OK. This was a promising start.
Hetty's MIA, Sam's still recovering and there's a new sheriff in town on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 1.
Let's start with that new sheriff, as Callen referred to her, Executive Assistant Director Shay Mosley.
Even the title seems a little stuffy, doesn't it?
She came in messing with what works, pairing Callen with Kensi and shipping Deeks back to LAPD, like a used part they didn't need anymore.
This put her on the bad side of everyone remaining.
The case of the week managed to seem both superfluous and ripped from the headlines at the same time.
Obviously, this episode was written ahead of current developments, because it included such statements as North Korea doesn't have a missile that can reach the U.S. Sure, that's up for debate, but it seems a lot more likely now than the episode projects.
The solution to the case fell together way too conveniently.
Callen and Kensi found a video of the agent's killers, then visited the house of one of them. Both just happened to walk in (timing is everything) and a firefight ensued. The unknown killer escaped, but Eric and Nell's trusty computer spit out his identity as a Hamas bomb-maker.
They found the ambulance he's using (because Lord knows, there aren't that many ambulances from that specific company in Los Angeles). They shot him, but not in time to prevent the obligatory driving of the bomb into the nearest body of water. That must be the first of those this season.
So the case served a couple of purposes.
One was to get Sam back to the unit. Apparently, in recent weeks, the former Navy SEAL had been content to live in a trailer at the beach and terrorize the local fish. But the threat of North Korea bombing Los Angeles, that was enough to bring him out of his funk.
But mostly it served to confirm Mosley's already-held opinion of the unit as a bunch of shoot-first, ask-questions-later yahoos. Her message to Callen was basically, "Yeah, you just saved thousands of people, but your way of doing things is just too messy."
I don't see that flying for long. Callen has nothing to lose, so he will stand up for what he thinks is right and protect those working with him. The problem is Hetty has been covering their asses for years, and she's gone, at least for now.
Mosley came off as a stick-up-her-butt bureaucrat who has an unrealistic, risk-averse vision that won't work in the real world. So I suspect the early part of the season will be the squad educating her to the best approach to succeed in Los Angeles.
I didn't like the idea of her having a tablet-toting assistant. Hetty never had an assistant. But Hidoko grew on me, as she became almost a conspirator with Nell and Eric.
It was a bad day all around for Deeks. First, he got sent packing to LAPD, where his former boss decided to further humble him by giving him a desk in the canine unit.
Then he visited his mother, pulling a gun on her gentleman caller who answered the door. She was pissed at him, not only for that but also for her finding out about his engagement from Kensi's mom.
Finally, he got to be the distraction, faking being hit by a car so that Callen could get the drop on the bomb maker.
Yeah, Deeks usually gets the shit roles, but this was a particularly odious set of events.
Poor Deeks. He's always been the lesser field agent, just above Nell, Eric and the guest agent of the week. But his standing seems to have sunk even further.
Hetty's disappearance has left everyone out of sorts, especially since she never said goodbye to anyone.
Her mission is intriguing. I may have missed exactly where she was, but I'm guessing somewhere in Southeast Asia since many of her war stories have come from her years there.
So she's looking for some kind of rogue American operative. I wonder why. That should be interesting to follow for the first maybe third of the season.
The main storylines for early in the season figure to be Mosley and the unit adjusting to each other and Hetty's secret mission. A third storyline could be if Sam is truly squared away enough to be back.
Something else to watch is how soon the recurring guest stars will be popping up.
It's just the season premiere, but to double-check what you may have missed, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
What're your thoughts about Mosley and her assistant Hidoko? Who comes around first, her or Callen and his crew? What's Hetty up to? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.