There are cliffhangers and there are cliffhangers, and the Season 3 “NCIS: Los Angeles” finale cliffhanger is one that will be remembered for quite some time because the writers of the hit CBS procedural created a situation seemingly impossible to wiggle out of.
Here’s a brief recap of how we got to that point: It all began when NCIS Special Agent G. Callen (Chris O’Donnell) realized while interviewing Marcel Janvier, the Chameleon (Christopher Lambert), that Janvier was going to be traded despite the fact that he had killed two NCIS agents. As things progressed, Callen became more and more agitated and when the time came for the prisoner trade, Callen snapped and shot Janvier — in front of news crews and the LAPD — and was arrested.
“The writers love doing this,” executive producer Shane Brennan tells XfinityTV.com in an exclusive interview. “We love creating writing challenges. We love taking these characters and putting them in a situation where the audience says, ‘How are they going to get out of that?’ It can be very difficult because, ultimately, you can write yourself into a corner. I think in this instance the audience will be very satisfied with the outcome. I think they will have a real fun ride in that first episode back.”
Watch an Extended Preview from the Season Premiere:
So what happens when we return? Needless to say, Sam (LL Cool J), Kensi (Daniela Ruah), Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) and the rest of the team are shaken up following Callen’s caught-on-camera murder of the Chameleon and its after effects. So here are five things you will want to know about Season 4:
Where We Pick Up: It is less than 24 hours later and Callen has been in police custody that entire time, while Hetty (Linda Hunt) has turned in her resignation and has gone into retirement.
“What the audience can expect is a continuation of what they saw,” Brennan says. “We find Callen being released from custody. He is suspended pending the investigation and he does not want to talk to anyone. One of the most surprising things that happens in the first minute and a half is the way he treats Sam. I will say there is distance between them.”
Will Hetty return?: What we will see the first time we go back to headquarters is NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger (Miguel Ferrer) sitting at Hetty’s desk. Granger is no fan of Callen’s, so this doesn’t bode well for Callen’s future with the agency. Hetty, however, does make an appearance, during which she basically tells Granger to go to hell. Go Hetty!
“I can tell you something,” Brennan says, “the show would not be the same without Linda Hunt. I am not a person to ever step out onto that thin ice. It would not be the same without Callen, either. Obviously, there is a story to be told.”
Will viewers — and Callen — ever find out what the G stands for? Is there anybody left alive who knows what the G stands for? Even though some of the facts of Callen’s mysterious past have been revealed — Callen’s grandfather was an OSS agent stationed in Rumania responsible for the deaths of several members of the Comescu family. They retaliated. When the grandfather was killed, Callen’s parents moved to America. But following the death of Callen’s father, his Rumanian mother moved back home, where she was discovered and killed by the Comescus — Callen never discovered what the “G” stood for. And when Alexa Comescu — who claimed to know all about Callen — was killed, it seemed as if the truth about his childhood died with her.
“I haven’t talked to anyone about this,” Brennan tells XfinityTV.com. “No one has really asked that question, so I will give you this: Toward the end of the season, that journey begins. It takes its next step. When we ultimately unveil the rest of Callen’s backstory, it will be a very powerful moment and a very emotional moment — but it won’t happen this season.”
New cast members or guest stars: It has already been reported that this season of “NCIS: Los Angeles” will have a special episode, featuring the mothers of O’Donnell, LL Cool J, Olsen and Ruah. According to TVLine, the moms will be playing a group of ladies gambling at a casino.
As for new cast members, Brennan says there will be no one new joining the show per se. “We will be revisiting some of the fun characters we have introduced previously,” he says. “There will be some of those coming back. One in particular we absolutely love, a very unexpected character. I won’t say which one, but he is a very funny character and he is coming back in a guest role. We have another really interesting character being introduced in the third episode, who may at some point return.”
Has there been any talk of another crossover this season? In season two, “Hawaii Five-0” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” did a crossover case that that started in Hawaii and then moved to the mainland when the Rumanian mafia got its hands on several lethal vials of smallpox and threatened a terrorist attack with the deadly virus.
“It is too early to tell,” Brennan says. “I know the ‘Hawaii Five-0’ one was very successful and I am not averse to doing that, but it is a decision that gets made a little deeper into the season. I am happy to do them. I think the audience enjoys them and there is this kind of ‘NCIS’ world. The difference between the ‘CSI’ franchises is they all take place in different cities with different police departments. What makes the ‘NCIS’ world unique is it is an actual federal agency and they all have one boss. So, all of its agents do work in the same environment.”
The fourth season of “NCIS: Los Angeles” premieres Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c on CBS.