NCIS Los Angeles: season 12: Is series 12 Linda Hunt’s final season of NCIS LA?

NCIS LOS ANGELES season 12 will be continuing in the New Year, however, it is unclear if Hetty Lange is going to return to her role. So could this be actress Linda Hunt’s final season in the CBS show?
NCIS Los Angeles aired its winter finale on Sunday, December 13, and fans were delighted with how it ended. While the CBS drama won’t be on our screens for a few weeks, it won’t be too long before it makes a comeback as it will re-start on January 3. Whether or not Hetty Lange (played by Linda Hunt) will be returning to the office anytime soon though remains a mystery.
Is series 12 Linda Hunt’s final season of NCIS LA?

Operations Manager Hetty has been popping up via video call from time to time in season 12.

In the first episode, Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith) went to the office for a meeting with her boss when Hetty rang in an undisclosed location, wearing a bulletproof vest.

Hetty said she couldn’t be there so was appointing Nell as the interim Operations Manager to which she reluctantly agreed to.

The eccentric fan-favourite wasn’t seen again until she briefly showed up in episode six.

Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) lost his job as the LAPD-NCIS liaison officer and he couldn’t train to become a full-time agent due to his age.

In the episode If The Fates Allow, Marty was frustrated as he was considering selling his and wife Kensi Blye’s (Daniela Ruah) bar since he no longer had a job.

This is when Hetty suddenly appeared like the couple’s fairy godmother on the TV screen.

She had called to give them the good news which was she pulled a few strings and managed to enrol Marty into the NCIS Academy.

But Hetty is still yet to physically appear in the drama, leading fans to believe her time is almost up on the show.

Showrunner R Scott Gemmill has previously talked about only featuring Hetty in a handful of scenes in series 12 because of the pandemic.

The crew even went to actress Hunt’s home to film in her driveway to ensure she was still part of the show.

He said: “We’re doing everything we can to keep everyone safe, and Linda is a little extra special in terms of how we have to look out for her.

She’s like saffron. She’s expensive, but you don’t need a lot.”

With Hetty scenes becoming fewer and far between though, this could lead to Hunt saying goodbye to NCIS Los Angeles for good.
Hunt turned 75 this year and so is well within her right to start her retirement.

She was even considering the prospect of leaving the show in 2013.

Hunt commented: “I look forward to a time when I don’t have to work anymore. “Which is close at hand, I think.”

Season 11 even featured a scene where the agents were discussing Hetty turning up to the officer later and leaving earlier as of late.

Despite Agent Callen (Chris O’Donnell) not wanting to talk about Hetty retiring, the fact the writers added this into the script shows this could be a possibility in the near future.
The fact Nell is also in charge at NCIS headquarters in series 12 is a major sign this could be the beginning of the end for Hetty.

Speaking to TV Insider about Nell taking on the role of Operations Manager, actress Ruah said: “First of all, that episode where Nell takes over and has her insecurities about [doing so] was one of my favourite episodes so far, just the pacing of it and how it all cut together.

“I wrote to Renée after that and I told her, ‘you carried this episode and you drove it.’

“Her energy and her concerns but then getting back to business, her conversation with Sam [Hanna], and he’s like, ‘hey, you’re doing a good job, you are right for this role.’ Absolutely.

“Nell and Kensi have a very good, special relationship, much like I have with Renée in real life. She’s probably one of my favourite people.

NCIS Los Angeles is available to watch on CBS.