‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: How Eric Christian Olsen Wrote Landmark 250th Episode

by Suzanne Halliburton

Eric Christian Olsen, the ever-quipping Marty Deeks, wrote another episode for NCIS: Los Angeles this season.

And coincidentally, Daniela Ruah, his TV wife and real-life sister-in-law, is directing the episode. That’ll be her second of season 13. We don’t know many details on what this Olsen-penned episode will be about, only that it’s No. 19 of the season.

But we can look back to the first time Olsen did more than play Deeks on NCIS: Los Angeles. Two years ago, he wrote an episode called Mother. It was very heavy on the background of Hetty (Linda Hunt) and Callen (Chris O’Donnell). And it was very complementary to the season 13 premiere Subject 17, which ran Oct. 10.

In an interview back in 2019 with cartermatt.com, Olsen said he pitched the idea and plot themes to showrunner Scott Gemmill two years before.

“I knew that this was something I wanted to do,” Olsen said. “I think that muscle, as you know, was one of the favorite parts of my education — creative writing. Then, you get your job and you kind of lose that.

“We really get into the trenches with character, theme and story,” said the NCIS: Los Angeles fan favorite. “That gets you reignited with passion about storytelling. I thought that there were some opportunities to explore things with the characters that we really hadn’t, and I wanted to do that.”

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Olsen Explored NCIS: Los Angeles Plotline about Hetty and Callen

On episode 250, Hetty encounters one of the young men she helped groom. Hetty helped train Ahkos Laos (Carl Beukes) when he was younger. But after he was used to kill people, he sought revenge against Hetty and others.

“He was just … looking for the same things all of us look for,” Hetty told the agents. “A home, an identity, something to keep the darkness at bay.”

Then Hetty told Callen: “How do you instill morality when you’re not even sure if you still have your own? He was right about one thing: I failed him.” Then she told Callen she’s worried that she’s failed him.

“And we’re just waiting for the pennies to drop.”

Now, flash forward to the NCIS: Los Angeles season 13 premiere. Pennies are starting to drop as Callen figured out that Hetty knew him way earlier in his life than he originally thought. In fact, she had him tested when he was in the foster system.

Back when he first wrote the episode, Olsen said he had about 15 others kicking around in his head. But he wanted his first try to be about Hetty and her complicated, multi-layered back story.

“It’s a heavy (Hetty) Linda-driven episode that really taps into the emotional repercussions of a life of violence,” Olsen said. “There are some pretty existential crisis moments for her, but also for Callen.”

This Sunday’s NCIS: Los Angeles episode is called Indentured. Similar to last Sunday’s episode, this one feels ripped from the headlines.

The plot summary, provided by CBS: “Sam and Kilbride clash when a case involving an arms dealer responsible for the slaughter of ATF agents leads them to a well-connected colonel and friend of Kilbride, accused of supplying militia groups with guns. Also, Kensi and Fatima go undercover at a rehab facility to question the arms dealer’s girlfriend.”