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NCIS: Los Angeles Review: He's A Teddy Bear With A Big Heart

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Sam's former SEAL life has left his heart scarred, especially after Moe's death. In "Lokhay," Sam was called on to help an Afghani elder, Yusef, find his missing nephew, Amir. Yusef was responsible for saving Sam's life, so there was nothing that Director Granger or Hetty could have done to prevent the agent from investigating the disappearance.

Sam has a strong sense of honor and obligation, plus a big heart. Those traits help him as an agent, but in this situation they put him at odds with his job initially.

Eric ignored the orders to leave the investigation alone, reviewed the traffic camera footage, and traced the abduction to a highly sought after terrorist known as The Ambassador, Haakim Habib. This evidence opened the doors for Hetty and Granger to assign an official case to Sam and the NCIS team.

Sam Helps An Old Friend

When Sam was at Yusef's laundromat questioning him, they were attacked and the place was shot up. Sam felt responsible for Yusef and couldn't let anything happen to him. Instead of shipping him off, Callen convinced Sam to have Yusef stay at the boathouse where they could protect him. 

The investigation was a confusing set of clues. Could Amir's American girlfriend been involved? Did Amir get recruited by the Ambassador? And, with the terrorist leader in America, was an attack planned?

Sam and Callen tracked one of the abductors to a hookah bar, which led to the best car chase in NCIS: Los Angeles history. Or, at least the one that will stick in my mind for a while. Callen's driving at first was erratic and I feared he was going to crash the car. When they were attacked from behind, Callen made an awesome spin out that allowed Sam to shoot the car following them.

In a rather serious episode, the fact that Callen was driving Sam's car, had the window shot out, and then showed off his superb driving skills provided for a few lighter moments. Hetty was all over Sam this episode threatening to punish him for attempting to use government resources for personal reasons, but even worse was saying she was having his car fixed ... and he would have pay for it. 

Then, Eric commended Sam for his Callen's driving skills. Hilarious salt in the wound: Callen offering to pay for half the repairs. 

The big twist was that neither Yusef nor Amir were the actual target, instead Haakim wanted Sam dead. He came to America to finish what he didn't in Afghanistan. Yusef was played by his nephew and led Haakim to the boathouse to wait for Sam.

Kensi and Deeks got to Amir's girlfriend in time to save her life and to uncover a picture with Sam's face circled. The team rushed to the boathouse and successfully saved Sam, but there wasn't a happy ending.

Yusef saved Sam's life once again, but this time it cost him his last family member, Amir. Yusef's family was killed in Afghanistan for helping save Sam and he couldn't let that sacrifice be in vain even if it meant losing Amir. Wow. It's amazing that Sam isn't overwhelmed by feelings of guilt over those lost and those who have lost on his behalf. He is a teddy bear with a big heart, but it's a wonder that it isn't made of steel.

The episodes that deal with specific team members are generally some of the strongest and this wasn't an exception. We got another look into Sam, his past, and his intense loyalty. Next week is another Sam-centric story when his wife resumes her former CIA-cover.

Odds and Ends

  • How do Deeks and Kensi get themselves into misunderstandings like the financial seminar? Oh, right, they care about each other and don't want to hurt the other's feelings. It's actually touching.
  • Oh, Deeks ... you don't read a girl's diary memoir without their permission. Big no-no! Though, it was worth it to envision you as an exotic dancer/stripper!
  • "Best day ever!" -- Kenzi
  • Isn't the boathouse connected to the NCIS offices? In tonight's episode, they made it sound like it was in a remote location away from any help for Sam. It was confusing that no one was closer to help Sam.
  • Sam's punishment: A bottle of the finest scotch whiskey. At least he got to have a taste of his punishment. With the car repairs and the whisky, his wife may have to go back to work to cover their household bills.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.5 / 5.0 (244 Votes)

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

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First off, I loved that they used Matthew Puckett's music - was so happy when I heard "Never Let You Go" playing while Kensi and Deeks questioned the store owner. Been a big fan of his ever since I heard the Boston Med theme song he wrote... Anyway, beyond that one thing I really liked about this episode was how it showed how much Kensi and Deeks care about each other and how much they both go out of their way to not hurt each other's feelings - for instance, that is exactly the reason why they get into misunderstandings like the financial seminar. Glad to see a show like this not afraid to give these leads some depth and not just be all tough all the time (one of the many reasons I've also loved SVU for so long)

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I agree with DeAnn. Loved all the Densi banter! Loved Sam's smirk when he found out that neither Deeks or Kensi wanted to go to the seminar on financial freedom. I enjoy the Sam-centric episodes. I find Sam's commitment and feelings for his friends and family endearing. In all the past Sam-centric episodes, LL's portrayal of Sam's emotions are spot on. I also like that Callen knows his partner can get too close to the case and G has Sam's back. Great acting by LL in this episode. And I am looking forward to seeing more of Sam's wife, Michelle. Loved Kensi's comment " Best Day EVER!"

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@Danna, what's your problem with Sam. He is your least favorite character? Well then you seriously have a big problem, because he and Callen play off so well against each other, and he certainly is one of my favorites. Thanks for letting me know next week is another sam centric episode. Maybe you can watch something else. I will definitely be watching that!

Deann

Loved,loved, loved the Kenzi-Deeks interactions in this episode! They had me LOL'ing all over the place! I especially loved his admission that he was a stripper, erm, I mean exotic dancer! Snort! And I loved that Kenzi smacked him on the rump and said "drop it like it's hot" What a hilarious quote! Especially after she tucked some money into his pants...awesome stuff. I sincerely hope that the relationship between these two continues to heat up. I think they'd be awesome together.
Sam was good in this episode, he really is a big-hearted guy, and though he looks pretty intimidating, he's always so gentle with women and children and older folks. I adore him, and I think LL Cool J does a great deal to keep this show going smoothly and on the air, because he's an excellent actor and impresses me as something of a bridge-builder as a person. I LOVED how Hettie kept telling him all these things were coming out of his paycheck...LOL! Henrietta Lang is the BEST character on NCIS LA. Love her!

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The boathouse is a completely seperate building. If you ever watch the aerial shots of LA they show going from the mission to the boathouse and the distance. The Hawaii 5-0 crew are the only "outsiders" to have ever set foot there. Deeks was only allowed after he signed on as a liaison. The boathouse is where they do all of their questioning. Whether it be one of the alphabet agencies, a suspect, witness, or whatever, they always bring them to the boatshed.

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Loved Deeks' Magic Marty past!

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Isn't the boathouse a remote facility on purpose, like a safehouse/front cover headquarter because no one is supposed to know where the real HQ is located? Because of that the facilities have no connection to eachother, officially. I think it was stated when Deeks was new, that he was the first "outsider" to ever step a foot in the HQ.

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Loved this episode, very suprising plot twists! I got the impression the plan all along was to take Sam back "home" for a public execution for the purposes of making an example of him to others who might harbor/help enemies of the Taliban. Killing him immediately/in the USA would not have had that effect. (Never underestimate the extreme measures these groups will use to create fear, seems to be their way of maintaining power and control over their own people.) Don't understand those who don't like Sam - he and Callen play off each other well, as do Deeks and Kensi and Eric and Nell. Hetty is one of a kind. Granger is the character I could do without.

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They should change the name of the show to Terrorists LA instead of NCIS LA!!! Just sayin'