‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Showrunner Reveals Hetty Actor Linda Hunt’s Chances for Season 13

by Suzanne Halliburton

NCIS: Los Angeles fans cheered during the final moments of the season finale Sunday night as Hetty slipped back into her office.

Hetty, who is portrayed by Linda Hunt, is the tough woman of mystery in the NCIS: Los Angeles office. She’s small in stature (4-foot-10), but she’s brilliant as well as intimidating. Her bluntness also is appealing. One character compared her to Yoda. But she disappeared for most of season 12.

So will Hetty be back for season 13? She did tell Nell, who’d been her temporary replacement: “I’m up to my ass in alligators on this one. But I had to come so I could wish you luck.”

The answer is yes. Hetty will be back. That’s according to show runner R. Scott Gemmill, who talked to TVLine.com about Linda Hunt’s role on NCIS: Los Angeles.

Hunt Wasn’t On Assignment with NCIS: Los Angeles. She Needed to Quarantine

Hunt, as Hetty, missed most of season 12 out of necessity. She’s 76 and was at higher risk of contracting diseases. The scenes she did shoot were mostly from her driveway. In the show, Hetty would check in with the NCIS: Los Angeles office via remote, explaining she was in a war zone. Meanwhile, Nell (Renee Felice Smith) was Hetty’s in-office replacement.

But Gemmill said Hunt now is fully vaccinated. That’s why she could shoot the NCIS: Los Angeles finale on set. And she’ll be free to shoot season 13, too.

“You normally wouldn’t ever write one of your No 1 through 6 actors out for four or five episodes, because you couldn’t afford to,” Gemmill said. “But when they have to for whatever reason, you try and jump at that because that’s something you don’t normally get to do, and you build that into the story. Like, “Where is this character?” Obviously, Hetty was away, but we want there to be a real reason, and we’ll probably revisit that next season.”

So in other words, viewers eventually will find out why Hetty was “up to her ass in alligators.”

However, the show also will have to answer for the departure of two major characters. Nell, at the end of Sunday’s finale, quit her job to join Eric (Barrett Foa) at a new cyber security company in Tokyo. And Linda Hunt also had questions about her role in season 13, according to Gemmill. There is no temporary replacement for her anymore.

“The minute I saw her, she’s like, “Let’s talk about next season,'” Gemmill said. “So I think that as tough as last year was, for a lot of reasons, she, like the rest of us, is starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel and feels good about coming back to work.”