“That’s the most important thing. Just have fun.”
You shouldn’t need a primer on the NCIS franchise by now. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or longer, you’re up to speed on these guys. If not, you still could have some fun and enjoy the CBS DVD release of NCIS: L.A., but NCIS has been around for over 20 years, and this particular version has been around for 14 seasons now. That’s a lot of characterizations under the bridge and a ton of character evolution and stories that can’t help but give you maximum mileage out of the release. If you aren’t up to speed, you can check out over 30 seasons of various NCIS reviews by just banging it here: NCIS Reviews. That should keep you busy long enough to get you to the point that we’re here talking about Season 13. So hopefully you are up to speed, and we can get on with it. Shall we?
“Not the first time Hetty’s disappeared for an extended period of time.”
Once again, Linda Hunt is absent throughout the entire year, nearly. Her name is mentioned, and her presence can certainly be felt. Only her voice shows up in the series finale in a letter to Callen. Hunt suffered a pretty severe accident a while back, and she’s not exactly a spring chicken, so she’s been mostly MIA for a few seasons now. Still, she’s really a heart of the show, and they find ways to keep her toes in the water. Most of the season we learn that Hetty has been grooming G since he was eight years old in a secret project that mirrored a Soviet program much like Black Widow went through in the Marvel Universe. As the season begins, last season G had broken into Hetty’s files and discovers the program and information on a Subject 17. His year-long arc was to find out if that was him. An old enemy shows up with a new face and is using deep fakes of G, and eventually the whole team, to play some nasty tricks. She is able to fool people into thinking they are video chatting with G and the others. That could get someone killed, which is, I think the point. But by the end of last season we know that G was indeed subject 17, and that’s all going to come crashing down toward the end of this final season. I promise that you will indeed get closure on that aspect of his life and I think a confidence that he’s happy and is going to move on with his life.
For the last couple of seasons with Hetty MIA and the unfortunate passing of Miguel Ferer, the big guy in the big guy in the building has been Simon & Simon’s Gerald McRaney as retired Admiral Kilbride. He’s a regular now and a great presence this season. McRaney is king of the grumpy one-liners and a perfect balance to the light characters of the team. Everyone gets big story elements this season, and these folks continue to grow right there on our television screens and right up to the end. McRaney is doing great work and actually adding a bit to the comedic elements of the show. But we do get to see the softer side of the big bear this season. We’ve often been told that he had a son who got deeply addicted to drugs and that he kind of finally closed him off. It’s the tough love thing, and if anyone is good at that, it’s Kilbride. We meet his ex-wife, who is played by Taxi veteran Marilu Henner. She convinces him to reach out to their son, and after a lot of thought and avoidance, he does just that.
Deeks (Olsen) and Blye (Ruah) get even more character development this season. The character of Deeks has matured and still gets to play the immaturity because he might be more mature, but that won’t make him any more confident. Kensi still has to be the mature person in the relationship, but it kind of works. It’s a nice balance, and it helps that these two have really nice chemistry. What may help there is that the actress Daniela Ruah is in reality married to her co-star Eric Christian Olsen’s brother, so they are brother-in-law and sister-in-law in real life. Must make for some interesting Thanksgiving dinners at their place. We get to meet her husband/his brother David Paul Olsen as he comes to the show when he guest stars on the show as a federal agent who is teamed with our guys to bring down one of those super bad guys. If you’re in on the inside joke, and now you are, it gives a bit more fun for the episode. This season it’s the hardships of raising a teen which give them some doubts about their ability, but they get a really nice surprise in the closing moments of the series.
Medalion Rahimi plays Special Agent Fatima Namazi, and while she gets some nice moments in the field, she is now serving more and more as the tech wizard on the team. That’s filling big shoes since the departure of both Nell and Eric really a couple of seasons ago. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t get to kick some butt and get into a little danger during the season. Caleb Castille plays Special Agent Devin Roundtree, and he ends up splitting his time out in the field and as the tech backup to Fatima. There are absolutely some romantic overtures here, but I’m glad that they backed away from that idea and let these two continue to enjoy a sibling-like relationship.
Hanna (Cool J) has a big plate this season. His father’s memory is failing, and while it leaves for many amusing encounters, you can tell they’re pushing the character into a very different kind of life. Not sure how it plays out. He gets offered the lead here but never really commits to taking it, and I know there are some rumors that he’ll show up frequently next year in NCIS: Hawaii.
Finally Callen has the big story. I’ve already talked about his history being a huge chunk of the story this season. Jere Burns returns as the guy who literally brainwashed him, and he has genuine regret and actually want to help him. It’s all going to end with a wedding that one hopes places some normalcy back into these lives we are saying goodbye to. A few faces and cases from the past return. The creepiest has those artists who create from pieces of bodies back. The Monster appeared in Season 9, and they’re back again. This was NCIS at its eeriest best.
While this isn’t really the place, I already reviewed Season 20 of the mothership. David McCallum has passed at the age of 90, and so we’re seen the last of Ducky, so it looks like the 2022-23 season is filled with goodbyes. He was one of the best and had been stepping back much like Linda Hunt had here. Give them both credit for giving even when it was likely time to relax and enjoy the lives they both had earned. I’m sure Linda will, but it’s too late for David. I’m sure something will be planned next year, and I hope he gets a fitting sendoff.
The season is part of a three-way crossover, and you do get all three episodes. Other extras include the typical season wrap and another feature where the actors have a chance to tell their own NCIS moments and say goodbye to the fans. You get all 21 episodes plus the two crossover episodes. There are a handful of deleted scenes, and before you know it your NCIS: Los Angelos journey is over. You still have 14 seasons on your shelf to relive at any moment. I do believe we’ll see more than a couple of these characters on the other shows. “This feels like 10 years ago.”