Hetty Lange Made a Comeback in the Season 12 Finale of 'NCIS: Los Angeles'

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May. 24 2021, Published 5:41 p.m. ET

The Season 12 finale of NCIS: Los Angeles packed a real punch. The episode left many fans with no choice but to immediately start counting down the days until the Season 13 premiere of the show.

Nell stumbled upon an ethical dilemma. Although she was offered a dreamy promotion, her only choice was to take it and force Hetty (Linda Hunt) out or resign. Elsewhere, Deeks, Kensi, and co set out on a hunt for a dolphin killer. And, of course, Hetty made a comeback.

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Is Hetty coming back to 'NCIS: Los Angeles' in 2021? She made a comeback in the Season 12 finale.

Hetty went on a top-secret mission in a previous episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, to a place she plainly described as "nowhere I want to be." She made a comeback in the Season 12 finale, describing the prolonged trip as "a story for another day."

"I'm afraid I can't stay long," she went on to add. "I'm up to my a-- in alligators on this one."

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It's not entirely certain what's next for Hetty at this stage. She did, however, tell Hollace Kilbride (Gerald McRaney), the retired U.S. Navy Admiral who tried to pressure Nell (Renée Felice Smith) into taking her role, that they needed to talk. Her tone likely gave at least some fans the idea that a crackdown was imminent.

"It was just so great having Linda back on set, especially for her scenes with Renée [Felice Smith]," R. Scott Gemmill, the showrunner of NCIS: Los Angeles, told TVLine. "Hetty is such an important and almost mythical character to NCIS: Los Angeles and fans are going to love seeing them together again."

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Renée Felice Smith is one of the stars about to leave 'NCIS: Los Angeles.'

While Hetty made her comeback on NCIS: Los Angeles, other characters chose to move forward and embark on a new chapter. After some careful consideration, Nell and Eric Beale (Barrett Foa) decided to try their luck in Tokyo, and they bade farewell to the team.

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"I was so young when I took this job. I didn't know anyone in Los Angeles and then I met the team, you," Nell explained in a crucial scene. "This place, these people, they're part of my life now, my entire adult life."

"It kind of feels like one of those now-or-never things," Nell joked in a separate conversation with Kensi (Daniela Ruah). "I'll be all alone in Tokyo with Eric, so I give it six weeks max."

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As Scott, the showrunner, told TVLine, the Season 12 finale doesn't necessarily mark the very last time viewers see Nell and Eric. As he explained, they purposefully included Nell's remark.

"There's a little loophole in there, when Nell says she's going to be alone in Tokyo with Eric, and she gives it 'six weeks' before she's back," he noted. "So, we'll see what happens."

Linda Hunt, the actress playing Hetty Lange, had to film several scenes in her driveway.

As Scott told TVLine, they went the extra mile to protect the 76-year-old actress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Returning to the set was off the table for Linda for a while. As a temporary solution, she had to shoot her scenes in her driveway.

"We're doing everything we can to keep everyone safe, and Linda is a little extra special in terms of how we have to look out for her," Scott told the outlet.

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