Warning: Post contains minor spoilers
“NCIS: New Orleans” season 4 episode 6 “Acceptable Loss” finds NCIS Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula) and the team investigating the death of a petty officer. While probing the murder, the NCIS New Orleans outfit learns of a strange woman connected to several men that died under mysterious circumstances. The petty officer was seemingly killed via autoerotic asphyxia. This reminded me of “The X-Files” episode “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.”
But the team, or Chris LaSalle (Lucas Black) rather, faces an equally, if not more, challenging situation. LaSalle’s father arrives in New Orleans. The usually happy go lucky LaSalle doesn’t gel with his father. In fact, Chris rarely, if ever, speaks of his family. “Acceptable Loss” reveals why.
LaSalle’s father does love his son, but in his own unique, and admittedly controlling, way. Rather than allowing LaSalle to choose his own career path, dad insists that his son leave his post at NCIS and focus on his future by taking control of the family business. But he doesn’t merely encourage Chris to come work for the fam. Instead, he insinuates that NCIS isn’t a real job.
Throughout “NCIS: New Orleans” season 4, episodes have been increasingly personal. In “The Asset,” Tammy Gregorio (Vanessa Ferlito) rekindled her flame with fugitive Eva Azarova (Cassidy Freeman). “Viral” saw Sebastian Lund (Rob Kerkovich) accused of killing an unarmed civilian. It’s LaSalle’s turn with “Acceptable Loss,” this time dealing with his father. It’s Pride, not LaSalle’s own parent, who plays the part of a father figure. LaSalle’s dad even comments on this directly.
Proving his dedication to NCIS, and in part to rebel against his father’s plans, LaSalle goes undercover. Once again, Chris proves his worth as an agent, and shows that he’s damn good at his job.
The murder of the petty officer is an intriguing case. As “NCIS: New Orleans” has done, and continues to, it presents a nuanced case where the audience is able to understand the perpetrator’s mentality.
Unfortunately, LaSalle gets a bit reckless. As in it’s mildly out of character how he acts. Sure, LaSalle is emotional, but this time his lack of judgment feels forced. Additionally, the final showdown isn’t realistic. “Acceptable Loss” however offers a commentary on human lives vs. the greater good, and provides a dose of much needed backstory for LaSalle. Furthermore, I’m unclear why the Halloween-themed episode “Dead Man Calling” came on Oct. 17, not on Oct. 31, when “Acceptable Loss” aired. It’s not the season’s strongest entry, but “NCIS: New Orleans” episode “Acceptable Loss” is an acceptably entertaining romp.