NCIS Los Angeles Granger Leaves

NCIS: Los Angeles Pays Tribute to the Late Miguel Ferrer, Writes Out Granger

Six weeks after longtime cast member Miguel Ferrer passed away, CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles wrote out the character of Owen Granger — in a way befitting the enigmatic Assistant Director.

At the close of the March 5 episode, Hetty went to the hospital to check in on her longtime friend and colleague, who during the mole hunt storyline was brutally stabbed. Except, there was no Owen to be found.

“I’m afraid he’s gone,” a nurse told Hetty — though not gone gone. Rather, it is explained, “One minute he was here, and the next minute he wasn’t…. He pulled out his IV and walked out.”

But not before leaving something behind for Henrietta — a note, explaining, “I have some unfinished business to take care of,” and he will leave it up to the team leader to account for his vanishing. “I’m sure you’ll think of something,” he wrote. “You always do.”

As a version of the Bob Dylan classic “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” sung by Ferrer and performed by his blues-rock band, the Jenerators, played, Hetty retreated to the elevator with a look that indicated her pride at her pal’s deft disappearing act.

The screen then faded to black, with the above memorial card to the dearly departed co-star.

What do you think about how NCIS: LA wrote out Granger?

ncis-la-granger-letter-vanish

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170 Comments
  1. Diane says:

    It could have been more emotional, but RIP Miguel.

    • DeeAnn C. REMLINGER says:

      I would like to see a future episode showing team gather around Hetty’s desk. As she informs them that Granger has concluded his unfinished business and has decided to retire, they break out the 50 year old whiskey or scotch and recall emotional dealings with Granger. Then a shirt pause. They lift their glasses. Make a toust and the camera fades out as they talk and laugh

  2. jab72254 says:

    I feel that was a unique and awesome way to write him out its sad but not as sad as if he passed in the hospital. Like he said Hetty will come up with something to tell the team what I don’t know but I’m sure it will be fantastic story.

    • Nolan says:

      I also think it was fitting. In the last episodes when Granger went to the hospital after the prison stabbing other friends visited. However, was his appearance and slurring of words his acting ability or real? When I learned of his death, and before I read these replies, I was guessing he died from complications from a stroke as he really didn’t look well. The writers could have actually filmed the scene in a real hospital at Ferrer’s request. That would reflect Ferrer’s strength as a man facing cancer head on. Good job in a bad situation. My condolences to his family. RIP.

      • Erik says:

        He had been slurring words a lot this season. I don’t think it was something sudden.

      • BW says:

        MF was having issues since S6. I thought him looking ill was s/l dictated(Granger being poisoned) now I think that was around the time MF was sick.

      • Miguel had been battling throat cancer for some time, and apparently it affected his speech in ways that made it sound as if he had suffered a stroke. The slurring was apparently real and a result of the cancer. I like that Granger left the hospital to take care of unfinished business, because in a past episode he had hinted to Hetty that he was terminally ill. It makes sense he would want to see his daughter again, or perhaps later we’ll even hear that he caught up with Sabatino and neutralized him. Either way, Granger leaving life on his own terms fits with the character.

  3. Andrew Hass says:

    I think the show having Granger leave alive was the best thing to do because it might have been too soon for the character to die right after the actor did.Plus this way the viewers will have the idea that Granger is out there living his life and maybe happy somewhere.Plus maybe next season the characters could learn Granger died.

    • Hugh says:

      yeah… Not that it’s 100% analogous… but when they introduced the NCIS LA team via backdoor Pilot on NCIS (original) the Team had a different Leader (eventually replaced by Hetty when they went to series) and it wasn’t until a full year later, and a season into LA’s run that Team Gibbs drew a case involving a body burned beyond recognition which was later revealed to be that team Leader
      – similarly the Victim of the week that was central to the JAG Backdoor Pilot to NCIS had been written off 4 months and 8 episodes before
      – Even Armand Assante’s Le Granouille wasn’t officially declared dead on NCIS for 13 episodes after it was Strongly implied he would not survive

      all of these were story choices to write off characters played by performers who are alive and well; but the writers historically are not shy about killing people off screen, who previously left their shows alive…

      so my guess is that the season Finale (or next season’s Premiere) will hinge on Evidence he discovers during his dying act… allowing the team to both avenge him and for him to die a hero

  4. NIck says:

    Did they do that in case of a recast or he just never comes back?

