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'NCIS: Los Angeles' 'Fish Out of Water' review: Is it a red herring?

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Once again, the White Ghost storyline overshadows the L.A. case in Tuesday, March 4's episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles," 516, "Fish Out of Water."

The Los Angeles part of the "NCIS: LA" team is brought in to investigate when there's an explosion at a fish market, and while that means Deeks pulling out a red herring with that grin of his – "It's a red herring. …Come on, man, this is an actual red herring." – and there's a serious threat to the city, it's hard to be too invested in that when all we really want to know is more about the White Ghost. They end up in a joint investigation with the DEA, as one of their agents was undercover, but she just seems to be there to serve as someone who represents one path Deeks and Kensi's relationship can go, as she too once had a partner and had to make a choice. She chose the DEA. They do manage to stop the bombers before they can blow up an event of 5000 people, controlling the situation so when the bomb does go off, it's in a mostly-empty parking lot on the beach.

A couple of side notes from the Los Angeles part of the episode: Callen still has a love life, and Hetty may or may not have invented the Internet. Sam tries to get Callen to come over for dinner with Joelle, but Callen wants to keep some things private. "You make Howard Hughes look like an extrovert," Sam says, reminding his partner that he still doesn't know his name. Meanwhile, Hetty continues to surprise everyone when she shows off that she has skills and reveals that she was there when they invented the Internet. "I'm pretty sure she's master of the universe," Deeks says when he introduces her to Talia. He's probably right.

Now let's get into the more intriguing part of "Fish Out of Water." In Afghanistan, Kensi's woken up when she hears Granger talking and finds out that they lost a helicopter in the same area Sabatino ditched her. Then Booker reports that the White Ghost is nearby, and so Kensi gets her gear, gets on a bike and goes to do what she's there to do. However, there's a problem. When she sees the White Ghost's face, she visibly reacts and just shoots him in the arm before she has to retreat. When she returns to base, she tells Granger she didn't have a good shot and only barely saw his face. No, it's not Sabatino. But given her reaction, it has to be Jack, right?

As the episode ended, Deeks begs off a private sushi tasting to chat with Kensi "as planned," but she doesn't reply. That has to be because she's struggling with the knowledge of who her target is. All signs seem to be pointing to the White Ghost being Jack, and if he isn't, who is he? Why does she react like she does then? Or should we be thinking about that red herring comment from Deeks and applying it to the White Ghost?

"NCIS: Los Angeles" season 5 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 16 "Fish Out of Water"? Do you think Jack is the White Ghost?

© Meredith Jacobs 2014

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