Callen’s Corner: Callen Versus The Chameleon


G. Callen: It’s all about revenge.
(S5x01, Ascension)

Callen Check Kopie

Legendary agent versus criminal mastermind.
Callen’s nemesis – he is powerful, unpredictable and he knows how to play psychic games.

Crimeleon (S3x15)

“The Chameleon” (aka Zahid DeGramont aka Marcel Janvier) made his first appearance in “Crimeleon” and soon it became clear that he is no ordinary criminal. No matter what the team does – he always seems to be one step ahead.

And Callen is impressed by his skills and abilities.

G: He’s the best I’ve ever seen.

G: He also has an amazing ability for physical transformation.
Kallstrom: You seem impressed by him.
G: I’ve spent my whole life pretending to be somebody I’m not.
Kallstrom: Perhaps he’s better at it than you.
G: Maybe. Until I catch him.
Kallstrom: Confident.
G: Resolute.

Callen was the one who shot DeGramont (the name under which he is known in this episode) in the jaw – leaving him permanently affected by this injury. And leaving him craving for revenge – which he made very clear during his phone call with Callen:

Chameleon: My mouth still doesn’t work right. I can’t breath, I can’t sleep.
My brain throbs, thanks to the bullet you put in my head.
G: My heart breaks for you.
Chameleon: Agent G Callen, I know where you work.
I know where you live.
I know who you care about.
G: What do you want?
Chameleon: One day,  I’m going to kill you. Soon.
That’s all I live for. It’s all I care about. 

Telefon2 Kopie
After that phone call, Callen seems worried – something we rarely see with him, especially not when it comes to his own safety. And again, “The Chameleon” seems to be one step ahead as he claims to have private information on Callen – information that should be classified. And there’s more: “The Chameleon” has not only threatened Callen’s life but also the ones that are close to him, the few people he cares about – and in this episode “The Chameleon” left no doubt about what he is capable of and that he has no scruple whatsoever.

Sam: What did he say?
G: That he’s gonna kill me.
Sam: Heard that before.
G: Yeah. But this guy’s pretty good.

Callen is always the one to have everything under control. He has unrivalled skills and is one of the best agents out in the field. No opponent he’s had to deal with so far was a match for him but with “The Chameleon” things are different…

Sans Voir (S3x23 + 24)

In “Sans Voir” “The Chameleon” arranged for his and G’s paths to cross again – as always being ahead of the game and with devastating consequences for the team. It is in this episode that we learnt “The Chameleon’s” real name: Marcel Janvier. And the two men meet face to face for the first time – after Janvier had killed Renko and Hunter, leaving Callen emotionally shaken as we have rarely seen before.

G: What do you want? The right to remain silent?
That’s fine, we’ll give you that. It’s not gonna help you.
Because we both know, sooner or later you will talk to me.
Because that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? You and me.

The scenes in the boat shed between Callen and Janvier grew increasingly intense by the minute.

Janvier is driven by revenge. He says that he “chose” Callen because he was the one who shot him, but maybe there’s more to it. Janvier likes to play games and he probably realized that in Callen he found a “worthy opponent” – maybe for the first time ever – an opponent who makes the game worth playing.


G: Why me?
Janvier: You shot me.
G: But you came back.
Janvier: Curiosity.
G: I almost caught you.
Janvier: But you didn’t.

And so their “game” began  –  it is fascinating to watch these two strong characters interacting, creating some of the most intense Callen-centric scenes we have seen in the show so far.

Janvier: Welcome to the game, Agent Callen!

G: This is a game to you?
Janvier: You play chess, Agent Callen?
G: A little.

It is obvious right from the beginning that Janvier clearly knows Callen’s weakness: The people he cares about, first of all Sam and Hetty. And Janvier knows that Callen will go to any length to keep them safe – so he provokes him, raises the stakes.

Janvier: Same way I got to you, Agent Callen. Every one has a weakness.

Even Vaziri acknowledged that in “Endgame” (S4x01):

Vaziri: I’m intrigued, Agent Callen. Why would you do such a thing?
Janvier must have found your weakness.

Seeing the usually so calm, composed and focused Callen struggle with his emotions makes the duel with Janvier so intriguing to watch.

One could literally feel the tension building up and reach its climax.

Boatshed gun

G: You wanna kill someone, try me. In fact, here. Use this. (hands Janvier his weapon)
All you gotta do is squeeze the trigger. Take it. Take it.
Janvier: And give you an excuse to break my neck.
G: I don’t need another excuse.

Sans Voir Ende

They came to a point where it looked as if Janvier finally turned out to be the winner of this encounter when in the Season 3 finale Callen went rogue, shot an unarmed Janvier in cold blood in front of a television crew and got arrested.

Janvier: You kill me and I win.

 At the end of “Sans Voir” that’s exactly what things looked liked.


Endgame (S4x01)

Callen in prison, facing a criminal charge, the team shattered – or so it seemed. But in the Season 4 premiere “Endgame” we learnt that Callen had not given in to Janvier’s psychological games at all, that everything was a ruse.

