It’s already time to reiterate a statement from the review of the last episode: “NCIS: Los Angeles” is the most fun procedural drama on television right now. The Monday, Nov. 3 episode, 606, “SEAL Hunter,” sees one of the team’s own arrested for murder, but the others’ work to help Sam out lead to several very amusing, very entertaining situations.
Only “NCIS: LA” can take what is a very serious situation – Sam is arrested for murder, and his DNA is found at the crime scene – and turn it into an overall light-hearted episode. A team member being framed for murder is so common in procedural dramas these days, but this show makes it work in this episode in its own delightful way, as is expected six seasons in. It’s only fitting that it’s Chris O’Donnell who directed “SEAL Hunter,” and he does a wonderful job behind the camera once again.
The best episodes are the ones that highlight any of the partners’ relationships, and even though Callen does end up working with Granger while Sam is “lost in the system” (and they do make a nice team), it’s just another instance that proves that these guys have each other’s backs and know their partners. And even with Sam being accused of murder, the banter is top-notch, for Callen and Sam and Kensi and Deeks (The fruit! Deli meats! Cousins!).
This episode is really one laugh after another, starting with Sam’s attempt to use Siri to text his wife and ending with Deeks’ attempt to introduce the team to this special fruit he found. Even with Sam arrested, it seems that there’s something to at least bring out a smile in every scene, and given how the season started, with Sam and Callen trapped in a submarine, Hetty being questioned, the Department of Justice invading the building and the warning of a mole in their ranks, it’s just what’s needed, even more so than the time Sam and Callen spent in Mexico in “Black Budget.”
“SEAL Hunter” doesn’t waste any time getting right to the point, as Sam is arrested in the opening scene and the team is on the case immediately, even though it does mean initially waiting for Granger to leave the building and everyone else to leave Ops so Eric can put it into “Shadow Mode.” Sam is accused of killing Leyla Walden, who worked in real estate and as a bookkeeper before that, but who has no known connection to Sam or NCIS. Sam doesn’t even have an alibi because he was undercover at the time of the murder, and there wasn’t an agent covering him.
Kensi and Deeks pose as crime scene cleaners to get a look at the crime scene – Why didn’t the FBI have photos of Sam’s team? They should’ve known they wouldn’t just sit back and do nothing? – and track down a man who was seen with Leyla at a deli. Ray Turner is a former SEAL, whose self-made mission is to expose SEAL imposters. When they check out his house, Deeks climbs into his weapons room and gets locked in, only to drive Ray insane by refusing to face him because if he shot him as a “thief breaking in” in the back, it would be murder. Only Deeks can make a scene like that hilarious. They bring him in as a person of interest, but he refuses to talk to them (he did endure 36 hours of self-induced? water-boarding) even after they tell him Leyla is dead.
Meanwhile, Callen focuses on making FBI Agent Gordon and Assistant US Attorney Sullivan’s lives hell. He begins by waiting in the car for them to find out what “evidence” they have against Sam, “a federal agent who’s done more for this country than any man” Callen knows, and that’s when he learns they found Sam’s DNA on the victim. Enter Eric, who compares hacking to sex for some reason it’s probably best not to look too close at and which may lead to an uncomfortable talk with Hetty at some point. Eric discovers that Leyla’s neck was broken and the FBI has footage from the apartment surveillance cameras of someone who looks an awfully lot like Sam leaving. This person knows how to evade the cameras, and snapping a neck like the killer did takes a pro. Then when Eric runs the DNA against what they have for Sam on file, it’s a perfect match.
That just means it’s time for the next phase in “ruin Gordon and Sullivan’s day,” or, Callen poses as a waiter, steals Gordon’s gun and puts it in the lobster tank to make it clear that “losing” Sam in the system is not the way to go. But it gets even better, as Callen then declares himself housekeeping and interrupts their affair in a hotel room. When the FBI agent and attorney climb out the window, Granger is waiting at their car to take photos. Sam’s out on bail faster than it would take Eric to send those photos to the right “wrong” people.
Sam then tries to talk to Ray, but he doesn’t get much further until after Ray’s boat is blown up and Ray verifies that Sam is who he says he is. (According to his sources, he’s “who SEALs want to be when they grow up.” Sounds about right.) It all leads back to a Jeremy North, who had Leyla working as his bookkeeper. North is impersonating a SEAL, owns a self-defense school and is opening his own business. In this case, that was a dangerous job for Leyla because she knew things North didn’t want her to. However, it turns out North is Lee Stevens, who was a Marine when Sam was an instructor. Instructors made fun of them for looking alike, and not only was he dishonorably discharged, but Stevens also has a criminal record for fraud and identity theft.
Sam and Callen leave Ray in the car like their guard dog while they check out Stevens’ offices, and after killing one of his men, discover that he’s running an identity theft factory. He has Sam’s file from 2002, along with an ID that had disappeared from his locker. He’s been collecting identities for years, so it’s not a stretch to think he took Sam’s hat and planted his DNA at the scene.
In the meantime, when Kensi and Deeks check out his school, Deeks runs into a woman he ran into during a drug bust years ago. Heidi (you might recognize Meredith Monroe as Haley from “Criminal Minds”) had been a working girl, and he let her go. When he fills her in on her boss’ illegal activities, she tells him that he wanted her to bring him $50,000 in cash, and they use that. The exchange is made, and while Sam goes after Stevens, Kensi and Deeks stop the guy with the bag of money and Callen takes out his other man with one solid hit.
Sam vs. Stevens is a laugh riot. Sam can take down this guy with his pinky finger while in a straitjacket and blindfolded. It only gets worse when Lee starts crying, which is disruptive to the point that it’s making it hard for Sam to even arrest him. It’s a very fitting end to the case because the rest of the episode is just as comical – in a very good way.
Meanwhile, Deeks finds the “king of fruit,” which apparently takes things to a whole new level. Well, as the team learns when he cuts it open in the end, it’s to a whole new level of disgusting. Or it at least smells disgusting. No one’s getting close enough to it to attempt to eat it, and instead, Hetty is grateful that she has a burn room to send Deeks and the fruit to before the building really has to be condemned. The best part about that? The reminder that the building is “condemned.”
“NCIS: Los Angeles” season 6 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 6 “SEAL Hunter”?