    • suzi says:

      I would be shocked if they recast the role. I believe it was done this way to allow the enigmatic character a departure on his own terms.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        The character was written to some place else (never specified where or why), so if Granger ever returned, it would have to be Ferrer… However, it would be possible his daughter we were introduced to in the past or another family member could show to continue the storyline. (Callen & Sam faced a brother of someone they’d caught in S7E4, & Granger himself showed due to Kensi’s father, claiming at the time it was why he was there.

        • LeeH says:

          Oh … this is television. If Granger ever returned, he could be anyone, with any face. I hope they don’t go in the “I’ve changed my appearance to work undercover” direction, as that would be a true Jump the Shark moment, but it’s certainly an option in the wide world of TV.

  5. tjchurch2001 says:

    I actually would have preferred it if they wrote that he was actually “gone”, the way the portrayer truly is. (Also, how in the world did Hetty get the letter for her from a nurse who told Hetty that he was gone from the room when the nurse’s shift started?!)

    Watch social media (& this article, as well perhaps as other places on this site), & I’ll come back with an “I told you so” when fans go nuts asking where Granger is despite it being all over the ‘Net Miguel died over a month ago.

  6. Kathy says:

    I think its lovely. What a great end for a great character. He leaves on his terms – isn’t that we all want? To leave on our own terms – be it fighting to the end, fading out peacefully or riding off into the sunset? His character lives on and I think Miguel Ferrer, from what I have read about the man, would be pleased.

    • cidstoll says:

      I totally agree. I wonder if Miguel Ferrer had any say in how his character would be written out? I think he’d love the thought that Owen Granger is still out there, somewhere. And, really … it gives the entire OSP team a “guardian angel” of sorts. When things just magically happen to save someone from harm or produce a needed piece of info, it can simply be from “a friend who requests to remain anonymous” or “someone who’s looking out for you”. Which means that Granger can still be part of the team, even though Ferrer is no longer with us. I love it.

      • jscott says:

        This would be a wonderful way to handle Granger’s leaving. He could always be with them. It also opens the door for an episode which pays tribute to Miguel allowing the cast members to address their feelings about him. Granger and Hetty had already talked about his illness.

  7. Cheryl L. Karp says:

    Fitting tribute!!

  8. Suzzette Lache says:

    I liked the way CBS wrote out Owen Granger. Because somewhere out there he is still alive, much better then him dying in a hospital. I’ll miss his character, and the great actor that he was.

  9. Paul says:

    preaty neat surprised me didn’t know he had passed.

  10. Jeff Goldberg says:

    A befitting memorial and way to close out Ferrer’s passing. His performance of knocking on Heaven’s Door was a surprise and touching. R.I.P Miguel Ferrer

  11. Riana says:

    I think he went to live with his daughter.

    • That’s what I think. The unfinished business is his family.

    • laine says:

      agree – plus it was hinted at for months that Grainger may be ill (as we know Miguel was) so.. in true character form Owen did what Owen wanted ~ I’m guessing at some point in the future Hetty will get the call from his daughter – until then..

      Also thought it was a sweet touch – his version of Knockin on Heavens Door ~ as music was more his passion than anything.

  12. Mike Adams says:

    That was a great way to pay tribute to a great actor RIP Miguel

  13. Dyna says:

    I understand the desire of family’s feeling the need to keep his passing private and allow their loss to be gradually accepted. I do hope by NEXT year’s Academy Awards they will offer the public the opportunity to honor his life and contribution to the motion picture/television industries in their “In Memoriam” presentation. Though I began to wonder if something was “wrong” last fall, NCIS’s transition was very tastefully done, respectful of his illustrious family and extended family. Sympathy is extended to them all as we share their loss.

