Let’s take a quick look back at Season 4 and the overall storyline before we delve into the banter topic.
The season started right where Season 3 left off – with Callen in police custody for having killed Janvier publicly. It looked pretty bad for our favorite agent, but, in the end, everything turned out to be a ruse – a dangerous one for sure, but they managed to hand Janvier over to the Iranians – Checkmate!
In a two-parter (“Out of the Past”, S4x05 and “Rude Awakenings”, S4x06) the overall story arc for Season 4 was established – a number of nuclear bombs are stolen, supposedly by a well-known Russian arms dealer, an Isaak Sidorov who will sell the bombs to the highest bidder. It is in episode 4×06 that we finally meet Michelle, Sam’s wife who is an agent herself and has established a cover during a past operation that Sidorov used to trust: Quinn – a professional assassin. While Sam is not happy about it, it is decided that Michelle will go operational again to get near Sidorov, who expresses more than a professional interest in Michelle, much to Sam’s distaste.
Callen’s life is in grave danger at least twice this season. In “The Chosen One” (S4x14) where he infiltrates a Chechen terrorist group and his cover is blown, and in “Purity” (S4x20) where Callen is forced to drink cyanide.
Season 4 also featured two cross-over episodes for another spin-off (“Red” and “Red 2”, S4x18-19, respectively) where a new NCIS team is introduced. Much to the dislike of many Callen fans, the episodes contained an attempt to set up Callen with the Red Team Leader. (Knowing how the G fans out there will react to it, I will NOT write down that name here… you all know who I am talking about, anyway).
In “Ravens and Swans”, S4x22, we get to see a very intense Callen and Hetty moment when Callen discovers there were a lot more orphans that Hetty had taken care of and formed to agents than he had thought. They literally scream at each other, which was a first. (And, for the sake of all Callen fans, I might mention that this is the episode where we got to meet “Dr. Callen”.)
The season ends with Callen’s nemesis making another appearance: Janvier is brought back from Iran to help the team find the stolen nuclear weapons and catch Sidorov. Unfortunately, but to no one’s surprise, Janvier-double crosses the team and Deeks and Sam end up being tortured by Sidorov’s people, while Michelle’s life is at stake.
On a sidenote: Season 4 also marked the directing debut of Chris O’Donnell and he did a great job with that! Congratulations!
Back to Banter
Our team at Callen’s Corner found it a little harder to come up with Callen-related banter in Season 4. For one, maybe because there were not many Callen-centric episodes. On the other hand, the overall story arc of the season focused on different topics and seemed to be darker and more serious than in the previous ones. Callen’s character seemed to have become more solemn – which was no surprise, considering the events in the past seasons with meeting Hannah Lawson, discovering the relation to and history with the Comescu’s, and having lost two agents at the end of Season 3. We know that Callen tends to blame himself for what happened, so he may have continued to carry the guilt.
Also, we noticed that Season 4 had more episodes that focused on Kensi and Deeks leading to more Kensi/Deeks-related banter or team-related banter, which is fun nontheless. So, let’s take a look at some team banter first:
Kensi: Well, if you must know, I’ve killed another house plant. That is fourteen since July.
Deeks: Wait. That’s it? That’s the source of you sourness?
Kensi: It was a cactus.
Callen: You killed something that thrives in Death Valley?
(S4x13, Paper Soldiers)
Kensi: Look, I am taking a leap here with this babysitting thing. It would be really nice to have my partner there to back me up. That is, if he takes me up on it.
Deeks: You want to play house?
Callen: They want to play house, Sam. At your house, when you’re not there.
Sam: Oh, yeah? I have nanny cams. Everywhere.
Deeks: That’s okay, ’cause I do some of my best work on camera.
Kensi: Oh, thank you for an image I will never be able to get out of my head.
Deeks: Yo, easy, Wonder Twins. You’re scaring the old folks.
[Kensi chuckles; Sam stops and faces Deeks]
Sam: Who you calling old?
Callen: I’d choose your next words wisely.
Deeks: I don’t… obviously, I don’t mean old. I mean older, and I don’t mean that from a physical standpoint, because, obviously, you’re…I mean that from a metaphysical standpoint because you have a much more mature spirit than…
Callen: Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?
Sam: Yeah– push-ups.
Later in the episode:
Sam: The old folks took care of business.
(S4x04, Dead Body Politic)
Kensi: Deeks is running late. He ate some bad sushi last night, so it made him sick.
Callen: Bad sushi?
[Sam and G exchange a look and a smile]
Callen: You know we invented the “bad sushi” move, right?
