You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family.
That old saw got tested during the story-themed storylines on NCIS: New Orleans Season 5 Episode 9.
At the center of this episode was a man with the most tangential connection to the Navy who was leading two lives, splitting time between families in two states.
But of course, this wasn't as simple as mere bigamy, even though that alone presented a couple of suspects in the two wives.
No, it veered off in The Americans territory, complete with not one but two families of Russian sleeper agents, and one innocent, who naturally ended up dead.
Man, I know New Orleans is an international melting pot, but NCIS: New Orleans sure draws its share of devious Russians. Too bad Eva Azarova couldn't make a return visit this time and reunite with Gregorio. Maybe later in the season.
I liked that Jacob's murder was more a result of a dysfunctional family than an operation gone awry.
Despite being programmed from a young age, Charlie reacted out of a desire to protect his younger "siblings" from his fate, and he killed Jacob to protect them. It was smart of him to let his car's GPS be detected so that he and the others could be found and possibly rescued.
Even so, it was almost too late for Leah, although Sam remained blissfully ignorant of his family's situation.
The team probably should have figured out earlier that Jacob was mainly in contact with his two families, so maybe one or more of them were his co-conspirators.
That was in part because Patton was struggling with the encryption on Jacob's laptop, and info was coming in dribs and drabs.
Hannah continues to be a great addition to the squad, coolheaded in any situation. She just walked into a room with an airborne and helped Charlie, without giving it a second thought. She's also great at bouncing ideas off of Pride.
I'm looking forward to learning more of her backstory, hinted at in all her international references.
Hannah's emergence has shoved LaSalle into the background somewhat as a result. But I figure there's got to be a juicy storyline coming his way soon. Maybe that might be a romance with his father's former accountant introduced on NCIS: New Orleans Season 5 Episode 4.
Introducing any new character is bound to cut into existing characters' time for a while, and that's happened to Gregorio as well. But there's been that funny girl talk between her and Hannah, so I've found I'm not missing Percy all that much.
Then there's Loretta, Sebastian, and Patton doing their forensic-y, techy thing largely in the background. They'll get their chances to shine now that Hannah has been largely established, if hardly fully revealed.
Jacob and his "families" were at the center of this episode, but Pride's relationship with Jimmy was at the heart of it.
Jimmy is just what Pride needs right now -- someone to take care of. Laurel's a strong, independent woman doing her own thing. His team is in Hannah's good hands.
But Jimmy, he's a project.
I truly believe he's trying to walk the straight and narrow. It's just damn unfamiliar territory for him. He's got more Cassius in him than either he or Dwayne would like to admit.
He's throwing himself into work in hopes of making amends for past sins -- working at the bakery and helping out at the bar, even trying to make sense of Pride's books, I'm sure a mighty challenge in itself.
Still, Jimmy managed to get in trouble just trying to do Dwayne a favor by finding him a distributor with cheaper liquor prices. Unfortunately, past warrants don't go away by just forgetting about them.
Nor has he given Pride a full accounting of his past misdeeds. Jimmy should take advantage of having a brother with connections. Also, Dwayne has largely been on the right side of the law, but he's had his own missteps as well, so he's able to empathize with Jimmy's situation.
I'm sure many expected Jimmy to actually skip town, but fortunately, he came through in the end. That's good because Pride doesn't need any more pain this year. He's got plenty to still work through, without Jimmy adding to his burden.
To follow Jimmy's evolution, watch NCIS: New Orleans online.
Which of the new characters are you liking best? What do you think of the show's transition this season? Do you want more of Pride doing his actual job?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.