‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Does Major Casting Change Foreshadow Series Regular Leaving the Show?

by Matthew Wilson

Like the flagship show within the franchise, “NCIS: Los Angeles” is prepping to have a major change-up next season in regards to its cast.

The show is adding Gerald McRaney to its main cast. And some fans believe that could spell major doom for a fan favorite on the show. Could Linda Hunt’s Hetty Lange be leaving the show? Some believe the actor’s days on the show may be numbered. After all, it wouldn’t be “NCIS” without a major cast shakeup.

Hetty has been an important part of the dynamic on the show. But for much of Season 12, Hetty has been missing in action on the show. That’s in part due to real-world issues. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Hunt was among the most at risk and chose to step back from the role for her own safety. She only appeared in a limited capacity as Hetty.

Right now, it’s unknown if Hunt plans to resume the role for Season 13 as part of the main cast. Or is it possible McRaney may replace her while she take a more limited capacity in the series? Right now, there’s been no confirmation that Hunt plans to leave the series.

Gerald McRaney on ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’

McRaney plays Ret. Navy Admiral Hollace Kilbride on the show. It’s a role that McRaney appeared in a recurring capacity since 2014. But the actor is finally going to get his due on the show. For one, he had more screen time in Season 12 leading up to his main cast announcement.

“When you have an actor of Gerald McRaney’s caliber, you do everything you can to make sure you get him as often as possible,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” executive producer R. Scott Gemmill told Deadline. “Admiral Kilbride has been an esteemed part of our universe for seven years now and we look forward to viewers seeing him come in and shake up our ‘NCIS: LA’ world.”

McRaney first started working in the 1970s. Besides, “NCIS” he also appeared in a Emmy-winning turn on “This Is Us” in 2017. Right now, McRaney has even received endorsement from some of the cast. For instance, former Renee Felice Smith supported the actor in an interview with  TV Insider.

“Mack is an absolute legend,” Smith said. “He is a bulletproof scene partner. He does not mess up. Iron sharpens iron. He’s witty, he’s prepared, He is everything you want in a scene partner and I would work with him for the rest of my days. Maybe we should go off and do ‘NCIS: New York’ or something together because he is just unmatched. I really am very fond of Mack and we have great conversations off-camera.”