Sociopath David Kessler (writer and executive producer Frank Military) is still out there, so his threats are hanging over Special Agent Kensi Blye’s (Daniela Ruah) head like a disturbing dark cloud heading into NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13.
And while this is far from the first time that the CBS procedural has drawn out a storyline over multiple seasons (who else remembers the mole hunt?) it’s one that needs to be confronted and wrapped up by spring 2022. With the threats Kessler has made to Kensi and how it’s affecting her life, this can’t go on too much longer.
As you’ll recall, we first met Kessler in Season 12, Episode 5, “Raising the Dead,” as an arms dealer and human trafficker (of minors) Kensi put away back in 2008; it’s what got her the job at the Office of Special Projects. The case required her to be face-to-face with him again (à la Hannibal Lecter) in hopes of getting the location of an escaped prisoner. But instead, she found out just how much he knew about her life — she’s married, doesn’t have kids (not by choice) — and he even used “touché” (as she and her husband, now-NCIS Investigator Marty Deeks, played by Eric Christian Olsen, say all the time).
But the most chilling part was the threat he made. He’d been doing push-ups and working out “to be ready to hunt you down, have sex with you, and then kill you, maybe not even in that order.” And to the team’s surprise, by episode’s end, he’d not only gotten time on the phone with the president but he’d also been released “by a presidential executive order for undisclosed national security issues.” He was free, and there was nothing they could do about it. (His girlfriend, Izabella Miko’s Michelle, was with him, despite pretending to be afraid of him. We’re honestly shocked a subsequent episode didn’t have her body being found.)
Worse, as Kensi would come to admit by Episode 13, “Red Rover, Red Rover,” he was right when he said he’d be “inside [her] head.” Still, as much as she wanted to “just drop everything and put an end to him” and Deeks offered to “hunt him down and drag him back to prison” with her, they both knew they couldn’t because of that pardon.
Then in Episode 17, “Through the Looking Glass,” Kessler sent a postcard to NCIS headquarters at Quantico, with a photo of himself at the Santa Monica Pier on the front. “Wish you were here. Oh right, you are! Hope there are no hard feelings,” he wrote on it. “Life can be too short.” It was real, they confirmed, not a composite, but they didn’t know when the picture was taken.
By that point, Kensi couldn’t deny how much he was getting to her. She was dreaming of him, she admitted after Deeks said she yelled out his name while sleeping. And due to the stress, she needed to hit the pause button on trying to get pregnant. With Kessler free, “I feel like I’m constantly under attack,” she said. Deeks told her to take all the time she needed.
But all this does is prove that Kessler can’t just be left to be walking free, even with his pardon. There has to be something the team can do, some way that he’ll slip up and do something that allows them to make a move on him. The threat is too big for them not to be proactive and as great as it would be to see Kensi and Deeks handling this themselves, the show is its strongest when we see everyone working together to help one of their own.
As long as Kessler remains free, we can’t help but worry that no matter what steps Kensi and Deeks take, they’re going to come home one day to find him waiting or she’s going to wake one night to find him standing over her, ready to make good on his upsetting promise. After all, Military wrote Season 9’s “The Monster,” in which serial killers pieced together their victims’ body parts and were still walking free at the end.
NCIS: Los Angeles, Season 13 Premiere, Sunday, October 10, 9/8c, CBS