Series / NCIS: Los Angeles

Known during development as ''NCIS: Legend'', NCIS: Los Angeles is a spin-off from NCIS. It takes place in L.A. and concerns the Office of Special Projects, a division that conducts undercover operations for cases within the purview of NCIS. As a result, this spin-off series has a heavier Spy-Thriller atmosphere as opposed to the Procedural feel of the parent series.

This spin-off began on September 22, 2009 in the timeslot following NCIS. It stars Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J, Daniela Ruah, Adam Jamal Craig, and Linda Hunt. Rocky Carroll has a recurring role as his character from the original series. Most of the main cast were first introduced on a two-parter called Legend on the original NCIS.

The LA team is headed up by Henrietta "Hetty" Lange, a diminutive woman with a penchant for fashion and more connections than most people could dream up. G. Callen (O'Donnell) and Sam Hanna are both field agents and best friends. Hanna is an ex-Navy Seal while Callen carries some emotional baggage over his childhood spent in foster care and not actually knowing what the "G" in his name stands for. Rounding out the team are junior field agents Kensi Blye and Dom Vail, who haven't seen quite the same Character Development as the leads, but just give it time. The LA branch also boasts its own tech wizard in Eric Beale. A new role for the franchise is that of an operational psychologist, Dr. Nate Getz, whose job it is to evaluate the team's mental stability.

The show is now in its seventh season.

Has a character sheet that is severely in need of Wiki Magic Love.

Related shows:


  • Action Girl: Kensi
  • Action Mom: "Quinn" the assassin AKA Sam's wife, mother of his child, and an undercover CIA agent. So hot that an evil arms dealer killed his current "girlfriend" when he thought she (the girlfriend) was acting jealous.
  • Adorkable: Any of the office tech guys. Nell, for example, gets way too excited about their cool gadgets, and is at least a whole head shorter than anyone else in the show (except for Hetty, of course.)
  • African Terrorists: The Al-Tunis Brigade in "In the Line of Duty".
  • The Alleged Boss: Hetty is firmly in charge of the LA office and the agents know that she will punish them if they get out of line. However, the feeling among some NCIS higher-ups is that she over steps her authority and treats her superiors as Alleged Bosses (similar to Gibbs). On a smaller note Callen is the senior agent-in-charge and technically the boss of the other agents on his team but while he is the leader, he lets Hetty handle all the boss duties.
  • Amicable Exes: Apparently Callen and Joelle. She likes him very much (they even spend Christmas together after they break up) but it's too stressful loving someone who "might not come home".
  • And I Must Scream: Sam threatens one of the terrorists with this in "Hunted". He says he will blind him and paralyze him so he wishes he could die.
  • And Starring: Linda Hunt gets "with", LL Cool J gets "and".
  • Anger Born of Worry: The whole team towards Nate when he takes on a huge risk by himself by tricking them, kidnapping Callen, stealing explosives, and making them believe he's gone to the dark side.
  • Anti-Climax / Anti-Climax Boss: The Villain of the Week in "SEAL Hunter", an ex-Marine who framed Hanna for murder, can barely fight him even with a weapon and is so terrified he starts sobbing.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: To the well-intentioned extremist who wants to depopulate humanity to save the world in the second Hawaii Five-0 crossover: "What if you killed the people who could've solved our problems?"
  • Ascended Extra: Eric Christian Olsen who played Detective Marty Deeks for two episodes in season one became a full time cast member in season two.
  • A-Team Firing: Completely averted by the protagonists, which seem to have laser guided, thermal imaging, smart bullets as ammunition for their guns, considering that they end fire-fights ridiculously fast by putting at least two rounds in the chest of each bad-guy present.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Hetty
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Deeks and Kensi have had shades of this since their first meeting, though so far while he has shown attraction to her, she insists she couldn't be less attracted to him.
    • Additionally, when Deeks kisses another girl he's had an affair with, Kensi's facial reaction is hardly worth a mention.
    • In season 3, there seems to be a lot of sexual tension between Nell and Eric. When Nate returned, he even pointed out to Nell that she was only flirting with him in front of Eric to make him jealous, which Nell denies.
      • There's a moment of this in Season 4 in the episode "Recruit".
  • Battle Couple: Presumably Navy SEAL Sam and his CIA agent (assassin?) wife.
  • The Big Board: See Viewer-Friendly Interface below.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Finally happens between Kensi and Deeks in the 4th season finale.
  • Big Fancy House: All of them in "Neighborhood Watch", including one with a big fancy sex dungeon.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Abby and Eric's sign language conversation at the end of "Random On Purpose."
    • The Germans' nickname for Hetty in "Absolution" is "Gartenzwerg", meaning lawn gnome.
  • Bi the Way: Recurring guest, DEA agent Talia DeCampo..
    Talia: You know, I wouldn't have let regulations stop me, if we were partners.
    Deeks: I'm sorry, just to clarify: if you and I were partners, or if you and Kensi were partners?
    Talia: (whispers) Either or.
    Deeks: Wow, gonna go ahead and save that image in my head.
    • Note that this is after Talia called Kensi "smokin' hot".
  • Black Comedy
  • Black Widow: The nickname of a notorious thief whose business and romantic partners have a habit of dying once her jobs are complete.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The kids in "The Seventh Child" who were essentially raised to be jihadist suicide bombers fortunately they weren't brainwashed enough and didn't really want to die.
  • Broken Bird: Anna notes that she keeps meeting "broken people" like herself and Callen in their unusual occupation, though she still hopes to meet a normal person one day.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Dom, as the new guy, is the butt of much of the show's humor. Until he's kidnapped. And then killed.
    • In Season 2, Deeks fills this role quite nicely.
  • Bury Your Gays: In "Chinatown" (1x16) through murder and suicide.
  • California Doubling: Very obviously averted. This show is called NCIS: Los Angeles for a reason, and the city is showcased prominently.
    • Played straight when the team goes to a foreign country; fortunately most of those countries look like deserts.
  • Call Back: In "Overwatch" (2x12), Callen tries to get out of rewriting his performance reviews by challenging Hetty to a race to the top of the rock wall in the NCIS gymnasium, but Hetty manages to psych him out and he backs down; however, his curiosity gets the best of him and he challenges her again at the end of the episode, presumably losing off-camera. The next episode then starts with the two of them on the rock wall again, with Hetty clearly ahead again.
  • Captain Obvious: In "Greed" in a conversation between Eric and Nell regarding the flowers she got.
