It's a TV crime show trope that's been played out many times before. On NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 13, a Navy therapist (coincidentally a friend of Pride) played by B.D. Wong reported his imminent demise from polonium-210, and it was up to the team to discover who fatally poisoned Dr. Lin before he inevitably perished.
Even suffering from a massive cold that was making me incredibly slow in the brain, I figured out the perpetrator well before the end of the episode, and that disappointed me. That said, I found B.D. Wong's performance emotional and moving as his character dealt with his fast-approaching death.
There were two key giveaways here: first, that they introduced a seemingly-extraneous character (the brother's wife), and that the character was played by a recognizable actor, in this case Anne Dudek, who I remember fondly from her time on the USA series Covert Affairs. I even figured out her motive (the money from the sale of the land in Taiwan) as soon as Dr. Lin's brother Cam insisted that he'd never spoken with the developers. Sigh.
However, I really didn't feel that her apparent desire for money and status was a convincing motive to murder both her brother-in-law and her husband. Was their marriage really that bad? Did she really hate them both that much to kill them in such a horrible way? I guess that Cam was right to be in shock at the end of the episode that he had apparently married a total sociopath.
Speaking of her chosen manner of murder, what in the world possessed her to use such a distinct and traceable murder weapon as the polonium-210? For that matter, who even thinks of using polonium to kill someone? I'd find it far more believable if she had used a more pedestrian poison, but I guess that just doesn't have the imact of "death by radioactive material". Plus, using the polonium allowed the NCIS team to break out the Geiger counters!
Despite my complaints about the predictability of the plot, "The Walking Dead" is greatly redeemed by B.D. Wong's performance as the dying Dr. Lin. Despite the fact that his character hadn't previously appeared or been mentioned, he still managed to make a suprisingly profound emotional impact as Lin faced his end. I suspect many fans will recognize Wong from his years on NBC's Law & Order: SVU, where he played, interestingly enough, a psychiatrist!
It was also nice to see Eyall Podell make a welcome return appearance as Dr. Douglas Samuel Wilkins (he was last seen in NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 6). It looks like we may be seeing more of him in the future as a potential love interest for Brody, which will with any luck give us a window into the enigmatic transfer agent. We know far more about Pride and LaSalle than we do Brody - like the fact that LaSalle is afraid of heights!
Skydiving sounds fun. Sky crashing, not so much.LaSalle
This episode also featured the return of CGIS Agent Abigail Borin! I was surprised to see her, but she fit right in with the team. At the end, she even mentioned a possible desire to transfer from CGIS to NCIS! While I don't find it likely that she would have actually stuck around after they took down Dominic Cole (her nominal reason for being in New Orleans), Borin was fun and enjoyable. She brought a much-needed lightness to an episode with some seriously dark subject matter:
Pride: Our case, our hands. You just watch.
CGIS Agent Borin: I like to watch!
Even though this wasn't a fantastic episode, I definitely recognize the strong guest performances and the dedication to continuity with returning characters. It's nice to see recurring characters even this early on in the series!
You can catch up on previous episodes when you watch NCIS: New Orleans online here at TV Fanatic! The next episode, "Careful What You Wish For," is scheduled to air on CBS at 9 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2015.