NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3 Review: Angry Karen

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Finally, an episode this year that captures what makes NCIS: Los Angeles enjoyable.

NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3 started with a cosplaying CPA turned informant attempting to run down Sam at a meeting arranged by Hetty.

That was a sign of the wackiness that was to follow.

In Danger -- Tall - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

And there was even a liberal dose of character development, which is encouraging on a series which has this much mileage. 

Maybe there is an actual plan in place for the newer characters that have been added in recent seasons.

Fatima has been unbelievably mature for her age since her introduction on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 14.

Seeking Attacker - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

That's why it was refreshing for her to admit to Callen that she wasn't sure how to download the data from Harris's impounded car.

Then she tried to stop the man breaking into Keilani's apartment, only to have him run and start firing at her.

We forget that Fatima is still learning how to be an effective NCIS agent.

What was great about this episode is that she got to learn from Kensi, one of the best.

Difficult Decision - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

This was a welcome break from Densi. Even Kensi appeared to be enjoying this change of pace for her.

For more enjoyment, Fatima and Kensi got to re-enact Densi's famous maneuever in which Deeks, or in this case Fatima, flushes the perp then Kensi knocks him out.

This one had the added benefit of a garden gnome as a weapon and Kensi cracking a Deeksian pun.

Kensi has been with Deeks so long that she can channel him and, somehow, make such corny humor seem fresh.

The female pairings of Kensi with Nell/Anna/Fatima are always a refreshing change compared to her having to carry Deeks.

Home in Their Future? - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

Which begs the question: What's up with Deeks?

Is Eric Christian Olsen about to disappear for a time, much as Barrett Foa seems to be doing? Or is this just a one-off to shake things up a bit?

Or are things changing for good? Deeks has always seemed to have one foot out the door and could walk away. But 2020 is certainly the wrong time to try to make a living as a bar owner.

Likewise, Eric missed a good chunk of NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11. Fatima is capable of covering for him in Ops, especially now that Nell is there to guide her. And Eric could make it as a tech mogul.

But I'm probably just reading too much into what are likely short-term absences.

Investigating Attacck - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

Roundtree made his mark when he captured the Cryton employee who attempted to kill Harris.

Since Roundtree seems to be sticking around, it would be nice to learn more about him. But with so little screen time to go around, the last-billed character isn't likely to get a spotlight episode anytime soon.

A good deal of time was also spent looking at the third-newest character, Nell.

Granted, she's been around a whole lot longer than Fatima or Roundtree. But she is in a new role, one that she's wanted to avoid in the recent past.

Hetty has deliberately manuevered Nell into her position so that Nell can gain confidence in herself. Still, Nell was feeling pretty overwhelmed.

Leadership Woes - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

That's why Sam gaven her an early pep talk, and Callen followed suit later to help Nell to believe in her abilities to run things.

Hopefully, this just means Hetty is stepping away temporarily to groom her successor. But could it be something more permanent?

I hope not, but the series has appeared to be headed in that direction for several seasons now.

The good news is that Hetty came up regularly in conversation after being ignored on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 2.

It will be interesting when, or if, Eric comes back to see how he handles having Nell as his supervisor. She had always been the boss of him, but this would make it official.

Damaged Car - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

The case of the week was frighteningly realistic. How many nonexistent weapons systems have we, the taxpayers, funded, anyway? There have been plenty of weapons that cost billions but just never left the drawing board.

The Angry Karen was a great name for a weapons system. 

It was an intriguing twist to have a CPA as an informant believable enough to have Hetty suggest Nell arrange for Sam to meet with him.

It was great that a small group of cosplaying geeks blew this fraud out of the water.

Concerned About Attack - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

Having Sam and Callen interact with the nerds was a hoot, especially the scene with the lizard sign spinner, excuse me, human directional. It's hard to believe that's actually a thing.

Poor Kensi must have missed Deeks when she had to singlehandedly interrogate that lawyer who had the gall to walk out on her. At least Deeks speaks lawyer.

The nonchalant commander who didn't seem at all concerned about a missing accountant, who asked too many questions about naval projects during his interrogation, was obviously involved somehow.

The case got wrapped up so early that there was time for enjoyable scenes with Deeks and Kensi and Nell and Callen (reminiscent of Hetty and Callen) at the end.

Life Choice - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3

To check out the characters' growth, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.

How did you enjoy the case?

Can Nell do Hetty's job?

What's going on with Deeks?

Comment below.

Angry Karen Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 3 Quotes

Callen: You sure you're all right?
Sam: Nothing a couple of beers and a good night's sleep won't cure.

I think it's actually required by law that you sing along to Journey.

Deeks [to Deeks]