NCIS: Heartbreaking Reason Fan-Favorite Character Absence Revealed

Eve Crosbie

To say that Henrietta’ Hetty’ Lang, played by Linda Hunt, is a fan favorite on NCIS: Los Angeles would be something of an understatement.

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A member of the original cast since the CBS show launched in 2009, Linda is beloved by audiences for her no-nonsense attitude and distinctive look. But did you know the heartbreaking reason why Hetty hasn’t been seen much on the show since season nine? Learn more here…

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Hetty has been absent from West Coast episodes lately. NCIS fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. When filming for the NBC show began again in the summer of 2020, Hetty – who is 77 – received special attention given her age.

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As showrunner R Scott Gemmill explained to TV line at the end of last season: “Linda was out a lot more this season due to COVID and we’re trying to protect her.”


Linda has played Hetty since the series began in 2009

He explained that Linda’s surprise appearance in the Season 12 finale was made possible because she had received both her vaccines at the time. “She had been gone for so long and hadn’t really interacted with anyone, so she was so thrilled to be back on set.”

She also appeared briefly at the start of Season 13, but it has since been revealed that Linda won’t be reprising her role in the hit crime drama until its upcoming 14th season.


Hetty hasn’t been seen much since the show’s ninth season.

The news is sure to dishearten fans, because even before the pandemic hit and forced her involuntary absence, Linda had taken a long hiatus from the show following a car accident. Although the TV star suffered no serious injuries in the July 2018 crash, this resulted in his absence from the drama’s entire tenth season and the majority of its 11th.

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Sharing a statement at the time, she said: “First I want to say how much I appreciate the outpouring of support from the NCIS: Los Angeles fans following my car accident this summer.

“Although I was hoping to return to play against Hetty at the start of the season, I had to take a little longer to recover. I can’t wait to come back later this season.”

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