NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 1, Episode 9

Random on Purpose (24 Nov. 2009)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 211 users  
Reviews: 1 user

A Navy chief petty officer dies of a slashed throat; he worked with a highly classified technology; Callen and company investigate. Abby, from Washington, DC, lends a hand, gets into a mess, and solves 15 murders, then G zaps the bad guy.


(as Steven De Paul)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Smith
Ted Brock
Gretchen Jenkins
Magda McEllon
Frank McEllon
Steampunk Barback


A Navy chief petty officer, Frank, dies of a slashed throat in his home; he worked with a highly classified technology with applications to submarines; Callen and company investigate. Frank's wife split and took their baby a month ago. Frank also worked with submarine technology before he enlisted; his patents in that field made him financially secure. From Washington, DC, Director Vance sends Abby, the punk-gothic lab techie, who has a unique theory that Frank was a victim of a serial killer, whom Abby calls The Phantom. G and Sam find the widow and her boyfriend, the latter of whom takes a short bike ride. Abby and Eric click, they go out on a date, and she disappears. G, Sam, and Kensi go undercover and put on quite a show; Eric sees Abby on video, then G and Sam see her in person; Sam mans a fire hose, and G zaps The Phantom. Abby solves 15 murders in as many hours; she next reports to Gibbs and McGee, who're on their way to rescue her. Written by DocRushing

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

24 November 2009 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Abbey Sciuto, performed by 'Pauley Perrete', is currently the only character that has appeared in JAG and subsequent spin offs. She appeared in "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown" in JAG, stars in NCIS. Now she's appears in "Random on Purpose." See more »


The victim is a CPO (Chief Petty Officer) that enlisted after 9/11. It would take at least 15 years to reach this rank, even on the fast track. As a degree'd engineer in sub technology, he would have been commissioned and probably be a full commander (O-5) at this point. See more »


Special Agent G. Callen: [just knocked him off a motorcycle] You hurt?
Ted Brock: Mm hmm.
Special Agent G. Callen: Good.
See more »


References NCIS (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Decent production quality, boring story, bad acting and disastrous characters but some creative ideas, underground but anecdotic elements, convincing and malicious Linda Hunt
12 December 2009 | by (France) – See all my reviews

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 mentioned 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, ecstasy 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.

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