  • Character Overlap: Director Leon Vance appears in both NCIS and this show, which is a spin-off of the former, being that he is the director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in CBS's NCIS franchise.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang:
    • In 1x09, "Random On Purpose", Abby's ability to do sign language, first used in NCIS, proves crucial to her rescue.
    • Abby's appearance in Random On Purpose makes her an Chekhov's Boomerang full stop as she is called in specifically because she's the best forensics specialist in NCIS or maybe even the country.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A season one episode, "Brimstone", has an undercover Kensi mention being engaged once. Callen and Sam wonder if she is being honest or creating a detail for her false identity. As revealed four seasons later, her fiance does exist.
    • Literally in the Season 6 episode "Traitor". Kensi is seen on the target range practicing with a shotgun at the beginning of of ep and by the 3rd act the same shotgun is being used to get her and Deeks out of the weapons locker.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Didn't Sam have a wife in the pilot?
    • In a late season one episode, Sam is called at home in bed. There was a woman in bed with him, face away from the camera, but still presumably his wife. She still exists.
    • Sam also has at least one child, a daughter, that Callen knew about, but the others didn't. She/they have not been shown, and have only even been mentioned in two episodes, although Sam having a family is mentioned at other times. She eventually shows up; she's a CIA agent posing as an assassin, the only one who gained the trust of a very dangerous arms dealer (he skinned the another undercover agent alive) who has a nuclear bomb. Sam is obviously very reluctant to let her do the op, but she "feels alive" after being a "normal person" for so long.
  • Church of Happyology: The Church of the Open Mind (the real "Happyologists" get mentioned too). While real "Happyolgists" target celebrities Open Mind prefers tech and military insiders to steal from, hence the absence of the usual Happyology trope of "mandatory donations" and as far as we know real "Happyolgists" have never killed anyone... on purpose.
  • Clear My Name:
    • Kensi, in "Blye, K."
    • Hanna in "SEAL Hunter".
    • Deeks in "Internal Affairs".
  • Cool Car: Callen and Hanna's main ride is a Dodge Challenger SRT8, but they've also used a Mercedes S550 and an Aston Martin Rapide.
  • Cool Plane: Hetty gets two F-22 Raptors to buzz a militia camp.
    Vance: F-22s. Nice touch.
  • Creepy Twins: The kids in "The Seventh Child" are the "extras" from an unethical fertility doctor who were sold to terrorists and brainwashed. The twins from the beginning aren't terribly creepy until one dies and the surviving brother has to be talked into not blowing himself up to join his brother in heaven.
  • Crossover:
    • A North Korean assassin who tried to kill Vance in this show popped over to NCIS to get her plotline resolved for good over there.
    • Abby Sciuto, Team Gibbs' resident Lab Rat in the parent series, appears in "Random on Purpose".
    • Kensi's headed to Hawaii.
    • Sam and Callen took a trip there too. And then Danno and Chin-Ho visited LA.note 
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: "Missing" and "Found".
  • Cruel Mercy: Hetty saves Kohl's life by effectively imprisoning him in an upscale nursing home for twenty years.
  • Da Chief:
    • Leon Vance, who used to turn up Once an Episode.
    • Deputy Director Owen Granger fulfills this role starting in season 3, and is being upgraded to series regular starting in season 5.
  • Damsel out of Distress: In "Chinatown" (1x16), G and Sam are investigating a warehouse when they hear voices:
    Sam: Looks like Xue-Li didn't go back to Hong Kong after all.
    G: What's she doing with Bobby Tang?
    Sam: I don't know, but she looks like she's in trouble.
    <pewf> <pewf> <thump> She draws a silenced pistol and shoots Tang dead. Turns out she's a "cleaner" for Chinese intelligence.
  • Darker and Edgier: More so than the original NCIS and mostly in the violent aspects. For example, when protagonist Ziva David was held hostage and tortured by terrorists in the original, nearly all of the abuse took place off screen, though enough was implied in the aftermath for the viewers to get the point. When Deeks and Sam were tortured in the spin off, however, some pretty graphic and disturbing sequences of violence were shown.
  • Darkest Hour: "Touch of Death": While everything works out in the end, this episode still counts. The smallpox situation has the people at NCIS the most worried they ever have been. Hetty, Eric and Nell are noticeably disturbed and Kensi, Deeks, Sam, Callen and the Hawaii Five-0 guest stars are noticeably rushed and distracted throughout the entire episode. While it is not the worst situation they have ever been in, it is the most worrying.
    • "Sans Voir": Lauren Hunter and Mike Renko are dead, Hetty retires, Callen is arrested for murdering the Chameleon and NCIS is in disarray.. Subverted in the fourth season premier where it turns out the second and third were an act. but it still hits home.
    • And then there's the fourth season finale "Descent": the Chameleon Janvier has revealed to the psychotic Sidorov that "David," aka Sam, is an agent. Sam nearly drowns when Sidorov turns on him and knocks him into a pool, but Deeks resuscitates him. "Quinn" aka Sam's wife Michelle, is cornered and holding on for dear life while hanging out a window. But the worst is that now Sidorov has taken Sam and Deeks hostage. He first electrocutes Sam, demanding to know if "Quinn" is a federal agent. Then after getting bored with Sam, he and his mook go start on Deeks. All a disoriented Sam can do is watch and listen to the continuous echoes of Deeks' screams of pain while Sidorov and his mook perform Sadistic Dentistry on him.
  • Death Dealer: Apparently Hetty, given that she can bury an ordinary playing card in a lampshade about a third of its length.
  • Death from Above: Courtesy of a target designator and a drone flying overhead.
  • Death Glare: Hetty. So much Hetty. Once of the best examples is when Eric calls the surveillance hidden in a garden gnome the "Hetty Cam". Granger refers to it as the 'Gorgon Stare.'
  • Deep Cover Agent: G and Sam encounter a man who is suspected to be a pro-Soviet agent. It turns out that he was sent to America by the KGB from Somalia as a young man in 1973 thanks to his English fluency. He had been ordered to do his duty, but he has doubts to follow his orders since he was married for a long time. This slips into Truth in Television in Somalia in the Cold War was pro-Soviet.
  • Dirty Cop(s): The "California Gold Taxi Service", CHP officers who are paid to escort gangsters and their cargo. They were actually foreshadowed an episode earlier where Hanna's wearing a CHP uniform.
    • The US Marshal assigned to protect Jada in "The Long Goodbye". The Molina Cartel gets rid of him to avoid being traced back to them by association.
    • Deeks' ex-parter and his partner are extremely dirty. Deeks had to kill his partner so he wouldn't kill his informant when she was unwittingly used to distract him while another dirty cop looked for his ill-gotten gains.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Deeks trying to explain why Sam should go into the desert instead of him.
