NCIS: Los Angeles 4×11 Drive Recap and Review
NCIS: Los Angeles 4×11 Drive Synopsis: A woman from Deeks’ past becomes the target of an international car-stealing operation that is linked to a global terrorist ring. Kensi works undercover at an auto-body shop to investigate the case.
NCIS: Los Angeles 4×11 opens with a woman speeding down empty streets in a mini-van. She picks up a cell phone and calls Deeks; his answering machine picks up, but he grabs the phone when he hears her frantic voice. It’s 3:AM, Jenny Radler is rambling on about SUV’s that are being used in terrorist operations half a world away. Suddenly she says “Is that them? I thought I lost them.” and drops the phone as she tries to get away from the black SUV that’s chasing her. Deeks listens helplessly, shouting for her to pick up the phone, as Jenny screams and crashes into a dumpster.
Later that morning, the NCIS: Los Angeles team discusses their New Years resolutions in the L.A. office. Callen is off of caffeine; Kensi is off refined sugar; Deeks was supposed to show up for work on time. As Sam wonders aloud where Deeks might be, Marty appears at the top of the stairs; he arrived hours ago.
The team heads up to Ops and is briefed on what happened as Hetty, Eric, Nell and Deeks checked out Jenny’s accident and resulting abduction. Hetty says that Jenny Radler’s intelligence was spot on; she would need a special clearance to get that type of information.
Sam and Callen head over to the LAPD impound to check out Radler’s mini-van. After several quips about living out of a van and one offer of a canned espresso double shot to Callen; they discover a smashed USB thumb drive on the floor board of the van.
Kensi and Deeks head to the college to talk to Radler’s daughter, Talia. She gives them a quick rundown of the lifestyle of a homeless child then reveals that she hasn’t spoken to her mother since Tuesday, December 21st, 2010. Her reaction to the news that her mother has been kidnapped is “Every day I wake up totally prepared to hear that she’s dead. I’m sorry, I can’t help you.” Deeks thought it went well. I personally thought that there was a clue in there somewhere.
Back in the NCIS: Los Angeles Ops, Eric and Nell take life-saving measures to save the thumb drive to no avail. Agent Hanna calls out the time of death. Callen says that since Talia Radler was also a dead end, they are back at square one. Not so for Nell and Eric; they have matched markers from a torn off bumper sticker to recent motor vehicle thefts. They do know one man who can tell them about car-theft rings: Jaime.
Jaime is an overweight Latino who runs from Hanna and Callen as they “give chase” which amounts to walking a few paces behind. It’s light comedy to take the edge off of the episode; they ask Jaime why he’s running; because they are chasing him.
Meanwhile, Kensi and Deeks go to an upscale neighborhood to talk to Mrs. Allison Hall about her missing SUV. Back in Ops, Nell and Eric discuss Mrs. Hall’s security video (squeaky clean) credit card habits ($10,000/month shopping), and Nell’s New Years resolution. She is going “unplugged” on weekends due to the amount of technology she is surrounded by every day. Eric tries to get
In the NCIS: Los Angeles boat house, Jaime is questioned about car thieves that specialize in Luxury SUVs; they don’t believe him when he says he knows nothing. He is hesitant, but finally admits to knowing someone who went from boosting a few to 20 a month. He refuses to give up the name because he’d be killed for doing that. They offer him Kensi as a partner; someone to keep him safe. That sounds okay until they ask him to get her a job. Kensi proves she has the skills to keep from getting herself chopped up and fed to the dogs before Jaime gives up Esposito.
Outside of Esposito’s auto body shop, Deeks spins a road side advertisement sign and hawks cell phones in English and terrible Spanish as Jaime and Kensi walk by. Inside the garage, Jaime introduces Kensi as his cousin Carlotta; Esposito gets physical when he asks for a job. Telling Esposito that she can get him anything was a bad idea; he sicks two of his muscled workers on Jaime. One punch is all it takes before Kensi springs into action defending her “cousin” and Esposito is impressed. “That’s one tough Chica.” he says before admitting he’ll see what else she can do.
Kensi boosts a car with the help of Eric’s smart phone app, and a key fob Deeks works in a nearby blue truck. She claims to have friends who know computers that can access the vehicle via the vin and electronics system. Esposito is pissed when Kensi rolls through a stop sign and attracts police attention. She tries to outrun the cops and when he asks if she’s crazy her response is “From Head to Toe.” She ends up pulling into the back of a conveniently parked moving truck to lose the cops. It does seem a bit too convenient, but of course the cops were none other than Callen and Hanna in an LAPD squad car. Callen says she drives like an old lady. I am wondering what size moving truck could house a luxury SUV…
Esposito guides Kensi to a parking garage where they leave the vehicle to cool off for 24 hours and wait to see if it has lo-jack. Then it will be picked up by someone else, he says. When Kensi tries for more info, he tells her she just made fifteen hundred dollars and invites her out for a drink. She is a bit slow on the uptake for this one; I would expect Kensi to have already anticipated his advances. She finally says she is making tamales for her mother.
