NCIS: Los Angeles' Showrunner Has Bad News For Fans Of Linda Hunt's Hetty

NCIS: Los Angeles has seen a few cast changes over the last couple of seasons, specifically with the departures of Renée Felice Smith and Barrett Foa at the end of Season 12. Now with Season 13, fans have also seen less of Linda Hunt’s Hetty Lange due to COVID safety reasons. And according to showrunner R. Scott Gemmill, they'll unfortunately have to wait even longer to see her.

R. Scott Gemmill discussed Hetty’s absence with Parade during the NCIS PaleyFest panel. Fans will at least be happy to know that there is a plan when it comes to the fan-favorite. However, Gemmill explained that the character won't come back into play until next season:

Her story continues. She was in at the beginning of this season, and then we had her disappear. The plan is to follow that up next year with some reveal.

In the Season 13 premiere, Hetty returned under tense circumstances, as she butted heads with Admiral Hollis Kilbride while also tying up some loose ends. She told the admiral that she needed to return to Syria, and that's the last viewers have heard from her. One can only imagine what she’s been up to, and I'm very curious to find out. There’s no telling when exactly in Season 14 the character will return but, based on the producer's comments, it sounds like she'll definitely be back for more than just a single episode.

It pretty much goes without saying that the diminutive and intimidating operations manager is one of the show's breakout characters. In 2019, NCIS: LA star Eric Christian Olsen shared his thoughts on why Hetty is such a fan favorite and, to him, it’s all due to what co-star Linda Hunt brings to the role. Olsen noted that Lange is the “glue that holds the group together,” and I can't disagree.

Aside from its casting shuffles, NCIS: LA recently celebrated the filming of its milestone 300th episode. The episode is set to air on May 8, while the Season 13 finale is set to air on May 22. It's disappointing that we won't see the team's mother-like figure in the upcoming episodes, but either installment could at least serve as an opportunity to tease what's to come when she comes back.

Hopefully, Hetty's return is worth the wait. Whenever she’s on NCIS: LA, she's a delight, and the series is better for having her. Of course, let's also keep our fingers crossed that Linda Hunt remains safe when she finally returns to the set. 

The recently renewed NCIS: Los Angles airs new episodes Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, while past episodes are available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription. In the meantime, check out CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule to see what else to look forward to!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.