  • Disappeared Dad: Deeks broke ties with his father six years before the show started after his father told him he hated him and tried to shoot him on Thanksgiving. Deeks idly remarks to Kensi in 'Borderline' that his father might be dead by now. Later, Hetty finds out that he indeed died.
    • In "Matryoshka part 2" Callen and Arkady's daughter Anna bond over how they made up stories about the good things their fathers must have been doing while they were away when they were kids, though Callen notes that at least Anna knew her dad's name.
    • Granger tried not to be this to his daughter "Jennifer" but she claims she didn't care either way about "the voice on the telephone".
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In "Exit Strategy", Nell and Kensi both hit their partners hard enough to stun them. This is Played for Laughs.
    • Frozen Lake is a much more egregious example. Kensi flat-out slugged Deeks in the face because she was mad and it was never mentioned again. Lampshaded by Daniella Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen in the "Frozen Lake" Dv D commentary where they admit that if it happened in real life, Kensi would most definitely have faced consequences.
  • Downer Ending: "Breach"
    • Also "Missing", in the beginning of a Story Arc revolving around Dom's kidnapping.
    • Said story arc gets its own downer ending in "Found"... At least Moe (the Sudanese boy Hanna saved) escaped. Until "Lockup", that is.
    • "The Frozen Lake" - Deeks and Kensi have finally gotten together but it's throwing off their work. Deeks doesn't take a shot that he would have before and Kensi implies that their relationship is the thing she wants most, but can't have because it will ruin what works. Then they finally figure everything out. Deeks take a shot that almost kills Kensi, who loudly objects even though it proves he has learned to work around his feelings and Kensi agrees to talk to him about this one thing, even though she hates talking. It seems like they are going to ride off into the sunset as copacetic partners and more, until Hetty reassigns Kensi on a top secret classified mission for an indefinite period of time. This is due to Real Life Writes the Plot, as Daniella Ruah is pregnant, but they pick a heart-wrenching way to deal with it.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dom and Macy.
  • Double Entendre: This scene in "Borderline".
    Kensi: Want to go for a little ride?
    Deeks: (looks up, grinning)
    Kensi: On the bikes, Deeks. On the bikes.
  • DVD Commentary: This show hasn't done many but there does seem to be a pattern that Daniella Ruah (Kensi) and Eric Christian Olsen (Deeks) do one together every season since Season 2. If you listen to the commentaries you get the impression the writers don't have to work too hard to come up with some of the banter between Kensi and Deeks.
    • Also, that those two actors probably shouldn't be in the booth together without a script. Or adult supervision.
  • Empty Quiver: In the two-parter "Out Of The Past"/"Rude Awakenings". A Russian arms dealer is looking for old Soviet sleeper agents who allegedly have nuclear bombs in American cities. At the end of the two parter, he has at least three bombs.
  • Expy: In "Leipei", the Greek leftist terrorist group Polites tin Katapolemisi tis (or Citizens Combat) is one for the Revolutionary Struggle, to the point of being responsible for the RPG attack on the American embassy. Although its profile suggests that the current membership is based on members from defunct leftist terrorist groups.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In one episode, an ISIS member posing as a missing NSA analyst says to Callen and Sam that he left the NSA through a certain entrance and was then captured. Sam knew, however, that the entrance he was talking about was under construction, so nobody could use it and thus knew he was an impostor.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Callen's past. First his long-lost sister is actually an impostor and the reals one's dead, and although she knew his real sister she only ever called him little brother; then a building containing every bit of info about him is blown up, the matriarch of the clan who wiped out the Callens is killed, and a friend of Callen's dad is shot. Fortunately Hetty also knows... Callen senior might still be alive as well.
    • "Matryoshka part 2" finally gives him a little success when "Garrison" reveals Callen's full name (the G stands for Grisha) and promises to atone for his absence by revealing all at a later time (he survives the episode!).
  • Fan Disservice / French Maid: The first of these tropes is (somewhat) averted in that we're only told that Hetty has one of the second.
  • Fanservice: Kensi in a very low cut dress tackling a female assassin who is also wearing a very low cut dress into a fountain was a rather blatant example of this trope.
  • Far-East Asian Terrorists: NCIS confronts a Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist cell operating in California in "Blaze of Glory".
    • A high-ranking member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is involved in a case in "Unspoken".
  • Feuding Families: A feud going all the way back to World War 2 is the reason why all of Callen's family are dead and people are trying to kill him even though he knows nothing of his family history. Part of Hetty's Mysterious Past is her involvement in the feud and the debt she feels she owes Callen over it.
  • Fictional Counterpart: In "Betrayal", the Global Criminal Tribunal (GCT) could be a reference to the International Criminal Court.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Since Deeks was introduced, Sam has at best tolerated his presence and Deeks doesn't like him much better. After the events of Descent in which both Deeks and Sam were tortured over stolen nukes, Sam has a much higher opinion of Deeks, given that Deeks didn't crack and give up Sam's wife as the undercover operative the Big Bad was seeking.
  • Forensic Accounting: Typically Eric and Nell's job and done regularly, though one episode puts a twist on it: the subject in question preferred paper. Boxes and boxes of it, which LAPD was only too glad to foist off on NCIS.
  • Frame-Up: The team is convinced that this is what's going on when Deeks is arrested for murdering his violent, corrupt ex-partner.
    • Framing the Guilty Party / Kick the Son of a Bitch: Hetty arranges for the dead man's loot to be planted at his fellow corrupt cop's house (which is going to need an interesting explanation since the (living) bad cop lost control because he was looking for said loot) However Deeks really did kill his ex-partner.
  • Freudian Slip: Kensi makes one in Bounty while arguing with Deeks.
    Kensi: At this point in our relationship, after all the stuff we've done!
    Deeks: (makes rewind noise)
    Kensi: What?
    Deeks: I'm sorry-Did you just say relationship?
    Kensi: No! I said partnership. Okay? You're very annoying!
  • Friendly Sniper: Kensi. Slightly averted as she's not the usual loner type. But she can be pretty cold and efficient in killing people from a distance.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The street racer's sister just wanted him to stop racing, not explode.
    • Gone Horribly Right: Well he will never race again... Actual example: In "Fighting Shadows" the bad guy claims the FBI made his nephew into a terrorist through entrapment and wants to murder as many FBI agents as he can with their own fake terror plots to teach them a lesson. Callen points out none of this would've happened if he had simply paid more attention to his nephew.
