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NCIS: Los Angeles
American military drama/police procedural television series
NCIS: Los Angeles follows Special Agent G. Callen (Chris O'Donnell), a "legend" assigned to the Office of Special Projects (OSP), a fictitious branch of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (the real-life NCIS has no offices in Los Angeles). Callen leads an elite team of undercover operatives as they battle enemies both foreign and domestic under the watchful eye of Operational Manager Henrietta "Hetty" Lange (Linda Hunt). The team is composed of Agent Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah), a hand-to-hand combat specialist, trained sniper and forensic whiz, Sam Hanna (LL Cool J), a former Navy SEAL and G's partner, technical analyst Eric Bartholomew Beale III (Barrett Foa), and ranking team member Shay Mosley (Nia Long), NCIS Executive Assistant Director for Pacific Operations (EAD-PAC).
Over the course of the series, the team are assisted by allies from both NCIS and its local counterparts, including LAPD liaison officer Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen), Intelligence Analyst Nell Jones (Renee Felice Smith), Operational Psychologist Nate Getz (Peter Cambor), and rookie field agent Dominic Vail (Adam Jamal Craig), all of whom work side-by-side with NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger (Miguel Ferrer), a laconic agent and skilled bureaucrat.
G. Callen (Chris O'Donnell) (birthname Grisha Aleksandrovich Nikolaev) is the Lead Senior Special Agent and undercover operative attached to the NCIS Office of Special Projects. He speaks several languages fluently, including Russian, German, and French. Callen is a highly skilled field agent having worked numerous overseas undercover assignments. Placed in the foster system at a young age, G. did not know his first name but eventually learned about his family, and in turn, himself. As G. lives somewhat of a nomadic nature, Los Angeles is G's most stable home. He is partnered with Sam Hanna.
Nate Getz (Peter Cambor) is an Operational Psychologist originally attached to OSP in order to monitor the team's emotional well-being. Valued as both an agent and a doctor, Getz is later drafted to a deep cover operation and subsequently becomes a well-established field agent. Despite his career change, Getz still returns to Los Angeles when needed (season 1; recurring seasons 2-8).
Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah) is the daughter of a Marine and, initially, the only female Special Agent attached to OSP. Her father died at a young age, after which Kensi spent some time living on the streets. Estranged from her mother, Kensi is a skilled undercover operative and sniper who is not afraid to use her sexuality to get results. In season 10 she eventually marries her partner Marty Deeks.
Dominic Vail (Adam Jamal Craig) is a probationary agent and a technical specialist who was assigned to OSP straight out of training. He is partnered with Kensi and seen as a sort of younger brother to the other team members; NCIS Los Angeles is left devastated when, following a period as a missing person, Dom is killed during his own rescue mission when he saves Sam from an unseen assailant (season 1).
Sam Hanna (LL Cool J) is the team's Senior Field Agent and G's partner. Sam has the most stable home life of the team as he is married with children. He met his wife on the job and still lives for the thrill of undercover work. He is a former Navy SEAL, an expert on Middle Eastern culture, and speaks fluent Arabic, and as such he not only provides invaluable insight on cases involving the USMC and USN.
Henrietta "Hetty" Lange (Linda Hunt) is a Supervisory Special Agent and the team's Operational Manager. As a veteran undercover operative, Hetty has achieved an unbelievable amount during her life, with distinguished work as an overseas intelligence operative during the Cold War. During her younger years, she took in several orphans (including Callen and Hunter) from the streets in order to mold them into undercover operatives.
Eric Beale (Barrett Foa) is the team's Technical Operator and resident geek. He was not an undercover operative like his teammates until season seven, so was not firearms trained until then. Beale is incredibly comfortable in the OSP much to the chagrin of his teammates who often become annoyed by his quirks such as leaving his surf board by their cars. He is partnered and in a romantic relationship with Nell (season 1 onwards; recurring season 1).
Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) is a veteran Los Angeles Police Department Detective who worked undercover and was exiled socially within the LAPD. Deeks is also an experienced attorney at law having worked as a Public Defender in the Los Angeles Criminal Courts prior to joining the LAPD. After he is selected by Hetty to be the LAPD's Liaison Officer to NCIS, it becomes clear that her plan is for Deeks to become an Agent. He has not had the easiest childhood and deflects a great deal using humor. He is partnered with Kensi and later develop a romantic relationship until they get married in season 10 (season 2 onwards; recurring season 1).
Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith) is a Special Agent who acts as the team's intelligence analyst. She is just as comfortable outside the office as in it, and it appears that Hetty is grooming her as a replacement. Jones is a highly capable field operative and extremely skilled firearms expert. She has the highest IQ of anybody at NCIS. She is partnered and involved in a romantic relationship with Eric. (season 2 onwards; recurring season 2).
