NCIS: LA “Seoul Man” review (Season 7, Episode 20)

ncis los angeles Seoul Man

Ooof, NCIS: LA. After the wonderful episode last week, you follow up with “Seoul Man,” an installment I’d rank in my bottom three of the season so far. It was messy, convoluted, and continued to showcase the major problem I have with Hetty’s decision-making. Truth be told, any story following “The Seventh Son” was not going to have the same kind of impact, no matter how well it was put together. The former was such a solid piece of television (minor quibbles aside)** that the only way to go was down. “Seoul Man” came together eventually with the reveal of Kang’s defection, but everything before had me yelling at my television.

**I’ve seen comments regarding Nadir and the other kids having perfect American English accents. Yeah, that is problematic, but I’ll let it slide due to the strength of the performances. Finding a kid to play that material was probably difficult enough.

The biggest example of that was Hetty’s “need to know” method of involving her team yet again: hey guys, you’re not just acting as security detail for the Commander of the Pacific Command. You’re actually trying to root out a North Korean spy. Honestly, I’m done with it. I’m past the point of accepting. I understand she’s in a position of only giving out certain information to her team, but she has done it consistently. When are we going to see Hetty have her Dumbledore moment realizing she can, in fact, make mistakes? That trying to “protect” people by hiding or diverting the truth is inherently problematic? With the way things have been building (Callen’s comments to her in the premiere and Kensi’s reaction to the Deeks’ investigation being two examples), a blow out should be happening by season’s end. It would be the organic next step, and could revolve around the discovery of the mole, or Callen’s father entering the picture again. Disrupting the status quo, either in removing Hetty from the equation in general, or having her get a reality check, is something this show needs. I want to see Hetty vulnerable, unsure. Many of Mark Harmon’s best moments on NCIS come from those situations for Gibbs. Would it be too much to ask to let our Oscar winner here have the same?

More Thoughts As I Decide On My Karaoke Song

– I mentioned above that removing Hetty from the equation would be a way to upset the status quo. Should that happen, I would definitely miss Linda Hunt, but the show could survive without the character. Hetty has been seen less and less as time has passed this season, and it would work as a way to let Hunt leave should she choose. It would then also allow for more Miguel Ferrer. Unless he’s the mole. Ugh if that happens (curiously enough, Episode 22 is called “Granger, O”).

– I recognized James Kyson (Heroes) as Kang right away and wondered why he wasn’t being given more to do. That finally changed when Kang made his plans to defect known. And his relationship with Dawn played as an interesting inverse to Granger’s own past with Korea.

– “It’s possible I’ve been made Sam.” YA THINK GRANGER?? You weren’t exactly being inconspicuous. Everything involving the team monitoring the Koreans was just done so poorly. And don’t even get me started on the Ipecac placement via Hetty. When was that done? Yeah, it’s Hetty, and she’s basically a superhero, but everything about that whole scenario was weird.

– Real Person Alert: The man who Granger spoke with at the gun range was none other than the actual Director of NCIS, Andrew Tarver.