NCIS: Los Angeles Review: Popeye the Sailor Man

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It's almost Christmas and all through the boat house plans were being made for some time away. And then an NCIS Agent Afloat was murdered and all those plans were ruined.

On "Free Ride," the NCIS team went undercover on a air craft carrier to investigate the death of a fellow agent, ending up in the middle of an odd cocaine epidemic on board. Did they solve the case and get back home before Christmas? 

NCIS LA Strategy Session

The members had such great plans or almost-plans set up for their holidays. Sam actually bought his daughter's Christmas present early this year, unlike last year's Parker Pony debacle. Though he couldn't find it. Nice job, Sam. In contrast to his traditional family Christmas, the thought of Kensi and her mother spending the holiday with Deeks on a vacation was weird. I just can't picture it.

Well, actually I can and it would be filled with various calamities, though probably a fun time.

Then, there were the cuties: Nell and Eric. They are a disgustingly adorable pair. I can't help but smile whenever those two are on screen together. What is it with Hetty catching them in compromising positions or discussions? For a minute, I thought they actually were a romantic couple, otherwise, why would Nell know that Eric wears Polar Bear and Spiderman pajamas? Hmm....

However, after the mistletoe kiss I doubt there are together. Oh well. The smooch was enough to convince Eric to wear the green pantyhose leggings, so he could spend the holidays with her as an elf. That must be a sign of love, right?

As has been the case lately on NCIS: Los Angeles, the personal shenanigans were my favorite parts of the episode. The change in location and even the undercover aspect of this investigation didn't really add much to the story. Although, it was unique to see the four agents - sorry, the three agents and one detective - working on their own. When Deeks was captured, it was a sign that they should always work in a pairs when investigating. Never know when the bad guys will be around to take action.

And it did come down to the spinach! That small flake of green stuff was integral to them solving the case. It was even worth the beating that Deeks took, including the pot shot from Sam. When the crew started acting out and fighting, I immediately thought they were being drugged rather than using drugs themselves. It surprised me that experienced investigators like Callen and Sam wouldn't have considered that right away.

In the end, they realized that at the same time that Deeks found the murder weapon and the connection to the refrigeration systems going down. Cocaine paint? That was a shock. Unfortunately, they weren't able to find out more about that since they killed the drug dealer and murderer. It was a nice bank shot by Callen, but where in the world did that come up before?

With the case solved, the team was ready to head home for Christmas ... only there wasn't any transportation until the 27th. Ouch. It was no surprise that Hetty would show up on the ship since she's done that before. She's all about her team. They couldn't all make it back to LA, but they all were with their family on Christmas.

As Nell said, "It's like these people we work with become our surrogate family." Sam made it home to his wife and kids, Nell and Eric were together and the rest spent their holiday on the open sea with each other as family.

I just loved this line, especially since the spinach played a role in solving the case.

Sam: Yeah, I see where you're going with this. Popeye ate spinach, Popeye was a sailor, so... we're looking for a crew member with giant forearms, smoking a pipe. | permalink

Did you enjoy this holiday episode? Are you as in love with Nell and Eric as I am? And wasn't it a relief that Deeks returned to the team?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (244 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


NCIS does not follow military protocols so why should the LA one follow it


Actually the whole technical concept of both NCIS and NCIS: LA is flawed. Most of the cases they investigate would be handled by local authorities. I spent 25 years as an AFOSI agent and never once did I investigate a crime that was perpetrated by a member of the Air Force that was committed in the local sector.


So another major technical issue - cocaine is not active cutaneously like LSD - it even needs an alkali to be active in the digestive tract, which is why coca leaves are chewed with lime. NCIS really jumps the shark often with NCIS:LA


While this was a good episode, the technical adviser made a really big mistake. In the opening of the show ass the carrier is moving through the ocean, a glimpse on the flight deck show a few aircraft. I saw that there were at least 2 F-14 Tomcats on the deck. Sorry to say this but the Navy has not flown the F-14 since 2006. I understand that this is just a TV show, but they have technical advisers that should catch mistakes such as this.


*was worried


it was an awesome episode:D all the nell and eric scenes and of course the densi moments :D and it was also great to bring sam's family back into the picture and it was also a bit touching that he worried about his wife. the whole team was awesome ;)

Sue ann


Sue ann

I realize that Linda Hunt is a brilliant, talented, and honored actress, but the look of delight on her face when LL Cool J swept her up in his arms and hugged her looked like reality, not acting. It was adorable. I share the service-related quibbles that others have brought up here. Looking back to the progenitors of this show, those actions would not have occurred on J*A*G. Does this shown lack a military assistant, such as NCIS has and J*A*G had? It is more permissible when they are running around after terrorists, but when they are portraying life on a military vessel, they need to adhere to military protocols, or they will look cheesy. They should know better.


Excellent episode. The writers continue to do great work with the characters. Two minor quibbles. The USS Van Buren? The navy names a carrier after Martin Van Buren? Second Hetty would never be allowed to fly in a F/A-18. There are strict height/weight requirements because of the ejection seat.


I have to say, I was as breathless as Eric when Nell appeared in that elf outfit, wow!. Great episode, I found the case quite unremarkable but the quality of the banter was the perfect way to say merry christmas!

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