The “NCIS” franchise is one of the strongest and most enduring on broadcast television today. Starting way back in 2003 with the original “NCIS,” the military-themed crime franchise has spawned two very successful spinoffs, “NCIS: New Orleans” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” as well as a brand new spinoff, “NCIS: Hawaii.”
Linda Hunt has starred as Special Agent Hetty Lange, the Operations Manager and de facto matriarch of the “NCIS: Los Angeles” team since the show’s premiere in 2009. However, the character spent most of Season 12 appearing only via video calls to the team, though that was a narrative decision made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hunt, at age 76, is at greater risk of catching the virus than her younger castmates, so this was the showrunners’ way of keeping Hunt safe while ensuring her character was still involved in storylines.