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Why Liabilities Might Just Be The Saddest NCIS Episode

"NCIS" and its various spinoffs have never been afraid of tackling difficult subject matter. Due to the line of work the main cast becomes involved in, characters die all the time. Sometimes, the audience gets connected with someone who comes on their screen for years that it feels like losing a good friend when they leave the show. 

Most of the time, you can be confident the protagonists will solve the case and make the world a little bit better. But that doesn't mean the job doesn't come without sacrifices, and even though it hasn't been around as long as its parent show, "NCIS: Los Angeles" has been ruthless with some of its episodes. 

One of the most haunting moments from the series comes during Season 10, Episode 1, "To Live & Die in Mexico." In the previous episode, the team stumbled upon a burned body while investigating across the border. The premiere episode of Season 10 revealed the body belonged to Harley (Andrea Bordeaux). It's tough when these characters meet devastating ends, but one moment, in particular, may beat everything else out. After all, knowing what happened after the cameras stopped rolling makes one scene hard to review on rewatches.

Granger's goodbye

Since its third season, Assistant Director Owen Granger (Miguel Ferrer) had been a pivotal force on "NCIS: LA." He was stern and bold, but his teammates respected him, much like his cast members when the cameras weren't rolling. Then tragedy struck when Miguel Ferrer was diagnosed with throat cancer (via The Hollywood Reporter). Ferrer continued to film while contending with the disease in real life, and in Season 8, he finally said goodbye to the team for good. Granger left behind a note, saying how he wanted to spend his final days with his loved ones, enjoying life. While he was alluded to in other episodes, he was never seen again after that moment. 

That's what leads to arguably the saddest episode in the run for "NCIS: LA." Season 9, Episode 15, "Liabilities," has a moment where other characters confirm Granger has died. He spent his remaining days with his daughter, and one day, he was found sitting under a tree, peaceful. Granger's storyline functioned in tandem with the actor's real-life death as Ferrer passed away on January 19, 2017. Moments alluding to Granger are tough to watch in "Liabilities" and the Season 8 episodes he physically appeared in, knowing what transpired in reality. 

It isn't just an actor pretending to have cancer all that time. Those moments of fatigue and lightheadedness likely had a kernel of truth to them, and when the news of Granger's passing comes to light on "Liabilities," even the strongest of viewers would have a hard time not shedding a tear.