‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Chris O’Donnell Remembers Zany Day He Directed Wife, Her Friends on Show

by Suzanne Halliburton
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Chris O’Donnell has portrayed G Callen on NCIS: Los Angeles for 299 episodes. You’d think he had solid job security, but he recalled this week how his wife almost got him fired. It seems Caroline O’Donnell and her crew didn’t understand the assignment.

Now, we’re assuming O’Donnell probably was joking with Stephen Colbert Friday night when the NCIS: Los Angeles star made an appearance on the Late Show. His bosses had no plans to fire him. But after his wife and her friends appeared in an episode as extras, he wondered if he’d get a pink slip.

O’Donnell, besides playing Callen, also has directed three episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. And it was during one of these directing gigs that he allowed his wife, Caroline, to talk her way into the episode.

In Key NCIS: Los Angeles Scene, O’Donnell’s Wife and Friends Laughed as They Ran for Their Lives

This is what O’Donnell told Colbert.

“My wife and her friends, they said they wanted to be on since I was the director, you can’t say no,” O’Donnell recalled. “So I said OK.”

The women had one job. They were supposed to be sitting at a table in a restaurant. A gunman comes in and begins shooting. They were supposed to flee. O’Donnell, as part of his directing responsibilities, checked video of the scene to see if it needed to be redone.

“I’m watching the playback after we did the take because there were 100s of people there,” O’Donnell said. “There was one group of girls, they come right through and they’re still laughing hysterically. And they’re still carrying their champagne, their real champagne that they had ordered themselves. The DP comes in and says ‘they’re all laughing.’ And I’m like ‘Yeah, I know, that’s my wife. We’re going to handle that.'”

O’Donnell said he told his wife and her friends, “Guys, you’re going to get me fired, so you need to cooperate here. Maybe, when the guy starts firing the gun, it’s not that funny. That’s all.”

Two of O’Donnell’s Sons Played Younger Versions of Callen

O’Donnell and his wife got married in 1997. They are the parents of five children who range in age from 7 to 22. And all but the oldest son, Christopher, have appeared on NCIS: Los Angeles. Christopher was supposed to be on the show, but the pandemic put the part on hold.

Caroline and youngest daughter, Maeve, appeared together in the 2015 episode, “Command and Control.”

Two sons — Charlie and Finley — played younger versions of Callen during flashbacks to the character’s childhood. And daughter Lily portrayed a young Amy Callen. G Callen’s dead sister.

All but one member of the O’Donnell family has appeared on NCIS: Los Angeles. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Check Episode No. 300 to See If Callen Gets Engaged

O’Donnell and the rest of the NCIS: Los Angeles cast are hyping their 300th episode, which runs Sunday night. It’s called “Work and Family.” There are no other O’Donnell’s but Chris who will be in this special hour.

We know from the buildup to the episode that Callen wants to make a life change. He wants to ask Anna, his girlfriend, to marry him. As part of Sunday’s episode, Callen asks Arkady, Anna’s father, for permission to marry her. Arkady says no. But we hear that’s not the final word on whether this on-again, off-again couple tie the knot. You can read more episode previews here and here.