Linda Hunt is back on NCIS: Los Angeles!
On Monday, August 30, Entertainment Tonight shared the first photo of Hunt as Hetty on the set of the upcoming season. In the photo, Hetty is seen in deep conversation or scolding Callen. She will fully return on the show’s season premiere episode.
You’ll recall that Hunt was only seen sporadically during Season 12. This was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With her older age and health, she remained in quarantine. The crew even shot her brief cameos at her own home, outside in her driveway.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep everyone safe, and Linda, you know, is a little extra-special in terms of how we have to look out for her,” showrunner R. Scott Gemmill told TV Line.
Luckily, she was able to send off Nell (Renee Felice Smith) in person during the Season 12 finale.
“Linda had both her vaccines and came back, and she was so happy to be back,” he added. “She had been gone for so long, she was thrilled to be back on set.”
Ironically, they were able to use a previously created storyline for the final season 12 episode. They were going to use the finale that they had originally intended for last season. The plans were bumped due to COVID-19 and the pause in the entertainment industry. Because of the traumatic year, the show’s creators didn’t want to put them through any heartbreak this past year.
‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Says Goodbye
Renee Felice Smith (Nell Jones) and Barrett Foa (Eric Beale) have departed the show. Smith will be concentrating on creative endeavors. She recently released her first ever children’s book that was inspired by her dog. Meanwhile, Foa will be still acting, only on stage, in the theater.
Thankfully, they got to say goodbye to Hunt before they departed. Nell was able to share a tender moment with Hetty before she left. The moment was just as incredible in real life. Smith believes that Hunt is just a “magical creature.”
“To have her back was really quite emotional,” Smith said. “She was essentially sidelined by the pandemic, as you could imagine, so to even see her in the flesh, let alone share a scene with her.”
Smith described Hunt as being a “gift” and that they shared a bittersweet “goodbye for now”. She described Hunt’s return to the NCIS: Los Angeles set as “glowing” and “crackling”.
“She was like a kid in a candy shop,” she recalled. “Whenever I’m in a scene with Linda, I’m a student. She really is such a master of the craft, and I’m a little sponge. I’m soaking it all up, and really, truly watching her work has been the most educational process for me. I just feel like truly I’ve been attending the MasterClass with one of the best, one of the greats, and I’m so grateful for my friendship with her as well. She’s my bud. She texts me lots of emojis.”
Season 13 of NCIS: Los Angeles premieres on CBS on Sunday, October 10.