‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Top-Rated Episode This Season Revealed Kilbride Has Skills, Secrets

by Suzanne Halliburton

Did you know that NCIS: Los Angeles fans preferred one episode over most any other in season 13. The plot touched on every character. Yet the hour mostly revealed boss details about retired Admiral Hollace Kilbride.

Gerald McRaney has portrayed Kilbride on NCIS: Los Angeles since 2014. He always was the cranky, sarcastic type who could slice through any character with just a few stinging words. But in season 13, the show elevated Kilbride to full-time cast, replacing Linda Hunt’s Hetty as boss of the LA office.

The users of the online database IMDB.com graded “Divided We Fall,” which ran Nov 7, with an 8.3 on a 10-point scale. It was the highest grade of the season, with the sentimental finale tying the score last month. More than half the users gave it a 9 or a 10.

One NCIS: Los Angeles fan wrote:

“How refreshing. See how good a show can be when there’s no (virtue) signal(ing). A breath of fresh air. A decent storyline. An interesting story. Really not much to add, just decent TV.”

So to refresh your memory, here’s the plot tease for the NCIS: Los Angeles episode: “When an NCIS mission to protect a compromised undercover agent goes completely sideways, the agents are individually interrogated to find out what really happened. Also, Kilbride must make a difficult decision.”

Sandrine Holt portrayed double agent Laura Song on NCIS: Los Angeles Nov. 11. (CBS ©2021)

The episode was told, mostly in flashback. And here’s how it unfolded:

Laura Song was the compromised undercover agent. Kilbride sent Callen and Sam to fetch her and take her to a fortified safe house. The two agents found her in a mall parking garage. Most thought she was a widowed art dealer with a daughter in college. But she was an operative for the U.S. government investigating the Chinese. Kilbride discovered her when Laura enlisted in the Navy decades ago. He believed she was one of the best operatives out there. And Laura also knew Hetty. When Sam and Callen got Laura back to the safehouse, Laura was happy to bring up Hetty.

Meanwhile, Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) picked up Lily, Laura’s daughter, and brought her to the boathouse.

But right off the bat, we know Laura Song died. Did the Chinese kill her? ONI Inspector General Akhil Ali interviewed each agent about the details and viewers watched what happened in flashbacks.

First, we saw Laura pouring herself an adult beverage at the safehouse. But wait. Someone scrambled the communication systems and shut off the power. Sam and Callen wanted Laura in the panic room, but she refused to go in.

Chinese operatives came to rescue Laura Song on this NCIS: Los Angeles episode. Callen (Chris O’Donnell) pulls his weapon. (Ron Jaffe/CBS)

Then, we see a masked man drop from the ceiling into the hallway. A bomb blew up the front door. Someone rolled a grenade into the room where Callen and Sam moved Laura.

So Laura runs into Fatima and Rountree in the elevator. She escapes. but it looks like she was trying to save the two agents. Eventually, Laura is found dead in front of the elevator.

What happened? That would be Kilbride. He never told his agents that Laura’s cover wasn’t compromised. He found out she was a double agent and a traitor. And that was classified, so he wasn’t going to tell them, leaving the agents to think it was their fault Laura died.

“If they have a great need to wallow in their angst,” Kilbride said. “Who am I to stand in their way.”

Kilbride initially said he found Laura dead by the elevator. That, too, was a lie. He shot her and he had a good reason. But it’s all classified. Later, when he was alone in his office, he pulled out a photo of Laura from a leather folder. She obviously meant something to him. Then, in flashback, you see what really happened to Laura.

She was trying to escape the safehouse when Kilbride came in. Laura told Kilbride “you didn’t choose me, I chose you. You were the perfect mark, a man with a broken family, wanting a second chance.”

Laura tried to shoot Kilbride. But he was the quicker draw. And yes, that’s classified as well. Want to check out the entire Outsider recap? Click it here.