‘NCIS: LA’ Boss Teases ‘Top Gun’-Style Nail-Biter in Aiden-Focused Episode

Tye White, LL Cool J and Richard Gant in 'NCIS: Los Angeles'
Sonja Flemming/CBS

In Sunday’s NCIS: Los Angeles opening sequence, a thrilling Top Gun-style F-35 Navy training exercise turns into a nail-biter as a plane gets in trouble and the pilot ejects. Turns out it’s Special Agent Sam Hanna’s (LL Cool J) son!

Aiden (Tye White) survives, much to the relief of his dad and grandfather, Raymond (Richard Gant). But “he gets his bell rung pretty hard,” says the drama’s executive producer R. Scott Gemmill. And the crash could be a career-ender: All signs point to pilot error. “Aiden has a reputation as a hot dog,” Gemmill adds. “He’s been reprimanded for his flight behavior.”

With the NCIS team put in the awkward position of investigating the incident, Sam is barred from participating. Meanwhile, the trio of tough military Hannas grapple with what happened.

“It’s a lot of stubbornness in one room,” Gemmill says. “There’s [Sam and his dad] going through the initial shock and worry, but also trying to help Aiden remember what’s going on.”

Joanna Bacalso in 'NCIS: Los Angeles'

Sonja Flemming/CBS

His fuzzy recollection of events, plus Raymond’s ongoing memory loss (possibly the result of traumatic brain injury during his stint in the Marines), gets Sam reflecting on the long-term damage caused by their careers.

“Will there be a time when he needs to be looked after? These guys would rather eat a bullet than be a burden on their families,” the EP says.

Meanwhile, the team is going all out for Sam’s sake: “They investigate mechanical error, the ground crew, something within the new technology of the jets that somebody hasn’t been honest about,” Gemmill says. “Hopefully, one exonerates Aiden.”

NCIS: Los Angeles, Sundays, 10/9c, CBS