‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: How Much Does LL Cool J Make Per Episode?

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)

Rapper turned actor LL Cool J has starred on NCIS: Los Angeles since its debut episode in 2009. The show has had considerable success, especially for a spinoff series. Therefore it should be no surprise that the original cast member is raking in quite the salary for his work on the popular CBS drama 13 seasons into the show.

LL Cool J, real name James Todd Smith, plays the role of former Navy Seal and current NCIS special agent Sam Hanna. His character has been a staple of the crime drama for more than a decade. Hanna has faced unimaginable challenges on duty and at home over the years. He tragically lost his wife in Season 8, had to sell his house, and continues to raise his children alone. The special agent has become a layered character through the years, and that’s why so many fans gravitate to Hanna.

As the lead character on NCIS: Los Angeles, Smith is well compensated for his work on the series. According to Celebrity Net Worth, CBS allegedly pays the actor a whopping $350,000 per episode. If we take last season as an example, the show had 18 episodes in Season 12. If you do the math, Smith earned over $6 million for his work last season. Specifically, he made $6,300,000. Not bad at all, Special Agent Hanna.

That said, the network nor Smith himself has confirmed his contract with CBS. Other sources like Networth Bro have stated that the rapper makes $150,000 per episode. However, that confirmed contract dates back to 2010, only one year after NCIS: Los Angeles‘ premiere. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if Smith’s contract is closer to $350,000 a decade later as reported.

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Reveals Love of Filming Fight Scenes

Fans of NCIS: Los Angeles know the drama of the CBS series well. While the plotlines and character arcs are what keep fans invested, let’s be honest, the action scenes are awesome as well. And it’s not just viewers who love the action. LL Cool J loves filming the show’s action scenes just as much as you enjoy watching them.

In a 2017 interview with Seat42f, the actor-rapper opened up about his favorite scenes to shoot. While sharing his opinion on the matter, he revealed how much he loves filming those kinds of scenes.

“That’s what I do. Absolutely, 100%. Dodge bullets, guns, cars, planes, trains, automobiles,” LL Cool J said with a laugh. “That’s what we got to do to make the show fun.”

“I like the combination. I think anything that you do too much becomes conventional, so it’s nice to see it always switching it up. I love big explosions. I love intimate fight scenes. I love busting through windows, doors,” the NCIS: Los Angeles star shared. “It varies. It really varies. It really varies because to make television interesting, you have to switch it up. You have to do the unexpected. There has to be some different stuff happening, because if not, if I’m just running down the street with a gun every week with a ripped shirt, that ain’t good enough.”