“Trust no one” is also a great alternate title for the Monday, Nov. 24 episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” season 6 episode 9, “Traitor,” which sees the team smoke out the mole after he strikes again. This time, the mole puts Granger in the hospital after poisoning him and the Assistant Director crashing his car spectacularly.
However, after building up to this reveal, doesn’t it feel a bit anti-climatic for anyone else? Maybe it’s because it turns out to be someone who seems like he could have been used for more before this episode to create a greater impact? But maybe that’s still coming because even though the mole’s identity is revealed, there are still questions that need answers. Who’s he working for? What does he know? Where did he get the $50,000? That’s just to name a few. If there isn’t an episode to tie up these loose ends, it’ll be disappointing. While Hetty says, “it ends today,” it doesn’t feel like it’s completely over.
When the synopsis for this “NCIS: LA” episode first came out, it was hard not to wonder if they would be doing with Eric what they did with Abby on “NCIS” when they had a traitor in their midst, and fortunately, that’s not the case. Instead, Eric ends up on the suspect list because $50,000 suddenly appears in his bank account, and no one can account for where it came from, so he makes the anomalies list. (That is how we get to see Eric’s password, which is “2015Eric+Nell,” so is that foreshadowing what’s to come?)
It’s because Eric is one of the potential suspects that he ends up a hostage of the mole’s, Brown, someone from IT, as Hetty informs Granger as he’s recovering. As Hetty puts it earlier in the episode, “The best spies are those you least suspect,” which is why it’s too obvious that the guy protesting the DNA swab is just being annoying and isn’t the mole. Eric uses the one chance he gets to get a message to Nell as to where they’re going to be. That’s how the rest of the team is able to make it to the basement storage area to give Brown no choice but to surrender, but it looks like that’s what he wanted, based on that smile.
As he explains once in the boatshed, they’re going to offer him a deal because if it goes to trial, the story will become public and they’ll all lose their jobs. He thinks he’s proven himself more valuable as an asset and as someone who can work for them as a double agent since he’s created the perfect legend. He clearly didn’t do enough homework to realize that Sam and Callen are not people who can be manipulated like that, and instead, he’s off to a “black site,” a.k.a. an animal shelter to listen to dogs barking with a bag over his head until he squeals like a pig.
So yes, the reveal of the mole is a bit disappointing, and it seems that everything we see of Brown would have been better with some type of buildup before, even if it then would have been obvious he’s the mole. Alas, like stated above, there are enough loose ends to bring him back if they so choose, and even with the mole problem and the very unusual circumstances with the building on lockdown, the team separated and Granger in the hospital, “Traitor” still has the elements that make this show so great and entertaining week after week. There’s the banter between partners, the “Densi” whatever they have being interrupted, Hetty being Hetty, the team working together and a chat between Hetty and Granger that’s not at all different from the ones they have at her desk. (This one just happens to take place in his hospital room.)
Only Sam and Callen would find a way to argue about “trappings of ownership,” reveal a new fact about one of their pasts (Sam has a crazy cat lady for an aunt) and argue about how long it will take to get back to take down a mole holding Eric hostage. Deeks would prove that he knows Kensi with a long list of facts, from her favorite color to her favorite New Kid on the Block to the “softer, lacy lady side” only he knows about and loves, and he would smell her while also figuring out how a coworker was strangled. Eric would veer off on a tangent about a comic book with Nell when she’s trying to question him about a large deposit into his bank account, and even the rest of the team knows when it’s time for them to leave Eric and Nell alone as she checks on him after it’s over (for now). “You look better without them,” she tells him as she takes off his broken glasses.
Because Hetty seems to be all knowing and powerful about everything (Eric is probably right that she does know the truth about alien visitations and Area 51), it’s hard not to question what she does know and what she doesn’t. When she tells Eric to keep his eyes open and his wits about him, sure, it can just apply to the fact that there’s a mole, but given what had been teased about the episode before it aired, does anyone else question if there’s more to that as soon as she says it? That said, the scene where he checks on her is one of the best, as all she does is stare at first until she gives him that piece of advice and thanks him. As Eric himself comments, Hetty seems to like Nell more, and we do see more of those two talking, but Hetty has a way about her – as does Linda Hunt – that makes nearly every scene with her special in some way.
With Granger in the hospital, it’s the doctor that points out just how little they know about him when Kensi and Deeks have a hard time answering her questions. (That can be said about pretty much every character on this show.) Hetty has her secrets as well, and they just so happen to be ones that lead her to realize that she has to upgrade the polygraph when she sit for one during the investigation. Yes, she has committed treason, but never against the United States. Yes, she has tried to kill Granger, but that was a long time ago and they’re much better now, but as Granger lets her know, her sitting by his bedside at the hospital doesn’t make up for that attempt on his life.
“NCIS: Los Angeles” season 6 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 9 “Traitor”? What did you think of the mole reveal?