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NCIS: Los Angeles 3.21 ‘Touch of Death’

5-0 heads to the mainland with NCIS in search of a corrupt doctor with a deadly viral concoction.

Episode Title: 'Touch of Death'

Writer: Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters & R. Scott Gemmill

Director: Tony Wharmby

Previously on:

Hawaii Five-0 2.21: 'Pa Make Loa'

Story:

On a Los Angeles bound flight from Hawaii, a flight attendant finds a dead woman in the bathroom. Back at NCIS HQ, Eric (Barrett Foa) tells Nell (Renee Felice Smith) that he was unable to contact the plane's pilot before the flight landed. He and Nell contact Agents Hanna and Callen, now en route to L.A. with Danny and Chin Ho. 

At the airport, Junior Field Agent Blye (Daniela Ruah) and Detective Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) race to the gate only to find out the passengers have already deplaned. They board the aircraft and find Dr. Prodeman's travel companion, Sharon Walker dead in the bathroom. Eric says surveillance footage shows Prodeman leaving the airport in a cab six minutes earlier.

After arriving at HQ, Operations Manager Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt) takes Callen (Chris O'Donnell) and Hanna (LL Cool J) aside to warn them of the impending media frenzy should the virus break out. Blye learns that a man matching Prodeman's description was at a Venice hotel. Danny (Scott Caan), Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim), Callen and Hanna check it out but find Prodeman's room empty. Moments later, they spot him approaching the hotel. He attempts to flee but is no match for Hanna, who tackles him.

Prodeman (Rob Benedict) chalks Walker's death up to a reoccurrence of the cancer she was suffering from but admits to taking money from a Dr. Rachel Holden in exchange for his help in creating the aggressive strain of smallpox. 

It appears Holden has gone into hiding, thus Blye and Deeks go undercover at the hospital where she worked to recover the hard drive from her computer. Meanwhile, Nell realizes that Holden will need to be vaccinated should she succeed in creating an outbreak. She learns of a break-in at a health facility housing the vaccine, which leads the team to Gabriel Marchal, member of an anti-immigration militia. 

Outside Marchal's trailer, 5-0 and NCIS come up with a plan to flush the heavily armed militia members out. Callen knocks over the trailer with a bulldozer and Marshal and his cohorts are arrested. However, Hanna determines that Marchal doesn't have the vials. Financial records indicate Marchal paid Holden for the vials but she apparently ripped him off.

After searching Holden's hard drive, Eric finds some disturbing papers the doctor wrote about pandemics and their role in the natural ebb and flow of the planet. Nell learns that Holden ordered tons of children's' sized t-shirts. That coupled with an International Leaders of Tomorrow meeting going on leads the team to theorize that Holden plans to infect teenagers by distributing T-shirts at the event.

The team heads to the meeting where they immediately see a couple of teens with shirts they claim they got at one of the stands. When Holden (Helen Eigenberg) realizes she's spotted, she runs to her car and attempts to make an escape. However, she crashes into a barricade and is arrested.

Breakdown:

I've never seen "NCIS: Los Angeles" before and though I'm not one to judge a show based on one episode, I don't know if I'll be back for a second, no matter how many "Hawaii Five-0" cast members they recruit.

In part two of this procedural crossover, we learn the culprit is not a terrorist group, but a lone doctor who decides to take the "Gaia theory" into her own hands by releasing a smallpox virus at an international gathering of young people. An interesting and somewhat topical choice of villains, which I can appreciate. What bothered me about this second installment were the number of pointless dead ends the team hit on the way to that reveal.

What was the point of visiting Sharon Walker's twin sister, aside from giving Deeks and Blye more time to work out their sexual tension while there's a pandemic that threatens to wipe out the entire human race on the horizon? Don't get me started on the scene at the hospital, where we had to watch these two bicker over who would get to play doctor. Does this go on every week?

Apparently the only point of going after the militia leader was so that we could have a scene with Callen knocking over the trailer with a bulldozer. And I'm fine with that.

And why exactly was Sharon Walker dead on the plane, to begin with? According to Prodeman, she died of cancer, though that was never really cleared up but her death and discovery had little to do with the case.

All nitpicking aside, there was some fun character play between Danny and NCIS Operations Manager, Hetty Lange. Their scenes definitely made up for whatever is going on between Deeks and Blye. Considering the gravity of the case, which several characters reflected on, it's hard to imagine anyone having a mind to crack jokes with the future of the entire human race potentially in their hands. Which is why  help but think of that as Callen and Hanna laughed about retirement hobbies in the car.

In the end, I maintain "Hawaii Five-0" had the stronger episode. The two-part crossover didn't make an "NCIS: Los Angeles" fan out of me but I'm open to more cross-pollination from CBS procedurals, down the road.