NCIS: Los Angeles

Season 1 Episode 9

Random on Purpose

8
Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Nov 24, 2009 on CBS
AIRED:
7.0
out of 10
User Rating
317 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When a serial killer strikes in Los Angeles, it grabs the attention of Abby Sciuto. She travels from Washington DC to give the team a hand, since she has been following this killer for some time.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This is a smart episode, as I would expect from something with NCIS in the title!

    9.0
    I absolutely love how Abby's theory on the phantom unraveled. The way she deduced that they were probably not random killings with the DOB theory. It's a cool episode and all of the acting is superb... especially the sighs of relief from the guys looking at the live feed. I really like how the story unfolded, and Abby's smart mouthing (and something else she did with her mouth) are spicy editions to a high intense 50 minutes!!moreless
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Decent production quality, boring story, bad acting and disastrous characters but some creative ideas, underground but anecdotic elements, Linda Hunt's convincing performance and malicious character

    3.0
    I had never seen the show before and decided to watch this episode for two reasons. First because of a gothic-punk featurette with Abby Sciuto, a character from NCIS. Moreover on Wikipedia she's described as "a paradox wrapped in an oxymoron smothered in contradictions in terms" so I thought her profile could be interesting. Second the episode summary I read mentionned patterns and a serial killer which instantly reminded me of Dexter. These elements intrigued me but now that I've seen Random on Purpose I wish I had done something else.



    The production quality was correct even if I noticed some bad lighting. The major issues were the story and acting. The investigation was boring and following the male characters running all around wasn't even entertaining. However I admit that the filming and editing were dynamic and original at times. I specially liked how the scenes with the motorbike falling was "first person" filmed. The dual interview was original even if I found it too hasty. As for the acting Linda Hunt did a great job as Henrietta "Hetty" Lange, some sort of mini James Bond's M. But the other performers didn't convince me at all and I was specially disappointed by Pauley Perrette who played Abby.



    It leads us to the characters. In general I found their chemistry didn't work but as I didn't know them I probably just couldn't relate. However I'm sure of something, that Abby is silly, antipathic and boring. She's some sort of dark geek, extasy powered. She was just too excited and jumpy. It's cute with a little girl but watching a woman acting like that was just painful to watch. So she wasn't the smart and funny babe I hope she would be. The only scene with her I liked was at the "Steampunk" club because I thought its underground universe was believable and refreshing. I specially enjoyed how the clubbers nicknamed the others. "Muggles" if I understood correctly. It reminded me of Harry Potter but I was probably hallucinating. In fact I don't get why the writers didn't focus more on the relationship between the dark scene and the killer. It would have definitely brought some contrast and depth to that too shiny story.



    So overall once I'm done with this review I'll quickly forget about it. There were some high-end technology to appeal the geeks, like the large touch screens, but it was nothing like in CSI: NY because it felt like the characters were just showing off. They just didn't look like special agents and in general I wish the show had less muscle and more brain. Moreover Hetty's role was far too anecdotic when she's the only character I really liked.moreless
  • Wow, they've really outdone themselves with this one!

    10
    This was a flwless episode of LA, almost up to the quality of a typical NCIS episode, and without doubt, was the best episode of the season, so far.



    I was very happy to see Abby here again, and the case was very interesting and quite unpredictable, for a while.



    I was really scared to see Abby kidnapped (again!) and she nearly died this time, but the sign language was awesome, and the writer's did brilliantly with this one!



    I hope they keep it up, because this is truly a sensational episode, and I can't wait to see and watch it again! Keep it up NCIS: Los Angeles, as the show is heading in the right direction, by all means!moreless
  • Episode 109.

    7.0
    Better edition of NCIS: Los Angeles than we had been getting lately. The episode benefitted greatly from the presence of Abby from the original NCIS, showing that this new spin-off is a failure. If a character from another show comes in and steals the spotlight from the rest of the cast, that is not a good sign for your new show. The episode was exciting as it was different to see the crew save their own than to just track down a generic murderer of some kind. The actual kidnapper turned out to be a bit unexciting, definitely not one of the serial killers from Dexter, but this was a well-done installment.



    Good ep of NCIS: LA tonight.moreless
  • Why is Abby always the designated kidnap victim?

    5.0
    How many times has Abby been kidnapped in the NCIS franchise? Off the top of my head, I'm thinking 3 in the original and 1 in LA? Enough already!!!



    I'm so sick of this pandering for sympathy for her character. She's always the victim who manages to fight back in some way. It never changes. There are far more interesting stories one could tell for a character like hers.



