NCIS Los Angeles

The original NCIS is one of my favorite tv shows. In fact, it sits at the top of my TiVo wishlist and hasn't moved from that spot in years. It never will move either. So I'm looking forward to seeing what the new spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles, has to offer.

Quite frankly, I wasn't overly impressed with the two episode introduction we got to the show during NCIS last season, but that may have been because I was obsessing a little bit about what's going on with Ziva and Tony and couldn't concentrate. Also, the series premiere in September was a bit formulaic, but I kind of expect that from a pilot and NCIS: LA has already suffered some cast changes which have left things a bit up in the air.

That said, I will give it several episodes to see if the characters and the storylines settle into something interesting. I definitely think it has potential and I don't actually get tired of LA as a setting for tv shows. I used to live there. I like to look at the city and recognize locations.

What's NCIS Los Angeles about?

If you know anything about the US military, you of course might be wondering why this is NCIS Los Angeles and not NCIS San Diego, since that's where the Navy is actually based in southern California.

The show seems to neatly explain that by being about a separate office of NCIS, called the Office of Special Projects. This is supposed to be an undercover surveillance division of NCIS. Pure fantasy, I imagine, but I think that you can potentially hand wave the location of LA as being a place where the office functions take place without danger of revealing undercover operations to those who are being surveilled.

But I'm probably putting more thought into this than I should. At any rate, if Camp Pendleton and the Naval base in San Diego aren't frequent locales for episodes, I will be surprised.

I think the cast of this show will be fun too. You certainly can't go wrong with LL Cool J and I've never held Batman & Robin against Chris O'Donnell so I have fond feelings for him too, though I don't think he's all that much of an actor in terms of talent. But I'm willing to be surprised.

So let's take a look at the new NCIS: Los Angeles and see who is who.

Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J in NCIS Los Angeles
Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J in NCIS Los Angeles
Chris O'Donnell as Special Agent G. Callen
Chris O'Donnell as Special Agent G. Callen

Chris O'Donnell as Callen

Chris O'Donnell gets first billing in NCIS Los Angeles as Special Agent "G" Callen. The G apparently doesn'ts stand for anything, or rather, Callen has no idea what it stands for because he's an orphan and no one ever told him his first name. We learn this in the series premiere, so if you haven't watched it yet, I've just spoiled you. How horrible of me!

The character is fluent in a variety of languages and Callen is supposedely a natural at going undercover. We'll have to wait and see about that for ourselves since the first episode didn't feature an undercover assignment, but I do believe we can expect to see a fair bit of that in the future.

During the two episodes that Callen appeared in on NCIS last season, he was quite chummy with Gibbs, who apparently saved his life twice previously in Serbia and Russia. I'd love to know when Gibbs did this since he's been essentially serving exclusively in the US for the past seven years *g* Or maybe Chris O'Donnell's youthful looks are making me think that his character is younger than he may actually be.

LL COOL J as Special Agent Sam Hanna
LL COOL J as Special Agent Sam Hanna

LL Cool J as Sam Hanna

O'Donnell may get top billing in the credits, but if you've been paying attention to Twitter or any of the reviews for NCIS Los Angeles, it's all about the Cool J!

LL Cool J is playing Special Agent Sam Hanna. He's Callen's partner and a former Navy Seal who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He's also a surveillance specialist and seems to know his way around a computer (NCIS LA has some great new toys!) without being a geek about it.

While it looks like the show is preparing to have Callen and Hanna as co-leads, unlike NCIS which revolves around Gibbs, I think they would have been better off if they'd cast LL Cool J as Callen and someone else entirely as Hanna. LL is simply a better actor with more presence than O'Donnell. Or they could have killed Callen off when they shot him last season and then LL Cool J could spend the season tracking down his killer. Yes, I make my own fun.


Linda Hunt as Hetty Lange
Linda Hunt as Hetty Lange

Linda Hunt as Hetty Lange

I believe Linda Hunt is this spin-off's Ducky. She's already shown herself to be a bit quirky. As far as I can tell, Hetty is essentially the office manager of the Office of Special Operations. She doesn't appear to be in charge of cases and it looks like for the moment Callen and Hanna are just running themselves. I think Hetty takes care of funding and keeping the books in line.

I expect we will see more responsibility from her in the future, but right now, it just remains to be seen what they will do with Linda Hunt.

There are a couple of other regular characters on the show as well, but so far I just don't care about them at all, so I'm not writing them up *g*

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Comments 8 comments

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

Great review of NCIS Los Angeles. Of course it could be beacuse I am partial to LL Cool J. :) Thanks for this hub!!


embitca profile image

embitca 7 years ago from Boston Author

Thanks triplet Mom, I'm rather partial to him myself :)


ocbill profile image

ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

nice overview of the coming series. believe it or not I did watchc the NCIS L.A. and had the same question any ex-military guy would have why L.A. when San Diego is right there? anyway, the leads are good enough but the support guys in NCIS L.A. HQ are too nerdy and soft looking. It's too bad that is what L.A. is supposed to be associated with vs. east coast HQ.


Nelle Hoxie 7 years ago

I just watched NCIS LA last night for the first time...and I was so disappointed. It just seemed to be trying way too hard. But then I ended up watching the Good Wife that came on after - that I didn't expect much from - and I loved it. So i guess life balances out. I don't think NCIS LA will make a second season without major changes.


embitca profile image

embitca 7 years ago from Boston Author

Sadly, I quite agree with you Nelle. I found my attention wandering last night and wound up surfing the web instead of watching the episode. I'll give it one more and then I'm done with it!


lee 4 years ago

i wasn't sure when ncis la started whether i would like it or not. after two sessions i was hooked. i now like it better than ncis. i sill like ncis but i love ncis la.


Tanya 4 years ago

I absolutely love this show. The inclusion of Marty Deeks has definately made this show better for me. I'm not a fan of the original ncis but ncis los angeles is my number one show. I can't wait for the dvd for season 3 to be released as I've pretty much learnt word for word the season 2 dvd series.


gypsumgirl profile image

gypsumgirl 2 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

Thanks for the overview. NCIS: Los Angeles is one of my favorite shows. Actually, it's one of the only TV shows I watch.

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