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NCIS: Los Angeles Season Premiere Review: Kill Them All!

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NCIS: Los Angeles started off as a show I watched because it was on right after NCIS and it was always enjoyable, even if the stories and character interplay didn't hold a candle to the original.

Nowadays, however, it's starting to approach that must-watch caliber. Simultaneously character-driven and action-packed, episodes like last night's can't help but leave you counting down the minutes until next week.

The third season premiere commenced just 53 minutes after we last saw "Lange, H."

We began with Hetty in dire straits, and what followed, unfolding almost in real time, was her team's frantic bid to rescue her. By the end of the episode, we learned so much, yet were left with yet another cliffhanger.

Romania, Anyone?

Viewers who have watched NCIS: LA from the start have waited two years for a substantive reveal of who Callen really is, and last night didn't disappoint, peeling back layers via flashbacks, stories and present-day actions.

Hetty, as we know, tried to con the head of the Comescu family into believing Callen was dead. What we didn't know, until this episode, was why. The explanation not only made sense, but exceeded expectations.

A longstanding feud that spanned multiple generations of Romanians left him as the sole survivor of his bloodline - and target of the Comescu family. Until Callen had been eliminated, they would not rest.

Meanwhile, Callen was reliving memories of his childhood, on a beach by the Black Sea, when his mother was brutally murdered and a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo appeared and took him away.

That woman could only be Ms. Henrietta Lange.

Because Callen's grandfather, an OSS agent (now the CIA) had killed one of the Comescu elders, the entire family had been marked for death. Callen's mother eventually returned to Romania under a new name, but was slain.

Hetty was supposed to save her, but was too late, although she did save Callen, obviously. One wonders how the assassin didn't simply end the little boy's life to if he was right there. Questions for another time perhaps.

After revealing the origin of the feud, the head of Comescu family shot Hetty, who appeared to be fine at first, only to collapse as the credits rolled. It's unclear how badly she was wounded, but it's not looking good.

Callen and Sam Picture

Will she survive? In the NCIS world, you can't take it for granted.

Another major twist in the premiere was the role of Agent Lauren Hunter (Claire Forlani), who appeared to be a member of the Comescu family, only to save Callen at the last possible instant following the team's raid.

Working undercover for years as a Comescu granddaughter who lived alone in Argentina and wanted nothing to do with them, Hunter infiltrated the family and likely fooled more than a few viewers as well.

Of course, there are plenty of unanswered questions - what is the link between Hunter and Hetty? And what is the true origin of Hetty's relationship with Callen? How far back does it go, and with what complications?

This 24-style episode, by nature, offered less of the witty banter and free-wheeling style the show is known for, but it was effective. It will be interesting to see the long-term ramifications of the mission and what transpires next.

There were some quality Kensi-Deeks exchanges, particularly playing tourists on the beach, while Eric and Nell did their best to offer some comic relief while putting together the pieces back in ops.

You really shouldn't eat in there, though. Just saying. Crumbs and computers? Bad combo.

Vance was also around, which made sense in that this took place in May, right after the Season 2 finale. By the time last night's NCIS premiere took place, in September, he'd have been back in D.C.

What did you think of the NCIS: Los Angeles premiere? How do you think it will play out next week? Will Hetty survive, and what's next for Hunter's character? Comment below and discuss!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (380 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Addeekted

I don't remember seeing a flashback that shows Hetty being the one to rescue a young Callen from the beach after the Comescus shot his mother. I'll go back and watch it again but the final scene on the beach is Callen getting the tiny toy tin soldier handed to him by a Comescu male in a suit with the tattoo. (In the Deadline episode Callen even asks Hetty how he and his sister got back to America and she tells him that she doesn't know) I also don't think Hunter tipped off the Comescus to the Team's arrival in country. Alexa showed Hetty 4 photographs taken at the airport when the team arrived. She told Hetty that her contacts in high places notified her. There is no way Hunter would have known exactly what time the team would make their way through the airport. I don't trust Hunter and I don't like her but I don't see her being that disloyal to Hetty and she knew the team had gone to rescue Hetty.

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This show had been solid and a MUST WATCH for us - the writing has suffered and the characters have been diluted - we won't waste our time watching this again

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OK, first off, Callen's Sister was Amy Callen. In "Callen, G." we learned that Callen had a sister and they were separated when they were put in the foster care system. When Amy was 11 years old, she and a friend (Hannah Lawson)from the orphange she was living in snuck out to play in the river. Amy slipped and fell in and drown. Hannah took her place at the orphange and the caretakers at the orphange thought that Hannah Lawson was dead (they found Amy's body a month later). Secondly, Hetty is NOT part of the Comescu Family. The "Familia" she's referring to is the Roma family. She is Romaninan, born in Bucharest in a refugee camp after WWII. Her parents spent two years in a German death camp. Her father died two months before she was born, her mother two days after. She was raised by another Roma family in the camp. They family's name was Pavlenko according to Hetty. This seemed significant to Alexa Comescu. I was wondering if this could be Callen's Maternal side of the family? You know the Roma side? Maybe the family that raised Hetty is Callen's Maternal Grandmother's side? As for Lauren Hunter, I think Hetty was suprised to see her at the Comescu house. Vance only knew about three months worth if surveillance, but what's she been doing for two years? What is her connection to the Comescu's? How does she know about the laptop? What's on it?

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@Euriana Doubtful. Linda Hunt is only 20 years older than Chris O'Donnel, so unless Hetty looks really young for her age, there wouldn't be enough time for two generations, even if Callen's mother had him early. Even more doubtful. Callen's sister was an older sister.

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@ robin saxton
the actress is cristine rose - played angela petrelli in heroes. she was also a guest in the first season of the other ncis. enjoyed her romanian roma very much in both episodes here. would it be possible for hetty to be callen's grandmother? they said his oss agent grandfather married a roma girl.

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Did anyone notice the weird sounds throughout the episode? I could only make out one just as the comescue head was shot. It said "revolver". The other ones seemed to be sped up too much. Anyone else notice these? Wonder if it something imbedded in the episode that gives you more info...

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Why do I have a feeling Hetty joinning the CIA and will work with both CIA and NCIS

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The cars in the Romanian shop pretend to have a 70s-80s aura, with some Mercedes, BMWs, etc. Only that some of the cars used have the US side reflectors added when federalizing these cars, or the bigger bumper and US DOT headlights. Either the set folks are too young or they need to get out more...

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I thought CBS had cancelled this? I'm glad it's not cancelled, but there had been rumors because the viewership was not good.

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Ok so I'm cinfused is hetty part if the comescu family why does she hav a tattoo & why can't callen remember her ooohh and what is agent hunter relationship w hetty & comescu fam I'm lost