    I suppose this cross-over episode was an attempt to boost ratings for NCIS LA with, naturally, one of the most popular characters from its older sibling, but it stumbles with this overplayed story.moreless
Chris O'Donnell

Chris O'Donnell

NCIS Special Agent G. Callen

LL Cool J

LL Cool J

NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna

Peter Cambor

Peter Cambor

Operational Psychologist Nate Getz

Daniela Ruah

Daniela Ruah

NCIS Special Agent Kensi Blye

Linda Hunt

Linda Hunt

Henrietta 'Hetty' Lange

Adam Jamal Craig

Adam Jamal Craig

NCIS Special Agent Dominic Vail

Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette

Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto

Guest Star

Kris Lemche

Kris Lemche

Tom Smith

Guest Star

Sean Wing

Sean Wing

Ted Brock

Guest Star

Rocky Carroll

Rocky Carroll

NCIS Director Leon Vance

Recurring Role

Barrett Foa

Barrett Foa

Tech Operator Eric Beal

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Goof: When you freeze frame on Abby's letter she is sending, near the end it says "Naval Investigative Criminal Service" (NICS) when as we all know it's NCIS.

    • Tech Operator Eric Beal learned sign language when he was seven years old.

    • Goof: A top engineer, as the victim is described, would be an officer, not a Chief Petty Officer which is an enlisted man. Engineers require a college degree and people with college degrees in the military are officers.

    • It is established that Callen is the lead agent of the team.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • (after being rescued from a kidnapping)
      Hetty: Your post-incident medical evaluation is not optional Abby. Go.
      Abby: Hey, I am so sorry, but there is something way more important I've got to do first.
      Hetty: What could possibly….
      Eric: Abby, on screen in 30 seconds.
      Abby: That (points to the screen) Gibbs, Gibbs, I am okay. I know you were all coming to save me, but these guys, they were amazing, really. I mean you should see what they can do with a fire hose. McGee you were so right about everything.

    • (Callen walks in, sees the office has been re-organized, stands and stares)
      Sam: Morning, G. (Notices the office) When did that happen?
      Callen: Don't know.
      Kensi: Morning, guys. (Notices the office) Who, who did this?
      Callen: Don't know.
      Kensi: Where's our stuff?
      Callen: Don't know.
      Sam: Think it's safe to go in?
      Callen: Don't know.

    • (Discussing the office remodeling)
      Kensi: Could be one of Nate's psych experiments.
      Sam: I'm not one of Nate's lab rats.

    • Vance: I'm sending our top forensics specialist to assist you.
      Sam: But there are no forensics.
      Vance: Our forensic expert has a theory about this crime that's, shall we say original. Thinks McEllon is the victim of a serial killer. No other law enforcement agency in this country thinks this killer even exists. Can't say I do either.
      Callen: And you're sending this person why?
      Vance: I was ganged up on. (Vance ends video conference)
      Callen: Who gangs up on the director of a federal agency?
      Hetty: Oh, you'd be surprised Mr. Callen.

    • Abby: So, I'm sure Leon has told you I know who killed McEllon.
      Eric: Wait, you call him Leon?
      Abby: You don't?
      Eric: Not successfully.

    • Callen: (sighing) I'm just curious, why you pressured Vance to send Abby.
      Hetty: He wasn't buying her "Phantom" theory. He needed goosing.
      Callen: So, you want us chasing "The Phantom"?
      Hetty: Mr. Callen is that what you think?
      Callen: I don't know. There's ..There's been some meddling around here. And I'm a little fuzzy on the command chain.
      Hetty: This case lacks forensics. As your Operations Manager, I procured for you our best scientist to help you. You, as the head agent, are free to pursue whatever theory of crime makes the most sense. There's no fuzziness, Callen. You still shot the ducks. I just row the boat.

    • (Callen and Sam are following a suspect)
      Callen: Now is that a casual walk away or is that I see two guys who may be law enforcement walk away?

    • (Callen and Sam discussing options of how to get into a building through the sky light)
      Callen: Miami?
      Sam: No, Miami was half the height and we still got all busted up.
      Callen: One of us may land soft enough and get the shot.
      Sam: Yeah, if one of us is Peter Pan.

    • (Discussing the office remodeling)
      Nate: Organization and productivity are directly related. Cleanliness is next to…..um….efficiency.
      Kensi: So, you moved our stuff?
      Nate: I tried to stop her.
      Callen: Hetty. She's the only one...
      (Callen pauses, Hetty walks up)
      Hetty: Continue, Mr. Callen, continue.
      Callen: With the authority.
      Hetty: Ah...um... Nate, if your comment that "They might be miffed" constitutes trying to stop me, I suggest you learn more forceful techniques of self-assertion. Not that I would have listened.

  • NOTES (1)

    • International Air Dates:
      United Kingdom: November 25, 2009 on Sky1/Sky1 HD
      Norway: February 1, 2010 on TV3
      Sweden: February 9, 2010 on TV3
      Germany: September 4, 2010 on SAT 1
      Finland: October 6, 2010 on Nelonen
      Czech Republic: January 7, 2011 on AXN
      Slovakia: August 4, 2011 on Markiza

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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