Did NCIS: LA's Season Premiere Feel Socially Distanced? — Plus, Grade It!

CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles kicked off Season 12 on Sunday, with its first episode produced amid the pandemic. Did the agents feel a bit more spread out than usual, as showrunner R. Scott Gemmill said might be the case, even though the new episodes are set post-COVID?

The season-opening case involved a old timey Russian bomber that was allegedly on a “training exercise” yet fell off radar one night near the Los Angeles coastline. Did it crash? Did it evade our fighter jets and secretly land? Or is it still flying, in U.S. airspace?

Making things especially problematic is the heavy munitions the MIA bomber was toting, capable of fueling a nuclear attack.

While Kensi and Deeks went about IDing who exactly was aboard the missing bomber (with the latter posing as a hobo, to use a passcode from Arkady to approach a local Russkie asset), Sam and Callen grabbed a chopper to survey the land and seek out a possible landing/crash site.

Nell, despite having been gone from the team for months (R.I.P., Mama Jones), ran point on the mission, after been asked to by Hetty, who Skyped in from an unknown location to declare herself mysteriously occupied. Fatima also provided support, as did newly minted Special Agent Roundtree (played by new series regular Caleb Castille), fresh from FLETC training.

Long story short: One of the Russians aboard the bomber had gassed his comrades, so he could land in secret and attempt to defect. But as Sam and Callen realized upon arriving at the landing site, two of the other Russians gave chase, and were in the midst of a shootout with their pal. In the end, the whole team descended on the scene to provide backup for Sam and Callen (but mostly poor Sam) and apprehend the Russians.

Back to our opening query: As the premiere played out, did it “feel” noticeably different/”socially distanced” to you, with Fatima, for example, not physically interacting with anyone (until the takedown), Nell also barely doing same, and Kensi/Deeks and Callen/Sam each sticking to their own little “bubbles”? Or are we seeing things that were not there, and it was BAU for NCIS?

And who is curious to see how “eccentric” Eric Beale has gotten, in the wake of his tech success?

Want scoop on NCIS: LA, or for any other show? Email [email protected] and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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