Though there was no happy ending to be found on NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 13, there's quite a lot to talk about!
Join TV Fanatic Round Table Panelists Doug Wolfe, David Taylor, Amanda Wolf and Kathleen Wiedel as they discuss this week's villainous housewife, television tropes, the potential for a new cast member... and more!
Let's get this show on the road, and be sure to add your own thoughts on this story in the comments section below!
What did you think of this week's villain, Dawn Lin (Anne Dudek)?
Doug: Like most people, I like to try and figure out who the villain is before the detectives find out. As soon as her husband almost drank the polonium-laced water, I figured it had to be her. So the ending wasn’t too much of a surprise. There wasn't any obvious passion coming from her, which made her part in the murder scheme unbelievable.
David: Well, something about her seemed "off" to me when she and Borin were in the garage, but I kinda let it pass. Then I had the same moment of clarity as Doug.
Amanda: I suspected it was her when she said her dad was in to plastics and that he sent her free sample. It was just very off.
Kathleen: It always frustrates me when the writers and casting department telegraph the identity of the villain; at least Anne Dudek's appearance was balanced by B.D. Wong, but it was still pretty obvious that she was the poisoner. Was she supposed to be a total sociopath? Dawn murdered her brother-in-law in a horrible, horrible way, and very nearly managed to kill her own husband, too, all to keep herself living in style. And neither her husband nor his head-shrinking brother saw it coming at all.
The "solve my murder before I die" trope has been done before on other series. What do you think of the way NCIS: New Orleans handled it?
Doug: It seemed to work for this case, which made it interesting. And frankly, though the trope has been done before, it hasn't been done all that often, so it didn't seem all that tired.
David: Seconding Doug again – I haven't come across it all that often. However, I was glad that the episode ended with the two brothers running together, and not with a funeral or with Lin collapsing for the last time.
Amanda: I agree, the case didn't seem tired to me. Although, it has hard to go through an episode without anything to really root for.
Kathleen: I've seen this sort of thing done on both NCIS (Season 4 Episode 16, "Dead Man Walking") and more recently on Person of Interest Season 2 Episode 20, "In Extremis," among others. NCIS: New Orleans played it well; I greatly credit this to B.D. Wong's performance as the victim, expressing his resolve to discover the truth even as his body falls apart. And I agree with David in my approval that the episode didn't end with Dr. Lin's death or funeral. It was already a sad story – the brothers' reconciliation was a way to end it on a high note.
Abigail Borin expressed an interest in a possible transfer to NCIS. Would you be interested in having her join the cast full-time?
Doug: You know – it makes me wonder if the producers created that little tease as a kind of a trial balloon just to get viewer reaction. At any rate, it worked: I like Agent Borin and think she'd be a great fit for the team.
David: Borin's demeanor on this show seems different to me compared to her appearances on NCIS. She seems a lot more laid back on this this series. Maybe it's the setting that brings it out in her – NOLA is much looser than stuffy DC. I wouldn't mind seeing her more often – I think there needs to be some gender balance in the cast and she's good foil for Sebastian.
Amanda: I wouldn't mind if she joined the cast. It would give the show an added element to the atmosphere, and I think it would be a good one.
Kathleen: Frankly, I'd love to have her. She brings such an energy and cheerfulness. She's already demonstrated that she interacts well with the other characters, especially with Brody and, interestingly, Sebastian. Most of the other characters seem to ignore him or get annoyed at him, while Borin gleefully teases him.
Borin and Brody have a conversation in the car, which highlighted the fact that of all the lead characters, we know the least about Brody. Thoughts?
Doug: I'm glad they had that conversation. It sounds like Brody had it rough before – so we know we're going to get into her backstory at some point. I like the fact that she's much more closed off than LaSalle or Pride – it means that what's she's keeping to herself probably is more grave than their stories.
David: This is why I'd like to see Borin appear more often – Brody needs someone to have "girl talk" with. After that conversation last night, I'm intrigued.
Amanda: I feel like knowing the least about her fits her well as a character, like she said she keeps her distance. I think she has learned to guarded over time, but it will be exciting to get to know her more.
Kathleen: Brody is still pretty much a cipher. Hopefully we'll get to learn more about her soon! Maybe she needs to make a friend outside of work? Or even hang out with Borin! Have we ever seen Brody share a scene with Loretta? Brody can't exactly do "girl talk" with LaSalle; that's like talking with your brother. And I don't know about other gals, but I wouldn't talk about that stuff with my brother!
Do you want to highlight something about this episode – a quote, a scene, a guest star?
Doug: The scene at the end, when the two brothers are reminiscing about their property in Taiwan, was engaging. Looking at the water and lighting of New Orleans renewed my distant love for the place – it's on my bucket list, which is considerably shorter than Lund's binder.
David: I thought the whistling scene was kinda funny; reminded me of "Name That Tune."
Amanda: I liked the actor who played the brother (Russell Wong). I thought he managed to portray a complicated character in just a few scenes.
Kathleen: I know I mentioned this earlier, but B.D. Wong did an amazing job in this episode. He made us care about a man we as viewers just met; he wasn't over the top, and he portrayed the character in such a complex manner.
NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 14, "Careful What You Wish For," airs February 10 at 9/8c on CBS.