‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Gerald McRaney Says Show Has ‘One of the Most Interesting Sets Ever’

by Lauren Boisvert

Gerald McRaney is having “so much fun” playing Admiral Kilbride on NCIS: Los Angeles. The actor recently told TV Insider about becoming Hetty’s replacement, as well as his experiences working on the show.

“This is the most fun I’ve had on a series since Simon & Simon,” said McRaney, referencing his time on the 1981 buddy-cop show, “And it is just fun every day I go to work.”

McRaney also noted the uniqueness of the set, saying, “It’s one of the most interesting sets ever, and I love it. The quirkiness of all of that stuff is appealing to me as an actor.” The Office of Special Projects is located in a “condemned” building; the inside is homey and bright, and it’s probably one of the most unique NCIS sets in the franchise. The team even conducts interrogations in an old boat shed.

“They’ve added a nice sort of deck area in back of the boatshed itself, where we’ve played a few scenes now,” said McRaney about the interrogation building. He admitted, “I don’t know if it’s not appealing to Kilbride as a character, but I love working there.”

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Why Kilbride is Sticking Around

McRaney also discussed why exactly Kilbride is taking over command of the OSP. With Hetty on a special mission overseas, Kilbride is there to lead the team in her absence.

“That’s the overall idea,” said McRaney, “Because Hetty was the one who brought him in ages and ages ago on a particular case. And so he and Hetty are old friends-slash-rivals, they have their disagreements and stuff, but when Hetty needed him, he came in.”

Linda Hunt has stated that she doesn’t want to leave her NCIS: Los Angeles character just yet; but it looks like she might be waiting until conditions are safer pandemic-wise before she returns to set. Until then, Kilbride is running the show.

McRaney explained the Hetty/Kilbride dynamic as “conflict, but not a disrespectful conflict.” The two butt heads and disagree in their practices, but at the end of the day they still respect each other. That’s why their scenes are so interesting; they have that level of disagreement and conflict between them that is a hair’s breadth away from exploding.

Kilbride Earns Sam and Callen’s Trust in Recent Episode

With Kilbride now leading the team, he can’t have his agents not trusting him. They were moments away from losing what little trust they had in him with the events of Sunday’s episode; Kilbride’s old friend was involved in arms dealing to a militia, and Kilbride wanted to handle it his way.

At the end of the episode, he surprised everyone by having his friend in handcuffs before they got to the scene. That goes a long way to establish trust, especially with the way he handled the case earlier; he clashed with Sam about it, which sowed doubt among the team. But, in the end, Kilbride proved that he can be trusted.