Characters on the NCIS family of shows see plenty of danger, but one star of NCIS Los Angeles got a real life scare when she was injured in a car crash. That was the bad news.
The good news is that Linda Hunt, who plays Operations Manager Hetty Lange, has not only recovered from the accident, but that some of her backstory will be filled in during a Season 11 episode written by series star Eric Christian Olsen.
What happened to Hetty/Linda Hunt?
Hunt had to sit much of Season 10 out after a car crash last year. While she avoided serious injury, her recovery took longer than she initially thought it would. However, she returned in time to officiate the wedding of Martin Deeks and Kensi Blye, without losing either her tough stature or sense of humor.
Martin and Kensi kissed, as you do in weddings, but in a nod to Hunt’s welcome return, the couple also gave Hetty a kiss, wondering where in the world she had been. She demurred from an explanation, saying, “This is a day to celebrate friends and family, and the love that binds us all.”
You’ve got to cut a woman a little slack after she officiates a wedding — and after she mowed down the last enemy in a fight only moments before. But neither Hetty nor Hunt would have missed the event for the world — showrunner R. Scott Gemmill even revealed that provided the final push for Hunt to feel comfortable enough to return to NCIS Los Angeles.
“That was a real incentive for her. Even though she was maybe still on the road to recovery, she did not want to miss that wedding — for our show family it was pretty special and everybody wanted to be there. She soldiered on and came,” Gemmel told CinemaBlend.
Since Olsen plays Deeks, it’s particularly fitting that he would write an episode regarding the woman who officiated his wedding. This will be his debut episode as a writer, and he’ll also follow in the behind the camera footsteps of Chris O’Donnell, has directed several episodes over the years.
It is not exactly known when that particular episode about Hetty’s past will air, but Olsen has already completed the script, so it will probably be in the front half of the season. Hopefully, his story will expand on how Hunt describes her character’s appeal.
“I think people have always liked in me the combination of being the underdog because I’m a tiny woman but I have enormous authority in myself,” Hunt told the Daily Beast. “That dichotomy is intriguing for people: that confidence that Hetty has in herself and in her beloved agents.”
What else has Linda Hunt done?
Hunt first attracted attention when she starred in the 1982 movie The Year of Living Dangerously, opposite Mel Gibson. Part of what made that role stand out was that Hunt was playing a man, photographer Billy Kwan. She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year.
Because the diminutive and bespectacled Hunt bears a resemblance to the Incredibles character Edna Mode, people assume that she does that voice, but that role is the opposite of Hunt’s Oscar win: Edna is a woman voiced by a man, specifically, director Brad Bird. Like Edna, however, Hetty appears on shirts at San Diego Comic-Con, and Hunt wholeheartedly embraces her latter-day popularity.
“I wasn’t looking for anything … At this time in my life, that this has come along, feels just like a gift. The heavens opened up and just handed me a little something to get me into my 70s,” she said.