"NCIS: Los Angeles" is rebooting itself as a family drama for Season 7. Sort of.
"The very heart of what this show is Callen's search for his family and this whole identity theme that runs through his particular story," creator Shane Brennan tells TVGuide.com. "So, thematically, everything we do this season, with all of the characters, at its heart it's about family. And where we end up at the end of the season is a story that is right at the heart of what a family is and what a family will do together."
Sounds... cryptic. But what we do know is that, like any family, the "NCIS: LA" crew will experience plenty of ups and downs this season - and quite a few turning points for individual characters in the process.
"We have a pretty exciting season," Brennan promises. "We've got probably more in this season than we have in any other season, in terms of story arcs and revelations."
Here are 5 things to look forward to on NCIS: LA this season:
1. Callen becomes a target Much of Season 7's focus will be on Callen's (Chris O'Donnell) search for answers regarding his family, after the reveal at the end of Season 6 that his father is actually alive. "Perhaps there's opportunity to get closure on his life and his background," Brennan says. "There's still a chapter there to be written for Callen. And we will continue to write that chapter this season."
But he'll also have bigger problems to deal with. The premiere, which picks up three months after the end of Season 6, finds Callen at odds with the entire team after he goes rogue on an assignment and becomes entangled with both the CIA and a group of Russian criminals. Before long, his colleagues are tasked with targeting one of their own. "We've never seen Sam or Hetty in this position with Callen before. We've had situations where he's gone off the grid, but there's some pretty interesting conversations between Callen and Hetty and Callen and Sam about loyalty and being informed about what's happening," Brennan says. "It is tied into all of the things that the fans of the show know about Callen - and Hetty and Sam for that matter, too." The information Callen uncovers that sends him off on his own also sets up a midseason event that will have major repercussions for the show going forward, Brennan teases.
2. Drama for Densi Now several months into their relationship, Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) are still as cute as can be - and take a big step in Episode 2, when Deeks introduces Kensi to his mother (Pamela Reed)! But there's trouble ahead, Brennan warns, especially when Kensi starts to learn more about Deeks' past as an undercover officer. "Going a little deeper into the season, hanging over Deeks' head has been this internal affairs investigation that we talked about last season," Brennan says. "Before we reach the halfway point, the whole internal affairs issue will be well and truly investigated. It's going to put pressure on their relationship. The fact that he's being investigated by internal affairs will cause a fairly dramatic reassessment of his life, of his career and what he wants to do with it. It impacts both his career at NCIS and his relationship with Kensi. When the internal affairs investigation reaches its conclusion and we find out what's behind it, what it's all about, it will be a catalyst for at some point Deeks making decisions about his future." Gulp!
3. Hetty makes a tough call Callen's actions in the premiere throw Hetty (Linda Hunt) for a serious loop and force her to make some decisions she may come to regret. "The season begins for her with a particularly challenging story line," Brennan says. "The boy she took under her wing when he was 15, and she has nurtured him and cared for him and guided him through his entire adult life ... they reach a point in this episode where he will not tell her what he's doing, and she's making demands on him to find out. It really is unsettling for Hetty when she doesn't know what's happening, because normally she knows everything and she knows what's going on. She is at a total loss this episode to understand why Callen is doing what he's doing, and why he won't share that."
4. Sam faces insurmountable odds An episode in the first half of the season has negative ripple effects for Sam (LL Cool J) that will play out through the finale, Brennan hints. "Towards the very end of the season, it becomes probably Sam's greatest challenge, not only since joining NCIS, but in his whole life," Brennan says. "He's faced with the most challenging situation he's ever encountered."
5. An NCIS crossover! NCIS' Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) heads to the West Coast for an October episode that Brennan says is in his Top 5 that the show's ever done. "It's not just a cameo. He is in virtually every scene," Brennan promises. "It's all about him. It's hilarious. ... It's such an exciting, fun episode."
"NCIS: LA" kicks off Season 7 on Monday on CBS.
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