The hit action series NCIS LA is a part of the incredibly popular NCIS franchise, and, after the season 12 finale on CBS, viewers were concerned operational manager Hetty Lange (played by Linda Hunt) wouldn’t be returning after being replaced by Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith). However, after Nell’s departure, showrunner R Scott Gemmill has confirmed the beloved character’s return and teased trouble ahead as Hetty is forced to deal with a volatile new team member.
NCIS: Los Angeles is an action series that follows the exploits of an elite division of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as they go on undercover missions.
The series stars Chris O’Donnell, Daniela Ruah, LL Cool J, Linda Hunt, Eric Christian Olsen, and Medalion Rahimi.
CBS recently renewed the show for a 13th season but fans were upset season 12 was missing a beloved member of the team.
Character Hetty Lange returned in the season 12 finale after a long absence, and viewers hoped Hetty’s reappearance would not be her last in season 13.
Thankfully, their prayers have been answered as executive producer R Scott Gemmill confirmed to TV Insider that Hetty would be returning.
However, he did also note the character wouldn’t have the easiest time assimilating back into the crime-fighting team.
Hetty would have to contend with Hollace Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) who is now a series regular in season 13.
He will be sticking around the office, so how will the operational manager handle sharing her position?
Gemmill told the publication: “They’re both very smart and very stubborn, so it makes for a fun and volatile dynamic.”
He also revealed Kilbride outranks Hetty so she will struggle upon her return with the shift in power.
Though he noted the new character definitely respects her and her position even if he “disagrees with her methodology”.
“[Kilbride] sometimes questions the cost of her successes,” Gemmill explained.
As a retired Navy admiral, Kilbride is a difficult man to deal with but not an unreasonable one.
Perhaps Hetty and Kilbride will see eye-to-eye later down the road and become a formidable duo on the team.
TV Insider also revealed one storyline for season 13 will explore the downfall of Hetty being away for so long and how she must “resolve it on her own”.
“But in the end, it will suck in the entire team, much to Kilbride’s disapproval,” Gemmill remarked.
Hunt’s absence in season 12 was due to the coronavirus pandemic so the NCIS team tried to keep the 76-year-old safe during filming.
Hetty was temporarily replaced and Hunt’s absence was explained by placing her character in the Middle East for the majority of last season.
At the time, Gemmill explained to TV Line how they continued to add Hetty to the series despite her absence.
She appeared in a few scenes throughout the season and they were all shot in Hunt’s own driveway but it was getting “more difficult to do.”
Hunt later had all her vaccines so was able to safely return to set to film and fans were delighted she was able to make it back for the season finale.
NCIS: Los Angeles season 13 will debut on October 10 on CBS in the USA.