NCIS Los Angeles ‘Defectors’ – Review by A Virtual Scrawl


‘Defectors’ is the episode rescheduled from last week due to the ISIS terror attacks in France. The story centres around a note found after a car crash, which has the phonetic spelling of Luqman Badr Al Din, an elusive yet charismatic key ISIS member, who’s responsible for youth recruitment and propaganda. The team discover the man killed in the crash was an Uber taxi driver, and one of his passengers from the previous day was Iraqi Jahmir Yacoob, who was Special Forces during Saddam Hussein’s regime. The team turn tactical to assault his house and arrest him, only to find that his eldest daughter Zahra has been reported missing to LAPD. The parents confirm the note found at the crash is written in Zahra’s hand, and that she had access to her father’s Uber account. A photo on display from a recent model agency shoot suggests ISIS are using the studios to recruit girls, and Kensi goes undercover to obtain evidence of their involvement, whilst the team seek the girl and the terrorist.

The episode could and should have been a lot heavier on the ISIS story as it is very topical. Certainly UK news has stories of teenage girls, with no history of extremist views, upping and flying to Syria to fight with ISIS. Their roles are unclear, however the likelihood is they will become suicide bombers or as this episode suggests, ISIS brides. In the hands of a different writer such as Frank Military, the tone would have been very dark and intense. But here there is more discussion about what ISIS is doing and how, rather than showing, and the seriousness is somewhat eroded by the humorous aspects between characters.

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