NCIS: Los Angeles S13E04 Review (Sorry for Your Loss)

In a similar vein to last week's episode, Sorry for Your Loss opens hard and fast, with Callen driving a hearse with Kensi as passenger, being chased by some bad guards. They race round a cemetery, making the odd quip before they are trapped with the bad guys approaching them fast. The viewer is instantly engaged and curious to know what has led to this moment, how they will escape and why Callen is with Kensi. And where is Deeks? The difference here is that after the opening credits, an "8 hours earlier" clearly indicates the episode will focus on the case and events leading up to two of the agents in an apparent no-win situation. The quips between Kensi and Callen, suggesting although they are in dire straits, they won't get injured or die.

Chad Mazero has written a fun episode which features numerous call outs to past episodes and known character traits as well as gently moving on the Callen / Katya storyline. It is very much a team episode, even with the team split up to work different angles. Sam is working out with Rountree and giving out life lessons, something which Sam denies. When Rountree jovially claps Sam's arm, Sam returns the favour a little harder. Apart from showing his natural strength, it is a great opportunity for gentle humour. Even Fatima refers to Sam's imparting of knowledge. If Callen had shared any such scenes, it would have been three against one. Sam does love to share his wisdom. On the more serious front, Sam has been invited to give a speech at Hampton University in DC, as they're running a scholarship in his late wife, Michelle's name.

Rountree spends the episode working with Sam, a natural continuity of them working out together at the start. Fatima remains in Ops, running the case when she actually checks her notifications. This is a frustration of her character, bearing in mind she was first introduced as an analyst Nell was in awe of. She is now being developed as a bit of a spoiled LA brat, more interested in the superficial and in this episode, she is more concerned with moving out of her parents and finding an apartment. She even wanted to know if their dead suspect rented?! Kilbride in his usual acerbic way criticises this but he does come good in the end, passing Fatima the details of an old colleague who's now has a portfolio of apartments.


Kensi and Deeks are together in the bullpen with conversations which do not involve pregnancy or adoption. Neither do they refer to Kessler. Instead they discuss the lighter topic of divorce, delightfully talking at cross purposes with Deeks getting their neighbour's name wrong. There is no explanation as to why they do not continue working as partners during the episode, particularly when Callen is out on his own at first. Callen visits a woman (Angela) who turns out to be Katya's ex-girlfriend, albeit under her alias of Kate Miller. It seems he's running his own operation and is unsuccessful in convincing the woman to assist him locating Katya. The end of the episode though, sees Callen revisiting as she's had a change of heart and remembered a safety deposit key Katya left with her and has seemingly forgot. Sam picks him up and asks how it went. On the face of it, Callen has been shared his side-line investigation with Sam, until he responds by saying he's not holding his breath (on the woman providing anything useful). So Callen has reverted to type and withholding information from his partner and best friend. Again.


Somehow then and for reasons unknown, Callen and Kensi end up partnering on the case NCIS has taken from the ATF involving stolen weapons. There is a call out to last week's episode with the ATF being short staffed due to the deaths of the agents in the field. This time there is no militia or corrupt high ranking military officials in play, just a simple case of greed, revenge and a crime family fall-out. They work well together and share the same facial expressions and body language when dealing with the weird and rather unlikable Corey the Coroner, first introduced in an episode co-written by Mazero and Jordana Lewis Jaffe in season 9 (Mazero also featured Corey in S11 High Society). Even Corey's colleagues don't like him.


Deeks has the most fun on the case, demonstrating his (special) investigative skills with the step-mother of the dead suspect. Their scenes together are engaging from the start, when Miriam Sivac mistakes him for the pool boy. They bounce off each other in scenes, including the final one, when she ends up in the interrogation room. There is a slight undercover aspect when Kensi, Deeks and Callen attend the funeral of the dead suspect. Again the banter flows, with Fatima joining in word play from Ops, and Callen's suggestion of using Sam's boat for a Viking funeral. Kensi's innate ability to kill plants is also discussed. This leads in to the hearse / car chase scene, with Deeks appearing on cue of divine intervention, assisting Kensi and Callen in turning the tables and killing the bad guys.

Deeks gets involved in and sliced in a brief knife fight but the real action is left to Sam and Rountree, who's investigations have led them to a warehouse. Here, director Eric Pot utilises slow motion to emphasise the physicality and the choreography of the fist fight the pair have with the bad guys. Rountree, continuing with the running joke of the episode, continues to be a touch late to the party, finished by slam dunking his bad guy after Sam made the same move slightly earlier to incapacitate his guy.

There is a great level of symmetry with the episode between character interactions and revisiting comments and scenarios from earlier. For example Rountree suggested Sam starts his speech with a joke, something which Callen repeats when they're in the Charger at the very end - their only scene together this week. Mazero clearly has a solid understanding of the character's personalities and has put together, with Pot, a thoroughly enjoyable episode.


By Sara Barry

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