Is Linda Hunt leaving NCIS: LA? Boss Hetty Lange returns, but for how long?

Linda Hunt NCIS
Linda Hunt as Operations Manager Henrietta “Hetty” Lange on NCIS: Los Angeles. Pic credit: CBS

Hetty Lange has returned! Actress Linda Hunt, who some fans feared was leaving NCIS: LA, showed up on Sunday night’s all-new episode of the show. But the ending left a lot of questions.

During the new episode, the NCIS team was called to action in regard to the disappearance of Eric Beale. He had been working on a mission for Hetty up in San Francisco, putting him in the middle of danger.

It all put Hetty in a bad spot, especially with Nell, who was worried about Eric and was holding Hetty responsible for “manipulating” him into taking on the mission.

The characters of Hetty and Eric have both been offscreen for a lot of Season 11, but for different reasons. Barrott Foa, who plays Eric, has been participating in Angels In America, while Linda Hunt has still been taking it easy after a car accident last year.

Putting Eric in harm’s way, while also explaining why the character hasn’t been on screen recently, was a good way to reunite him with the rest of the NCIS team. It was also a method to show how much Nell cares about Eric, while also allowing Eric to bring back some humor to the NCIS: LA cast.

In regard to Nell speaking up for Eric, she said a lot of things to Hetty that included not being able to do what Hetty does to and with people. It was addressed in the final moments of the show when Callen (Christ O’Donnell) mentions that he thought Hetty was prepping Nell to take her job.

In response to Callen’s inquiry, she simply states, “I did too.” She has been hinting that maybe Callen should be the one responsible for making calls like the one that resulted in Eric going undercover earlier in the episode.

Callen stated that “I don’t want your job Hetty.”

She responded curtly by saying, “Neither do I. But somebody’s got to do it. Think about it, Mr. Callen. I won’t be here forever.” As Callen gave Hetty a look, the episode faded to black.

So what next? Is Linda Hunt leaving the NCIS: Los Angeles cast? Have we seen the last of Hetty Lange on the show? Not so fast. Next week, she returns in an episode called Mother. It marks the 250th episode of the show and it will certainly raise even more questions.

We have seen moments like this in the past with NCIS: LA, where Hetty was in a position that she might decide to or need to leave the team. The good news is that there has been no announcement of Hunt leaving or Hetty getting written out the show.

For now, fans should just consider her to still be a recurring character who won’t necessarily appear in every episode. At the same time, the hint has been placed in plain sight that something could change in the future.

NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on CBS.

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