Maybe Pride is learning from his past mistakes.
He actually managed to follow orders from his higher-ups for long stretches of NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 11.
Still, it wouldn't be Pride if he didn't at least skirt the edges of the box. And, hey, he was right in the end, which has to count for something.
This episode makes you wonder if covert intelligence might be an oxymoron.
The CIA and the ATF held the wife of a gunrunner for TWO YEARS to bend him to their wishes.
Too bad it didn't work in the least. Instead, Kurtz was just getting rich skimming off money from the CIA-sanctioned weapons sales while biding his time and figuring out how to retrieve his wife from custody.
And Sutter left Kurtz armed so that he could stab her in the back at a convenient time of his choosing.
Since Pride and his team were forced onto a parallel investigation, they were working from behind almost until the point it was too low.
Considering the idiocy that was swirling around him, which resulted in several police officers getting injured (and one killed), Pride showed remarkable restraint by not going off the rails.
Instead, he was biding his time too, tracking down the plain-named second gunman in hopes that he might yield dirt on Kurtz. That didn't work out, but finding Smith did ultimately lead to the downing of the drone and the conclusion of the case.
So what kept Pride in line this time? Well, his perennial boogeyman, Hamilton, is behind bars, and he hasn't been replaced yet. Pride needs a new white whale.
Or maybe he has become more retrospective in middle age, figuring his actions have consequences for others. While he was gone walkabout, his squad got suspended, then ruled over by a straight-laced substitute.
His search for justice has to be tempered with a healthy dose of reality. When he goes out of line, his team willingly follows, which gets them in trouble also.
So hopefully Pride has come out the other side of his long, dark tunnel, and he can learn to walk within the established system, at least a reasonable portion of the time.
Extra points for involving the Port of New Orleans in the storyline. It's the sixth largest seaport in volume of cargo handled, so it's a worthwhile backdrop. Not everything in NOLA is cuisine and music. As The Wire Season 2 proved, ports can yield a spate of stories.
Was this a particularly good storyline? You had shadowy government operatives on one side, murderous gun-runners on the other, and Pride's squad stuck in the middle. It was apparent Kurtz was going to end up in cuffs, but the cocky Sutter got what she deserved as well, for letting loose Kurtz with official authorization.
So, nothing groundbreaking in the end.
Still, there were some good things to be noted. First would be new looks for Percy and Gregorio. They get rid of the ball caps for much of the episode. Those two rooming together is a storyline to be plumbed. Also, I like their little yapper dog.
It was a rare episode when both Patten and Percy were present. Patten had to be there for all the hacking and tracing that needed to be done.
We also got a Percy-centric episode, which have been rare, largely because of Shalita Grant's limited availability.
What has made Percy so dead set about Pride's methods? I suppose being tossed into prison as a way of sending a message to Pride could have a chilling effect on a person.
But it's not that simple. We got to learn more about Percy, thanks for her old ATF partner Jake. It seems that Percy gets -- in Jake's words -- "antsy" after she's on the job for a certain period. Does Percy just subconsciously want to make a change, or is there something more to it?
Is this the beginning of the end for Percy? Maybe. I could see where Grant could be tiring of the role since the character of Percy has never been developed properly. Other than her pining for LaSalle, how much have we learned about Percy? Perhaps this might be the start of a concerted effort to make more of Percy.
Pride needs someone to keep him on track. Loretta is doing what she can to lend him perspective, but having Percy as a second naysayer isn't a bad idea.
SPOILER ALERT: More Isler next week. I don't know why, either.
To catch up on the travails of Pride, watch NCIS: New Orleans online.
Who was the bigger patsy, Sutter or the ATF? Does Percy want out? Has Pride reformed? Comment below.