The following contains major spoilers from the closing scene of the NCIS: Los Angeles series finale, which aired May 21, 2023, on CBS.
When all was said and done, NCIS: Los Angeles was very much a family affair for series co-lead Chris O’Donnell.
As the high-octane CBS procedural’s 14th and final season drew to a close, Callen and Sam (played by O’Donnell and LL Cool J) were led to Morocco, where they discovered that former colleague Nell (returning series vet Renee Felice Smith) has been trying to locate and rescue long-MIA OSP boss Hetty (Linda Hunt), who reportedly has landed herself in quite a pickle.
Nell introduced Callen and Sam to her “team,” which is comprised of two other familiar faces — NCIS operational psychologist Nate Getz (Peter Cambor) and CIA officer Vostanik Sabatino (Erik Palladino) — plus a fresh-faced “new guy.”
Said noob started to give his name, but Sabatino cut him short. The camera then cut from a close-up of “the new guy” to a close-up of Callen, and the resemblance was undeniable.
Because it’s based on real-life DNA.
“That is the only child of Chris O’Donnell’s that hadn’t appeared on the show yet,” NCIS: LA showrunner R. Scott Gemmill shares with TVLine. “That’s Chris’s oldest son, Chip.”
Indeed, O’Donnell’s 24-year-old namesake Christopher aka Chip is the fifth and last of the actor’s kids to guest on NCIS: LA. Daughter Lily played “Young Amy” in Season 1; son Charlie appeared twice in Season 1, including as Young Callen in the seminal “Callen, G” episode; son Finley played a Young Callen in Seasons 2 and 3 (including in “Lange, H”); and daughter Maeve played “Natasha” in Season 7’s “Command and Control” — with O’Donnell’s wife Caroline playing the lass’ mom, to boot.
Chip himself “was supposed to play Callen in a flashback, and then COVID came along…,” Gemmill tells TVLine. “But all of Chris’ other kids had appeared on the show except Chip, so I said, “OK, I’m running out of time, I’ve got to throw him in the last episode.” It was a nice little homage to Chris.”
Did you immediately recognize “the new guy” as an O’Donnell offspring?
I figured it out as soon as he opened his mouth. He looks and sounds just like Chris (senior). At first, I thought they had done some sort of weird digital recreation of Callen, then for a split second, I thought it was Colin Hanks, but he was too young. Nicely done.
Yup. He is a carbon copy of his dad. I’m glad all of his kids were able to be in the show.
In my own little personal headcannon I created after watching this episode, the new guy actually turns out to be G’s actual son. Hetty knows this and is why he was recruited into the group in the first place. She told Sabatino which is why he is pushing the new guy thing so hard. It probably happened sometime in the late90s/early00s when G was working a lot of undercover operations
Is there any microscopic chance this series ending Cliffhanger/Loose End could possibly be spun off into an NCIS: Limited Series Event (The Search for Hettie?) w/ Nell, Nate, & Vostanik still looking around the globe (and off the books) for Henrietta?
that would be great but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Maybe on Paramount plus?
I would watch any NCIS spin off show that had Sabatino on it. Love him!
Yes he was very easy to to recognize