  14. Randall Zimmerlee says:

    I think this is the way Miguel would want the script to be written. Being the elusive and mysterious character that he portrayed, he exits stage left… of has he? Our prayers be with you and your family!

  15. Storm Warnings says:

    I thought the goodbye was terrific. I wanted to know who covered Knocken on Heavens Door, looked it up and was blown away that it was Miguel himself. What a great touch by the producers.

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      Yeah, he was knocking on the door to tell the writers he can never come back for his character to return once he’s finished the unspecified business or even as a ghost.

      I almost have to laugh at those commenting this might be the way the actor or his family may have wanted.

      • Storm Warnings says:

        I refuse to take the cynical view or to acclaim that this is how Miguel would have wanted to go out. Let’s face it who the hell wants to die! But Miguel recorded it an iconic song. So what is wrong with saying goodbye and exiting stage left to this song by his own band.

        • tjchurch2001 says:

          I LOVED that part. The issue I have was the way they wrote him out, saying that he was off doing something else, leaving an open option he may come back, as though the actor had broken bones, or even a stroke (as Robert Guillame did during “Sports Night”). Neither Miguel nor Owen returning is an option, & the writers knew that.

          • Angel says:

            I don’t think they were implying he would be back. I got the impression he was leaving the hospital to live out his last days on his own terms. The note was written on the back of a piece on paper that clearly said “chemotherapy” and it had been strongly implied he was dying, from the conversation he had with Hetty and the scene where he was getting either an MRI or a CT scan.

    • Lisa says:

      I did too! Excellent tribute!

  16. Anita mathis says:

    This was a perfected way to do it . Honestly didn’t know he had passed so a little sad but think the writers did it right . Thank you for your talent and sharing with all of us . You will be missed

  17. Patsy Donaldson says:

    I love this show. Never miss it

  18. Valerie says:

    I was happy that they let him go in a great way of ending his character. He was a great actor in this show. He will truly be missed.

  19. Ray Schultz says:

    CLASSY

  20. JBC says:

    RIP Miguel! Creative and Nice way to write out his character.

  21. Joe says:

    Very fitting for the man and actor he was. Glad they did it this way. I felt he was very brave for staying with it for a long as he did. And kudos to the show for letting him do it. Must have been incredibly hard for him and the other actors to carry on through it all. Bravo to them all

  22. I was wondering how they were going to do that, but this way was pretty good. I was also curious how they were going to jam it into the episode and what they would have to cut to get the last scene in there, as I don’t think it was originally shot that way. I presume Hetty shot the scene in the end after Miguel died and it was up to the producers to recut this episode to get it in there. It was about 5min long, so I do wonder what was left out.

  23. Joseph K Skillings III says:

    What a great Actor that created very challenging roles but RIP Joseph

  24. James Simms says:

    Love the way it was done, thought it was fitting & classy. Liked having former JAG Adm. “AJ” Chegwidden (John M. Jackson) on last week (?). I think that’s the direction NCIS:LA will go in the future. The connections there:NCIS:LA’s an offshoot of NCIS which is an offshoot of JAG. Hope I’m right.

  25. Anthony says:

    I am chooosing to believe that he left with his daughter to find her mother in Korea that being the unfinished business in the note to Hetty

  26. Rob Robinson says:

    I thought his role as Granger was a dick in the beginning. I like that he was an active Operator. As a 30 year Navy Man, I love all the NCIS shows. It keeps me close to my Shipmates:)

    • NavyChiefWifey82 says:

      I am prior Army and my husband is a Chief (E-7/ETC).. He has been in the Navy for 20yrs (come next July 2018), but he is staying for at least 24yrs. .. I have been a fan of all of the JAG n NCIS Spinoffs.