  • Gratuitous German: In "Absolution", every supposed German speaks something that's barely recognizable. The only exception is Matthias, who is played by a German actor.
    • And don't get me started on "Deliverance". Man, that flashback dialogue between Hetty and Cole was ... weird.
    • Also, Callen's claim that Germans would mistake him for an Austrian... well, let's just say they won't...
  • Groin Attack: Kensi performs one on a French spy posing as an NSA agent. Her three male colleagues agree it would have been better if she'd pistol whipped him across the face.
  • Held Gaze: Kensi and Deeks seem to share quite a few.
  • Hero Does Public Service: In one Christmas Episode Kensi is at loose ends Christmas Eve, so Deeks brings her along on his "date" that he'd been talking about in the B-plot. Said "date" actually consists of serving meals at a food bank. D'aww.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: The beginning of the episode "Deadline" strongly implies that Callen is struggling with the stress of learning about the full truth about what had happened to his mother and Hetty's failure to save her.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Granger gets rather annoyed when Nell thanks him for letting her "tag along" on a mission — he didn't let her "tag along", he brought her because she's a capable agent and she should never forget that.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Hanna and Callen.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Daniella Ruah was pregnant for the first half of the 5th season, resulting in Kensi being sent on a long term covert assignment in Afghanistan (for which the scenes were all shot in advance).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A club owner who hired the Body of the Week to build bombs so he could blow up a rival club gets locked inside and killed in the blast.
    • A terrorist who, according to one of the other members of his former organization, was loyal only to the highest bidder ended up being killed with the proof-of-concept version of the drone he designed for his latest employer.
    • In "Fighting Shadows" the FBI apparently turned a normal kid into a terrorist and after getting ahold of the FBI's fake terror plans the uncle became an *actual* terrorist out of revenge.
  • Holiday Volunteering: At the end of one episode Deeks and Kensi get Santa hats and help feed the homeless, after spending the whole episode thinking Deeks had a hot date.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Eric and Nell; Hetty and "Branston", her prisoner disguised as her husband for 20 years.
    • Also Hetty and Nate.
    • Pretty much Hetty and Nell versus the entire male portion of the cast.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: Hetty's subjected to one in the the beginning of season 6 due to her Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right attitude. while the guy interrogating her actually does have issues with her it was all a ruse to get her out of California after Vance learned someone paid a ton of money to get all of Hetty's addresses.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Any episode that follows the pattern "Surname, X."note  is that character's Day in the Limelight.
  • Interrogation Montage: Done in "Free Ride" when Callen takes over temporarily as Agent Afloat on the USS Van Buren aircraft carrier after the original is murdered.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: Hetty hopes it doesn't for her agents and starts to worry when It Gets Easier for them to deal with the deaths of innocents.
    • She probably worries most about Callen, who seems to be remarkably detached from the rest of the human race.
  • It's Personal: Hanna as regards to SEALs. Also, Kensi in regards to vets suffering from PTSD thanks to her fiancee, Jack, who abandoned her. On Christmas.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Sam dabbles in threatening people with this. For obscure reasons, despite this being caught on camera, the confession that results is never questioned.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Hetty, for obscure reasons.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Hetty's advice to Deeks, who killed a corrupt cop to stop him from killing one of his informants and is worried that he can't not tell Kensi about secrets is to "not have anyone to tell them to".
    • Of course you could also have someone who's as smart as you figure out the secret on their own and wait until you're ready to talk.
  • Laser Hallway: Kensi gets trapped in one of these after being kidnapped by Russians.
  • Last Name Basis: Most people use this for Callen, since they don't know his first name.
    • Callen doesn't know his first name, either. All he knows is he's G Callen. As of "Matryoshka Part 2" his name is revealed to be Grisha, the diminutive for Gregory.
    • Most of the team also use this for (Marty) Deeks, especially since he is initially seen as an outsider due to his ties with the LAPD.
  • Last of His Kind: Callen is apparently the only living member of his family, which a certain Eastern European crime family has been hellbent on wiping out.
    • There Is Another... or was: Callen had a sister; unfortunately she died and only called him "little brother". His father might be alive as well.
  • Le Parkour: Apparently the guy who visits Callen's sister's grave, although most of that was a dream sequence.
    • In the same sequence, Callen himself.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Clark to Dunroe in Partners, to a dangerous degree. Sam to Callen in a lesser degree. Both crutches are described as "the only stable thing in their partners' lives."
  • Love Makes You Evil: Nate and his "girlfriend", a thief known as the Black Widow who does jobs for terrorists and has a habit of killing her partners to tie up loose ends. Not really, he was undercover.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Granger seems to do this to a suspected spy by implying he knew her mother (also a spy, though he says she wouldn't have wanted her daughter in the same line of work, not that their government cared), though it could just be psychological warfare. though he has been taking some unusual leaves of absence... It's later confirmed that "Jennifer Kim" is indeed Owen's daughter, with the twist that she currently doesn't know where her mother is.
    • Done in a very low-key, ambiguous manner in "Matryoshka Part 2" between "Garrison" and Callen. Later episodes confirm "Garrison" is Callen's dad.
  • MacGuffin: A mysterious black book (technically a set of microdots) that is loaded with Cold War secrets. Hetty says it doesn't exist but why is she being so secretive with that book she read to Kohl?
  • Mama Bear: Hetty does some long distance Mama Bearing when Sam and Callen are held hostage by militia— she uses her "political capital" with SecNav to send them backup in the form of fighter jets.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The trope is name-dropped by Deeks in "The Fifth Man" in reference to Astrid.
  • Married to the Job: Callen. It worries Hetty a lot.
    • Also Nate, who works massive amounts of overtime and in "Breach" had accrued something like seven weeks of vacation time. Hetty forces him to take a week of leave.
  • The Mole: At first it seems that Hunter is a member of the evil Comescue family but in reality she's been pretending to be one.
    • Granger sure seems like he's a mole, especially after the team learns he's the one who processed all of Kensi's requests for information about her father's unit, was the head of said unit, the unit was actually an assassination squad, and someone is killing them over Kensi's dad's murder. It turns out he thought Kensi was the murderer but it was really the man who killed Kensi's dad and faked his death.
    • There's been two moles (one was captured and the other is currently at large as of 2016) and Hetty is really getting tired of this.
  • Mood Whiplash: Deeks' dad was killed in an auto accident after getting out of jail and his son never knew. See Kick the Dog. When he asks who he should put as his next of kin, Hetty says her. A combo Pet the Dog and Fade to Black!
    • Although it was pointed out in an earlier episode that Deeks didn't like his father and the feelings were returned. See Disappeared Dad above.
