‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Cast Teases Last Case, Callen’s Wedding & More in Series Finale
“I remember very vividly walking into the bullpen with my arms outstretched, like I was flying a plane and we were taking off,” says LL Cool J, recalling a favorite moment from shooting NCIS: Los Angeles. The scene was in the 2009 series premiere of the first-ever NCIS spinoff, which is closing its last case with a two-part finale, May 14 and 21, after 14 seasons of soaring success.
The actor and rapper plays special agent and former SEAL Sam Hanna, who’s bravely pursued terrorists, gangsters, and other unsavory Angelenos alongside fellow agent G. Callen (Chris O’Donnell). They’ve had each other’s backs in Hollywood foot chases, Malibu gun battles, and a very scary trip to the Middle East in Season 11. (O’Donnell calls that shoot, in the blazing Cali desert, his most physically challenging of the CBS show’s run.) Through it all, they’ve razzed each other the way good friends do.
“Our relationship and chemistry was really what made this thing work,” O’Donnell reflects. “It was that way from the first episode, and I enjoyed every day we spent together. Lotta good laughs on- and offscreen.”
Along with Callen and Sam, other core characters have remained with the series since Season 1: trained sniper Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah) and LAPD liaison and eventual NCIS agent Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen), who wed in Season 10; and Bach-loving, tea-drinking, no-nonsense boss Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt), always good for a colorful quote (see below). Hunt started making fewer appearances during the COVID pandemic, but Hetty continued to send tips and missives from a location in Syria, even if she didn’t appear onscreen. She even made a voice cameo in January’s three-show crossover!
Given that much history with viewers, executive producer R. Scott Gemmill wanted to end on a note that hinted at a sunny future for the team: “Truly living happily ever after, still out there fighting crime and doing good.”
But first, the final two hours throw plenty of unfriendly fire at the agents as they pursue a case involving the ATF and stolen military-grade weapons. The risky assignment brings high action and so much danger it ultimately causes Callen to bump up his wedding (with Sam as best man, of course) to Anna Kolcheck (Bar Paly), who joined in Season 6 as a prospective ATF agent and eventually began freelancing for NCIS.
“Because of what happens during the day, Callen realizes he wants to get married sooner than later,” says Gemmill. “He’s been this lone wolf who hasn’t committed to much of anything other than his job. It’s him accepting the past and moving, looking toward the future.”
A key part of Callen’s past was with Hetty, who recruited him for a secret government program as a teen. Sadly, this complicated mother figure will not be at the impromptu city hall nuptials. On the list: the team’s current leader, gruff admiral Hollace Kilbride (Gerald McRaney), and younger agents who often pair up, Fatima Namazi (Medalion Rahimi) and Devin Rountree (Caleb Castille).
Gemmill also promises guest stars, noting that wedding attendees have already arrived in town ahead of the originally planned big day. Considering all the comings and goings over the years, we have a long wish list. We’re hoping for onetime tech geek Eric Beale (Barrett Foa, a regular starting in Season 1), who later formed his own company, became a billionaire, and in Season 12 left when he and colleague Nell (Renée Felice Smith) moved to Tokyo. Yes, get Nell—once a sub for Hetty—there too!
no matter who shows up, Gemmill says this will be more low-key than the Blye-Deeks affair, where Kensi intentionally ripped her gown to make it easier to fight some criminal crashers.
NCIS: Los Angeles, Series Finale Sunday, May 14, 10/9c; Sunday, May 21, 9/8c, CBS
This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s NCIS: Los Angeles cover story. For more inside scoop on what’s coming to TV and streaming in the weeks ahead, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, May 4.