In the world of NCIS New Orleans, everyone is smart, but when it comes to working cases, some are more intelligent than others.
When most people think of New Orleans, they think of good food, good music, and a party atmosphere. While all of those elements make it into NCIS New Orleans, the show is able to infuse the culture of the city into a crime procedural. Because the series is a crime procedural, it features an intelligent cast of characters who spend their days solving seemingly impossible puzzles.
Ranking those individuals according to their intelligence might seem like an impossible task, but if we measure their intelligence according to their ability to actually solve a crime, it becomes a bit easier. Each of the main characters in the series has an impressive skill set, but some are actually more suited to the task at hand than others.
Laurel leads off the list because she’s the only person on it who doesn’t regularly solve crimes for a living. As the daughter of Dwayne Pride, she’s recurred since the very beginning of the series, and grown into a capable young woman. She has a decent head on her shoulders, making the decision not to pursue her father’s dream for her, but to figure out her own path.
Laurel has also shown promise as an investigator, despite not choosing that career path. She’s defended herself and others when targeted, is very observant, and has provided insight into cases her father works. Laurel hasn’t, however, actually put the pieces of mysteries together herself.
She only appears in the first two seasons of the series, and her short amount of screen time is primarily what lands her so low amongst the investigators of NCIS New Orleans. Brody is clearly ambitious; it’s frequently remarked in her early episodes that she became the youngest woman to lead her division. Despite that ambition, she has a lot of learning to do.
Brody spends much of the first season of the series learning tricks from Lasalle and Pride in the field. For all her climbing the ranks, she’s still the least experienced investigator. Her instincts also don’t often point her in the right direction, frequently causing questioning of her judgment.
Christopher LasalleWhen it comes to practical applications of skills, Lasalle would rank at the top. Give him some bungee cord and a rock, and he can find a way to stall a suspect at a racetrack. He’s great at thinking outside of the box and physically taking down a suspect, but when it comes to putting together all of the pieces of an investigation, his teammates outrank him.
Lasalle relies mostly on instinct instead of investigative prowess. In fact, he’s rarely the one to go through files or put together evidence on the series. He’s backup with a weapon or the person canvassing neighborhoods instead. He’s a solid agent, but not the best investigator.
Patton Plame is a computer genius, but he’s not usually at the center of an investigation. If this list was all about technical abilities, he’d be near the top.
Patton is often instrumental at getting into a suspect’s devices or secret files. He’s not just an accomplished hacker, however. He’s also been able to go undercover to help trap suspects and use his mathematical skills to assist in putting the pieces of puzzles together.
Hannah KhouryOne of the newer additions to the series, Hannah Khoury has a lot of experience in the intelligence field. She becomes the new team leader when Pride gets a promotion. Unfortunately, Hannah seems more like just another member of the team than she does a leader at most points. She’s not quite as adept at picking up puzzle pieces and putting them together as someone like Pride, which is why she is in the bottom half of the list.
She frequently analyzes her options, only to choose the wrong path at the last minute. Hannah is someone who needs just a bit more time learning from her fellow NCIS agents to understand that working a criminal investigation on a day-to-day basis is very different from being behind-the-scenes in intelligence gathering.
Like Patton, Loretta doesn’t often get to participate in investigations. Usually, she’s in the lab attending to the bodies of victims. On the rare occasion that she’s been active in investigations, like the season three takedown of Javier Garcia, she plays a backup role to the NCIS agents.
Loretta’s skills lie in deciphering just what happened to a person in the moments surrounding their deaths. She can explain all different manners of death, but she’s not the person putting together the why, or able to discern which suspect is the guilty party. Those skills are what typically solve the case, though her input is invaluable.
Pride is the team leader in the series, but he’s not the leader of the pack when it comes to intelligence. That might be a surprise for some fans, but his advice and “down-home wisdom” as his teammates call it, aren’t always what save the day.
Pride is the team leader in the series, but he’s not the leader of the pack when it comes to intelligence. That might be a surprise for some fans, but his advice and “down-home wisdom” as his teammates call it, aren’t always what save the day.Pride is very good at knowing which members of his team need to work on which areas of the case. He’s good at using his team to get results, but his team members are usually even better investigators than he is.
Sonya PercyLeading off the top three is an agent who no longer works for NCIS. Sonya Percy left the series in season four to take a job with the FBI instead.
Percy started her career with NCIS as a member of the ATF instead. She typically worked undercover, rounding up gang members, putting an end to cartels, and leaving a trail of apprehended criminals behind her. As a result of her work history with both weapons and illegal substances, Percy has knowledge about a variety of underground criminal activities. She also memorizes the NCIS training manual and retains information better than almost anyone else. Her capacity for learning means she’s someone who puts pieces together much faster than most.
Originally an FBI agent sent to investigate the NCIS team, Tammy Gregorio has proven time and again that she’s one of the best at her job. Whether she’s working alone or with a team, Gregorio is capable of putting the pieces of puzzles together quickly and efficiently.
She’s used to the by-the-book nature of the FBI when she first starts working with NCIS, which could have hindered her performance with the team. Instead, she embraces their adaptive nature and rolls with the punches. Gregorio not only thinks quickly in the field like Lasalle, but she also has the ability to perform well undercover like Percy. She’s also a profiler, her psychological training giving her a bit of an edge when she pursues her suspects.
Sebastian nabs the top spot not because he’s the pop culture nerd of the show, and not even because he’s the stereotypical lab tech when the show begins. Instead, he nabs the top spot because he’s the one NCIS agent who embodies the best of all aspects of the job.
Because his training is initially in lab work, he has an eye for the small details. He understands Loretta’s work as well as lab analysis. His interest in field work made him an agent in training, where he also began working with suspects directly, even working undercover before he officially became an agent. Sebastian is the one team member who can be placed in literally any situation and still work the case successfully.
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