Yet, G was determined to go to any length to defeat his nemesis – even jeopardizing his own health, safety, career and life. To Callen it was worth the risk.

During the exchange with the Iranians we see a bruised Callen who had  suffered some injuries from being held captive but look of  triumph of having won over the Chameleon is clearly visible in his face and expressed with only one word:

G: Checkmate!

Game over!

Or so we thought…

Descent (S4x24)

Then, in the finale of Season 4 Janvier resurfaced – severely mutilated by the Iranians – because NCIS needed him to cut the deal with the stolen nukes. Despite all doubts Callen had to bring him back from Iran – work with him and trust him – at least to a certain extent.

 Janvier: You need me for something. What? Oh – chess match begins again.
Trouble is – this time I don’t wanna play. You have nothing to offer me.

But Callen does have something to offer – the one thing that drives Janvier forward: revenge. Revenge against the Iranians for taking his hand. And of course never forgetting the fact that Janvier will also want to take vengeance on him.

Yet Janvier has another request to make – he asks Callen to kill him.

Janvier: Let me put your mind at ease. This is my first requirement.
When it’s all done I need you to finish what you started
when you put that bullet in my face.
G: You want me to kill you.
Janvier: You owe me that.
G: As much as I’d like to, I don’t do that.
Janvier: Maybe I can seduce you into it.

It was a dangerous plan they had come up with and Hetty and G knew that they were playing with fire.

G: You do anything to jeopardize this mission or my people and you’ll get your death wish.
Janvier: And no protected vest this time?
G: No.
Janvier: See, I told I would seduce you.

As much as they were trying to keep everything under control, things went terribly wrong – almost giving Janvier what he really wants above everything else: Getting to Callen by hurting the ones he loves, by seducing G into killing him and thus succeeding over him in the end.

Janvier: You can’t hurt me anymore. Not after what I’ve gone through –
which by the way Agent Callen I blame you for.

 Janvier: I still live for only one thing – to kill what you love.
Sidorov is going to kill your beloved partner.

 Janvier: And the game continues. Oh, by the way,
have you recovered agent Hanna’s body yet?
(“Ascension”, S5x1)

 Callen on the edge again – this time for real. And even Hetty realizes how close he’s become to crossing the line.

Hetty: Mr. Callen, control your emotion. We need Janvier alive.

Ascension (S5x01)

Callen and Janvier share an obsessive relationship – and a dangerous one.
And it will only end when one of them is dead, they both know that.

Janvier: We make a good team.

Janvier: It’s a complicated relationship we have. I consume you and you consume me.
G: It’s not complicated, it’s obsessive. Sad.
Janvier: You might be right.

Hetty: Janvier is obsessed with you.
It might be wise not to be obsessed with him.
G: I have to be. Janvier’s a threat. He lives for revenge.
He’ll come after me. Or any agent I’m connected to.

But once again – despite everything Janvier has done and despite all feelings that his actions have triggered in G, he manages to keep his emotions under control, to not let his hatred get the better of him.

Janvier: Finish it, we both want it.

Janvier did not manage to seduce Callen into killing him – yet. He did not manage to make G betray everything that he values and everything that he stands for, thus leaving G as the winner of their ongoing duel for the moment.

Their final confrontation (for now) took place in Janvier’s prison cell – an awesome scene that sums up their obsessive relationship perfectly.


G: Eight feet wide, eleven feet long. 23 hours a day lockdown. Triple life sentence – priceless.
Janvier: I didn’t think I would see you again.
G: I just had to see this with my own eyes.
Janvier: Two hour plane flight just to see me step into a cell.
Not much going on at home, I guess.

Janvier: Did you ever read „The Count of Monte Cristo? It’s the story of a man who
spent 21 years in prison only to escape and exact his revenge.

The scene (and the episode) ends with a sentence that leaves hardly any doubt that Callen’s nemesis will return – sooner or later.

Janvier: Agent G Callen – the game is not over.


What are your thoughts? Will Janvier escape from prison? Will he be back, haunting Callen and the ones who are close to him? Will there be an ultimate confrontation? And will G kill Janvier in the end?

You’re more than welcome to share your thoughts with us in the comments!

On a personal note:
Having done extensive research for this post I can only encourage all Callen fans to watch all six Janvier-related episodes in a row. It is fascinating to see the “relationship” between Callen and Janvier growing more complex and intense with every episode. I am looking forward to seeing the two of them meet again and continue their duel as those episodes promise a lot of intensity, emotional struggle and suspense concerning our hero G Callen.

Very special thanks to Vicki and Richtsje and also to FanGCallen and sindee for helping me putting together this post and for sharing the „tough task“ of having to rewatch the respective episodes! Also thanks to for the screencaps. And of course thanks to Keviana!

11 thoughts on “Callen’s Corner: Callen Versus The Chameleon

  1. Erin

    Fantastic post! I do believe we will see Janvier again… Janvier is probably one of the more fantastic “villians” on TV…probably even moreso than Siderov and he makes no bones about it being extremely personal with Callen and is very much a real threat for those that Callen cares about…forcing Callen to exhibit emotions that he probably would rather not.

