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NCIS: Los Angeles Review: Callen vs. Gaddafi

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The international angle of last night's NCIS: Los Angeles was both topical and compelling, but "Deadline" was most notable for its long-awaited, surprisingly substantive reveals on the Callen front.

Perhaps Hetty felt she could no longer be cryptic about it. I half expected the show to pull back, in Lost fashion, and leave us dangling after she divulged G.'s mother's name to end last week.

Instead, this week's episode did the opposite, picking up right where Hetty left off. Callen now knows his CIA origins, why his mother was killed, and why he personally was marked for death.

What he doesn't know - and Hetty apparently doesn't either - is who the father is.

Sam and Callen in Action

Callen's grandfather was tasked with hunting down war criminals in Romania, and the Comescu family certainly qualified. It was this that resulted in his mom's death when she tried to return to the country.

It's incredible how long Hetty has been deeply enmeshed in international espionage and law enforcement. Her admission that she was moments away from potentially saving Callen's mother was stunning.

This also solidifies her place as his mother figure, which we've observed for two-plus seasons now. Hetty-Gibbs comparisons don't come along too often, but she's as close to family as this agent has.

The question now is how will Callen respond? Will he finally be at peace?

Forget about it. The show managed to give fans a ton of new details while at the same time opening the door to another mystery in the identity of his father. Funny how that happens in the NCIS world.

Chris O'Donnell was called upon for some pretty serious acting in this installment - those kind of life details aren't dropped on your lap every day - but was convincing. Linda Hunt, as always, was stellar.

The episode opened similarly to how NCIS did an hour earlier, with a reporter on the scene followed by a death on camera. I enjoy little tie-ins like that, though the shows are markedly different overall.

In LA's case, a reporter was slain just as she was about to do a story on a Libyan freedom fighter named "El-Libi.” Libya, as we know, is under siege from insurgents attempting to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

Deeks and Kensi in Action

El-Libi broadcasts from the U.S., and is clearly a target of a Libyan government desperately clinging to power. A U.S. citizen, he started "radio free Libya" after Gaddafi shut down the Internet in Libya.

Despite appearances, he did not send his message to the rebels from Libya or anywhere near North Africa. He was broadcasting from a Middle Eastern market deep in the heart of the City of Angels.

A Gaddafi loyalist, the market operator and El-Libi's father learned about this and informed Libyan secret police, betraying his son. Only this happened some time ago ... and El-Libi is not who he seems.

Rather than merely eliminating him, Gaddafi's men impersonate El-Libi to lead the rebels fighters into a trap and slaughter them. Fortunately, Callen and the team were able to thwart this just in time.

Another strong episode overall, well tied in with current global events and featuring some fun character moments on top of Callen's backstory. Not a lot more you can ask for from NCIS: Los Angeles.

A few closing thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • It's great to have the traditional partnerships back and Hunter gone, although you know she's bound to resurface at any time. The only question is when and under what circumstances.
  • Callen's sister was mentioned once again. Hmm ...
  • Is Deeks actually getting some or is he all talk?
  • Sorry Sam. Team Monty all the way.

What did you think of last night's NCIS: Los Angeles? Discuss!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (238 Votes)

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

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Hang on just a second--I think there's some confusion here. The original El-Libi was broadcasting from a GLASS SHOP that went outta business; that shop belonged to a trusted friend of El Libi. However, the trusted friend's FATHER was the Gaddafi sympathizer and warned his co-conspirators, who were impersonating El Libi from a secret room at a HALAL MARKET. The trusted friend becomes the "new" El-Libi.

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what is the name of that reporter?

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I really like what their doing with Callen I also love Sam and the Dog

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Maybe Hunter is really Callen's sister?

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I am the Editor-in-chief of The Bark, the dog magazine that Marty talks about, with our Dog Is My Co-Pilot motto. What a great surprise to hear us on the show. Would love to have more information about Monty, great looking dog. Does anyone there know more about him? Thanks for the nod. Loved that the episode is called Deadline, that is exactly what we are on right now.

Marissa

last nights episode was great and i was happy that they started where they left off and we got to here hetty tell callen everything she knew about his family but they still left us with questions like who is callens dad and the question we've been wondering from the begining what does the G stand for.i also liked the part where eric and whats her name where talking and she said that she already dreams about him but he was old and fat in it.i liked seeing sam not like the dog and not give him any of his sandwitch and then in the end monty be came a member of the team so now sam will have to deal with him all the time.i can't wait for the next episode.

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