NCIS: Los Angeles Showrunner Explains Why Season 9 Ended On That Huge Cliffhanger

ncis los angeles callen season 10 premiere
(Image credit: Image courtesy of CBS)

NCIS: Los Angeles is no stranger to episodes that leave audiences hanging from the end of one season to the beginning of the next, and the fates of some of the biggest characters are often in question. The Season 9 finale upped the ante by placing all four main characters in an SUV and then blowing it up on an unsanctioned mission south of the border. Now, only weeks before the Season 10 premiere, showrunner R. Scott Gemmill has explained why NCIS: Los Angeles went with that Season 9 cliffhanger:

I wasn't sure who was going to be coming back, so we figured we'd see where the chips will fall after contract negotiations!

Instead of waiting to find out which of the four leads would successfully renegotiate their contracts and which would take their leave of NCIS: Los Angeles, R. Scott Gemmill just went ahead and put them all in mortal jeopardy. On the one hand, the cliffhanger meant that fans had to wait for clues about what's to come and whether their favorites survived the initial blast. On the other hand, the explosion meant that Gemmill could kill off any characters whose actors decided to depart and thus spare fans the situation that is going to impact the next season of Chicago Fire due to one actor's decision to leave after the finale aired.

Fortunately, photos from the Season 10 premiere and a recent trailer proved that Callen, Sam, Kensi, and Deeks all survive the SUV explosion (although Hidoko's fate is still a mystery). The description of the premiere -- forebodingly called "To Live and Die in Mexico" -- states that Deeks will be unconscious in the episode, but we now know that he'll be far more injured than he would have been if he'd just taken a quick conk to the head that knocked him out of commission for a few scenes. He'll suffer a traumatic brain injury. At least we know there will be at one happy twist for Deeks in Season 10!

R. Scott Gemmill went on his comments to TVLine to reveal that Deeks won't be the only one in trouble, as "the others suffer injuries that are certainly life-threatening as well." Callen, Sam, and Kensi will all at least be conscious in the aftermath of the explosion. That said, the trailer reveals Callen having breathing problems and not looking too great overall, with a worried Sam at his side, so my money is on Callen being in the most trouble after Deeks. As if the injuries aren't enough, the agents are still being hunted by the cartel that tried to blow them up!

Their escape from Mexico won't be easy, and the way they left on their unsanctioned mission means that they'll need all the help they can get from a certain new character once they make it home. Could that big returning guest star be an ally as well? Find out when NCIS: Los Angeles premieres its tenth season on Sunday, September 30 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS. For more important dates in the not-too-distant future (including those for NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans), take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).