      • Which was retconned as a slight rewrite - In "Borderline", Deeks mentions his father aiming a shotgun at him "six years ago at Thanksgiving", later in Personal, Deeks puts his father on the list of people who may have hired someone to kill him because he shot him when he was eleven. Hetty mentions the fact that it was self-defense as his dad was pointing a shotgun at him. The entire thing could be {handwave}}d as Deeks joking with Kensi about what actually happened in Borderline, but it's more likely that the writers just wanted to make it more dramatic for Deeks' Backstory.
      • Or, you know, his dad could have aimed a shotgun at him more than once.
    • The opener of "Missing" is a perfect example. The team is trickling in, hilariously hungover from karaoke the night before, only to have Dom's Agent Needs Assistance Alert go off. The rest of episode is tense, to say the least.
    • Deeks and Kensi not only hook up but Kensi is willing to show a softer side to Deeks (after punching him when he hesitates to shoot a guy holding her hostage and he gets away) when she's sent away on a mysterious and apparently highly dangerous assignment. This happens after Kensi gave Deeks her knife - without mentioning it was her father's. Funny, a knife-nut not knowing that giving someone a knife risks severing a relationship.
  • Most Important Person: Clark to Dunroe, in Partners. He was all she had, and a serious emotional anchor. Then he falls for a woman in an isolated foreign village, and talks about retiring to live with her. Dunroe can't take it, freaks out, and sets him up for a fall. Major Tear Jerker.
    • Heartbreakingly so in "Spoils of War". While reeling from Kensi's supposed death Deeks declares that she is the most important person on the planet to him.
    • Kensi's importance to Deeks is driving him nuts since she believes in him so much while he's hiding the fact that he killed his ex-partner.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Done by a deep-cover agent who claims to have grown up in the ghettos of Michigan, a ranch in Idaho, and a swamp in Florida (being able to easily make up a back story is crucial for his line of work). Ironically because of his betrayal his real past history's been erased and he has no future except as Hetty's pawn.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Kensi's mom looks like she could be her older sister. Sam teases G for checking her out. She is played by Laura Elena Harring.
  • My Greatest Failure: Hetty failing to save Callen's mother in Romania before she died.
  • Mysterious Past: Callen, who doesn't even know his first name.
    • Also Hetty, but more of the "I could tell you but I'd have to kill you" variety. It turns out she's related to a brutal Eastern European crime family that has been hunting Callen's. She risks her life to tell the head that Callen is dead, and as long as they don't look outside...
  • Mythology Gag: Sam and Callen trying to keep the new addition to the team from sitting in Dom's desk echoes Gibbs keeping Ziva out of Kate's desk for her first episode as a team member.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: Averted in the episode "Blye, K". Claremont draws a knife and is able to wound Kensi with it. She only wins after using a blade of her own.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hetty, like a certain Edna Mode, is modeled after of costume designer Edith Head. In "Imposters" she mentions to have worked with Bette Davis on Death on the Nile, so Hetty might actually be Edith Head in the NCIS universe.
  • Noodle Incident: Hetty is a prime source of these.
    • Example from "Breach": "Hetty, plus mechanical bull, plus tequila, means bar fight. Trust me."
    • In other examples, she once went drinking with Ho Chi Minh, played chess with Gorbechev on a semi-regular basis during the Cold War, and at one point in her career was ruler of Nicaragua for 72 hours.
    • Renko and the horse, it wasn't technically illegal, but it was disturbing. Callen's surprised the LAPD are still talking to him.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough
    • Dom is finally found (it turns out he was in LA all along), but five minutes later he's gunned down by the terrorists.
    • A guy who has the password for some allegedly top secret files is rescued by Sam, but are quickly caught by the bad guys. Sam claims to be the password guy, and the bad guys shoot the "FBI agent" sitting next to him. For bonus Ironic Death points, the bad guys were able to track password guy because the FBI planted a GPS bug on him, and if NCIS agents had been a bit nicer they might have told them about it. Oh, and the files that caused all this in the first place? They were the personnel files of people killed during special ops missions that the guy wanted acknowledged as more than just a statistic.
    • Moe (the kid Sam brought back from the Sudan after killing his terrorist dad after which Moe almost became a terrorist himself) is in prison and has been getting close to a well-connected terrorist on NCIS orders. Sam, fearful for his "brother"'s life, goes undercover and hijacks the the terrorist's escape plan to plant a tracking chemical on him. The escape goes off without a hitch, but then Moe has to be alone with the terrorist for a few hours and the guy's been getting suspicious... When Sam returns Moe's been tortured to death but his cover is safe (Moe's too, apparently) and he's able to plant the tracker, not that it makes Moe's death any less bitter.
    • Sure looked like it was headed this way after several episodes of this sort of thing after Deeks' friend/informant and his pregnant girlfriend are rammed by a garbage truck moments after escaping assassins, but it turns out that was part of the plan after faking the guy's death the first time obviously didn't take.
  • Not So Above It All: At the end of the street racing episode, Hetty spots Eric's Segway in the empty office. The last few seconds of the episode is her riding it, whooping.
  • The Noun Who Verbed: "The Girl Who Lived", the (possibly mythical) young survivor of a Peruvian dictator's massacre who was sent to the US to be adopted. One possible candidate is an aspiring model who absolutely does not want anything to do with her hometown. Her DNA doesn't match any of the victims... because her mother is also alive and hiding in the US. Both women are trying to protect their half-brother/son (respectively), who's the son of the dictator (the dictator spared the mother's life because she was pretty and she had to marry him; she used a fire to cover the family's escape to the US.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Deeks. While goofy and almost never serious, Marty Deeks actually has a law degree and was a lawyer before he became a cop. He's also one of LAPD's best undercover officers, is extremely good at putting on an appropriate masquerade and more than once has gone undercover as a criminal lawyer.
    • At some point or another all of the main agents qualify at at least hiding their intelligence behind jokes or snark, until things get really serious. Sam is affable and friendly until he goes into some sort of combat situation and is an expert on Arabic culture, he both speaks and read Arabic and is particularly knowledgeable about the Qur'an . G is decently well adjusted for not even knowing his own name and is the first (and almost only) person to call Hetty out on her manipulations usually recognizing them before the rest of the team and he's fluent in a lot of languages (at least six and counting) Kensi is also charming and silly especially with Deeks, until you get her near a weapon, especially a sniper rifle. She also speaks four languages, is a tracker, a Wrench Wench and can also lip read. Justified in that, except for Deeks, they are all trained in espionage and spycraft, where someone underestimating you is a huge plus.
