NCIS: Los Angeles S10E10 Review "Heist"

This week the team investigate a bank heist where the only item stolen is a safety deposit box belonging to former Naval intelligence officer Veronica Stephens. Veronica now runs a management consultancy that undertakes work for the Navy and the team delve in to her background and her company and try to realise the significance of the box and its contents.

The case itself is rather dry in terms of both characters and narrative. The investigations at the bank with Kensi and Deeks briefly sees them ponder about the overly polite bank robbers. They helped an old lady to the floor, had exquisite manners and left everyone’s mobile when they exited, together with their fake guns. The mission was purely to retrieve the box without injury to anyone.  The bank scene also sets up Veronica to be a liar, concealing the truth about her box. Unfortunately there is nothing particularly sinister, intense or even dramatic about her and Sam and Callen go through the standard fare of asking questions, receiving half truth answers, revisiting Veronica and eventually bringing her in for a boatshed interrogation. Veronica herself is an oddly drawn character, seemingly very self-composed and unconcerned about pretty much everything. The only time she almost develops a personality is at the end when she’s out of interrogation and having a friendly chat with Sam and Callen, and there seems to be a tiny bit of chemistry between her and Callen and a little bit of flirting going on.

The other guest character of note is the stereotypical dumb young male who has travelled to Hollywood alone to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor. His stupidity is on another level and tracks back to episode writer Jordana Lewis Jaffe’s love of over the top characterisations. Deeks chasing a suspect on a scooter is becoming old hat and rather predictable with his non-stop talking during the action. This is reminiscent of the scene in The Patton Project two episodes ago, when he was giving chase on a skateboard.  Again he fails to catch the suspect and it is Kensi who smacks the suspect to the floor with - ironically enough - a skateboard. Once caught, Deeks used overwatch spray, apparently for no purpose whatsoever as they proceeded to track him by car and then had Eric track the van from Ops.  Sam and Callen believed Veronica was selling secrets to Iran, whilst she proclaimed to be a CIA agent feeding Iran bad intelligence. Their next scene together (after Deeks found the box was found unopened in the van - off screen), saw the three chatting cosily and allowing Veronica possession of the unopened box.  It seems part of the scene(s) was missing which does not make the narrative run smoothly.  At which point did they verify her story?    

The intro to the episode featured a throwback to season four when Kensi gave Deeks ‘the box’, prompting a running joke about "what’s in the box?". In actuality the box has become insignificant as it represented everything Deeks wanted - Kensi - and now they have each other.  It seems most fitting that Deeks has actually lost the box.  However for those clinging on to what’s in the box, the episode cruelly teased its return only for it be ignored throughout the episode. As per the recent trend, the episode is bracketed, this time with Deeks’ bar.  At the start, the pair are discussing names for the bar; Kensi stating the bar names itself and then not revealing her thoughts as Deeks struggles with his ideas.  It was amusing that Kensi made reference to Callen as the vagabond living above the bar, clearing referring to his homeless state and natural tendencies as a drifter.  There was nothing malicious in this comment, in fact it is said with affection. And it appears Callen is not really living there for free as Deeks said Callen will bounce for him at weekends.  Really? Well maybe - until the novelty wears off or Callen reveals he was only winding up Deeks. Regardless, the bar will be a new central location for the team to gather. Seeing snippets of how the agents interact together outside of their work environment is a new element which is welcomed. There is however a small amount of negativity and character digs in Heist. Nell revealed her somewhat ruthless streak, leaving Eric to cope with Special Prosecutor Rogers on his own, and Sam was a little harsh with Callen, commenting several times that not everything is about Callen. (Note this has been referenced before in a Jaffe episode (S7 Defectors) when Kensi and Sam both had a dig at his character.)

Callen typically lead by example with the return of Rogers, walking down the stairs towards him and saying he thought they’d sprayed the place. Admiral Kilbride’s comment that the OSP has a reputation for insubordination (among other things) and Ochoa’s warning has fallen on deaf ears. Later he point blank refuses Rogers’ request to travel with them in the field by simply saying ‘no’. Such attitude allows the others to follow suit. Callen demonstrates a suitable and characteristic level of paranoia to Sam, now they are without Hetty and Granger to protect them. Sam does not seem bothered and Rogers does not represent a threat at all during the episode. In fact at the end, Nell reveals that after office hours, Eric and Rogers are playing Fortnite in Ops, using Roger’s own console. If Rogers presence is to audit and thus threaten the status quo of OSP, throwing their future in to doubt, this was not evident. He was really superfluous to the episode. He did however have the best line of the episode:

You guys managed to exercise, discuss documentary films, and identify an alleged traitor to the United States, and it's not even lunch. Bravo. Bravo.
The deeper the look into this episode, the more faults can be found, however it must be remembered that NCIS: Los Angeles has its fair share of fun and light-hearted episodes to counterbalance the more serious and intense ones.  Heist does little to forward any character development or the seasonal arc (although Special Prosecutor Rogers returns), but it is fun and harmless and sets to tone for what is hopefully a similarly toned but more engaging Christmas episode next week.

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