There was a little something for anyone, but not near enough for everyone.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 8 Episode 7 featured a better-than-average case of the week, leavened with a healthy dose of melodrama but not nearly enough humor.
First, a case that both defies logic and yet somehow manages to be topical.
A couple of NSA spooks used asset-forfeiture laws to siphon off millions from a Mexican drug cartel. And, unbelievably, the cartel's honcho objected to this, and came after his money. (Forget about building the wall. Block off those tunnels instead.) And he didn't hesitate to feed those responsible to the fishes (or sharks, in this case).
Of course, the case also involved the boogeyman of the day. If there's nefarious doings, some radical jihadists must be involved. No, in this case, as Deeks points out, it was a tale as old as time, with cops robbing drug dealers.
Since a third NSA analyst decides to lie low at a psychiatric hospital, someone has to go in as a patient. Since Deeks was understandably off his game (more to follow), Granger taps Callen for the delicate assignment.
Granger: Callen, you do have issues.
Callen: Excuse me?
Granger: I have access to your personnel files, your psych evaluations. You're going in.
The scenes at the loony bin seemed, well, perfunctory. Callen stages a way to get close to the analyst and bonds with and protects him while a handful of patients flit around them. No proclamation on the state of mental health care, just a backdrop.
(Fun fact from left field: Hanna's SEAL buddy, Tom Olsen, was played by David Paul Olsen, brother to Eric Christensen Olsen (Deeks) and husband to Daniela Ruah (Kensi).)
Which brings us, in a very awkward transition, to Densi.
The reason the humor was lacking this episode is that Deeks, who is quick with the one-liners, is, like, sad. Long nights at Kensi's bedside aren't helping his state of mind.
Everyone around Deeks is kindly offering advice and suggesting he take some time off, but he wants to keep busy.
Which would be fine if he wasn't in an occupation where he's constantly being shot at or involved in other dangerous situations (such as Nell's driving). Hetty needs to order him out of the office until Kensi is miraculously cured (at this rate, figure Christmas miracle rather than Thanksgiving blessing).
Kensi, being the action figure that she is, isn't handling her incapacitation well. Instead, surrounded by those much worse off, she rails against those trying to help her in physical therapy.
Kensi: I can't stand, I can't walk, I can't use my left hand. How much worse can it get?
Dr. Miller: Just look around you.
Deeks tries unsuccessfully to rouse her from her funk, first with humor, then by flashing the engagement ring again.
Kensi: You should have just left me out there.
Deeks: I thought about it, I wanted to, but Hetty would be livid if I threw away a perfectly good agent.
In the end, bang, bang, she shot him down. But he'll be patient and probably we'll be looking at a very special wedding episode before season's end.
Kensi's not the only one hurting this episode. Granger is dying (?) from an undisclosed illness caused by exposure to Agent Orange while he was in Laos. This has left him melancholy.
Granger: Listen, nobody gets out of here alive. We both know that. And we should be grateful we've had this long.
Hetty: Ain't that the truth.
Hopefully, there's a miracle cure for Granger as well, since his departure would be a loss. He has the best lines in many episodes, and he's the gloom to counteract L.A.'s eternal sunshine.
No fill-in partners this time around and no mention of the mole hunt. So other than the Densi melodrama, it felt like a regular, self-contained procedural.
To catch up on this season's developments, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
How did you react to the Densi developments, and how soon should that storyline wrap up? Would you miss Granger? What obscure guest character should they bring back next? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.