Meanwhile, in the NCIS: Los Angeles Ops center, Hetty discusses Talia with Eric and Nell. She’s been intouch with her mother by phone and e-mail in spite of what she told Kensi and Deeks. They’ve been tracking her electronic footprint and although she has a class, she is moving through downtown L.A. and stopping every two blocks, even for green lights. She may be on a bus. Ten minutes later, Callen and Hanna spot her crossing a street; Hanna’s bad feeling is realized when a man in a black hoodie jumps her and tries to steal her backpack. He is kicking her when Sam and G. pull up with the lights flashing and the siren whaling. Callen pursues on foot and calls Eric when the perp flees on a stolen motorcycle. Meanwhile, Sam introduces himself to Talia and asks if she has anything to tell him about her mother. “Yeah, now they’re going to kill her.”
It turns out that Talia was warned not to go to the police. She tells a different story about her mother now; the woman without whom she would never have made it. Her mom helped with her homework by the light of street lamps. As for the drug addiction, her mother has been clean for three years, was going to school and had an accounting job. The last time they talked was actually two days ago. They told Talia to bring her computer; Hanna says there must be something on her computer that they need. Nell and Eric discover an e-mail sent by Jenny Radler three days ago; the attachment is password protected. It’s not an alphanumerical password, however, it’s an audio password. Voice recognition didn’t work, either with Talia or Jenny’s voice patterns. A second e-mail said the key is in the stack. It has to be about accessing the file.
Sam, Talia and G. Callen, go through stacks of things in her dorm room in an attempt to find the key. After trying to read and speak to her laptop, Callen finds a birthday card with music from her mom. When he plays the music to the laptop microphone, the attachment opens. The list is old Vin numbers and New Vin Numbers. They have been making the vehicles untraceable. Now I understand how the terrorist crimes overseas were not traced back to missing vehicles in the US. Callen also notices that the man Jenny was working for runs landscaping company in LA. Gonzales Vargas has been casing luxury SUV s from behind the bushes. He is also the same man that Kensi and Deeks passed on their way to interview Mrs. Hall, earlier in the episode.
Deeks comments on the password in the birthday card, as Kensi and Jaime get paid by Esposito. She notices the “fireworks” under a vehicle, and Kensi comments on the engraver, to change the Vins. Esposito makes no comment, but asks her out again. Deeks is upset about Esposito’s advances; then learns Vargas is on his way. He advises Kensi to get out and insists on back-up from Eric. Is it bad that I am not surprised when they learn Vargas is on his way to the auto-body shop? It’s late, they have to escalate the episode I guess. I am surprised that Eric has not already provided back-up.
Kensi, on her way to the bathroom window, and her escape, turns around and is recognized. Jaime tries to claim she’s not a cop, but it’s too late for that when Vargas pats her down and finds a gun in her boot. They are both forced to kneel and surrounded by men with guns as Kensi tries to tell Esposito and Vargas that there is enough evidence to convict them already. If they kill her, they get the death penalty.
Deeks causes a distraction when he enters the garage and his spinning sign starts to knock things over. He offers a free two day trial of advertisement with the sign as a ruse before pulling his gun. There’s a fifth employee who comes up behind him with a gun and he drops his. Before they can be tied up, Callen and Hanna pull into the garage and get out with guns blazing. Sam tosses Deeks his gun and they take out the gunmen. Esposito has a hold on Kensi with a gun to her head, but Jaime is under the nearby SUV and burns him with a torch which helps her get away. He is shot before he can fire his gun at Callen. Out in the yard they search for Jenny Radler; I had almost forgotten this was about a kidnapping. Eric uses infrared to try and find the body.
Okay; this is where I am in disbelief. First of all, when they knew about the auto-body shop and had surveillance, why didn’t they use the infrared to try and locate the extra body? They have something but it’s not moving. That’s number two; it’s L.A. Infrared searches for heat signatures; she is found in a shipping container, in the trunk of an SUV. Deeks says it must be 120 degrees in there. HMMM Human body, 98.6, right? She would not have been detected at all, because while her body temperature would have risen, it would not be higher than the ambient temperature, and it could not cool itself if she had been in there this long.
Okay, so they have to cool her down, and Talia races to her mother while Kensi goes to get a bottle of water. Back-up, right? Where’s the ambulance? Kensi has to call one now? That wouldn’t have happened in an older episode. While Jenny says that she didn’t come to Deeks sooner because she wanted to tie everything up with a bow, NCIS: Los Angeles did not, again. I love the series, but this season has had too many inconsistencies.
Back at the NCIS Los Angeles office, Kensi makes reservations for two at a restaurant while Sam calls them on their New Years resolutions. Callen had caffeine in an orange soda; Kensi has chocolate on her chin. Deeks comes in dressed up (for Deeks that is any shirt other than a t-shirt). Hetty informs the team that the stolen vehicles will be shipped as planned, with some aftermarket modifications; they will be able to see and hear what is going on. The owners will be reimbursed for their losses. She breaks out a rare bottle for a toast; for Deeks’ birthday. Deeks thinks Kensi is bluffing about forgetting his birthday because of the reservations. She’s not.
Kensi meets Jaime and his mother at the restaurant. He thanks her, she says it was the least she could do, he saved her life. Jaime’s mom is excited that her son has found such a pretty girl; she asks if Kensi likes children. She can’t wait to become a grandma.
So maybe I am being too hard on the show. I still love the interaction between the members of the team. I am simply such a fan that I watch episodes over and over. They have to be believable for me to do that, and so far this year, this is the third one that doesn’t fly with me. I wish I could tell Bellisario that the writers are dropping the ball. What did you think of the episode and the writing this season? Am I wrong?
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