The spin-off stars Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J, with Oscar-winning actor Linda Hunt playing team manager Henrietta “Hetty” Lange. However, when the show returned for Season 10, fans were saddened not to see Hunt alongside the other cast members. The bad news is that Linda Hunt was in a car a******t and wasn’t able to return right away, but the good news is that it’s not permanent and Hetty will be back.

When the first spin-off of CBS’ extremely successful NCIS hit the air in the fall of 2009, millions of fans of the flagship series tuned in to the new show as well, expecting — and receiving — the unique blend of elements that made the original such a juggernaut. NCIS: Los Angeles packs plenty of procedural drama, military intrigue, crackerjack action sequences, and bad guys resoundingly defeated by the good guys. Household names such as L.L. Cool J and Chris O’Donnell top-lined the cast, but before long, it became clear that the secret weapon of NCIS: Los Angeles was Supervisory Special Agent Henrietta “Hetty” Lange, the mysterious if not inscrutable manager of the NCIS team.

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Played by veteran character actress Linda Hunt, Hetty’s character features a deep and dramatic backstory that includes work as a Cold War operative. Though she appears in more than 200 episodes, we can’t shed much light on this enigmatic agent, but we can delve into the untold truth of the accomplished performer who brings her to life.

Young actors encountering resistance from their parents is a common theme. Moms and dads, fearing the worst, often have a hard time getting behind their child pursuing such a risky career. Linda Hunt told the Daily Beast that her folks, an oil executive and a piano teacher, embraced her dreams “most diligently,” but her father thought she should opt for a teaching degree. Hunt didn’t listen to her dad, confident enough in her abilities to trust that she didn’t need a plan B.

However, even while attending the prestigious Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, Hunt reportedly had to stare down those who didn’t think she had what it takes to become a star. According to the Daily Mail, “Despite her interest in performing, Hunt studied directing when people at the Goodman School looked at her askew upon hearing she wanted to pursue acting.” When she moved to New York, Hunt said she threw the logic of others out the window. “If it’s hard to get into acting, what is it like for a woman to become a director?” she quipped. “I stuck to my g**s.”

Hunt proved herself to the world and to her parents, who accompanied her to the 1984 Academy Awards, where she won best supporting actress for The Year of Living Dangerously. “My father was so relieved when I won that award,” Hunt said. “He was like, ‘You know what? I guess she’s right. She’s going to be okay.’

By chrysos