NCIS: Los Angeles 12×02 “War Crimes” is a heavier episode than most, with a focus on the storyline that closed out season 11, and that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, could not be properly put to rest. This is a good thing, as it gives more context to Roundtree’s inclusion on the team, and more of a chance to develop the new dynamics of Team OPS 2.0 (or is it 3.0?).
Some dynamics are very well established – Kensi and Deeks, Eric and Nell, Sam and Callen. Of course, neither Roundtree nor Fatima have such a dynamic yet, and though the most obvious choice would be for that dynamic to occur with each other, the show has long ago gone from the type of show that only works in the above mentioned pairings to the kind of show that is also enjoyable if you mix up the team-ups.
This means that, even if the intention is to set up the dynamics between Roundtree and Fatima, the smart move is, at the beginning, to keep them in the same sphere as other characters we already know can hold our interest, and whose dynamics we’re already very much used to.
And boy, have I used the word dynamics a lot.
But the reason this show works better than other procedurals is, simply put, the chemistry between their main actors, the believable way they relate to each other. There’s always a risk of screwing with that when you add new members to the team, and it’s refreshing to see NCIS: Los Angeles taking the time to make sure that is done correctly.
Not just for our sake, as viewers, but for the sake of two new characters that absolutely deserve the chance to be loved by fans.
In this week’s episode, titled “War Crimes,” Roundtree gets to “partner up” with Callen and Sam as they try to figure out what caused the star witness in the prosecution’s case to change his story, while Fatima gets to run OPS in Eric’s absence, while Nell sits in Hetty’s desk.
By “partner up” of course, I mean “partner up” because the show is still operating within covid restrictions that I assume mean they have to try to get as few people into a scene as possible, and to try to keep the same pairings constant, so that any positive is more easily dealt with. This isn’t truly obvious in how the show has progressed so far, but once you think about it a little bit, it’s easy to see.
I’ll take having the show back, though. I really will. I’ll take the joy and the laughs and the feeling of enjoying this team again.
“War Crimes” will not go down as one of the most interesting episodes this show has ever done, I didn’t feel nearly as much anxiety about the outcome as they were trying to project, and I don’t feel like this one will be very high on my re-watch list, but at this point …does any of that matter?
The show is back, and I’m glad for it. Our favorite characters are on our screens, and that means that we can take a few socially distant scenes, if that’s what it takes to keep everyone as safe as possible. Hell, I’m not one to advocate for less Hetty, more Hetty is always my preference, but keep Linda as protected as possible, I beg of you, NCIS: Los Angeles.
We’re playing a long game here. We always have been.
Things I think I think:
- An “issue with your tie,” Callen? Or an Anna issue? Btw, where is Anna? Can we like, at least get an explanation, or a mention?
- “First war criminal,” lol.
- “The President is tweeting about it”/”Well, that’s obvious.” HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
- Also, Nell is back at work normally and we’re just accepting that? And still not asking about her relationship with Eric?
- Courtroom drama! Courtroom drama!
- Everyone is trying to up the drama, but having watched 12 seasons of this show, this doesn’t really make the top 10.
- Lawyers don’t wear red pantsuits to court, I promise.
- Callen is a good egg.
- Hetty’s desk does suit you, Nell.
- “Like zombies quiet indeed.”
- Callen’s “Have fun with that” to Roundtree gave me life.
- “I don’t, I have a video.”
- This dude would be funny if I didn’t know people like him.
- “Maybe one day I’ll tell you stories about my own father.”
- Oh, Sam.
- “Shakespeare can’t come up with this stuff.”
- I mean, he can.
- Callen, come on. You know better than to touch the man’s radio.