I love watching NCIS Los Angeles more than the original now. It has some great story lines, but I would stop if there was no more Hetty, played by the brilliant Linda Hunt. She is the formidable tea connoisseur at home with a swig of whiskey, or is that scotch?
She constantly answers questions with other questions, but is the only one to get away with it. Because she is Hetty – short for Henrietta (but is that even her real name?)
She is the one who keeps us and her staff guessing. As in one of the latest episodes she says 'Don't presume to know what I am thinking, Owen?' And that is to her boss.
Because we really all know Hetty is in charge. She is tough. It is clear through the years of the series that Hetty is old school and holds a lot of secrets to her past, going way back to the Cold War of the 60's.
However, most of the things she did back then are classified and what is classy about the writing in the show are the subtle hints that drop every now and then and we find out bits and pieces of her past, but mainly have to use our imagination at the same time that the characters in the show do.
With so many people in the industry in Hollywood talking about the minimal roles for female actors and especially for older and unconventional looking women, veteran Linda Hunt ticks all the boxes and in fact bucks the trend.
She is now 69 years old. First coming to prominence playing a male in 'The Year of Living Dangerously' she has since been seen in sporadic but nevertheless memorable roles throughout the years. But as Hetty she surpasses expectations as an actor and character, yet Hunt is hardly mentioned when such discussions of formidable roles come up.
Hetty is a character who can do it all – on her terms – with both brawn and brains and more than holds her own with any of the characters under her charge or with higher ups trying to undermine her. In various episodes she has shown her expertise in getting out of harm whether with words or a gun.
Despite Linda Hunt being around four feet tall, and LL Cool J being a giant of about 6 ft. 5 and his character Sam being a tough ex-Navy Seal, it seems one word from her or simply a raised eyebrow without even raising her voice and Sam can be reduced to a 4 year old who has been sent to the naughty corner.
Maybe some would call it unrealistic but such is the subtle power and genius of the portrayal by Hunt, it is totally easy to believe. We not only see how much she cares for her well trained agents but also know she is easily able to outdo any of them in anything from martial arts to even rock climbing, because you don't survive in the espionage business all this time like Hetty has without knowing you can and how to beat anyone.
So if you haven't seen her in action for a while or ever at all then why not give it a go. And share a cup of tea with her when she does in the show – but only in the finest of crockery, of course. Only the best will do in all she does with Hetty.