's sister supposedly died when he and she were in foster care or a group home....when they were both young. Of course, that story was told to him by someone who adopted his sister's name in order to have a chance at a better life, so who knows? Great show though....and I am already waiting to see how Hetty comes back.

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Why not? Forlani's pushing 40 years old, and if she joined the intelligence component of NCIS in her mid twenties, which is the norm, that's plenty of time to build up experience and contacts. The picture was doctored to insert Hunter's face into it rather than the real granddaughter. This is just to uphold her cover. She might (read: probably) have had a role in Operation Comescu, which was Hetty's operation and Hetty's operation alone. Vance knew generalities such as that it existed, but little details, hence his lack of knowledge of Hunter's mission plan. Also, if you're undercover, constant contact with command is going to get you killed. I don't think she tipped the Comescus off to Team Callen at first. She does notify the Comescu family as to Team Callen's location at the end, but this is to draw off the bulk of the Comescu forces.

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it was really GOOD....i really and truely TRUST agent hunter....something is STILL off...and i DON'T believe, that she's been undercover for NCIS for years and i DON'T like that she tipped off the "bad guys" that G and team were coming....why i feel she hasn't been undercover this whole time....is vance's reaction to the pictures and her NOT phoning HOME sooner. i really hope that hetty is alright.....and am looking forward to more. just 1 thing: kensey SHOULD not have left deeks WITHOUT backup....NOT with who they were dealing with. alisa

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Dynamite ep, all around! Was everything I could have hoped for, and more. Can't wait to see how the background mysteries of Hetty/Callen unfolds. The scenes with Hunter caught me way off guard! Was fleshed out nicely with the lighthearted scenes with Eric/Nell, and I enjoyed seeing Vance there, fretting about his team and their safety. This has been Must See TV for me for awhile now, and this ep just cemeted it firmly into place!

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It was great! but what did hey say happened to Callan's sister? they said the mom came back w/ 2 kids, could she be the sister?(Hunter?)

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Awesome episode! I too see Hunter as a possible for Callen's sister. Will be interesting to see how it plays out. This show will continue to be on my must-watch list.

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I think Hunter is Callen's sister because they said the woman had two children a boy and a girl. Great episode. i hope Hetty lives.

Blu

I agree with the reviewer 100%. This used to be a show that I only watched out of some sort of loyalty to the NCIS brand. I also happened to be an LL Cool J fan and Linda Hunt fan.It fell into the category of one of my filler shows, the shows I watch just because but never lost sleep about if I missed an episode or would have been terribly upset if it got canceled. That's all changed now. It's really come into it's own as a show. It has a different team dynamic then the original but it's just as fun to watch. I loved the premeiere! I thought I would get tired of the quest to decipher Callen's past but surprisingly enough I didn't get too annoyed with the developments in this episode. I'm beyond curious about the relationship between Hetty and Callen now, as it's becoming clear she's been a permanent fixture in his life for some time. I still don't trust Agent Hunter but I still believe she might be Hetty's daughter or related to Hetty somehow. I didn't foresee her pretending to be a long lost relative, that was a lovely twist. Also, I LOVE Deeks. Really, this guy pretty much became my favorite character the moment he appeared on screen. He's complex, hides behind his humor, loyal and reliable. I get him. He and Nell and Eric balanced out the action and seriousness of this episode with the funnny moments that I truly appreciated. Nell and Vance screentime was particularly funny to see.

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I thought this one was a solid episode! Brilliant from start to finish and I couldn't take my eyes off it!

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