‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Chris O’Donnell is Proud to Provide ‘Escapism’ to Fans of Show

by Suzanne Halliburton

Face it. We need TV to escape. A star of NCIS: Los Angeles is happy his show lets fans check out from reality for at least an hour every week.

Of course, NCIS: Los Angeles gives us a fictional version of some of the roughest stuff in the world. Fighting terrorists and busting criminals isn’t frothy fare. But you can watch the show and compartmentalize your problems for 60 minutes. So spend your time with Sam, Callen, Deeks, Kensi and Hetty.

Chris O’Donnell, who plays G Callen on the show, spoke with CBS Los Angeles back in March about some of the issues the series had filming during a pandemic. But the actors and production staff pushed through. Everybody needed to escape reality, whether you were acting or watching.

“I feel like we’re doing our part,” said the star of NCIS: Los Angeles. “It is escapism for people, and we all have certain things in life that is comfort food or it’s a security blanket or it’s something that just gives us a sense of normal life. Having fresh episodes for the audience, even with the extra lengths we had to go to produce is a great feeling.”

O’Donnell added: “It’s our job. It’s what we do. Everyone has been playing such incredible roles and trying to help people survive. If this is the way we can help people get through the day, then we’re happy we can chip in in some way.”

NCIS: Los Angeles Will Explore More Details Involving Hetty/Callen Backstory

O’Donnell’s Callen discovered some details about himself this past season. His character was born in Romania to Russian and Romanian parents. Hetty (Linda Hunt) knew his mother from when Callen was a little boy. Hetty was his mother’s CIA handler. But after his mother was killed, Callen was raised in foster homes. He got into trouble as a teenager. Hetty discovered him and helped him turn his life around. He enlisted in the military, worked in the CIA and then became an agent with NCIS: Los Angeles.

This past season he learned from others that Hetty had “groomed” him his entire life for the job. There probably will be more to this plotline in season 13. Linda Hunt, who plays Hetty, didn’t have much of a role in season 12. She’s 76 and because of her age, she was at higher risk for severe Covid-19. So she quarantined at her home. When Hetty appeared in season 12, it was always by remote because she was calling from an undisclosed war zone. Hunt did those scenes from her driveway.

Scott Gemmill, the NCIS: Los Angeles showrunner, told TV Insider last week that we’ll learn about Hetty’s season 12 mission in season 13. The team will be needed to help her.

Production for season 13 started in July. The season premiere is Oct. 10. So stick with Outsider for more show details.