“Your kung fu is strong, and your magic is powerful…” NCIS: LA, Cheo Coker-style
Watching Collateral, Cheo Coker’s first episode for NCIS: LA, is an inspiring experience.
His former show, SouthLAnd, was all about character, and only about the plot and the crimes when it related to character. SouthLAnd has never been about solving the crime; it’s about understanding the character. Whereas, NCIS: LA is a plot juggernaut, a procedural freight train that requires its characters to deliver high volumes of exposition as its multi-layered crimes are uncovered. Coker has proved himself the master of deep character revelation through minimalist and fiery dialogue; what would he do with a show that demands huge blocks of time devoted to the procedural details?
Turns out, a tremendous amount.
Writers of TV scripts, movie scripts… hell, whatever kind of writer you are, Coker’s episode contained some invaluable lessons.
Read more about those lessons on: dreamingbetweenthelines.wordpress.com
Um, did anyone watch NCIS: Los Angeles last night? The NCIS spin-off procedural about Navy cops who are also somehow terrorist-fighting super spies that have gunfights in the LA streets every single episode? No? Well, then you missed a watershed moment in the portrayal of nerds on mainstream TV. Seriously! Last night’s episode of NCIS: LA (“Collateral”) did more good for nerds than The Big Bang Theory has ever done, and here’s why.
Read the whole review on io9.com.
The big shooting in this weeks NCISLA episode “Collateral” was filmed in Santa Susana at The Hummingbird Nest – an event venue unlike any other…
Collateral (4 X 08)
Written by: Cheo Hodari Coker
Directed by: Kate Woods
Hetty is missing and it may be related to the death of a former and very wealthy CIA agent. The promos look intense and I have been looking forward to an episode with a little bit of angst thrown in. Looks like we get all that and more with this one. In this episode, we get to see the writing talents of Cheo Hodari Coker for the first time and Kate Woods is behind the camera. Woods has my admiration for directing one of my favorite, if not my very favorite Deeks-centric episodes, Personal. So my expectations are high for many different reasons.
We have another explosive opening. I guess tobacco will kill you…what a way to go for our ex CIA agent! Once an expert in precision explosives, Potter’s killer is definitely sending a message. Hetty has brought the team together for this mission despite the lack of a military angle. But Callen senses there’s more here than meets the eye about this case after Hetty mysteriously disappears. The team is on their own, and a preliminary sweep of the agent’s apartment shows his connect to a high priced call girl operation. Perfect time to send Kensi undercover to id the women who were with Potter at the end.
In the meantime, Callen is still perplexed and worried over Hetty’s secrets and her disappearance. What’s Granger have to do with all this? And why does he want the team to back off the case now and leave Hetty alone. Granger should know you’ll never get Callen to obey an order if you go ordering him around. With Nell’s reluctant help, they break into Hetty’s secret box from the past. With both Granger and Hetty off the grid, who is the new player…Barry Brooks? Seems they were all part of a CIA team working in Afghanistan once upon a time. Now Potter and Brooks are dead and Hetty and Granger could be next.
It was fun to watch the team get into Hetty’s head and figure out the clues she left behind in order to rescue her. She knew they would come looking for her despite Granger’s orders. Shades of Romania. The showdown at the end was exciting, well played and directed. Nice to see Hetty out of the Mission and in the middle of the action again. We get to find out a bit more of her earlier life and how she didn’t really get to choose her past. Yet it’s got to be a full time job to keep her conscious clear and her enemies at bay. Kate Woods directed another action pack show. In our interview with Nick Puga, he talks about working with Woods and what he learned from her on the set. Make sure you check out Nick’s interview this week.
- Poor Deeks…messing with Sam’s vinyl collection. Enjoyed Deeks trying to encourage Sam to join the ITunes revolution. But he really is taking his life in his hands calling Sam a hippie!
- Hetty has a swear jar! Something else we didn’t know.
- How cute was Nell doing her Jets cheer!? Callen: I’m a Pats fan so I’m going to pay you now before I curse.
- Looks like Eric’s passions are rubbing off on Nell too! But they almost came to blows over their favorite NY team. Perhaps there was some real life rivalry going on between Renee and Barrett going on here? Do you think?
- Nice to hear the use of LL Cool J’s music in the soundtrack this episode.
Best Lines From the Show:
- Sam: I’m married not dead.
- Deeks: Names come and go but you never forget a pretty face like that. Callen: I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her face you were looking at.
- Sam: What’s he trying to tell me? Eric: That you’re a geek. Sam: I am not a geek! You don’t see me collecting lunch boxes and action figures. Eric: Nothing wrong with being a geek, Sam.
- Eric: If Mata Hari and Genghis Khan had a daughter it would be Hetty. Nell: Or General Patton and Joan of Arc? Terrific moment between Eric and Nell. Don’t underestimate Hetty for sure!
- Hetty: We share a similar attitude towards obeying the rules, Mr. Callen.
Sam: I know that look! That’s the What’s Hetty not telling me that I’m dying to know look. Don’t try and figure it out….many have tried and failed.
I love when the boys tease each other when they are driving in Sam’s Challenger and this week it’s about cartoons.
- Sam: Underdog beats him every time! He had a better theme song, plus he could fly! Underdog would kick Hong Kong Phooey’s ass!
- Sam: Where’s your uniform Hong Kong Phooey? Callen: Where’s your theme music Underdog?
- Deeks: You know what? These targets are culturally biased. Kensi: Against what? Surfers? Deeks: I’m serious, because I am much better when I am on the move and my target is talking smack and firing back.
- Deeks getting flustered over Kensi looking the part was a sweet moment between the two:
- Kensi: Do I look the part? Deeks: Absolutely you look the part. Kensi: Is that supposed to be a complement or an insult? Deeks: As a professional, I mean a pro, not a pro pro, as an agent, I’m going to stop talking.
- Come on Kens, you wouldn’t tell Sam Deeks sat on his album, would you? That is not cool!
In this week’s interview chair we had a chance to speak to the very funny and talented Nick Puga in his role as Dex Stevenson, at the top of the show. Find out what he says about his time spent on the set of NCIS Los Angeles. Next week we are on hiatus so come back and join us again in two weeks for all the excitement at NCISLA Magazine!