Owen Granger (Miguel Ferrer) is the Assistant Director of NCIS. He is the team's link to Washington, and while he is often seen at loggerheads with his subordinates, he no doubt has a great desire to keep them safe. Unlike other administrators, he is not afraid to accompany the team into the field. Granger spent many years overseas as a field agent on many hazardous assignments before becoming an administrator. He is a long time friend and sometimes adversary of Hetty. During season 8, Granger is revealed to be suffering from an unknown ailment, most likely cancer, due to a lifetime of bad habits. In the episode "Payback" (Miguel Ferrer's final episode filmed before his death), after being wounded by rogue CIA operatives, Granger disappears from the hospital. In the following season, Granger's daughter, Jennifer Kim, confirms his death from his illness. (seasons 5-8; recurring seasons 3-4).
Shay Mosely (Nia Long) is a former Secret Service agent who becomes the NCIS Executive Assistant Director for Pacific Operations (EAD-PAC). She comes off as hardened and cold towards the team, but eventually they warm up to each other, especially following Hetty's return. She is revealed to have a son named Derrick, who was taken by his father, criminal arms dealer Spencer Williams, when Williams fled the country for Mexico five years prior. At the end of season 9, she enacts an unsanctioned mission for the team to head into Mexico and retrieve Derrick. While the mission is ultimately successful (during which Mosely kills Williams), it comes at a costly price: Mosely's assistant Agent Harley Hidoko is killed, the rest of the team is grievously wounded, and the OSP is put under the microscope by D.C. officials. In season 10, after a drug cartel allied with Williams puts bounties on the team's heads, Mosely opts to take full responsibility for everything, resigns her post, and flees with her son into hiding. (seasons 9-10).
Indira G. Wilson/Aunjanue Ellis as Michelle Hanna aka "Quinn" (seasons 3-8): Sam Hanna's wife, Michelle is a former deep-cover CIA operative. At the end of the eighth season, Michelle is kidnapped and murdered by Tahir Khaled in a vendetta against Sam.
Rocky Carroll as Leon Vance, the Director of NCIS (seasons 1-3, 6): He initially spent a great amount of time "getting the new LA office up and running", but still returns to ensure the well-being of his agents. Carroll also appears on both NCIS (as a regular), and NCIS: New Orleans. He makes a seventh appearance in "Hunted". Vance appears in the season two finale and season three premiere. He makes his tenth appearance during season six.
Brian Avers as Mike Renko, an agent attached to NCIS' Los Angeles satellite office (seasons 1, 3): He often works with OSP. An undercover operative, Renko later reported directly to Owen Granger. The team were fond of him, so it came as a shock when he was gunned down during an operation gone awry in a revenge attack.
Kathleen Rose Perkins as Rose Schwartz, a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner (seasons 1-4): She often assists the team on their investigations. She is incredibly quirky and develops an affinity for Nate Getz, showing great romantic interest in the psychologist.
Ronald Auguste as Moe Dusa, a man whom Sam first came into contact with in Sudan (seasons 1-2): A "brother" to Sam, of sorts, he joins a terrorist group and assists in the kidnapping of Dom. Developing a conscience, Moe assists in Dom's escape. He is later found dead by the NCIS agents.
Vyto Ruginis as Arkady Kolcheck, a retired Russian operative (seasons 1-present): He is friends with Callen. He considers himself to be of great assistance to the NCIS team but often brings trouble in his wake. He has a daughter, Anastasia, whom he does not know very well.
Claire Forlani as Lauren Hunter, an NCIS Operations Manager and SSA (seasons 2-3): Taken in by Hetty as a teenager, Lauren later becomes an NCIS agent and succeeds Hetty for a short time as Special Agent in Charge of OSP. Initially adversarial, the team later warmed to Hunter. She was reassigned following Lange's return but was later kidnapped and murdered by the Chameleon. Her death has a lasting effect on Lange.
Christopher Lambert as Marcel Janvier, a serial killer and criminal mastermind (season 3-5): When Marcel is conducting business transactions, his modus operandi is to buy the supplies for his employers and then arrange a drop-off for the merchandise. He is the primary antagonist to Callen during the show's third season and is responsible for the deaths of Hunter and Renko.
Scott Grimes as Dave Flynn, an NCIS Special Agent (seasons 4, 8): Initially an NCIS forensic specialist assigned to the elite rapid response NCIS: Red team stationed out of San Diego, Dave later transfers to San Diego's NCIS: Cyber where he re-trains as a senior intelligence analyst.
