HomeEntertainment‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Callen’s Story Surfaces As He Is Revealed As Subject 17

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Callen’s Story Surfaces As He Is Revealed As Subject 17

by Suzanne Halliburton
Robert Voets/CBS ©2021

NCIS: Los Angeles fans, Callen just discovered a big detail about his childhood. He’s been on Hetty’s radar since he was eight, when he was put through a series of spy tests.

In fact, Hetty kept old files of all sorts of foster kids, identified only by number. As the NCIS: Los Angeles season 13 premiere opened, Callen (Chris O’Donnell) turned off the security cameras in the archive room and started searching through some old-school filing cabinets. He found a Subject 17 file and figured out it was about him. There were no names, but his birthday was listed.

And by the way, Hetty (Linda Hunt) received a notification that there was a security breach. It didn’t matter that Callen flipped off the cameras.

Callen woke up Sam (LL Cool J) to show him the files. Sam wanted no part of that. He told Callen he didn’t want to end his career. But Callen kept pushing. He quoted a CIA motto, the Bible verse John 8:32. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Callen said he only wanted the truth.

Then later, Callen and Sam started discussing Anna, his old girlfriend, and Katya, another Russian spy. He remembered that the Russians trained them starting when they were in their teens. And he wondered if he was in a similar training program run by Hetty, who then was in the CIA.

Next Up For Callen’s NCIS: Los Angeles List — Kilbride

And Callen found Kilbride, who was at target practice, to ask him about the files. He showed Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) and asked him what he knew. Kilbride quipped “who am I, Carnac the Magnificent?”

Callen raised his voice, asking Kilbride if Hetty ran the program. And that was a bad move on his part.

“Did you hit your head or something!” Kilbride barked. “You don’t give orders, you follow them!” He said the information was classified, but he could ask Hetty. When Callen asked about Hetty’s upcoming trip, Kilbride said she was going “to a very dark hole in a prison unless some foreign despot decides to keep her as a pet.”

Callen reminded Kilbride of a conversation he had with him (this was back in NCIS: Los Angeles season 12). Kilbride told Callen that Hetty “created” him.

And then NCIS: Los Angeles got even more revealing. Callen found Hetty. He kept peppering her with questions. “Am I Subject 17?” Hetty told him “you shouldn’t have done this.”

And then Hetty tried to play coy. “The truth is, the truth is a fickle thing. … Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.” She told Callen not to take that tone with her. But finally, she confirmed, yes, he was Subject 17.

In the final scene, Callen read his file. But he heard it in Hetty’s voice. He learned he “showed an exceptional memory.” Hetty noted that given “proper education … there’s no telling what he could achieve.”

NCIS: Los Angeles fans freaked out on social media.

Another wrote: “OMG G CALLEN IS REALLY SUBJECT 17 #NCISLA.” Or how about this comment: “Callen needs to talk a therapist ASAP!”

Actually, Callen carried on with Sam as he tried to track down Joelle.