NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5 Review: Provenance

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Oftentimes, the OSP members find themselves solving cases with global implications.

Occasionally, such as on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5, they face less threatening challenges.

But having a case with a healthy dose of fun is just fine.

Searching for a Painting -- Tall - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

At the heart of this case was a painting that looked like it had been drawn by a kindergartener.

But then, it just may be that i just don't get art.

The Cube - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

Which is OK, since that was the premise of this case, one of many when squad members get thrust into worlds that they just don't understand.

And hilarity ensues.

When laughter reigns supreme, you can bet that Deeks will be in the middle of it.

Related: NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 4 Review: Yellow Jack

It's his raison d'etre, especially with Eric still MIA. 

So Deeks was the butt of everyone's jokes this time, not just Kensi's. This included his former LAPD coworkers, the insurance broker, even the Saudi woman beating the crap out of him near the end

Everyone's a Critic - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

Yet he still found time to reassure Kensi when she got thrust into that fashion monstrosity for her undercover assignment, which was sweet. It was a welcome reversal of their usual roles.

We also got to see smart lawyer Deeks when he and Kensi staged a rapid-fire interrogation of the Garcias, small fish who got caught up in something much bigger than them.

This episode worked well because the team, like most viewers, are strangers to the world of high-end art.

As Katherine wisely pointed out, it's hard to find clues when you don't know for what you're looking. 

Likewise, it's hard to get any traction if you don't speak the language and you don't know the players.

Getting a Text - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

It did seem like a bit of a stretch from the get-go that a $40 million painting was about to fall into the hands of people willing to sell it to fund international terrorism.

So no wonder other investigators failed to welcome the team's assistance. Why now seemed to be the prevailing viewpoint.

Sam and Callen's claim of a threat to national security got the LAPD art-theft unit to step aside grudgingly.

But the insurance investigator, Katherine Casillas, was in her element and she knew Sam and Callen were not.

The breezy banter among the trio, in the beginning, set the ground rules. But Sam and Callen's doggedness made clear to Katherine that they weren't going anywhere.

High-End Foil - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

So she decided to simultaneously channel them and educate them in the world of art.

She was 100 percent correct that Kensi was the only one who could pass in that world, once she was properly garbed in an outfit most women wouldn't wear and couldn't pull off.

But Kensi is a woman of many hidden talents. Not only did she look fabulous wearing that monstrosity but she bullshitted the gallery owner with only a little prompting from Katherine.

Related: Watch NCIS: Los Angeles Online: Season 11 Episode 4

Then Sam served as the stand-in for the viewing audience as Katherine explained the many ways in which art was valuable.

Sam got it to a degree but her talk would have been wasted on Callen, who is more concerned with function over style. Ditto Deeks and Kensi, I fear.

Complicated Scenario - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

Nell had to have some contacts in the art world because how else could she be getting the tips she passed along, most of which were spot on.

The episode explored the seedy underside of the art world with people such as the Garcias laundering money from illicit activities by buying something smallish to hang on the wall.

It meant so much to them that they had no idea to whom they ultimately sold it.

Likewise Christina the auctioneer somehow lost track of a $40 million painting, which ended up getting her attacked by an unhappy potential buyer.

And why did a Saudi family looking to translate the painting into weapons of mass destruction decide to gather in the ballroom of a fancy hotel without turning off their phones so they couldn't be tracked?

Unwanted Men - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

Why not rent a nice, quiet, Airbnb someplace secluded?

And where did they expect to flee after they were found out?

Like I said, lots of dumb to go around. That's probably why this one wrapped up as smoothly as it did.

Nell stood out in this episode, as she had to bring the squad up to speed on a topic -- art -- which they just didn't get.

That fact that they all laughed at "The Cube" (who didn't) was proof enough that she had her work cut out for her explaining the underpinnings of this case.

On the Hunt - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

It was also humorous watching a woman of Nell's intellect worrying about physiological changes that might occur from being hunched over devices for hours a day.

Katherine was an intriguing addition to the NCIS: Los Angeles cast of recurring characters.

Most importantly, she and Sam had good chemistry together.

Sam has kept to himself since Michelle's death on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 8 Episode 23.

Might it finally be time for a new relationship for Sam?

Past efforts such as Dana King or Nicole Dechamps pretty much failed, mainly because he wasn't ready.

Haute Couture - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5

And throwing Sam together with an insurance-agency owner organically regularly would be hard to pull off. They just run in different circles.

Still, there was something there.

Now, I've been counseling patience as far as the sporadic Hetty appearances. What's it been -- two out of five so far?

Related: Get CBS All Access via Amazon Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

I understand that Hetty's appearances are likely to be the exception rather than the rule. But having Hetty as the ghost in the machine has been frustrating.

How about having her be Charlie and call in to talk to her angels? It's a compromise that wouldn't require Linda Hunt to be on set and we would still get to hear her voice anyway.

Then again, maybe having an absent Hetty is a temporary thing, like with the missing Eric. We can dream, can't we?

To catch up early in the season, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.

Would you pay $40 million for "The Cube"?

Do you know art when you see it?

What about Sam and Katherine as a couple?

Comment below.

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Provenance Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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