‘NCIS: LA’ Boss on Hetty’s Mission & Resolving the Kessler Threat in Season 14

Linda Hunt as Hetty in NCIS Los Angeles
Robert Voets/CBS

NCIS: Los Angeles is no stranger to drawing storylines out over multiple seasons (remember the mole hunt?), but fortunately, we know of at least a couple that will be resolved sooner rather than later.

Season 13 ended with a couple of happy moments — Callen (Chris O’Donnell) proposed to Anna (Bar Paly), and Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) are fostering Rosa (Natalia Del Riego) — but did leave us with quite a few questions. Among them: What’s going on with Hetty’s (Linda Hunt) mission in Syria, and when will Kessler (Frank Military) stop being an ongoing threat to Kensi? We turned to executive producer R. Scott Gemmill for answers.

Callen says he needs to speak with Hetty, so where did you want to leave him at the end of this season to lead into that conversation? Is anything you can tease about it?

R. Scott Gemmill: That certainly has to play out. We started to see the beginning of the friction between the two of them as he starts to find more about his past that seemed to have been put to bed. He does start to have a bit of a confrontation with her in the burn room where she finally admits that he was someone who was in this program that he didn’t really know anything about —none of us really did — and then before he can sort of resolved this with her, she goes back to Syria.

Part of it is she had her own sort of operation going on, but I think she also probably went back early so that she didn’t have to deal with Callen because it’s not gonna be a pretty conversation. In the end, we will understand why she did it and that there were some other circumstances involved that save Hetty from being a bad guy, but it’s still a bit of a bit of a sore subject for Callen and something he’s gonna have to learn to live with.

Linda Hunt as Hetty, Chris O'Donnell as Callen in NCIS Los Angeles

Robert Voets/CBS

Speaking of Hetty and Syria, is there anything you can tease? Is it possible that people involved are people that we’ve seen before, but not for some time?

Yes. I think we mentioned it early on, I think it was Kilbride [Gerald McRaney] who was saying it, that she had an operation, essentially two of her people who were in country were on the right track to expose someone within the Pentagon, in the intelligence community high up, that was a traitor, basically a mole, kind of like the fourth man. But before they can get out with proof of that, they are captured and we don’t know if they’re captured because they know who they are or they’re just as captured as part of some of the problems are going over there. So ultimately she went back to try and resolve that with the Keane [Jeff Kober] character, and then we haven’t heard from her since. So part of next season will be our guys finding out where she is, what happened and probably having to go in and pull her out of the fire.

I was wondering if Paul Angelo [Daniel Henney, from Season 5’s “Three Hearts”] was involved in that.

Possibly, yeah.

Because I remember he owes her so he could have went on the mission for her…

[Laughs] Yeah, there was gonna be somebody involved that we ultimately needed to bring in for something else. So we have to rejigger one thing, but Hetty he has a lot of sort of skeletons in her closet. So there’s a few places for us to go to.

Gerald McRaney as Kilbride in NCIS Los Angeles


Gerald McRaney’s Kilbride has been so entertaining and his chemistry with the team is spectacular. He’s still going to be in charge next season, right?

Absolutely. I fought so hard for so long to get Gerald on the show that I’m not gonna get rid of him anytime soon. I had him on the show years ago and really wanted to bring him in and I think I just finally wore them down after years and years, and they let me have him come on as a regular. I love working with Gerald. We all do, and he’s such a pro, he’s such a gentleman. He raises everybody’s game. He’s up for anything. He can do it all. And he’s sort of a grand gentleman of television. I so appreciate that.

Kessler is still out there and considering Kensi and Deeks are now parents, I’m even more worried. How long are you gonna let that dangle?

That’ll be something else that we will resolve next season. There’s a couple things. I think that’s one of the great things for us is that we can drop in a story and let it sort of settle away and sort of fester and bubble away until it rears its ugly head again, whether it’s Katya or Kessler or any of the other myriad of conflicts we sort of had over the years. I think for sure, we’ll put that one to bed because nobody wants to live with that over their shoulders the rest of their lives.

I don’t see Kensi and Deeks going after him now — which has come up — because they’re parents…

Yeah. They have more to lose. It’s always easier when it’s just you one on one.

NCIS: Los Angeles, Season 14, TBA, CBS