NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12 Review: Groundwork

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The auditions for the role of Callen's action-hero girlfriend continues.

CIA Officer Veronica Stephens returned on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12 after getting in a real fix.

The CIA owed Hetty a favor after she helped out with that mess in Cuba on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 22.

Needing NCIS' Help - NCIS: Los Angeles

You remember, the episode in which Anna decided to stay in Havana, since she had been declared persona non grata, and left Callen's life, at least for a time.

Anyway, when Hetty asked the CIA to smuggle a Nigerian agricultural engineer into the country (why not?), Veronica drew the assignment.

Unwelcome Visitor - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12

And bungled it, losing track of the engineer after getting him to Los Angeles.

Veronica also got attacked on the way to paddleboarding by a man with a syringe.

Since Hetty (herself an expert at disappearing) was once again unavailable, she tricked Veronica and her team into working together.

This season, Linda Hunt has become like John Forsythe on Charlie's Angels, calling in assignments to her team but rarely being seen any more.

All she needs now is a memorable tag line since "Good morning, angels" has been taken.

Closing In - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12

Hetty had to fool everybody since Veronica and the OSP didn't exactly part on good terms on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 10.

That's because Veronica kept the team in the dark about her true identity throughout the search for her stolen safe-deposit box.

So Sam and Callen weren't particularly inclined to help her find Olonga, even though Hetty had asked the CIA to bring him here.

But since the CIA isn't supposed to be operating domestically, she really needed them to investigate Olonga's disappearance.

Sam and Callen agreed to help as long as Veronica would stay at the Boatshed, where she could be safe, while they checked out the hotel where Olonga was staying.

Doing Research - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 11

Naturally, she didn't listen and left right after they did. Way to build a good working relationship, Veronica.

Threatening to run over Callen, so that Sam ended up pulling his gun on her, wasn't going to engender positive vibes either.

No wonder Callen handcuffed her to a table. And it was surprisingly she hadn't gotten free before the team returned from the suspect Farnham's home.

At least she finally opened up and showed them the special CIA warehouse where Olonga's valuable prototypes were stored. Or used to be stored, anyway.

Fortunately, when all seemed lost, Nell was able to find the final suspect, so that Veronica could participate in a harebrained rescue plot led by Deeks (or is that phrase redundant?).

Sneaking In - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12

Then she got to visit Deeks and Kensi's bar, the team's home away from home. So she got to enjoy the whole NCIS: Los Angeles experience.

Veronica is the latest entrant in the "Who Should Be with Callen?" competition.

Sam accented the idea during his dissertation about Callen's type while driving. 

Earlier this season was his ex, Mossad agent Eliana, on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 2, who was supposed to be getting reassigned to Los Angeles ... sometime. She wasn't memorable.

Now it was Veronica, who seemed too old for Callen. Her tough-edged flirting with him was just cringeworthy.

Secret Hideout - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12

Sam and Katherine seem so much more viable, with many mutual interests, than Callen with either of the above characters.

Then there's Anna, for whom Callen again threatened to search. Then again, he also said that she would get in touch with him when she's ready. So maybe he's a little conflicted?

Finally, there's Joelle, who never seems to disappear. Her civilian family life has to have fallen part by now, hasn't it? So maybe she's available again.

And who knows? Maybe there will be other contestants over the season's second half.

Then, at, how about a survey on which viewers could vote for their favorite at season's end? "Living alone at the old spies' home" would be the likely winner.

In Shock - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12

Deeks has fallen back into a comfort pattern, i.e. good in small doses.

He was hilarious when explaining to Kensi that he, as "The Dude," would be accepted on the beach while she, as "The Man," would garner no cooperation.

Sorry, dude, but a hot woman is always going to get cooperation from half of the population. Still, he might get better than half with his shaggy looks.

Then there he was in the closing scene, with his story about saving Callen on a loop. Poor Kensi.

Now that Eric's back for good, Deeks doesn't have to worry about having the most rambling monologues any more.

Waxing Philosophical - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12

Deeks also knew how to pull Eric's strings to get him to crack the crushed cell phone.

Eric is also best in tiny doses of comic relief. He was funny when he was talking to (not on) the broken cell phone and when he helped Nell search Hetty's office for clues (as if she would ever leave anything she didn't want found).

The "who should take over when Hetty leaves" discussion continues, so I fear the succession talk is for real.

It's hard to say why Callen is balking so hard, since he's largely doing Hetty's job now most weeks.

Nell realizes that she was dented her once-close relationship with Hetty with her rant when Eric was missing.

So put Callen in charge, keep Kensi and Deeks together, and pair Sam with Fatima, so he can be the mentor he had expressed an interest in being on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 11.

But of course it can't be that easy. Where would the unnecessary conflict come from?

Rough Day - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12

To check out Callen's potential paramours, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.

How do you like Veronica?

Who should Callen be with?

Which character annoys you the most?

Comment below.

Groundwork Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

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

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NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 12 Quotes

Sam: Either way it was shoddy tradecraft.
Veronica: Here I thought we were friends.

Nell: You know how Hetty doesn't give you all the pertinent information.
Callen: All too well.