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Callen (Chris O’Donnell) is sinking to new lows on the season-seven premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles.
The CBS procedural wrapped up season six with the NCIS special agent assuming that both of his parents were dead, only for viewers to learn by the end of the finale that his father is in fact still alive.
Creator Shane Brennan tells The Hollywood Reporter that Callen’s fragile emotional state leads him to do something in the premiere that he’s never done before. Brennan also discusses what’s next for Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks‘ (Eric Christian Olsen) relationship, a new romance for Callen and a storyline that leaves Sam’s (LL Cool J) family in serious jeopardy.
The finale concluded with the audience learning that Callen’s father is indeed still alive, unbeknownst to Callen. How soon after that will things pick up in the premiere?
We begin three months later, and Callen has started to act rather strangely. He’s off doing something — he doesn’t want to involve Sam, he doesn’t want to involve Hetty (Linda Hunt), and they begin to get very concerned about what he is doing. As a result, it puts him in a pretty difficult situation with Hetty and Sam in particular, but also for the rest of the team. We’ve seen these guys go off the grid before, but this one is much more personal for Callen. As a result, it puts him off side with Hetty, who takes some rather drastic action to try and corral him; she ends up tasering him.
The finale was definitely tough for Callen. What is his emotional state at the start of the season?
Callen’s forced to do something [in the premiere] that he’s never done before, and that is break the law. Now, someone said they break the law every week, but this is seriously break the law. And he does it, so he’s a lawbreaker in this episode, and he does so out of desperation. And it’s not just in the spur of the moment — it’s a planned moment. I think the fun part of the episode is the lengths at which Hetty is prepared to go to stop him. (Laughs.)
When will Callen learn the truth about his father?
If the audience is looking for an answer to the man that we last saw at the end of season six, Callen’s father, you won’t get that answer in this episode. We take a step towards that. It’s an interesting thing — it was never set as a cliffhanger. It was set as sort of a moment for the audience to contemplate. And Callen’s actions in the opening episode suggest that he is still driven by that desperate need to have some sort of closure. The intriguing thing here is, what is driving him? What is this personal thing that’s driving him to basically break all of the rules within NCIS and within the team? When we find out what’s behind it, it will make sense to the entire audience because it plays back to a longstanding relationship.
What’s next for Kensi and Deeks‘ romance?
There’s some great, fun moments between Kensi and Deeks [in the premiere]. We are right into their relationship at this point. It’s not often that a show like ours that develops a romantic relationship between characters actually pays it off. We decided to grasp the nettle and see what it’s like to have two characters who are romantically involved declare their love and then work as partners within the team. We see them at home in Deeks‘ house having breakfast together. You really get to see them living a life outside of the office — although obviously, because it is a procedural, they’re never far apart from the work that they have to do.
It sounds like she’ll be meeting his mother in the premiere?
She meets his mother, and his mother comes back for a second episode. There is a fairly dramatic situation that develops between Kensi and Deeks involving the internal affairs investigation that’s been ongoing through last season; that comes to a head fairly early in the season. We have the return of Talia (Mercedes Masohn), who has always been interesting in the Kensi-Deeks world. (Laughs.) She seems to rub Kensi the wrong way somewhat. She returns in an early episode.
Callen and Joelle (Elizabeth Bogush) have had their up-and-down moments at times. Where is their relationship heading?
Callen has his relationship with Joelle, and things come to a bit of a head between them too in the first part of the season, and there is some other romance that develops for Callen. There’s an interesting turn with his romance with Joelle — that happens in the first half of the season and is tied to the first episode, in a roundabout sort of way. (Laughs.) The fans will have a connection to this [third-wheel] character.
What other big storylines are on the horizon this season?
For Sam, there’s the return of someone from his past that ultimately carries us through to the finale in a pretty spectacular way, and it impacts his family. This situation for Sam, it’s a big family-in-jeopardy kind of moment for Sam later in the season. [And] we’re looking at a return to Russia in the middle of the season, a big double episode, that will answer a lot of questions for some people and pose some questions for others. (Laughs.)
NCIS: Los Angeles‘ seventh season premieres Monday at 10 p.m. on CBS.
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