    • It seems that Hobbs the counterfeit purse seller is this, but he really is that stupid admittedly hiding the names of a group of North Korean spies in his dog's ID chip is pretty clever.
  • One-Letter Name: G Callen. The G stands for something. Too bad the building where the pertinent information was stored exploded, his mother was murdered, his sister drowned, the matriarch of the crime family hunting his was shot and her hard drive stolen... Though it is revealed that his grandfather's name was Gerald.
    • In "Matryoshka part 2" it's heavily implied that CIA safehouse-keeper Garrison is Callen's real dad and reveals the G stands for Grisha A[really long middle name] Nikaelovich; later episodes confirm both.
    • Officially inverted when Callen gets new credentials with his real, really long name on it (Hanna jokes that he's amazed it fit).
  • Outrun the Fireball: Happens in 1x03 with a terrorist suspect. The following scene verges on Comedic Sociopathy, in keeping with the original's Mood Whiplash type of humor and banter.
  • Parental Abandonment: Inverted: Kensi ditched her mother after mom left dad because she feared dad's job (government assassin) meant he was dangerous. It didn't help that Kensi is daddy's-girl and mom claimed she had fallen in love with another man.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Absolutely averted in "Fighting Shadows." When Hetty tells Deeks to keep away from Kensi for the day and not tell her why (it turns out he is being investigated by LAPD IAB), the *first* thing is does is tell Kensi what is going on and affirm that their relationship is good.
    • Another involving Deeks keeping Kensi out of his place due to "plumbing issues" actually his mother is visiting and he wasn't sure how introduce Kensi. Turns out mom likes the fact that Kensi doesn't know how to cook and has no desire to learn (and upstage mom's cooking).
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot:
    • The NCIS two-parter "Legend".
    • A two-parter named "Red" was supposed to set up another spinoff for the 2013-14 season. To the surprise of many, CBS ultimately passed.
  • Product Placement: Egregiously done in "Out of the Past" - as the first new episode following the release of Windows 8, Eric just had to have a flash-new Microsoft Surface (complete with bright red detachable keyboard) to demonstrate the new touch-friendly OS.
  • The Profiler: Nate, the team's psychologist. So far he's been deconstructing the team just as much as the criminals.
  • Private Military Contractors: A few of them as minor antagonists, including ex-Indian Army Gurkhas.
  • Put on a Bus: Nate. he returns occasionally.
  • Reactionary Fantasy: "Archangel": Totally-not-Julian Assange winds up drowned in a bathtub
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Years ago Sam was kept safe from the Taliban by an Afghan elder's Sacred Hospitality and was able to get the man and his nephew into the US. What Sam didn't know was that the Taliban killed the elder's family and the nephew's been holding a grudge against Sam. After Sam is captured by the Taliban the nephew hopes he and his uncle will be released but the Taliban recruiter reveals that they're both going to be executed: the elder for defying the Taliban and the nephew for betraying his family (his blonde American girlfriend wasn't winning any points either). The team saves the day but the nephew can't let go of his grudge and his uncle winds up killing him to save Sam.
    • It's heavily implied (and later outright stated) that this will be the fate of Jada, a warlord's beloved sister who Sam Honey Trapped into testifying against.
    Cartel Head: He will throw a grand feast in [their] honour. The next day, after morning prayer, [they] will be tortured to death.
    • It's also implied she knows and would rather spend one day in her home country with her brother and be doomed than the rest of her life safe and isolated and miserable in a strange land (Wisconsin). Fortunately when she returns to Africa she's saved by her fiance — a Somalian general who rescued her from her brother's compound
  • Retcon: Deeks' Dad. See above Mood Whiplash.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The 2007 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea as mentioned in "Tuhon" is based on the 2004 coup attempt lead by an ex-British SAS operator.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Why the Comescues hate Callen 's family: Callen's OSS agent grandfather killed their patriarch because he was a war criminal, they killed him, his daughter returned the favor, the Comescues killed her, and now Callen (actually Hunter) killed their current matriarch plus a boatload of other relatives. It seems one of the last Comescues is the woman Hunter was imitating and she's "happily married in South America and wants nothing to do with them".
  • Right Behind Me: Hetty, like Gibbs, is a master of this. There was one time she appeared right behind Callen's elbow when he was talking about her, and everybody else was looking right at him.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Hetty accuses Vance of this after being led all over Washington DC in the middle of a senate hearing and winding up in front of a dinosaur display. Vance says he just likes the museum.
  • Rule of Three: Lampshaded
    Deeks (saying "gesundheit" after German words): Just wait, the third time's gonna be hilarious.
    • Deeks also does this when playing rock-paper-scissors with Sam. he loses every time.
    • In "Blame it on Rio" the title money launderer fakes a heart attack three times.
  • Running Gag: Deeks saying something that Callen and/or Sam take mild offense to, then frantically trying to backtrack while digging the hole deeper.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Many, including The Mafiya, but no one compares to the Comescu family who have been hunting the Callen family and are related to Hetty.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Callen ends up shooting the Chameleon after getting their American agent back, apparently not willing to let a monster like him go free, and he already feared (quite accurately, as it turns out) that the Chameleon arranged for the Iranians to do this sort of thing and have him tell them the knowledge the American agent picked up in Iran anyways so he could go free. He ends up being arrested for it shortly thereafter.
    • Turns out it was all part of an elaborate plot to keep a spy in a foreign country from getting uncovered. The Chameleon wasn't actually killed, he was wearing a bullet proof vest, only to then be given over to the country in question in exchange for Callen.
    • Hetty has to face a senate hearing because of this (apparently secretly keeping an East German spy prisoner in the US for 20 years and spending millions of dollars getting one agent out of Afghanistan isn't business as usual for the rest of the military). It was just an excuse to get Hetty out of California after her personal info was compromised
  • Second Episode Introduction: Hetty doesn't appear in the Poorly Disguised Pilot.
  • Secret Identity: As undercover agents the team is extremely careful about their identities. They take different routes to work every day, make sure they are not followed, Sam is a member in six different gyms (under six different names) and only ever talks about his family with people he trusts and even then only in a secure location like the office, and so on. That Dom was ambushed on his way to work helps the team realize how dangerous the kidnappers are. That Deeks is only trained as a cop is a plot point and Sam vows to train him in proper "spy craft", as the team calls it. At the time, Deeks had just returned from being shot at as bait to get to Kensi, not because of their relationship, but because he was the only member of the team who had a routine. CMOF, Sam makes this vow the day Deeks is to return from work after the shooting incident. Deeks, however, is late. Sam goes to call him and Deeks' phone ring in his bag. Meaning Deeks had followed Sam to work, knowing he was going to bitch him out about "proper spy craft" after his injuries were healed and outsmarted him.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Deeks accidentally shoots a guy that was going for a cell phone in one episode. To be fair the guy was a skinhead wanted on multiple accounts of murder, screamed "You wanna die, hero?!" when Deeks was running towards him yelling "Stop! LAPD!" and had been assaulting a black woman for no reason.
