Hetty Lang is a diminutive, but almost-omnipotent character on NCIS: Los Angeles. Linda Hunt plays Hetty to perfection.
Of the current cast, only three actors — LL Cool J, Chris O’Donnell and Daniela Ruah — have appeared in more episodes than Hunt. Those three have 280 episodes on their NCIS: Los Angeles resume. Hunt has 279. But that’s a deceiving figure because Hetty hasn’t actually appeared in those episodes. Rather, her name is listed for credit only per IMDB, especially since 2018.
But this season could be very different. According to all the previews and hints, Hetty returns in all her powerful glory. It seems she’s had her fingers in everything.
Take this sneak peak for Sunday’s NCIS: Los Angeles premiere. She and Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) get in a discussion about travel. But pay attention to the conversation. Kilbride reveals lots more.
In NCIS: Los Angeles Clip Kilbride Tells Hetty She Will Be Sacrificed for ‘Diplomacy’
The NCIS: Los Angeles tease begins as Kilbride walks into Hetty’s office. She’s sitting at her desk. He towers over. Kilbride says, “you will never believe what just came across my desk.”
Hetty acts like she has no idea and cracks a joke (we think). “If it was a large cockroach with only one antennae, his name is Sheldon and he’s become some sort of office mascot. “
Kilbride slaps back the verbal folly: “I put him through my shredder last week. No one told me he had a name. No, these were travel orders. Do you think you’re going back?”
Hetty says she has to go back. FYI, Hetty was in Syria all last season. They’re bickering about travel there.
So Kilbride responds: “I think somebody has to, but I’m not so sure it has to be you. You made a bloody mess of things over there the last time. I will sign the order. But if you make it worse, you will be sacrificed for the sake of diplomacy.
“You do something really stupid and find yourself in a cage, again, you will be disavowed. “
Hetty quips “well, that’s really terribly encouraging.”
Callen Will Delve Into Hetty’s Impact on His Life
Last season, Hunt, 76, missed most of NCIS: Los Angeles because she was more at risk of Covid-19. She filmed most of her appearances from her driveway. She was in some mysterious war zone, calling in updates, remotely.
And during season 12, Kilbride was telling people in the office, “Hetty’s not coming back… I think it’s time we accept this mission she’s on may very well be her last.”
NCIS: Los Angeles showrunner Scott Gemmill said more will be revealed about Hetty’s misadventures. She’ll need help from most of the agents to help solve the issue. So count on Hunt being more involved this season.
Plus, Callen (O’Donnell) will be exploring how much of an impact Hetty really had on his life. Like Callen, Hetty also was born in Romania. She knew Callen’s mother since she joined the CIA. Hetty also was Callen’s mother’s handler. Fans know that Callen’s mother was killed and that he grew up in foster care. Hetty rescued him from juvenile detention and put him on a better path.
We’ll find out more this season with the show seeing a lot more of Hetty.