Ever since NCIS: LA started airing in 2009, actress Linda Hunt has been playing the character Henrietta "Hetty" Lange. Over the years, Hetty has become one of the most loved characters in the show.

However, starting from season 10, Hetty became absent from much of the show. Initially, fans thought she would be away for just a few episodes or a season at most.

But as newer seasons rolled in, it became apparent that her absence wouldn't be for as short as they had thought.

Fans Anticipate Linda Hunt's Comeback to 'NCIS: LA'

Hetty was absent for most of season 10. However, she appeared on the 17th episode to officiate the wedding between other main characters — Marty Deeks and Kensi Blye — only to disappear immediately after.

The trend continued in seasons 11 and 12 of NCIS: LA, where she would be absent from the show for episodes with no proper explanation.

Being one of the show's earliest cast members, with immense popularity among viewers, Hetty's fans began demanding her comeback in the show as a regular.

NCIS: LA wished Linda Hunt a happy 77th birthday on Instagram.

'NCIS: LA' wished Linda Hunt a happy 77th birthday on Instagram. (Source: Instagram)

The demands grew stronger when the show's official Instagram page wished Hunt a happy 77th birthday on April 2, 2022.

"Never to be underestimated. Happy birthday to the incredible Linda Hunt," the caption for the post read.

Fans rushed to the comment section to wish the actress a happy birthday and write about how much they missed her.

"Come back please and Happy Birthday where ever you are," wrote one user.

Another user wrote, "Hetty (Linda) please come back. The show is not the same without you and your witty comments. Hope Nell and Eric would be back, too."

Why Is Hetty Absent from 'NCIS: LA'?

Though the true reason for Hetty's absence from the show has not been disclosed, fans of the show have come up with various theories.

Many speculate Hunt was deliberately kept out of the show as her old age makes her very vulnerable to COVID.

Given how the pandemic had affected the shooting for many productions, fans think having Hetty away on a secret mission was a convenient way to protect her from the virus.


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Another speculation that fans have come up with is that her absence has a greater role to play in the show's future.

Hetty has always been notorious among viewers of the show for her mysteriousness.

And given how many mysteries about Callen's past are thought to be known by Hetty, they think her absence could be a setup for a big reveal in the following seasons.

All the speculations aren't on the positive side. Many also believe that the reason Hetty has been absent for the past few seasons is quite simple — the writers plan to write her off the show.

Her continued absence could be a hint at her leaving the show permanently or her character possibly dying in the future.

However, the real reason remains to be seen and we will not know the answer until the future seasons roll in.