‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Premiere May Hint at Hetty’s Death

by Suzanne Halliburton

Say it isn’t so. Hetty is dead? When NCIS: Los Angeles kicks off season 14 tonight, a fan favorite character may not be with the team anymore.

Tonight’s premiere is “Game of Drones.” And the CBS plot tease says “the NCIS team searches for a suspect and their motive following the bombing of a large facility where military combat drones are assembled. Also, Callen and Kilbride get troubling news about a body found in Syria.”

That body may be Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt), who hasn’t been seen on the show since the NCIS: Los Angeles season 13 premiere this time a year ago. Writers created a storyline that had Hetty leave for Syria after Callen (Chris O’Donnell) confronted her about a secret CIA program that targeted foster children for future spies. Callen was “subject 17” in Hetty’s program.

Callen (Chris O’Donnell) confronted Hetty (Linda Hunt) about a special CIA program in the NCIS: Los Angeles season 13 premiere a year ago. Hunt hasn’t been on screen since then. (Robert Voets/CBS)

NCIS: Los Angeles show runner R. Scott Gemmill has explained that Callen wants Hetty to attend his wedding to Anna. So we don’t think she died in Syria. Gemmill told Parade that “Hetty’s story continues.” But then again, the body supposedly matches Hetty’s very distinct description.

However, Daniela Ruah, who portrays Kensi Blye, offered no clues when she talked to Parade.

“I think Scott keeps that in his own mind pretty tightly wrapped,” Ruah said when asked about Hetty. “I think what I am allowed to say is that a body is found in Syria, somewhere around Hetty’s last location. And we have to try and explore and find out what that’s all about. But I don’t have a future to be able to tease to you because I don’t know.”

Here’s a scene from “Game of Drones” with Kensi and Rountree (Caleb Castille). (Michael Yarish/CBS)

CBS has released details for the first three episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. After the premiere, there’s no whiff of Hetty in the plot teases. Linda Hunt is 77. The Covid-19 pandemic has kept her from working on set for the past two seasons. In season 12, Hunt taped from her driveway as the show explained she was making contact from some faraway battle field. Hunt came back for that season’s finale and then appeared in the season 13 premiere.

So what else is going on with NCIS: Los Angeles? Remember that the show now has a new time. CBS moved it back an hour, so tune in live at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central to see your favorite characters. And we know fans have been anxious for the premiere. It’s the last of the three NCIS franchises to start their season. NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i premiered Sept. 19. Both shows are now through three episodes.