‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Has Momentous Finish in Ratings After Jaw-dropping Finale

by Suzanne Halliburton

NCIS: Los Angeles, with its warm, yet shocking finale, finished the season the same way it ushered it in. The show posted a huge audience.

NCIS: Los Angeles, which finished its 12th season Sunday night, picked up its second-highest audience of the year. Ratings revealed that the show had an audience of 6.320 million. That’s the biggest audience since the season opener, which drew 6.349 million.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the premiere of season 12 was pushed to November, so fans were anxious to see the next adventures of Sam, Callen, Deeks, Nell and Kensi, et al in the LA bureau.

But Sunday’s numbers also revealed that the series also could end on a high note, in terms of audience numbers. There were 18 episodes in this pandemic-shortened season. And five of them surpassed 6 million in terms of audience. However, the last time NCIS: Los Angeles cleared 6 million was the Valentine’s Day episode.

There were some rumbles that CBS could shut down the L.A. franchise. After all, the network canceled NCIS: New Orleans. It had its series finale right after NCIS: Los Angeles Sunday night, drawing 5.4 million. It was its biggest audience of the year.

Only Downside for NCIS: Los Angeles Ratings Was Slip in Key Demo

About the only downside of the Sunday finale for LA was a decrease in the key demo of viewers aged 18 to 49. NCIS: Los Angeles ticked down to .6. It started the season at .8. This demo is considered most appealing to advertisers. But for context, the rating had hovered around .6 for much of the season.

The finale said good-bye to two long-time NCIS: Los Angeles characters — Nell and Eric.

The show’s twitter account posted:

“Here’s looking at you, Wonder Twins. Let’s hear it for Nell and Beale, their invaluable roles on the NCISLA Ops team, and their exciting new adventures together!”

The season 12 NCIS: Los Angeles finale threw in a smidge of everything. But show runner R. Scott Gemmill told TVLine.com he wanted to keep things light and moving. So fans got to see as a Russian gang kidnapped Deeks on the beach, then took him to a drive-thru for fast food. The gang didn’t want to hurt Deeks. Rather, their dead boss wanted Deeks to take over the crime business.

The finale’s main crime concerned who killed a dolphin and why was the dolphin chipped by the Russian military. Turns out, the dolphin’s killer was connected to the Russian gang. And it was all an accident.

NCIS: Los Angeles hyped the return of Hetty. She was back in her office for the final moments to close out the episode. Proud dad Sam got to see his son fly overhead as he took an aviation fighter pilot exam. Callen complimented Sam for being a terrific father.

And Nell and Eric decided to move to Tokyo, together. They drove off into the sunset in Eric’s expensive new sports car. Fatima told her heart-breaking backstory to Roundtree.

Obviously, it all made for an attractive mix for NCIS: Los Angeles fans.