    Christopher Lambert is so brilliant and creepy as Janvier. I’ve been a fan since Highlander and with his somewhat broken French accent, really kind of pulls out the emotion and hits it home.

    I think right about the time the team feels “safe” is probably about the time Callen will get notified that Janvier has escaped…maybe not this season but I definitely think it’s coming!

  2. SnoopGirl

    Amazing re-cap of their ‘relationship’!
    One of my favourite lines of the series:
    Janvier: Maybe I can seduce you into it.

    G: You want me to kill you.
    Janvier: You owe me that.
    G: As much as I’d like to, I don’t do that.
    Janvier: Maybe I can seduce you into it.


  3. I Feel Possessed

    Fantastic article. Janvier is a great enemy as he is a nemesis and it is personal between him and Callen, which also leads to more character development (as well as action!)

    Season 3 & 4 both concluded with cliffhangers connected with Janvier, and Callen (S4 was by the implication that Callen was indirectly responsible for Deeks/Sam’s torture – I find it intriguing that so far that has not been explore in the show).

    I can’t see that Janvier will again be the cliffhanger that finished S5… What does worry me is that we know Janvier would hurt Callen by killing (or attempting to) kill someone he loves. We know Shane Brennan is not adverse to killing off main characters…So I do dread what seasons 6-7 may hold.

    I hope they bring back Janvier when we and the characters least expect it. I must admit, I can’t wait!

    1. Jan

      A great article. I love it when an article puts a series of events or character development into context.

      I also was wondering when we’ll see Janvier again, but I do hope that it’s not for the season 5 finale. Two Janvier-related cliffhangers in a row is enough, but I would love to see him sometime in season 6.

      One more observation, relevant to nothing in particular: Last time I saw Sans Voir, I was struck by how Callen makes the connection between Renko being shot in the jaw and Janvier having been previously shot in the face. Ironic then that when Janvier’s treachery gets Sam and Deeks caught and tortured, Deeks gets tortured by having his face drilled. Apparently this body part is a recurring theme in all things related to Janvier.

  4. Richtsje

    In fact, it would disappoint me if we did NOT see Janvier again. It’s the most worthy opponent I’ve seen so far for Callen ánd the rest of the team! However, there has to be a time and right reason to get him into an ep again… Hope the writing team will find it!

  5. justdreaming-83

    Wonderful piece, Chris!!! And I do agree that it’s Callen’s straying from his normally cool and composed self that makes this enemy so intriguing. But I’ll have to admit, seeing him reach this level of intense anger was beautiful to watch. (Sorry. Just darted off into some fan-girling for a moment.)

  6. mckenna

    Wow, such an amazing article! Loved every sentence, kudos to the writers!
    I loved how it reminds me of everything the team and Callen have been through at the hands of Janvier. He’s such a great nemesis for Callen and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Yes, Janvier most definitely needs to come back, but not for this season’s finale, agree that two finale storylines with him is enough. I think during season 6 when we least expect it would be a good time.
    I rewatched ‘Crimeleon’ the other day, and during his scene with G I just couldn’t stop thinking about how evil he is!! Especially when I thought about everything that comes next. Seeing Callen that rattled is such a rarity. It makes those first scenes with Janvier that much more meaningful and intense.

  7. BH72

    Thank you ChrisDaisy and team for an indepth and emotional pull on the tense relationship Callen has with Janvier. Those last. words Janvier spoke to Callen as he walked away from his jail cell, says it all. He will be back. And we won’t be disappointed. The performances between the two Chris’ have been intense and riveting.

  8. Keviana Elliot

    I would say things like “so delightful” and “wonderful”, however this post reminded me why I detest Janvier so much! So, here’s my thoughts:

    At Janvier: HISSSSSSSSS!
    At Callen: Dude, protect your family, get it done, now let it go. Janvier owns too much real estate in your head and it’s freaky. Let it go.
    At Hetty: Why haven’t you gotten Callen therapy over this Creep?! WHERE’S NATE?? You need to send Callen and Nate to Alaska until Callen talks, Nate helps him work it out, and Janvier is just a bad memory. Seriously.
    At Chris: Girl, WHAT A POST. I loved the way you laid it out. I can’t stand Janvier even more!! That means you did a great job here. Bravo!

  9. Linda

    Thanks so much for the terrific recap of the relationship of Callen and Janvier -2 excellent characters / 2 excellent actors.Over the length of their journey together, we are able to explore more of Callen’s feelings and emotions. We see their obsession with each other, and we see his fear ( unusual for Callen ) when Janvier threatens his ” family ” We see the relationship with his team has deepened. How will it all end? I am certain that Janvier will appear again, and that there will be a final confrontation. Only 1 will survive this time – Callen I am sure. I agree with the others that it shouldn’t happen until later, maybe season 6 or 7, but happen it must. The game must be played out for Callen’s peace of mind.

  10. ChrisDaisy

    To all of you who commented on this post:

    Thank you so much for your fantastic comments and inspiring thoughts on this topic!

    You made my week!

Comments are closed.