NCIS: Los Angeles S12E04 Review

Cash Flow, written by Kyle Harimoto, is the first episode of season twelve which felt like a normal episode.  There is bonding, banter, action and comedy, and running alongside the case of the week is a dive into the personal lives of both Callen and Anna, and Kensi and Deeks.  A healthy dose of ageism is thrown in for good measure, neatly linked in to the team’s investigation of a murdered Navy reservist, whose body was found in a warehouse during a burglary conducted by a know-it-all teen and her accomplices.


This is a busy episode which certainly helps to move the narrative along at a quicker pace than the season’s preceding episodes. Even though the agents are still separate they work together as a team - and banter together as a team.  It is such a shame COVID-19 prevents them all from sharing the same space on screen, whether it be the bullpen, the bar or a crime scene.  Harimoto has also introduced the first reference to COVID-19, confirming the show has skipped the pandemic and is showing the aftermath, albeit one where zoom calls remain prevalent and face masks are no longer required. 


Two thirds of the team (Sam, Callen, Fatima and Devin) all take part in a zoom exercise challenge in memory of a Marine; Sam doing press-ups on the beach, Callen on a running machine in his flat whilst the latter two are utilising an outside gym. It was an opportunity to introduce the little character insights which raise this episode to a higher standard. Callen reveals he once met the Marine when he was doing this “...thing,” and, as Devin asks what does a marine and a Callen have in common; they were in fact both lifeguards in high school. This doesn’t fit with the fifteen year old Callen presented in S6 Rage, who was quickly headed for a life in and out of jail, nor the Callen who revealed to Sam he rarely attended class (S6 Reign Fall). It has to be inferred Hetty persuaded him to attend High School (and a higher education is required to become a federal agent).


This of course allows for team banter and brings Anna in to the mix, who’s gaming whilst the others exercise. It is through Anna that the pandemic is introduced as she is waiting to be assigned volunteer work to rebuild a community struck by the recent fires and hit by Coronavirus, and references that she and Callen were quarantined together.  Circumstance has helped bring them closer and it was great to see some intimacy as they kissed. Callen wanting to make the most of the two days until Anna leaves is reminiscent of Cancel Christmas (S7E11) where he and Joelle agree to do the same, then split at the New Year. At the episode’s end, Anna has to leave immediately and they both admit they’ll struggle to be apart for three months. Sam of course is still trying to get Callen to open up about his feelings and Callen, of course, is still reluctant. But as least he and Anna are now honest about their feelings with each other.


There was also some important talks about the future for Kensi and Deeks with them putting an offer in (via an app) on a house, which morphs into an analysis of Deeks and his signature. Nerves about making such a financial commitment when Deeks has no income and the bar takings are down by half are voiced by both. Deeks is keen to push forward with Kensi looking for reassurance. It seems their previous indecision about the shape of their future together is finally making some positive, yet hesitant strides forward.


The case itself was fun yet frustrating. Special Agent Des Champs returned to partner Kensi and her reaction to being called ‘Mrs Deeks’ explains why she hasn’t (officially) taken her husband’s surname. Marriage is so much more than a name! Kensi’s revelation she used to be a bouncer and her vision of a company supplying women only bouncers was totally believable. With six agents in the field, OSP is still stretched with Nell acting as Operations Manager and running the ops as Eric is still absent. There is some great bonding and banter between Devin and Fatima who have the dubious honour of working with the annoyingly know it all teen, who constantly riles Fatima with her millennial insults. Fatima’s struggle with her self control was real!  The comments and teasing about generational gaps was a comedic thread which ran throughout, with Devin and Fatima commenting about Kensi’s car, and the age of Facebook users. Their words came back to bite them at the end when the older and wiser field agents revealed they heard it all on comms. The final kicker was Nell agreeing they were old - once she'd disconnected her earwig, of course.  There were several literally laugh out loud moments, firstly when Callen mimicked the young woman he was interrogating and also when Devin crashed his new car when accidentally apprehending the bad guy.


Some funky editing in the interrogation rooms make the storytelling much more fluid than earlier episodes and there was no repetition of the story to other characters, just updates which kept the plot moving. The team all worked well in their respective partners and together (albeit separately) and when all were involved in storming the warehouse, there was hope they might all be in the same scene. Alas, even though they were in the same location, they were separate, although the banter between all six field agents made it feel like they were all together.


Cash Flow was a welcome return to a more normal version of NCISLA. Ignoring the over the top generation Z teen, all the ingredients were present; teamwork, banter, fun, comedic moments, an array of locations, fluid storytelling and a healthy dose of character moments and development. Thank you, Kyle Harimoto!


 A Virtual Scrawl

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