So, apparently my new MO when it comes to television is to stumble upon shows either at the end of their run or after their run has concluded. I got into Leverage 3 years after it’s last season, for example. The problem has compounded itself with Netflix where the last 3 series I started ALL had their conclusion planned for within 10 days of when I began them. It was not intentional, and I’m certainly not cursing any shows because apparently all those conclusions were announced long before I started but…I guess I just have weird timing.
The TV show that I really didn’t intend to love and now really do is NCIS: Los Angeles. Absolutely, positively NOT the original NCIS — I find one of the characters on it completely unwatchable. But NCIS:LA works for me.
It has a Hetty.
Hetty Lange, played brilliantly by Linda Hunt, who is a PHENOMENAL actress, is a tried and true Cold Warrior, a spy who played the games of the Cold War, has stories and contacts all over the world, and basically became a legend and a terror to her enemies in the days of spy games. Now she runs a team in LA and offers them tea, sage advice, and fierce backup.
The whole show is delightfully written, well-acted, and generally accurate in its portrayal of human intelligence tradecraft (the hacking stuff is ridiculous because of course it is). But I pretty much watched 1 episode and fell completely in love with Operations Manager and all-around badass Hetty Lange.
Here’s 48 seconds to show you why:
I’ll probably geek out at you another day when I complete the fic story inspired by this series, but for now, I highly recommend this one. As procedurals go, it’s better than most. As portrayals of national security and tradecraft go, it’s way better. (Also, let’s just note that this is a show where one of the main characters actively thwarting terrorism is himself a devout Muslim. It doesn’t get all the identity politics and social justice right, but it is clearly making an effort.)
And they have a Hetty.
That’s pretty much enough for me.