'NCIS: Los Angeles' Season 12 Finale Sneak Peek Shows Beloved Character Return

The NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 finale is bringing back fan-favorite character Hetty Lange as Nell Jones faces a major decision to make about her future. While Hetty (Linda Hunt) has been popping in periodically via video chat this season to share some much-needed advice, a new promo from Sunday's finale shows a stern-looking operation manager returning in person just as Nell (Renée Felice Smith) is told she has to "either sign or resign" by as Retired Navy Admiral Hollace Kilbride (Gerald McRaney).

While Nell insists she can't take Hetty's position, it's unclear what her ultimate decision will be, and if that's why Hetty looks so stern in the final seconds of the preview. The Season 12 finale, titled "A Tale of Two Igors" will also be particularly intense for Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen). "Deeks is kidnapped by an associate of Kirkin's (Ravil Isyanov) in need of his help and NCIS investigates the shooting of a militarized dolphin equipped with a Russian microchip," the official synopsis reads. "Also, Beale makes Nell an interesting offer and Hetty returns."

"It was just so great having Linda back on set, especially for her scenes with Renée," showrunner Scott Gemmill told TVLine ahead of the premiere. "Hetty is such an important and almost mythical character to NCIS: Los Angeles, and fans are going to love seeing them together again." Smith added that the continued development of Hetty and Nell's mentor-mentee relationship would be an interesting part of the season especially, especially with what Hunt brings to the table as an actress.

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"[Hunt] is one of my favorite people on the planet, so I feel so fortunate to get to work with Linda Hunt," Smith shared at the time. "Her talent is immense. Her spirit is just so bright. She's like a magical fairy nymph. She's just an amazing, amazing being. Just to share any time with her is such a gift, so I'm very grateful to work with Linda." The NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Finale airs Sunday, May 23, 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Catch up on the season so far on Paramount+ and sign up for a free trial here. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS.

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