"NCIS: Los Angeles" goes back to the beginning when it returns on Tuesday night. In the all-new episode, Sam (LL Cool J) and Callen (Chris O'Donnell) head to Mexico to search for retired assassin Tuhon (Danny Trejo), whom they encountered on their very first case together, and who is now a suspect in the murder of a diplomat.
"You get to see Callan and Sam's first mission," Executive Producer Shane Brennan tells Examiner.com in this exclusive interview. "When I say we get to see it, a guy they were involved with is reintroduced. The first time they ever worked together was when they were trying to catch this guy. Now he comes back and we discover that he is not a bad guy … well, we discover that he is a shadowy guy. We discover also that he has a connection to Hetty (Linda Hunt). It's a very big, flashy episode, but at the same time, seeing Danny Trejo doing something that he normally doesn't do a lot of, it is a good character piece."
Also on tonight's episode, Peter Cambor returns as Operational Psychologist Nate Getz and partners up with Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) in Los Angeles to assist with the investigation.
"At the same time, we will do a little bit of the Kensei (Daniela Ruah) story in Afghanistan," Brennan says. "We can't leave that alone."
Want more? Following are Brennan's answers to some additional "NCIS: Los Angeles" questions:
Can we talk about Kensei. Is part of the reason she is overseas because you needed to hide her pregnancy?
What we wanted to do … on "NCIS: Los Angeles," we plan our seasons out, so when Dani came to us and said, "I'm pregnant," I didn't just want to ship her out and hide her. We thought very hard about a story that could keep her involved all through the season. That takes an enormous amount of planning, but we had plenty of time to plan it. So, all of the Afghanistan sequences that we spread out throughout the season, all shot back in November and a little bit into December. She wasn't as big then.
We wanted to keep Kensei's character in the show, so we did that amazing: What happened last night between Kensei and Deeks? Before they can resolve that, and before the audience gets to hear what actually happened, we shipped her out, so the audience was left hanging. Then we play this story she gets involved in in Afghanistan, hunting for the White Ghost. The resolution of that story has an incredibly powerful impact on Kensei and Deeks. We won't understand what that resolution is until Episode 18 when she comes back.
Ultimately, when it looks as if her mission is about to reach its climax, something else is revealed that turns her whole Afghanistan mission on its head. It's a shock to her, it's a shock to everyone.
It seems as if Callan and Sam have been on the backburner the last few episodes.
It is difficult to keep that balance when you have this situation. The moment we got Dani into her Afghanistan story, we got back to Callen and Sam. We've gone back to a lot of that fun banter that they used to have, going undercover and thinking on their feet. A lot of the episodes coming up feature that great camaraderie that they have. That really buddy/partner element that makes the show.
What is Deeks going to do when it comes to a partner? Is Nell (Renée Felice Smith) going to go back out with him?
We get to see Deeks with Nell more than once. She turns out to be very proficient at what she does. Mercedes Masöhn is a guest in an episode and she is a very beautiful woman. She and Deeks work together, so that should irritate all of the Densei fans, so we keep Deeks busy.
Hetty proved that just because you're little, doesn't mean you can't get the job done. Is that why she is championing Nell?
Callen asks the question of Hetty: "What are you actually training her to do, take over from you?" And Hetty is a little coy about that. Nell is technically, as an analyst, fantastic, and now she is proving herself in the field. It certainly does set you thinking, "What does Hetty have in mind for Nell?"
In a recent episode, the bad guy got away. Will we see him again?
If you go back and look at the five seasons, I think there were about three or four bad guys who got away, so they are all still out there because sometimes they do get away. I love bringing them back. Just when people have forgotten them, we bring them back and catch them… or not. Those sort of characters are wonderful. It is wonderful to have a good bad guy. We did it with the Chameleon (Christopher Lambert). I thought he would be back once, but he has been back four times now. So when you create a character like that and you put a really good actor into it, it is great fun to let them get away and be able to bring them back.
"NCIS: Los Angeles" airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.