This was the struggle for Kevin Simms (Kurt Yaeger) on tonight’s NCIS: New Orleans episode, one in which the character struggled to fit in with most of the disabled men and women around him. He lost his leg, but still wanted to work with the New Orleans Police and wanted to continue to do some of that same business. In a lot of ways he can, but it’s going to be different and life is going to be different. He had to figure that out, while also working with Patton Plame to solve the murder of his old friend Nick Taylor.
When Taylor was shot in front of Patton, he clearly took it personally. How could he not? This is a guy he credited for helping to save his life and helping him understand his own reality. Losing him (especially in a horrific drive-by shooting) was a hard thing for him to swallow. He saw his friend die and he was intent on getting to the bottom of it. We saw Patton in the field more in this episode than we have in some time, as he worked closely to piece together what was really going on — a scheme in which disabled men and women were being used as carriers for government secrets courtesy of a man named Reed. He found out about an inappropriate relationship Taylor had with his physical therapist and used that as blackmail; from there, he was able to hide information in plain sight. Patton explained it best within this episode — the disabled are often ignored. They are the ghosts of society, and because nobody takes a close look at them, it was an easy plan for Reed and his men to orchestrate.
Of course, it was also a plan that completely fell apart by the end of the episode. After one incredible shootout scene, Reed was eventually found with a gun pointed right at Simms. Patton had to basically get through to both Kevin and Reed at the same time, and stall the two from shooting anyone until Pride and reinforcements arrived.
This episode (entitled “In Plain Sight”) was about acceptance, but it was also a celebration of what makes us unique. For so much of the episode Simms held himself in a higher regard than the other men and women in wheelchairs around him. He was confident that he’d regain his ability to walk and was willing to do whatever he possibly could in order to make that happen. Determination is good, but so is understanding that being in a wheelchair is not the end of your life. Patton helped him to see that and by the end of the episode, it feels like the two were able to forge a friendship. Whether or not we see this guy again remains to be seen, but it was nice for Kevin to make a bond with Patton just like Patton was able to make a bond with Taylor so many years back.
NCIS: New Orleans season 5 episode 18 brought out a great performance from Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, especially when he demonstrated how Patton can be a warrior, a tech guru, and also so much more. This is a guy who doesn’t let anything stop him and seeing this play out on television is inspiring. While not every Patton episode is centered around just his disability, we think that there are a lot of viewers out there who could take something from this and start to feel inspired to move forward.
On a personal note, we can even relate somewhat to how Simms feels given some of our struggles with vision, including being blind in one eye and having incredibly low vision in the other. It’s a hard thing to accept the thing that makes you different given that sometimes, you want nothing more than to feel just like everyone else. Yet, over time you do start to realize that what makes you different makes you stand out and rather than being down on yourself over it, you can try and find a way to use that to pay things forward and help other people who are in that same place.
For some more news when it comes to NCIS: New Orleans, including a preview for what’s next…
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