'NCIS: LA's Ongoing Storylines Ahead of Season 12: What You Need to Know

Meredith Jacobs
NCIS Los Angeles Season 12 Team Unfinished Storylines
Bill Inoshita/CBS

Sure, NCIS: LA fans are wondering if they'll have to say goodbye to Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt) as the team's (much more hands off as of late) operations manager sooner rather than later, but that's not the only ongoing storyline heading into next season.

Episodes at the end of the shortened Season 11 have set up a couple interesting arcs for the team and those around them, from a trial that Sam Hanna (LL Cool J) is determined to see go the right way to the mystery behind Anna Kolcheck's (Bar Paly) record being completely erased.

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From personal relationships to ongoing mysteries, here's what we need to see on the CBS drama.

Scroll down as we break down what we know about these storylines.

Why Anna Is Free

Anna was a fugitive after escaping prison — she'd shot an unarmed arms dealer who threatened her father — with her cellmate and Russian spy Kate Miller/Katya (Eve Harlow) in Season 10. And last season in Episode 18, "Missing Time," she turned herself into the police, only for AUSA Allan Williams (Alimi Ballard) to reveal to her and Callen (Chris O'Donnell) the warrant for her arrest no longer existed. "DOJ has no criminal record on file for Anna Kolcheck," he said. No one did. There wasn't even a record of her incarceration anymore.

Then, as the team celebrated inside the bar, Williams joined a couple men in a car and informed them that Kolcheck turning herself in "required us to expedite things." And he made it clear that "if the subject attempts to make contact with Kolcheck, you are to inform me immediately. Do not attempt to approach the subject on your own. She is to be considered armed and extremely dangerous." The subject was none other than Kate.

Bar Paly Eve Harlow NCIS Los Angeles Anna Kate

(Monty Brinton/CBS)

That will pick up in Season 12. "Something from Anna's past comes back and threatens the team," executive producer R. Scott Gemmill previously teased. "It will put loved ones in jeopardy and put Callen on a new path that strains his relationship with Sam and the team. It's powerful."

Argento's Trial

In what ended up being the Season 11 finale, "Code of Conduct," Mac (Catherine Bell) enlisted the team to investigate two SEALs' claim that their chief, Argento (Juan Riedinger), murdered a sedated prisoner and civilians. Argento was (eventually) arrested.

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Will Hetty retire? Who will replace her? Will the team gain a member?

"You know you're going down. Off the record, nothing you've done here has anything to do with being a warrior, a SEAL, or an American," Sam said, disgusted with Argento's actions. "You betrayed everything that the military and the team stand for." But Argento didn't think they'd ever convict him — because his wife is the cousin of a senator.

While it won't be in the premiere, "the trial of Argento and his mano a mano morality battle with Sam, we will pick that up next year," executive producer Frank Military promised.

As Mac warned the team, this could not only affect their careers but the future of the Office of Special Projects as well because of those D.C. connections. That remains a concern, the EP said. "There will be pressure coming from that direction, that this gets squashed."

Linda Hunt Hetty Office NCIS Los Angeles Retirement

(Monty Brinton/CBS)

Hetty's (Eventual) Retirement

We've been seeing less and less of Hetty in the office in recent seasons, and she will one day retire. But who will take over for her is still very much up in the air. Sam has a plan in mind, which includes Callen having the honor and the two of them training younger agents (like Rountree) in their ways. Meanwhile, Hetty has also had Callen in mind, as well as tech analyst Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith), who isn't even sure she wants to be an agent anymore.

"It could be somebody completely new that we haven't seen before, but there are a bunch of different characters that have come through the show that could come in that they may not like, but that would make sense for the team," Military said. Two possibilities he named are Mac and Gerald McRaney's Kibride.

NCIS: Los Angeles, Season 12, Fall 2020, CBS