Spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched NCIS: Los Angeles’ series finale, so be warned!
Wowzers! We knew some big moments were coming to NCIS: Los Angeles’ final episode ever, and fans got to watch it all go down as “New Beginnings Part 2” closed out the previous week’s cliffhanger and started parceling out its happy endings. As Daniela Ruah teased ahead of the finale without actually saying it, the episode delivered a city hall wedding for Callen and Anna, some huge pregnancy news for Deeks and Kensi, and an update on Linda Hunt’s long-absent Hetty. But while it was great to see some familiar faces returning to close things out in the final sequence, there was still something pretty huge missing: Ms. Henrietta Lange herself!
I know I’m not the only one who hoped NCIS: L.A. would find a way to get the fan-beloved Linda Hunt back on the show in person for its swan song, especially to see Callen tying the knot, albeit in a more subdued capacity. Even if it was just via a Zoom call or whatever, to have her physical presence around would have been aces, considering she’s been absent from the broadcast drama since the Season 13 premiere. Granted, I fully understand that it’s difficult for the actress to commit to such things, despite the showrunner’s attempts to bring her back for Season 14, whether it be due to physical ailments or other issues. So it’s not for nothing that the series finale DOES feature some voiceover narration from the actress, even if she wasn’t around for an in-person appearance.
What’s more, that voiceover work is what sets up the final scene, which itself sets up the idea that these characters will continue working together for years to come, as opposed to some TV finales that frustratingly pull characters apart to go off in different directions.
How NCIS: Los Angeles’ Finale Updated Hetty’s Story
Following Callen and Anna’s wedding, a mysterious courier showed up with an envelope for Chris O’Donnell’s character, whose wax seal featured some familiar initials. (Though Sam ran off to ask the guy a question, he mysteriously disappeared! Sort of.) As it turns out, even though Hetty isn’t in close contact these days, she somehow still knew about the impromptu wedding taking place, and managed to set up both the newlywed couple’s honeymoon and a new mission for the dynamic duo. Here’s what her congratulatory letter said:
I’m sure Callen and Anna were more than excited about the concept of having a sweet ass spot in Greece to go celebrate their nuptials without job stress to worry about. Though they better hope Anna’s dad doesn’t find out its location, lest he try and take a pair of dates out there, with one of them possibly being Deeks’ mom.
The envelope also contained some plane tickets and a secondary note that didn’t even let Callen soak in the post-wedding bliss before having him wonder about his next task around the world. Here’s what her second message said, sans voiceover.
Naturally, the episode ended with Sam and Callen making that trip to Morocco to see what the side project was, only to touch base again with a trio of familiar faces.
NCIS: Los Angeles’s Series Finale Brought Back Nate, Sabatino, And Nell
For the briefest of moments, it seemed like the CBS drama was actually going to deliver a big Linda Hunt appearance whenever LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell’s characters showed up in Morocco. (Even though it seemed patently ridiculous for Callen to “recognize” Hetty from behind.) Instead, though, he found Renée Felice Smith’s Nell, who was there to bring the pair into their next adventure. Smith left NCIS: Los Angeles in the Season 12 finale, which also happened to include one of Hunt’s final appearances.
And lo and behold, that adventure happened to also include returns from Erik Palladino, marking his 21st appearance as Vostanik Sabatino, and Peter Cambor’s Nate Getz. Neither was super-duper surprising to see here, as Sabatino showed up once already this season, for Episode 1411, while Nate appeared in two Season 13 episodes, which where his first since Season 8. Still, it’s always great to see them, and they had a bright and bushy-eyed new recruit with them that beared a not-so-coincidental resemblance to Callen himself. The circle of life, as it were.
While fans no doubt would have loved to see Barrett Foa’s Eric Beale back alongside Nell, it wasn’t meant to be. Whenever Callen asked about him, she gave this simple and on-point update:
A billionaire is gonna billionaire, amirite? Am I, though? I don’t actually know any billionaires.
While audiences won’t have any more full-length episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles to dig through, we can always hope that CBS and the applicable producers might one day figure out a way to bring some of the L.A. team into one of the other series, whether it be for another three-way crossover or for something smaller in scope. In the meantime, all 14 seasons are available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription.