We've decided to officially begin referring to April 2 as "Hettypalooza." On that day in 1945, Linda Hunt (who plays Hetty Lange) was born, and we want to make sure we celebrate that day the way Hetty would: with a strong cup of tea. Linda played the role of Operations Manager on NCIS: Los Angeles since day one until the COVID-19 pandemic, and the show just isn't the same without her.
Hetty popped in at the start of Season 13 but quickly left for Syria on a mysterious mission. In reality, the 77-year-old actor wanted to take a step back due to COVID-19 concerns, but now we're wondering if we'll ever see her again before the series ends.
Now that it's the final season of NCIS: Los Angeles, is Hetty coming back before the show wraps up or was a sneaky voice cameo the last we'll hear from her?
We're optimistic that we'll see Hetty at least one more time before NCIS: Los Angeles ends. Speaking with Variety in late 2022, showrunner and executive producer R. Scott Gemmill teased that she'd be back.
"Hetty has been an integral force within the agency and an especially important part of Callen's past. As Callen starts thinking about his upcoming wedding to Anna, he would want Hetty present."
"The plan is to go and rescue her at some point and find out what she's gotten herself into in Syria, but we're just trying to figure out when we can pull it off. The goal is to make it happen this season." A goal doesn't mean it's set in stone, but it's clear that fans and producers are all on the same page when it comes to bringing Hetty back to the show.
Plans do change, however. "We don't get to that point [of rescuing Hetty], but it's put in motion. Let's put it that way," Scott later told Parade. "We are going to have steps taken to resolve Hetty's storyline in a way that I hope leaves fans feeling excited."
There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, particularly when it comes to Callen (Chris O'Donnell) and his complicated relationship with Hetty. He has been going through quite the internal crisis when it comes to exactly what he is to her.
In the beginning of Season 13, Callen learned that Hetty has known him for much longer than he originally thought. In fact, she tested his future spy skills when he was just 8 years old and in the foster care system.
Of course, Callen isn't the only one Hetty took a shining to. Callen casually turned off security cameras so he could rifle through some of Hetty's private files, which is where he discovered other children in similar foster home situations, who were given the same tests he was. Naturally, after confronting Hetty, Callen doesn't really get a straight answer. Then it was off to Syria for Hetty, never to been seen again!