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Daniela Ruah Describes Her Relationship With Her NCIS: Los Angeles Co-Star Linda Hunt - Exclusive

When "NCIS: Los Angeles" returned for its 14th season, fan favorite Hetty Lange (played by Linda Hunt) was nowhere to be seen.

An integral part of the cast since Season 1, the 77-year-old Oscar winner made only sporadic appearances in Season 13, largely due to COVID-19 precautions. Still, her dwindling time on the show has left fans worried that she may be written off soon — and, for a brief moment in the Season 14 premiere, it seemed that fear was coming true when the NCIS team got a scare that Hetty had died in Syria. It turned out, though, she had faked her own death.

The following week, "NCIS: Los Angeles" executive producer R. Scott Gemmill confirmed that Hunt would be back in some capacity this season, though he's just not sure when.

So for now, Hunt will continue to lie low on the series, which airs Sundays on CBS. In the meantime, Looper got some insight into what it's been like working with the veteran actor during an exclusive interview with "NCIS: Los Angeles" star Daniela Ruah, who plays Special Agent Kensi Blye.

Hunt 'shatters the ground with her gravitas'

"NCIS: Los Angeles" follows a team of special agents assigned to the Office of Special Projects, a unique branch of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that specializes in undercover assignments. Hetty oversees the OSP unit while on assignments, providing it with a wide variety of support, from transportation to advanced surveillance equipment. Since Season 9, she has frequently been absent from OSP headquarters, embarking on long and dangerous missions in foreign nations.

When asked what it's been like working alongside Hunt since Season 1 as Special Agent Blye, Ruah is short but sweet.

"I don't have enough words to describe how wonderful [Linda] is as a person and what an honor it is to work with somebody of that skill level, who's able to shatter the ground with her gravitas, even when she's being quiet and listening to you," says Ruah. "She's a wonderful human and actress, and we're very lucky that she joined the show. We're very lucky to work with her. She's lovely."

Tune in to Season 14 of "NCIS: Los Angeles," airing Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, to track Hunt's eventual return.