Long-running drama NCIS: Los Angeles is returning to television screens, but the world has changed a lot since the last time it was on the air.
Rather than incorporate COVID-19 into its current storylines, the series has opted to shift its setting to after the pandemic has been fully dealt with.
Showrunner R Scott Gemmill explained the decision in an interview with TV Line, revealing that the time-jump between seasons 11 and 12 is deliberately being left ambiguous.
“I tend not to ever want to put an actual time on that because the minute we do, that’s when I get into so much trouble,” he said. “We’re playing it post-COVID. We’re playing it pretty much as if [the pandemic] is in the past, because it was just too difficult to portray it as it is if our guys aren’t wearing masks.
Gemmill continued: “We’re playing it as if we’re on the other side of this, but it’s certainly fresh in the minds of everyone. We had to make a decision one way or the other, and my feeling has always been that our show is sort of an hour of escapism. People want to see life the way they wish it was.”
What that means is that fans can expect the upcoming episodes to adopt the usual format for the series, although they may potentially notice less crowded scenes due to coronavirus filming guidelines.
Here’s everything you need to know about NCIS: Los Angeles season 12.
When is NCIS: Los Angeles on TV?
NCIS: Los Angeles will premiere on CBS in the US on Sunday 8th November at 8:30pm EST.
The series usually airs on Sky One in the UK, but there’s no confirmed date just yet for when the latest batch of episodes will make their way across the pond.
In previous years, NCIS: Los Angeles has had a UK premiere date in late December or early January, so we predict that the show is likely to stick with this timeframe.
Who is in the cast of NCIS: Los Angeles?
As always, Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J will lead the cast of NCIS: Los Angeles going into its 12th season, portraying partners G Callen and Sam Hanna respectively.
You can also expect to see more from Daniela Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen as married couple Kensi Blye and Marty Deeks, whose relationship will come under strain this season as they encounter financial worries.
Linda Hunt will also reprise her role as Hetty Lange, although fans may notice her scenes are markedly different as special measures were taken to protect the actress from COVID-19.
Showrunner Gemmill told TV Line: “That’s just one of the many challenges, but we have found a way to do at least the first episode, which involved actually going and shooting at Linda’s house in her driveway.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep everyone safe, and Linda is a little extra special in terms of how we have to look out for her. So if Mohammed won’t go to the mountain…”
It has also been announced that actress Kayla Smith will portray LL Cool J’s on-screen daughter, Kamran Hanna, in the upcoming 12th season, a returning character previously depicted by a different actress at a younger age.
What will happen in NCIS: Los Angeles season 12?
NCIS: Los Angeles will continue the stories of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, taking on new cases each week as they protect from a range of threats.
In episode two, viewers can expect answers to a storyline left hanging from season 11, in which Navy Chief Petty Officer Thomas Argento (Juan Riedinger) was told his career was dead after soiling the reputation of the Navy SEALs.