  • Shown Their Work: There was mention of some Abu Sayyaf attacks, most notably the Superferry bombings while interrogating an AS militant in NCIS custody. All of these happened as the group owned responsibility for it in the early 2000s to the Philippine government.
    • Hetty explains to G the origin of Vietnam, which she did really well in "The Dragon and The Fairy" since it explains the origins of the Hồng Bàng Dynasty.
    • Sayoc - Rafael Kayanan is a Sayoc Kali master who worked on the show doing fight choreography. Another Sayoc expert, Guro Harley Elmore handmade Kensi's knife. They both say that Kalstein knocked it out of the park with his understanding of the concept of a Frozen Lake, a Sayoc term. Elmore especially praised the depth of understanding of Sayoc that Kalstein gave in episode with Kensi's explanation to Deeks of a Frozen Lake and the fight choreography using the kukri/khukuri - the chosen weapon of the Gurkhas. Kalstein, in turn praised Daniella Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen for their delivery, bringing the words to life. High praise from Kayanan was also give to LL Cool J, Ernie Reyes Jr. and Chris O'Donnell as they did entire fight in "The Frozen Lake" in record time, themselves with no stunt doubles.
    • "Tuhon" correctly mentions about the concept of "Mano Po", which is a traditional way of greeting one's elders among Filipinos in the Philippines and in various Filipino communities worldwide. It also mentions the The Kalinga tribe, which is a part of the Igorot.
    • "Unspoken" properly documents the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a nationalist Islamist terrorist group that mostly had brokered a peace deal recently with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters waging another guerrilla front. Proper photos of a carbomb attack in Cotobato in Mindanao were also documented.
    • Almost all episodes show the proper passport information pages accurately when shown on computer screens.
    • Sam mentions in "Seoul Man" that the Philippines has a huge pro-America following, which is true according to recent surveys despite a surge in pro-left protests against the American government.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Hetty, apparently to everyone in the intelligence community. It helps that she has two very good hackers to mine information. "How's your wife? ...And 'Heather'?"
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The residences of the Peruvian (half)siblings in "The Girl Who Lived": She lives a sleek, bright modern house as befitting an aspiring fashion model while his apartment is dark/boldly colored and filled with antiques.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: In a subversion, Emma Mastin is at first presented as a Proper Lady but she proves that when her son is threatened, she has other qualities. It turns out that she had once been one of the best operatives among Chechyan rebels but had retired on her husband's supposed death.
    • Maybe it's not a subversion. Maybe Emma had just seen so much of her old life that becoming a housewife was a very attractive thought.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Hetty with a shotgun in "The Bank Job." And again in "Fallout."
  • The Smart Guy: Dominic
  • Someone to Remember Him By: This show seems very fond of this trope. By mid-season 5 the team has dealt with no less than 5 pregnant wives/girlfriends left behind by various murder victims.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The female agent. On this very page we have had both "Kensi" and "Kenzi". Hell, at one point, the Ho Yay entry up there had "Kensei". Other possible variations include "Kensie", "Kenzie", "Kensy", and "Kenzy"
    • Subtitles go with "Kensi", for the record.
    • She comes up on Callen's phone as "Kensi", as well as on the screen in the OPS centre on occasion.
  • Spin-Off: This series is a type 3 spin-off of NCIS, which is a type 3 spin-off of JAG.
  • Spinoff Sendoff
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: When the team tracks down stolen smallpox, the potential scale of the threat if they can't find it is conveyed with graphics of red blotches on a global map.
  • Straight Gay: Deeks meet a gay couple in "Neighborhood Watch". Except that they turn out be Russian SVR sleeper agents.
    Deeks: That macaroon sucked! No way they were gay!
  • Stockholm Syndrome: What the team suspects may have happened to Nate when he hooks up with a notorious thief nicknamed The Black Widow and tricks the team to steal explosives. He hadn't, but they were still angry that he took such an enormous risk by himself.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Fatimah Khan's signature when she or her hired guns aren't shooting everyone: Her father was blown up by Hetty's team so she blows up the bomb-maker and rigs another operative's body to blow up if someone else (presumably Hetty, the actual trigger-woman) moved it.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Jemadar Thapa ("The Frozen Lake") makes a reappearance a season later in "Expiration Date", and winds up dead by the episode's end.
    • Jada, the warlord's sister who Hanna honey-trapped, also reappears and chooses to return to her brother even knowing he'll torture her to death for betraying him. Although she's being tracked so it's possible she could survive. Later it's revealed that she's alive and safe with her fiance, a South Sudanese general.
  • Superdickery: In Partner. The promos and Cold Open have Sam beating the snot out of Callen, and then raising a crowbar to brain him with. Yeah, right.
  • Take That: In one episode, Kensi and Deeks go under cover as railroad authorities. Deeks' cover identity bears all the hallmarks of one Dr. Spencer Reid, including rattling off inane facts, refusing to shake hands, and wearing Nerd Glasses. His identity's name? Matthew, same as Spencer's actor. Rather than becoming the Ensemble Darkhorse due to being a cute-and-quirky Bishōnen, Deeks just ends up creeping everyone out.
  • Team Mom: Hetty. Of the tough love variety.
  • The Teaser: "The Bank Job" has one that shows Kensi intervening in a bank robbery, but getting shot and killed for it. Come the rest of the episode, and she's fine- the entire thing was rigged to make it look real and scare the robbers.
  • That Didn't Happen: Callen and Hanna meet with an informant whose first words are "This conversation never happened."
  • Theme Naming: If an episode is named after a character ("Callen, G", "Lange, H" and "Blye, K", to be specific), you know what's coming up will be both illuminating and heartwrenching, with a huge side helping of Holy Shit Quotient.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: Kensi, almost word for word, about Eric's shirt.
    • And pretty much the standard reaction for every one of Hetty's Noodle Incidents
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: In "Found", the team finally finds out what happened to Dom, and the episode was promoted with "tonight one of these heroes won't make it out alive". If you thought it wouldn't be the guy who's been missing for almost half the season... Though it would've had more impact without the trailers spoiling it.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Previews for "Tuhon" implied that the title master assassin was coming for Callen and Hanna, seeing as he was the subject of their first mission together. Tuhon is Hetty's ally and Callen and Hanna's mission was (and is) to get him to safety.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The very next episode preview for the fall 2011 premier revealed that Hetty survived.