Erik Palladino as Vostanik Sabatino, a CIA Agent (seasons 4-5, 7-8, 10): He is arrested by the team while deep undercover. He is friends with Michelle Hanna and later joins Kensi Blye's Afghanistan team. Kensi initially believes him to be her suspect, but she later realizes he is a skilled operative and will be of great use to her. In season 8, it is revealed that Sabatino is working as part of a rogue CIA faction attempting to dismantle the NCIS team.
Anslem Richardson as Tahir Khaled, a local warlord in Sudan (seasons 3, 7-8): A war criminal and warlord, he went in conflict with CIA agents and later NCIS agents Sam Hanna and G. Callen when they went to collect evidence about the genocide he was involved in. He is Sam's arch-enemy and began plotting revenge when Sam took his sister, Jada, from him. He is the primary antagonist of seventh and eighth season, and later murders Sam's wife, Michelle near the end of the latter. He eventually kills himself via bomb in a last (failed) attempt to kill Sam.
Matthew Del Negro as Jack Simon (seasons 5, 7): Kensi's ex-fiance, who was suspected of being a war-criminal known as 'The White Ghost'. Kensi was assigned to assassinate him in the series' fifth season.
Bar Paly as Anastasia "Anna" Kolcheck, a freelance NCIS Special Agent (seasons 6-present): The estranged daughter of Arkady Kolcheck, she is a prospective ATF agent who begins filling in on NCIS missions while Kensi is on medical leave. Following Kensi's return, Anna embarks on a relationship with Callen and joins NCIS as a Special Agent on a freelance basis.
John M. Jackson as A. J. Chegwidden, a retired Rear Admiral and the former Judge Advocate General of the Navy (season 8-present): A wartime confidente of both Hetty and Granger, Chegwidden served in Vietnam as a Navy Seal. He reenters the NCIS-fold at the behest of Lange during an investigation into the CIA. Jackson previously appeared as Chegwidden in nine seasons of JAG, and in one episode of NCIS.
Andrea Bordeaux as Harley Hidoko, NCIS Special Agent (season 9): Executive Assistant to EADPAC Mosely. She starts off as fiercely loyal to her boss, but soon forms a friendship with the rest of the OSP team. At the end of the ninth season, Hidoko goes missing during an off-the-books mission in Mexico to rescue Mosely's son, and is revealed to have been captured and murdered by a cartel allied with Mosely's criminal ex-husband. Her remains are identified at the end of the tenth season premiere.
Jeff Kober as Harris Keane (seasons 9-present): A soldier served in the CIA contingent led by Hetty and Granger in the Vietnam War. Keane was captured by Viet Cong and held captive for decades until he was rescued along with Hetty by the NCIS LA team.
Esai Morales as Louis Ochoa, NCIS Deputy Director (season 10): Ochoa temporarily takes over directing the team in the absence of Hetty.
Peter Jacobson as Special Prosecutor John Rogers (season 10): Rogers arrives at the Los Angeles office to investigate the team, but soon gets pulled into helping them out on their operations.
David James Elliott as Harmon Rabb Jr., a Naval officer transferred to Judge Advocate General. Elliot reprise his role from JAG.
Louise Lombard as Lara Macy; a former Military Police Lieutenant and the Supervisory Special Agent of OSP, Macy was relieved of her position sometime between the pilot episode and the beginning of season one. Hetty remarks she was sent to Djibouti in retaliation for insubordination regarding budget, although the truthfulness of this is unknown. After a short time working with an NCIS satellite division, Macy is found dead in an NCIS episode, murdered as part of a vendetta against Washington Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Lombard was not picked up as a regular in the new series and the character was killed in the NCIS episode "Patriot Down".
Special Agent G. Callen was initially a CIA operative created by Shane Brennan for a series that was never produced. After taking over show runner duties previously held by Donald P. Bellisario on NCIS, he used the potential of a spin-off to bring his story to fruition.
Brennan intended for the series to hold a Miami Vice-esque vibe through its two co-leads, Callen and Agent Sam Hanna. However, the character of Lara Macy was written to serve as a parallel for Gibbs, the lead of the original NCIS team. Macy was portrayed by Louise Lombard in the backdoor pilot, but she was not featured in the actual spin-off, and Brennan was able to produce the show as he originally envisioned it.
The show was known as NCIS: Legend while in production (referring to the episodes of NCIS in which the spin-off was introduced), and other names considered included OSP: Office of Special Projects, NCIS: OSP and NCIS: Undercover. Filming started in February 2009, with the characters being introduced in the two-part NCIS episode titled "Legend", the first part of which aired on April 28, 2009. This episode served as a backdoor pilot for the series, in a manner similar to the way NCIS was introduced by way of a two-part episode of JAG.
