The topic was social attitudes toward sexual identity.
That none-too-subtle message was woven throughout NCIS: Los Angeles Season 14 Episode 14.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Of course, the episode directed by Daniela Ruah took a while to get to that point. It began simply as an investigation of a sailor’s mysterious death.
It was amusing that the OSP was tasked with that mission because Lucy Tara, the Allegiance’s former agent afloat, had returned to her post on NCIS: Hawaii.
This circumstance meant that the L.A. office would tackle the question of why three sailors had committed suicide on the Allegiance in recent months.
Kilbride seemed to take this spate of suicides personally. It sounded like something he had dealt with before during his lengthy career.
What wasn’t evident was why Kensi felt the need to tear into Chief Adebayo, the dead sailor’s supervising officer.
Yes, Adebayo had a couple of complaints about her hard-nosed leadership style on file. But you would think that type of female officer would have been one that Kensi would appreciate, not denigrate.
Whatever her reason, Kensi’s approach kept that initial interview with Adebayo from being at all productive.
Fortunately, forensics quickly put the investigation back on the right track. When Wassner’s suicide note proved fake, his death went from suicide to murder.
That meant neither working conditions on the Allegiance nor Abedayo’s leadership had anything to do with Wassner’s death.
Also, Wassner’s widow noted that Adebayo had been a big supporter of her husband in the past.
Which made Kensi feel terrible about her earlier attack on Adebayo. But Adebayo refused Kensi’s apology, accepting some blame for Wassner’s death. Once she learned Wassner was murdered, Adebayo even supplied a suspect to be checked out.
This new suspect, Bradshaw, immediately led to another false lead for his connection to Fryer, a bar owner receiving money from China.
It sure sounded like espionage at that point. However, when Sam and Rountree confronted Fryer, things turned toward the truth.
The money from China was a repayment of a loan from his twin brother, a teacher in that country.
Also, Fryer ran a speakeasy in the back of his bar for closeted, gay military personnel and celebrities. Bradshaw was a regular at his establishment.
So why was Bradshaw near where Wassner was found on the night he died, an area where he wasn’t authorized to be?
It turned out that Wassner was a victim of an archaic military policy, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
This policy started during the Clinton Administration and lasted for 20 years.
The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants while barring openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service.
Bradshaw’s lover, Chief Hughes, who had hidden his sexual preference and endured “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for his entire military career, accidentally killed Wassner to keep him quiet.
For all his younger agents baffled about why this was even an issue, Kilbride gave his team perspective, talking about all those who had been forced from the military simply for being gay.
That talk inspired Sam to return to Kam’s apartment for a serious discussion with her.
After abusing Rountree during some training, poor Sam took a day off to spend with Kam.
Yet, as close as the father and daughter typically are, something appeared to be off this time.
Kam couldn’t be bothered with his visit as she was tied up with a paper that was due.
Then it came up that she had broken up with her boyfriend, Josh, yet she hadn’t told Sam about that. It was evident that Kam was hiding something important from him.
So Sam must have been relieved when Kilbride put him back to work as muscle when Rountree went to interview Fryer.
Sam is a detective who had already established that Kam had broken up with Josh and was now dating a woman. It also was heartwarming how he explained to her that he would always be there for her, whatever her sexual preference was.
Then, for much-needed comic relief, we got an update on Anna and Callen’s wedding “planning,” to use the term loosely.
The always perky Rosanna Pansino (Baketopia) made this storyline work. Her Tara took the idea of planning a wedding so seriously, and she gave Callen and Anna a much-needed wake-up call, much as Fatima had been trying to do for Callen already.
Since they plan to have a wedding in just a few months, they must begin agreeing on the various parts necessary for the ceremony and reception.
It wasn’t surprising that Callen had given little thought to this. G’s work has always come first.
But you would have thought Anna, with her schedule more open, would have given more thought to the occasion. But she appeared just as unprepared as Callen, which was frightening.
Since their wedding is likely the series finale, it’s got to be a big event. Despite what Callen suggested, elopement isn’t an option for this couple.
To revisit Sam and Kam’s relationship, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
How well did this episode handle the topic of sexual identity?
Were you shocked by why Wassner was killed?
Will Anna and Callen get their act together?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.
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