Sam: Which means we don’t fall for the “bad sushi” move -ever.
(S4x03, The Fifth Man)
Deeks: Do we get a safety word?
Sam: What do you think?
Deeks: I was hoping for a yes-
Kensi: This isn’t one of your bondage sessions, Deeks.
Deeks: She’s kidding, but if you hear me yell “noodles” that means I’m in trouble.
Callen: If I hear you yell “noodles” I’m gonna shoot you myself.
(S4x12 Kill House)
Nevertheless, they were there – those funny and classic Callen and Sam moments that always remind us why these two have the best bromance on TV ever:
Callen: She blew me off.
Sam: I ignore you all the time, it never bothered you before.
Callen: Something’s up.
Sam: Somethings’s always up with Hetty.
Sam: I hate clowns.
Callen: Yep, not nearly as funny when they are dead, are they?
(S4x09, The Gold Standard)
Callen: You sure you’re not hungry?
Sam: Not now. What the hell is that?
Callen: Fish tacos.
Sam: What kind of fish?
Callen: The kind that swims in the ocean.
Sam: Ho-how could you eat something without knowing what it is? That could have been last weeks bait for all you know. Even looks like chum.
Callen: Carlos is the Iron Chef of food trucks.
Sam: (referring to Callen and Hetty) Yeah, you two are cut from the same cloth.
Callen: Hardly. Hetty is, uh, hand-painted silk. I’m more of a–
Sam: Itchy polyester?
Callen: I was gonna say denim.
Sam: Well-worn denim.
Callen: What the hell’s that supposed to mean?
(S4x22, Ravens and Swans)
Sam: [sarcastically] Thanks for having my back in there, partner.
Callen: I will take a bullet for you, but wives are a whole other thing.
Sam: I’ll remember that.
[Callen enters first the bedroom – he picks the best bed…]
Sam: Whoa-whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Why do you get the bottom bunk?
Callen: Got here first.
Sam: G, the last time I slept on the top bunk, I rolled over in the morning and landed on a petty officer
tying his shoelaces. Broke his arm in three places.
[G waves at the 3rd bed folded against the wall]
Sam: Okay, now that’s what I’m talking about.
A little later:
Callen: You snore, I’m gonna shoot you.
Callen: Our boy got a briefcase.
Sam: Laptop probably inside.
Callen: What are the chances of getting that away long enough to access the computer?
Sam: Creating a distraction and grabbing the case 10 seconds, breaking the combination if its locked another 20, copying the files 2 minutes.
Callen: Out-smarting the bad guys?
(S4x22, Ravens and Swans)
Callen: That whole motherland thing’s overrated. I mean, look at me. I come from a line
of blood-feuding gypsies who keep trying to kill me. How’s that justice?
Sam: I didn’t want to go through that whole Parker Pony thing like I did last year,
so I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas in June,
and then I went out to buy it right away.
Callen: He hid it so she wouldn’t find it. Of course, as we know, the memory is the first to go.
[Sam, angry, throws the bag into G’s arms]
Sam: I think it had something to do with Harry Potter.
Nell: A wand?
Callen: How about an owl?
Nell: A sorting hat?
Sam: A what?
Callen: A broom?
Sam: You’re not helping.
Callen: Eh, I’m not really trying.
(S4x10, Free Ride)
Callen: I know that look.
Sam: You’re starting to sound like my wife.
You know what they say when your partner starts sounding like your wife?
Callen: Get a new wife?
Sam: I’m gonna pretend you didn’t say that.
Callen: Criminals take Christmas off just like the rest of us.
Even the bad guys don’t like being on the naughty list.
(S4x10, Free Ride)
Callen: Somewhere Granger is laughing.
Sam: Can’t hear it. We’re dead.
(S4x12, Kill House)
Last, but not least: Not really banter but one of my favorite Callen / Sam moments ever:
Sam: Why is it that every time I try to do the right thing, people get hurt, kidnapped…die?
Callen: You got a big heart, Sam. Like a big…giant teddy bear. You wanna hug?
Did we mention your favorite Season 4 banter? Or did you miss your favorite quote? What is your most memorable Callen / Sam moment? And what is your overall impression of the events in Season 4 and their influence on the banter? We are looking forward to reading your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks to the Callen’s Corner Dream Team members Vicki, Richtsje, justdreaming and Keviana for taking a look back with me at the funny (and not so funny moments) of Season 4. Also, thanks to ncislosangelesfan.com for the screenshots and ncis-los-angeles.hypnoweb.net for assistance with the transcriptions.