Agent Fornell made an appearance on NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 5, helping the team figure out the reasons for the death of a chief warrant officer who is found in the bayou.
Elsewhere, Brody and LaSalle played headgames with each other, while Dr. Wade inadvertently revealed the self-sabotaging nature of her love life.
Below, TV Fanatic panelists Kathleen Wiedel, David Taylor and Douglas Wolfe discuss all of this and a lot more. Ready to jump in to the debate?
How would you describe this episode in a few words or a sentence?
Kathleen: Beware of nosy neighbors and unsavory lawyers.
David: So much for good neighbors.
Doug: The Big Tease.
What was your favorite quote or scene?
Kathleen: I laughed out loud during the interrogation of the personal trainer when Agent Fornell said, "Oooh. Psychological torture, fun!"
David: I liked how Brody played LaSalle. However, it's also funny to think that although LaSalle didn't have confirmation, Brody COULD have done those things she mentioned.
Doug: I'm going to go with the Pride-Wade scene, where she tells him by she broke up with James, and Pride called her on it. Every new peek at these characters is like gold right about now. Maybe Wade is just fine being alone - or maybe she's stuck in a rut of her own making and needs to get out of it. I'm sure we'll find out more in future episodes.
What, if anything, didn’t work for you?
Kathleen: Once again, the team is suffering from Enterprise syndrome - apparently, they're the only ship in the quadrant! They search the greenhouse property for the kidnapped woman - who they *just established* might not have food, water, or even air - and they don't bother to get help from the New Orleans Police or the FBI for additional manpower (other than Fornell, of course) to help search. Obviously, they found the victim fairly quickly, but what if they hadn't?
David: Well, in general, I'm not liking these crossover cameos; I feel like we're not being given the chance to "bond" with these characters because someone else is always showin' up. In this particular episode, Vance sends Fornell because of the victim's work in counterintelligence. However, they pretty much determined that counterintelligence had nothing to do with it and this was a kidnap for ransom, yet Fornell stuck around--to collect his free meal. I like Fornell--I just think they drew out the case to maximize his screen time.
Doug: The overly dramatic request by Pride to Vance for more help "if this thing gets bigger" was a cheat. We were let down when realizing that "this thing" wasn't all that big to begin with. People got greedy - that's about the sum of most white collar crimes, and certainly was the case here. It's hardly end of the world, terrorist stuff. Don't get me wrong: this show can do well even without the end of the world stuff - but it shouldn't build up expectations to that end if they're not going to actually go there. And I just realized: my characterization of this show as "The Big Tease" was initially meant to reference the Brody-LaSalle dynamic, but it works also for the big build up and let down of the case of the week too.
Will Brody ever open up to LaSalle?
Kathleen: I'm sure it will happen sooner or later - give it some time, we're only five episodes into the first season! I thought it was great how she totally turned the tables on him with the "stories" about her time in Chicago. "Winner, winner, chicken dinner" indeed!
David: Well, she plays it pretty close to the vest, but if you keep feeding her praline bacon, she just might open up a bit.
Doug: I agree with Kathleen. It'll definitely happen at some point. My guess is that something deeply personal and traumatic will happen to Brody, and in a moment of need she'll feel the need to open up more. Until then, she's having fun holding out hope to LaSalle and denying him the payoff. I'm not under any illusions that she doesn't enjoy his presence and persistent attempts either.
Is LaSalle just interested in her as a friend or something more?
Kathleen: So far, it seems like a friend relationship to me, and I'm perfectly fine with that. Bring on the teasing and the prank wars!
David: I'm not feeling a romance either--more like a brother / sister thing, and I hope it stays that way. The "sexual tension" trope is played out, in my opinion.
Doug: I agree with you both. In fact, they do well as a brother-sister team. David's right too - the "sexual tension" thing is so 2013.
What are your thoughts on Fornell’s involvement in this episode?
Kathleen: I was a bit perplexed as to why they needed to bring a senior FBI agent all the way from Washington to help them on a time-sensitive kidnapping case. (Maybe he borrowed the BAU jet from "Criminal Minds" to get there so fast?) Then again, I love Fornell, so I'm not going complain about getting more of him, even if he's not sharing the screen with Leroy Jethro Gibbs!
David: As I mentioned earlier, I think the victim's counterintelligence work was the initial reason Fornell came, but once that was ruled out, he should have left. That ties in to Kathleen's comment about Fornell serving as extra manpower when local LEOs would have been enough.
Doug: I love it when he shows up, but in this case I think his presence was a waste. If they're going to bring him in, they'd be better off to have him bring his family baggage, or a problem affecting the nation's interest. If they brought him in just so they could put a check mark on the "crossover" box, then he was a distraction from the character development that we really need to see with the rest of the team.
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.