‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Will Amass 323 Episodes When It Signs Off

NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS
‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ on CBS (Image credit: CBS)

Wrapping up its 14th season on CBS, NCIS: Los Angeles airs the first of its two-part series finale Sunday, May 14. R. Scott Gemmill, NCIS: Los Angeles showrunner and executive producer, has been with the show “right from day one,” he told B+C. NCIS: Los Angeles was initially envisioned as a series about an NCIS agent who conducted long-term, deep undercover missions that go for weeks and months at a time. 

“It’s a very different show now,” he said, describing it as “a buddy cop show”--less dark, more character chemistry, more fun. 

Titled “New Beginnings,” the finale sees an ATF agent go missing and the bureau gets help from the NCIS team to locate the agent and investigate stolen military-grade weapons. Callen, played by Chris O’Donnell, and Anna, played by Bar Paly, plot their wedding, the sister of Rountree (Caleb Castille) interviews for medical school and LL Cool J’s Sam encourages his father to take part in a drug trial. 

“The only thing harder than a pilot is the finale,” said Gemmill, who previously worked on JAG and ER. “And the longer a show is on the air, the more difficult it gets to tie it up.”

Like Gemmill, cast members O’Donnell, LL Cool J, Daniela Ruah, Linda Hunt and Eric Christian Olsen have been there for the run of the show, an extraordinary display of continuity. 

Like MLB pitchers reaching 300 wins, we won’t see many shows last for 14 seasons in the future. NCIS: Los Angeles debuted in 2009 and reached 300 episodes last season, and will top out at a stunning 323 episodes. 

“The truth is, seeing a show with this kind of longevity is very rare, and increasingly more so as time goes on,” Gemmill said. “The only thing we can truly feel is thankfulness–we’re grateful for having had the opportunity to do this for so long.”

Gemmill will miss the “fun stunts,” he said, such as characters driving in burning cars. He credits the stunt coordinator and effects team for making what the writers and producers dream up, come to life. “Anything we can imagine, they are up for,” he said. 

Executive producers, with Gemmill, are John P. Kousakis, Frank Military, Kyle Harimoto and Andrew Bartels. 

The awards judges never showed NCIS: Los Angeles much love, but Gemmill said Emmys and Golden Globes were never the goal. “We’re happy with each other,” he said, “and that’s the best reward.”

After the finale wraps May 21, Entertainment Tonight will do a salute to the show, with Kevin Frazier hosting.

Gemmill shed some light on what the producers are going for with the finale. “We want the end to be a celebration of our characters and their lives,” he said, “and hopefully leave them in a place where the audience feels content and can extrapolate what the characters do in the future.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.