WRITTEN BY: Joe Sachs
DIRECTED BY: Steven DePaul
Drive will always be a special episode for me because sindee and I were there on set the day they were filming in Ops at the beginning of the show. To see all these wonderful actors that I enjoyed so much working only a few feet in front of me was an indescribable moment. ( I’ve written about our special day on the Paramount lot in a two part blog that you can find by going to In the Bullpen with Phillydi.) I was looking forward to finding out more about the story line since at the time we could only get bits and pieces from the scene in Ops.….so to see the final product was very exciting. Joe Sachs penned two of my favorite episodes from last year (Higher Power & The Dragon and the Fairy) and Steven DePaul (The Debt) was a treat to speak during a short break as we watched the filming outside of Ops. In this episode the team is after a terrorist ring involved in international car shipping and Deeks has a contact from his past that is their target. According to NCISLA Connect, this episode was based on a 1997 FBI investigation of stolen SUV’s that were smuggled from LA to Latin America.
Right off the bat, it was great to see the story line open with a call to Deeks…another first for the show. I remember driving over the Fourth Street Bridge in downtown Los Angeles but this time it looked a lot scarier for Marty’s friend Jenny Radler who is abducted while on the phone with Deeks. Somehow she knows there’s an international terrorist ring stealing SUVs and shipping them to be used as para-military vehicles half-way across the world. With very few leads to go on and a daughter that wants nothing to do with her mother, the team is stumped. Ah, but not for long….. Sam remembers their informant, Jaime from Season Three (Greed) who may be able to give them some critical leads on other stolen SUVs throughout the city.
The team sends Kensi undercover as a shady mechanic, looking for work in a chop shop that Jaime has identified as a possible front for the SUV thefts. With a little help from Deeks, she shows them how resourceful she can be in technically procuring a stolen vehicle. (‘Wheel ‘em in Krafty.”)
Next, the spotlight turns to Allison Hall, who is the owner of one of the stolen SUVs. Between her strange behavior and spending habits, the tech team suspects something weird is going on. Later, Radler’s daughter is also demonstrating some strange behavior as she drives along the streets of LA. (Hetty: “Either that or she’s selling Girl Scout cookies.” LOL!) When Callen and Sam rescue her from an assault, she tells them her mom is going to be killed unless she gives them her computer. It turns out Radler was finally clean and getting her life together working as a bookkeeper for Vargas who is the chief suspect in the international car theft ring. Radler has audio- password protected the evidence of Vargas’ criminal involvement on her daughter’s computer. With a little ingenuity, Callen finds the key in an audio birthday card! With a list of VIN numbers found encrypted on the computer file, the team has what it needs to implement Vargas and the others involved in the terrorist activity.
I enjoyed the final scene in which Kensi and Deek’s cover is blown and the cavalry of Callen and Sam have to come in and save the day. And Jaime getting caught underneath the car again was a fun touch.
There was a little bit of something for everyone in this episode. It was nice to see our heroes struggle with their New Year’s resolutions just like we all do. We got to find out more about Eric’s collection of action figures and we started the episode off with a serious Deeks being called in to assist a damsel in distress. But I couldn’t believe I missed all the hints at the beginning with Deeks making sure Kensi knew it was January 8! Of course…it was Deeks birthday! In Season One we found out that Deeks was born on January 8, 1979 and leave it to Hetty to pull out the expensive bubbly to celebrate. At least someone remembered!
Highlights from the Show
- Nice to see a serious Deeks start off the show. You are reminded why he became a prosecutor and a detective. He cares about the people he helps and shows it in the open scenes.
- Oh boy…You got to love Eric for hanging in there with Nell. He’s still trying to finding out as much information as he can about her. Eric: What if I have to call you? Nell: Why would you have to call me? Eric: If there is an emergency at work. Nell: I’ll have the pager. Eric: How very 1980’s of you. So what’s that number? Nell: Hetty has it. Dead in the water again, but he keeps trying!
- Jaime’s reaction was priceless when he finds out Kensi is going to help him infiltrate a body shop as an undercover car thief . ‘That’s loco, what you been smoking cuz?!’ Ah, Jamie….you know Kensi is one tough chica!
- Did you notice that the restaurant at the end of the show was actually the NCIS driveway (with a few alternations) where Hetty and Callen usually park their cars?
Best Lines from the Show
Hetty: Mr. Deeks and I enjoyed the sunrise this morning ….it was glorious.
Deeks: Cell phones! Get them while they’re hot….get them while they’re phones!! (What????)
Callen: Kensi you drive like an old lady.
Sam: Could have totally nailed your ass!
Sam: You remember that orange soda you had for lunch…well 41 milligrams of caffeine.
Callen: Oranges do not have caffeine.
Sam: Well there aren’t any oranges in what you were drinking. Just corn syrup, red dye 40, yellow dye 6….caffeine.
Callen: Ah, mh….why didn’t you tell me?
Sam: You were irritable…it was driving me crazy.
Poor Callen….Sam has no faith in his New Year’s resolution: Sam: Double shot of expresso G! Sealed and untouched. You must be ready for a little pick-me up.
Hetty: Send Mr. Callen and Mr. Hanna to the scene.
Eric: Crockett, Tubbs are you still with me? (A little homage to Miami Vice…nice.)
Deeks: I’m pretty in touch with my feminine side.
Kensi: Yeah, see that’s the problem. If you did have a feminine side, you’d be touching it all the time.
Deeks: Wow….and yet so true.
Kensi: Well done, counselor.
Deeks: I thought that went well.
Funny how Deeks overhears Kensi making a dinner reservation but walks away calmly. He figures she’s making a date for his birthday celebration. But my heart broke when Kensi tells him the date was with some else. Did you see the look on his face? Ah, poor Deeks. At least she stood him up for Jaime!
Check out about our time spent on set during this episode in my column “In the Bullpen, with Phillydi. Next week, Nate’s back! What more is there to say…except we are excited to see Peter Cambor back on screen where he should be with his fellow NCISLA co-stars in the next episode… Paper Soldiers. See you next week for another review on NCISLA Magazine!