    • Previews for the season 7 episode "Defectors" ended with Deeks being arrested by the LAPD for murder, which happens at the very end of the episode.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Callen, Hanna and Kensi in Familia resign to director Vance personally to go and save Hettie. Deeks would have done it too, but he is still a cop and not a member of NCIS, so he can't.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface/Technology Porn: The big multi-touch interface Hanna uses (and McGee lusts after). Based on the work of Perceptive Pixel, who are developing multi-touch computer interfaces in Real Life.
    • It also fits in well with the series' more Spy-Thriller atmosphere as opposed to the Procedural atmosphere of the parent series. What should a spy-thriller series naturally have? Nifty Gizmos, of course!
  • Under the Mistletoe: Nell pulls this off to Eric in "Free Ride".
  • Unusual Euphemism: Deeks shouts "Fraggle Rock!" after Kensi punches him in "Kill House."
  • Wall of Weapons: The NCIS armory includes katanas, shurikens, a Whip Sword, various knives, and a giant crossbow. The other wall is dedicated to shotguns and such.
  • We Have Reserves / Cannon Fodder: In "Spiral" an entire, highly-efficient terror squad who is willing to blow up a building and everyone in it including themselves is just a distraction for one person they didn't even know about (which could have backfired given how trigger-happy the group's leader was). While that person isn't exactly the leader they are aware of how ruthless the plan is:
    We're all expendable, some of us are just more expendable than others.
  • We Need a Distraction: Kensi is frequently required to do this, but the others have done it too.
    • In one episode, Kensi comments that she'll know the distraction is working if they're staring at her rear.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The suspect in "Where There's Smoke..." are actually two suspects and they want to steal a secret list of suspected terrorists living in the US. Too bad this includes innocent people who happen to share names and anyone who unwittingly donated to the wrong charity.
  • Western Terrorists: A 60's radical-turned college professor who accidentally murdered his old friend and was willing to blow up a building full of students to fake his death and go into hiding. He ominously mentions he's mentored many students over the years.
    • Polites tin Katapolemisi tis (or Citizens Combat) in "Leipei".
    • The Ichkerian Peacekeepers, a Chechen nationalist terrorist group, which also happens to be secular.
    • The hostage-takers in "Spiral". They appear to be American, Muslim extremists — they're neither they're actually the Celtic Militia, who were deemed too violent for the PIRA.
  • Wham Line:
    • It's a very quiet one, but Nate evaluates Deeks and tell him that as soon as he figures out what makes his partnership with Kensi special, he'll be able to deal with the psychological trauma of his torture. In a blink and you'll miss it moment, Deeks has finally let Kensi back into his life and half asleep quietly says - "It's a love story."
    • Hetty, to the extremely Smug Snake/wanna-be Hannibal Lecturing psychologist who's in charge of vetting agents for all US agencies, who is mocking Hetty for failing the all-important HL-7 personality/loyalty test while secretly building a network of hundreds of blackmailed agents and killing all who stand in her way:
      Hetty: (on failing the test) That wasn't me, that was whoever I wanted to be that day. Do you even know what the "HL" in the HL-7 test stands for?
      Psychologist: Yes, it's for the creator, Dr. Henry—
      Hetty: —etta.
  • What Happened to the Mouse? / The Other Marty : In the Poorly Disguised Pilot 2-parter in NCIS, the LA team was led by Special Agent Lara "Mace" Macey, who apparently had a sordid past with Gibbs and was a darn good leader. Come the start of the new wouldn't even know she ever existed. NCIS (regular) episode 7x23 "Patriot Down", reveals she was murdered, and Gibbs' team investigates her death. Guess we know what happened to the mouse now...
  • Will They or Won't They?: Kensi sarcastically quips this by name after Callen and Sam have a bromantic moment.
    • Kensi and Deeks do, but after meeting an agent who betrayed everyone because he fell for the wrong person Deeks decides to end it before things get too complicated. Hetty and Granger also did subtle things to break them up like sending Kensi to Afghanistan because they believed her ex-fiance was (being forced into) helping the Taliban. They may be trying to get back on again after a flirtatious DEA agent provoked Kensi.
    • As of "Humbug" Kensi and Deeks are officially on; in 2016 they move in together and a few episodes later Deeks all-but-proposes.
    • Eric and Nell also heavily play this trope. As of the 7th season finale, it appears that they have. Offscreen.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: A big flock of them in "Spiral": There's Callen pretending to be a mail clerk, an arms dealer pretending to be a businessman, a gang of terrorists disguised as contractors who turn out to be an IRA splinter group disguised as jihadis, plus another of their members who was disguised as a scientist who they didn't even know about because they were just a distraction, plus a minor version where a security guard is more hardy than he appears because his previous job was Detroit beat cop. Hanna is certain Callen won't hide among the hostages for long "because a wolf doesn't stay among sheep".
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: A kid whose mentor and father-figure turned out to be an anarchy/anti-establishment terrorist) and is seen at the end of the episode looking up how to make pipe bombs. Averted thanks to Kensi sensing he could use someone to talk to.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Indian terrorists in "The Seventh Child" who bought "extra" Caucasian kids from an unethical fertility doctor to use as child suicide bombers. Sam chides them when they surrender for not being willing to die for jihad themselves.
  • Wrench Wench: Kensi was/is apparently one of these.
  • Yellow Peril: "Chinatown" (1x16) is all over this one.
  • You Killed My Father
    • Hanna killed Moe's Janjaweed-terrorist father who was attacking some aid workers. The terrorists at Moe's youth center use this to get him to join.
    • Kensi might know who killed her father, but there wasn't any proof.
      • She found out who it was. She inflicts a potentially lethal wound, but he can be saved (although she won't do it). Someone else kills him.
    • Callen, toward the Comescu family for killing his mother, in the Season Three premier.
    • With added "My name is..." and an implied "Prepare to d"---: A woman named Fatimah Khan attacked Hetty and her old team of operatives, who blew up her father's taxi to kill a high-ranking member of Hezbollah (or Hamas) when she was a teenager. She went to college, invented a program that made her rich, joined Iran's VEVAK to get access to info about her father's killers, hired about a dozen mercenaries, and killed two out of the four operatives before Hetty shot her.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Both the Ichkerian Peacekeepers and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
  • Zip Me Up: G's old partner Tracy.

Alternative Title(s): NCIS Los Angeles