Part of the cast in 2012 (from left): Barrett Foa, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen and Renée Felice Smith
The team works with Hetty's former Vietnam War colleagues to recover $40 million in stolen gold, though things get complicated when other parties invest themselves into the search. Deeks receives some surprising news from Detective Whiting about his IA case.
When a group of migrants and Border Patrol officers are slaughtered near Camp Pendleton, the team discovers that the killers are there for one of their old enemies; Nell must work with her bossy older sister Sydney, a Homeland Security analyst.
Eric and Nell find a cryptic clue Hetty left behind in a book that points to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. At first, they clash with Mosley as they try to find out what Hetty is doing there, but Mosley comes around and gets them tickets to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Hetty tries to look insane while being interrogated by her "buyer", who is after the secret information she has.
The title of the episode, "Các Tù Nhân", is Vietnamese for "Prisoners".
Callen, Hanna, and Rabb detain several terror suspects onboard the Allegiance but are simultaneously forced to deal with Iranian forces amassing on the Iraqi border; Sarah MacKenzie helps the rest of the team untangle a complicated spy web involving a crooked Russian diplomat, Chechen terrorists, and an increasingly meddlesome ISIS; Eric is conflicted between being there for Nell and her mother in the hospital and scrambling to neutralize the terror threat and prevent World War III.
Filming the pilot episode in 2009
"Identity", the series' first episode, garnered 18.73 million viewers with a 4.4/11 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic and therefore won its timeslot. It was the second most watched show of the week, behind only the original NCIS.
Reviews for the show have been mixed. It has a score of 59/100 on Metacritic. According to Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times, "The crime is intriguing and multifaceted, its resolution requiring a nice balance of street smarts and lots of gunfire. But as with the original "NCIS", the emphasis is on the characters of the team... Los Angeles, meanwhile, looks fabulous, a pleasing mixture of noir and gridlock, and there's an air of stability that's comforting in these uncertain times." The New York Daily News reviewer, David Hinckley, was more critical of the show saying that although "It all adds up to an hour of decent entertainment, and there's room for enough character development to give "NCIS: Los Angeles" a personality of its own, ... a premiere episode shouldn't feel even a little like something we've already seen."
Tom Shales of The Washington Post felt that, "NCIS: Los Angeles gets the job done ... It's a procedural that follows strictly the established procedure, but it has likable characters, dislikable bad guys and the occasional flabbergasting shot of L.A." Robert Bianco of USA Today summarized it as a "serviceable hour that takes the NCIS formula--a light tone and a lot of banter wrapped around a fairly rudimentary investigatory plot--and transfers it to a special, undercover NCIS division in Los Angeles. Nothing more, but also nothing less."The Hollywood Reporter compared the show to The A-Team with "the same lighthearted approach to life-or-death situations. Maybe the biggest change is that 'NCIS: L.A.' achieves its inevitably favorable outcomes with a little more intellect and a little less testosterone."IGN stated that although "NCIS: Los Angeles doesn't exactly reinvent the police procedural... it's another above-average entry, aided by the fact that the people behind the show know what they're doing" and ultimately gave the episode a 7.7/10.
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS.
Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
On November 5, 2012, Deadline Hollywood reported the first news about a spin-off of NCIS: Los Angeles titled NCIS: Red. The new characters were introduced during a two-part episode of NCIS: Los Angeles. The spin-off was to feature a team of mobile agents, who travel around the country to solve crimes. This would have been the second successive spin-off in the NCIS franchise. However, on May 15, 2013, CBS confirmed that NCIS: Red was officially passed on and would not be moving forward.Scott Grimes reprised his potential spinoff role as NCIS Red Agent Dave Flynn during the eighth season of NCIS: Los Angeles.
Home video releases
The first nine seasons have been released on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4, and Season 1 was released on Blu-ray Disc in Region A. The first season DVD release includes the two-part pilot episode that aired as part of the sixth season of NCIS, which were also included on the Season 6 DVD of NCIS. All releases are distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment.
In Asia, the series airs on AXN. In the UK the series premieres its latest season first on Sky 1, with subsequent runs and repeats then also broadcast on Channel Five. In the Netherlands the series airs on SBS 6.NCIS: Los Angeles airs on Network Ten, ONE and TVH!TS (formerly TV1) in Australia.
In Portugal the series airs on FOX. and on M6 in France.
In August 2016, Titan Books published NCIS Los Angeles: Extremis, a novel by Jerome Preisler. Three months later, it was followed by NCIS Los Angeles: Bolthole, written by Jeff Mariotte. Both books contain original stories featuring the characters from the show.