Changes Abound When ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Returns for Season 9

NCIS: Los Angeles - Chris O'Donnell
Bill Inoshita/CBS
Pictured: Chris O'Donnell as Special Agent G. Callen

Catch Hetty Lange if you can. NCIS: Los Angeles’ ninth season begins with Linda Hunt’s operations manager having flown the coop. And given her diminutive frame, it’s not easy to spot her in a crowd. Mix that with Hetty’s multilingualism, ninja skills and friends in high, low and very secret places, and the petite powerhouse could be hiding anywhere in the world.

“Even her team is asking, ‘What happened to Hetty? What is she doing?’” executive producer R. Scott Gemmill says. “It’s an ongoing mystery for them.”

One clear clue: Hetty scuppered off shortly after Sam’s (LL Cool J) wife was murdered at the end of last season. He, too, is no longer on the team, preferring to stay safe at home with his kids. But his longtime partner, Callen (Chris O’Donnell), is determined to reverse that decision, even if it means niggling the ex–Navy SEAL until he goes mad.

He also faces off with their new executive assistant director, Mosley (Nia Long), who’s nothing like rebel Hetty. “Mosley thinks they’re cowboys,” Gemmill says. “To her, Hetty gave them too much freedom in everything from how they work to how they dress.”

Hear that, guys? No more denim!

NCIS: Los Angeles, Season premiere, Oct. 1, 9:30/8:30c, CBS