  27. The Beebs says:

    It was a lovely tribute to a great actor.

  28. Stefanie says:

    I thought it was perfect.

  29. I was surprized he was even sick. He came across as a very strong man in his character. Im sure he was the same off camera. He was a good actor.
    My thoughts and prayers are sent to his family.

  30. didn’t know he was sick. I loved the character he played. He always played his role so good. I didnt like him when the team didn’t. I liked him when the team did. I’m going to miss him and the role he played. He came across as a very strong man to me. He was a good actor.
    My prayers and thoughts go out for his family. God bless all of them

  31. Mark D says:

    Very fitting, they let him fade away versus a sudden departure; CLASSY.

  32. A. Galinis says:

    He will be missed and they did him proud. Farwell

  33. Jim Akin says:

    A wonderful tribute and good episode in memory of Miguel Ferrefo

  34. Carol Aubin says:

    Excellent and respectful way for Granger to leave.

  35. Kevin says:

    i liked how they wrote out Owen and im glad they didnt write him out sooner because of his throat cancer which made it hard to understand him. but one thing i wish more producers? would do, is when characters are on a long running series is to write them out somehow and take pictures of them in a casket or something so they can be written out ‘normally’ if you get what i mean?

  36. B says:

    It was a very fitting tribute to Granger’s character! He always seemed to slip in like a spirit! Perfect Ending! 🙏💙

  37. BW says:

    Overall I liked it, and hoped for Owen to just disappear, maybe see his daughter and her mother. Eventually I think we will be told Granger died. RIP Miguel Ferrer!

  38. Michael Stewart says:

    Beautifully done. A very fitting loving tribute to an enigmatic character in a very good show.

  39. Guy Sanders says:

    Great job the way it ended 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

  40. Charmaine says:

    Very well done. I’m a avid fan of the program.

  41. Mimi Vedrine says:

    So sorry! I been watching the show for ever ! It’s going to change the whole story! I remember his mom & dad two wonderful stars ! When I watch the show tonight I tough it was some change it did’nt look like the usual story ! Any way the show must go on! So good like to all cast !& my condoléance to the family !

  42. Ed Anderson says:

    Outstanding!

  43. Very fitting. I really thought they would incorporate his passing more into the storyline though. You know not recovering well from stabbing, kidney failing and the end, with maybe military style funeral like they do on NCIS.

    • I might have thought there’d be a mention when Callan sat down for tea with Hetty early on in the episode, but that didn’t happen. But I think the reason why there wasn’t more about Grainger was that the ep was already in the can and the death happened post-production. My feeling is that they filmed the final hospital scene with only Hetty, and then cut it in at the end of the show (which is probably sorta easy) to close it out.

  44. Did anyone notice the paper it that the note was written on was a chemo order?

  45. Elaine Howell says:

    I just know I’m going to cry buckets when I watch this episode.

  46. MMD says:

    I thought it was a perfect send off for Granger and having he and his band singing made the tears just pour out.

    I also think it was what Miguel Ferrer would have wanted. Both he and the writers knew out his illness for a long time and he went out with his boots on. I read an article where TPTB finally talked him into taking one episode off but he still showed up at the table read anyway even though he wasn’t in the episode. He loved his tv family and the show that much. Great actor who is missed by so many.


    Love the picture they used because the character Granger didn’t smile very often although he often had his costars in stitches.

  47. I know that they are his initials… but I thought it was oh so fitting to sign the note OG… because, truly he was

  48. I thought it was brilliant his character will be missed funny thing is since his passing I was wondering how that was going to pull it off when he in the hospital rest in peace Miguel

  49. LAURA BAKER says:

    Very nice writing & so in character for Owen! As classy an exit as he was an actor! We’ll miss you dearly assistant director Granger!! 😢

  50. deb kib says:

    A fitting and touching way to honor and immortalize this actor and his final character. He didn’t truly leave, he (his legacy) goes on. Well done, writers! And his song at the end…. no words.