It’s up to the team to save Los Angeles from a disastrous tragedy in the NCIS: Los Angeles season 9 premiere, and they have to do so while also adjusting to changes in the workplace — namely, Hetty’s retirement and the new Assistant Director, Shay Mosley, replacing Granger and not exactly getting on anyone’s good side on her first day.

And, yes, there’s supposed to be this tension and the feeling that it’s a race against the clock with the case, but instead, that takes a backseat to pretty much everything else going on in “Party Crashers.” Sam’s living in a trailer on a beach. Hetty is MIA and has sold a few of her properties, and her boat is gone. Mosley sends Deeks back to the LAPD, where the most interesting things that happen are that he’s given a desk with the dogs — sadly, Monty still doesn’t return and Bates awkwardly puts the possibility of him hitting on Deeks’ mother into my head. Oh, and Eric is dressed as an avocado at one point. Yes, even that last one seems to be more of a “let’s talk about this” moment than the city being in danger.

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LA’s in Trouble! (No, Not Just the Team)

What gets the paparazzi to ignore a (presumably) celebrity couple stepping out of a limo? A body falling onto the limo. The victim is Defense Intelligence Agent Thomas Park, who was working as part of an intelligence task force assigned to North Korea’s aerospace and missile program, and the last text he sent before his death was “DPRK ICBM@LA 10/01/17.”

No one quite buys that North Korea is really going to launch a missile at LA, but they have to investigate, and Shay Mosley doesn’t win over anyone when the first thing she does is send Deeks away. After Callen and Kensi find out where the agent was thrown out a window to his death, security footage gives them the faces of his attackers, and they quickly ID one of them: Michael Lee, a graduate student with no connection to North Korea or the agent.

Michael’s not home when Kensi and Callen get there, but soon after they find three boxes for burner phones and a ridiculously large safe in a bedroom, he returns with another man who uses him as a shield while shooting at the agents before killing Michael and getting away.

While Mosley is all too happy to wonder why OSP seems to be a “bunch of cowboys” instead of the “elite unit” they should be, Callen argues that they need Deeks. “Let me run my team the way I see fit,” he tells her. She reluctantly agrees, but it’s not like she has a choice; their best lead is dead, and clearly the team can’t do its job when it’s down two men.

At Least Sam’s Trailer isn’t a Casualty of the Case?

Yes, two men because Sam isn’t working this case either (at least not yet). Instead, he’s living in a trailer on the beach, and his plan is to be there “one or two days past forever.” Sure, this life may be peaceful and relaxing and beautiful, but “it’s just not you,” Callen tells his partner. “You left a big hole behind,” and it’s not one Callen can fill. Heartbreakingly, Sam tells him that what will bring him back is “a miracle,” as he looks down at his wedding ring.

But in the end, Sam does return to the team, after Callen leaves him a voicemail detailing what’s going on: Hetty retired, Mosley took over, Deeks was sent away and — oh yeah — there could be a missile heading for LA. And so the team comes back together and proves why they should be left to work as they see fit since in that same scene, they figure out what’s really going on: North Korea is being framed by Iran. North Korea would launch a test missile, then a huge explosion would roll through LA just when it would hit, only the missile would’ve landed in the ocean and the explosion would be from a bomb. But by the time the US figured that out, they’d have pulled their troops from the Middle East and went to war with North Korea.

Thanks to EMT uniforms at Michael’s house, they even know how to find the bomb: the guy with it is driving an ambulance with the same logo as the shirts. It’s just a matter of a quick distraction for them to neutralize the bomb maker, but they still have a problem: the bomb has been activated, and Sam can’t defuse it.

But this still lacks the urgency that I’d expect. It really seems to just be a matter of whether or not Callen’s going to drive through Sam’s trailer or not on his way to putting the bomb in the water. (He doesn’t.) By the time the bomb goes off, he’s driven the ambulance into the harbor, and Sam and Callen are safely on land with Kensi and Deeks.

So, that should be considered a win, yes? Not for Mosley. Yes, they prevented a disastrous tragedy, but it’s time for them to take responsibility for their actions. Gone are the days of shooting first and asking questions later, she informs Callen. Hey, at least the team’s back together. Callen’s working on keeping Deeks for good, and Sam couldn’t live with himself if something happened to the team and he wasn’t there to do everything he could.

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Hetty Totally Just Retired and Set Sail for Fiji … Right?

Hetty’s retirement brings Shay Mosley (and her assistant, Harley Hidoko) to LA to replace Granger and find a new Operations Manager for the unit. And if Mosley thinks the team’s just going to focus on the case at hand and accept Hetty’s disappearance, she’s mistaken. But as Eric and Nell learn, Hetty has not only sold three of her properties but also her boat is gone as well.

(It’s at this point that Harley interrupts and drags out the questions about what Eric and Nell are doing when she sees the photo of the marina on the big screen in Ops. And this goes on much longer than it needs to.)

Maybe Hetty just doesn’t want to be found, Sam points out, but Callen’s not going to accept that. So where is she? Vietnam, meeting with a contact in a bar after being delayed at the border. He shows her a photo of a bearded “clearly American” (though she suggests he could be Canadian, Swedish, etc.) man and suggests he worked for the CIA and may be another survivor of a crash that Hetty supposedly was the only survivor of. There’s a story of an American soldier who went native during the war and spent his life in the jungle hunting people on both sides. All Hetty says about that is she doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Deeks and His Mother Should Talk More Often (Maybe)

Kensi and Deeks are finally engaged, and since it took over a year from his first unofficial proposal for that to become official, they should both be shouting it from the rooftops, right? Wrong. Well, at least when it comes to Deeks telling his mother. He’d rather put it off until “right after the honeymoon,” even though he knows that since Kensi’s mother knows, she probably told his mother.

Once he’s sent back to LAPD (temporarily, thankfully), he heads over to check on her and gets the wrong idea when he finds a man inside just in boxers. After tackling him to the bed, Roberta comes running in wearing only a towel and Deeks realizes what’s going on. Yes, she knows about the engagement and even jokes about having her own wedding to plan (it’s time Deeks got a new father, she quips) before delighting in assuring her son that Guy is just her trainer-with-benefits. Who can blame her for having a bit of fun with Deeks after he didn’t tell her about the engagement?

What did you think of Shay Mosley and Harley Hidoko? What did you think of Deeks finding Roberta and Guy? How long do you think it will take for the team to find out what Hetty’s doing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

NCIS: Los Angeles season 9 airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Meredith Jacobs

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

If it’s on TV — especially if it’s a procedural or superhero show — chances are Meredith watches it. She has a love for all things fiction, starting from a young age with ER and The X-Files on the small screen and the Nancy Drew books. Arrow kicked off the Arrowverse and her true passion for all things heroes. She’s enjoyed getting into the minds of serial killers since Criminal Minds, so it should be no surprise that her latest obsession is Prodigal Son.