So forget about the celebratory, single-malt, top-shelf scotch being poured. Fan-favorite Hetty (Linda Hunt) always was the operations manager on NCIS: Los Angeles. But then again, she almost was replaced last year by Nell. And now it seems that Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) is taking over. He seemed to relish bossing around Sam (LL Cool J) and Callen (Chris O’Donnell).
Linda Hunt is 76 and really hasn’t been much of a definitive factor over the show in the last three years. She’s listed in episodes, but most are for credit only. She’s not actually in them. During season 12, she spent most of the season doing remote work from her driveway. Hunt was at higher risk for Covid-19, so she didn’t come into the studio until the final episode. And only then, she did a quick scene with Nell and slipped away.
McRaney, who is 74, told TV Insider that he’s sticking around to help Hetty.
“That’s the overall idea, because Hetty was the one who brought him in ages and ages ago on a particular case,” McRaney said. “And so he and Hetty are old friends-slash-rivals, they have their disagreements and stuff, but when Hetty needed him, he came in.”
NCIS: Los Angeles fans were discussing the change in leadership during Sunday’s episode. One wrote on Twitter:
“I knew it! I knew Cranky Pants wasn’t going anywhere. Probably won’t see Hetty till the midpoint or end of the season. And I know we haven’t seen the last of Mia. Somehow, certain people seem to pop up again when connected to other cases.”
For those unfamiliar with all the show nicknames, Cranky Pants is Kilbride. He is a bit gruff as he prowls the office.
Another fan wrote: “Someone please tell Admiral Kilbride to take an xanax before he blows up his blood pressure!!! He can take a lesson from Hetty to keep calm.”
McRaney told TV Insider not much will change with Kilbride running the show.
“From my perspective, ” McRaney said. “A good commander would say to himself, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There may be a few cosmetic things that the Admiral might want to change, but why would he go in and want to radically change something that’s such a successful operation to begin with?
“The only thing that I would imagine is that people will take the Admiral’s directives a bit more seriously because now they are official orders. It’s not that he’s coming in and sort of lending hand. He is now the boss.”
Hunt, as Hetty, was a big part of the season 13 premiere, Subject 17. And we know her character is off in Syria, trying to clean up the mess she made while she was there on assignment last season. NCIS: Los Angeles show runner Scott Gemmill has said that the rest of the team would be called in to help settle matters on Hetty’s case when it goes sideways.
Plus, Callen has a former Russian asset tailing Hetty while she’s overseas. Hetty hasn’t left the show. Callen asked about her in Sunday’s episode.