It's looking like a long road back for Pride.
The head man's unofficial probation continued on NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 3.
But the requirements he has agreed to in order to resume command were already starting to chafe.
That became apparent during this case involving a Russian operative with valuable intelligence.
His squad all worried that having to report into the director after each case would hamper the approach that has allowed Pride to be so successful.
In other words, he's a cowboy in a bureaucratic world, and he's got to be allowed to ride free.
Pride's concern initially was with the dead sailor, who was stationed in Berlin and who has little reason to be in New Orleans.
But they soon discovered that he had a passenger who escaped the assassination attempt.
This passenger led to this episode's guest stars.
The first was FBI Director Isler, Gregorio's former boss.
I never liked Isler on NCIS: New Orleans Season 3, as he struck me as a stick-up-his-butt bureaucrat. But he had kind of softened toward the locals by season's end.
He was in town seeking the passenger, Alexander Petrov, who has a complete list of all Russian operatives in the U.S. Against protocol, Isler hadn't told Pride that the FBI was in New Orleans until the two teams conveniently ran into each other while tracking Alexander.
So it was a well-executed role reversal, with Pride insisting that Isler follow the rules while Isler hoped to quietly handle his mission without too much red tape. The two had an interesting dynamic, which I could best describe as grudging respect.
Isler had brought his new protege, Special Agent Barnes.It was funny how the team set to work razzing her, proclaiming her Gregorio 2.0 and claiming that Isler had a type.
It was fairly clear that Barnes was the Russian mole because it had to be someone on the inside that was leaking information to the assassins trying to kill Alexander.
The only other possibility was former Russian sleeper agent Eva Azarova. But she had her self-interest in this case since Alexander was her brother. He wasn't a spy as everyone seemed to think: just a super-athletic accountant. Huh?
And he only offered the intel so he could get to America and warn Eva that she was targeted for elimination by the Russians powers that be. I guess they're not big on free agents.
Eva played coy when Pride and Isler came to her in prison, asking for information. She was much more cooperative after she saw who their target was. Everyone was right not to trust Eva, based on her history of playing everyone for her own gain.
Based on how they hit it off on NCIS: New Orleans Season 3 Episode 14, I was curious to see Gregorio and Eva together again. The attraction between them was palpable. But Gregorio tried her best to keep it professional, even though she made it clear that she trusted Eva.
I didn't get how they pulled off the shooting and resurrection of Eva. She must have been wearing a Kevlar vest, although frankly that never came up. So whose idea was it to put Eva into Witness Protection? I'm guessing Pride, but it could just as easily been Isler.
What will this mean for Gregorio and Eva's relationship, to use the term loosely? I don't see it being a hindrance, as characters across TV are popping out of Witness Protection, whenever it becomes dramatically convenient. So they can still get together to flirt once or twice a year.
Sadly, this is the most stable relationship among the team members. Which brings me to the weirdness between Percy and LaSalle.
A couple of times this episode, Percy was obliquely chastising LaSalle about the way he treats his teammates.
All I can figure is this hearkens back to a scene on NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 1. LaSalle appeared to have gone back to his horndog ways, and he was talking to Miss Right Now on the phone. Percy got pissy for some reason. (See how shuffling episodes around can cause a bit of disconnect?)
There's no good explanation for her behavior since she's always maintained they're just partners. So why does it matter who LaSalle dates? Let's pin down what they are to each other rather than do the will they/won't they dance any longer. It's not that engrossing.
The rest of the team was there mainly to come up with evidence at crucial times and, in Loretta's case, for pep talks. It wasn't everyone's time to shine.
To catch up on this season, watch NCIS: New Orleans online.
Were you glad to see Eva again, or are you happy she's gone? How about Isler? What's the over-under on Pride getting in hot water again? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.