Spoilers ahead for the November 12 episode of NCIS: New Orleans Season 6 on CBS.
NCIS: New Orleans shocked and devastated fans everywhere with the death of Christopher LaSalle and the departure of original cast member Lucas Black. Few could have expected a major character to bite the dust in an episode that was neither a premiere nor a finale, but die he did, and the November 12 episode revealed how the rest of the NCIS: NOLA team is coping with their massive loss. Each person had their own way of dealing with the death and honoring their fallen friend. There was no elaborate ceremony or marker, but quieter ways of showing the impact of what happened.
The whole unit had been kept from active duty for a few weeks following LaSalle's death, pending approval from the NCIS psychologist that they were ready to get back to the action, and Loretta Wade was the one having the most obvious trouble moving on. She spent the episode trying to insist that she was fine, but also upset when the agents put themselves in harm's way as part of the job. By the end of the hour, she was seeking solace and a place to remember LaSalle in the church, and she seems to be on her way to healing.
Pride was holding it together surprisingly well, although he was able to focus his energy on other outlets than mourning his longtime friend. A man going by the pseudonym "Spartacus" was more or less holding New Orleans hostage to the threat of natural gas explosions, and Pride could also focus on Loretta's processing/lack of processing rather than his own.
Still, he joined her at the church at the end of the episode to acknowledge his own grief, even as he acknowledged that they were all suffering. They sat together, trying to believe that it was going to get easier, and Pride put an arm around her. They may be grieving, but these old friends have each other.
Gregorio and Sebastian were processing LaSalle's death in a quite literal way at the beginning of the hour, as they were tasked with going through all of LaSalle's old case files, which -- according to Gregorio -- were not written in the best handwriting. Sebastian seemed to be handling the loss of LaSalle better than Gregorio, although that's partly because this was a Gregorio-centric episode, so we got to see more of her than pretty much everybody else.
Gregorio threw herself into the case, and she risked her life to keep "Spartacus" talking until Pride could find him and take him out. The baddie came very close to being able to explode City Hall with Gregorio and Patton Plame, who refused to leave Gregorio when she refused to bail, still inside. She finally came to the conclusion that nobody should go through processing a loss like LaSalle on their own, and she ended the episode ready to hang out with her friends, drink the good stuff, and hear Patton's long story about Mike Tyson and crazy glue.
As for Hannah Khoury, she seemed to be doing better than most, but she found herself responding to a crisis differently than she would have done prior to losing LaSalle. While she didn't hesitate to race into danger (and take some bumps and bruises for her efforts), she wasn't able to shake it off as usual, and instead kept thinking about what would happen to her daughter if she died. Fortunately, Khoury found some peace by the end of the episode, although Naomi was off to Girl Scout camp and couldn't chat.
Were there any grand speeches delivered, or status erected, or pictures hung on the wall to honor LaSalle? No. Still, in his team finding ways to keep on doing the job that was so important to him while not forgetting him, they honored him. Perhaps this, along with Lucas Black's method of saying goodbye, will help deliver some closure for fans moving forward.
Only time will tell if this was the last time NCIS: New Orleans will linger on LaSalle for the foreseeable future, as well as how/when his team will replace him with a newcomer. See what happens next when new episodes of NCIS: New Orleans (opens in new tab) air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET for the rest of 2019; the show switches time slots when it returns in 2020.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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