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Created by Shane Brennan, "NCIS Los Angeles" is a spinoff of the popular, "NCIS" produced and broadcast by CBS and Shane Black Productions. The action shifts from the East Coast home of the original series to Los Angeles as NCIS agents headed by G. Callen investigate various crimes and terrorist attacks on the West Coast.
The characters who form the basis of the "NCIS Los Angeles" team were introduced using a backdoor pilot tool when they teamed up with the characters of "NCIS" for a crossover episode. "Legend Part I" and "Legend Part II" was broadcast as part of the sixth season of "NCIS" introducing G. Callen as a legend of the Naval Command Investigative Service who is helping the "NCIS" team track down a rogue MOSSAD agent. The introduction of Chris O'Dennell's, G. Callen character was left as a cliffhanger when he was left shot and apparently dying at the end of "Legend Part II."
The first season of "NCIS Los Angeles" opens months after the events of "Legend Part II" and sees Callen returned to health but not returned to full mental stability after his traumatic last appearance. A police chase brings the "NCIS Los Angeles" team to a van containing the body of a U.S. Naval Commander being found dead in the back of a van driven through downtown Los Angeles. G. Callen and his partner, former Navy SEAL Sam Hanna investigate and decide the killing was an execution which makes the case a matter of national security. The commander was heading a special project which the agents of "NCIS Los Angeles" believe may be the reason behind his kidnapping and eventual murder, but very few leads are available for their investigation.
After investigating the life of the Commander, Callen, and Hanna come to the conclusion he was trying to save the life of his young niece they believe has been kidnapped and held hostage for some time. Callen and Hanna make their way to the father of the Commander's niece's home and come to the conclusion the brother of the Naval officer has something to hide but they are unsure of what. The operation is headed by the Commander against a Mexican drug cartel is thought to play a major role in the reasons why the Commander was killed. Upon returning to interview the father of the kidnapped girl, Callen and Hanna comes to the conclusion he is responsible for the kidnapping of his own daughter and set out to arrest him. Things are complicated by the fact the family is aware of the work of Callen and Hanna and the team they head putting all their lives in danger.
Shane Brennan is the brains behind the "NCIS" franchise and had been looking to create a new show based in Los Angeles for some time when he finally took the plunge in 2009. Brennan began his career in his home nation of Australia after abandoning his career as a journalist. Brennan wrote for a series of popular Australian primetime shows, including "The Flying Doctors" and "Flipper." Always hoping to explore the possibilities on offer in the U.S., Brennan spent much of his time traveling between the two nations in the early stages of his career before finally making the move to the U.S. to work on "NCIS."
Much of the hype surrounding the launch of "NCIS Los Angeles" revolved around the arrival of Chris O'Donnell on TV screens after a successful period in movies. O'Donnell came to prominence in a McDonald's commercial alongside basketball icon, Michael Jordan before becoming a movie star in the 1990s. Among the critically-acclaimed movies, the actor has appeared in are "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Scent of a Woman."
The rapper and actor, LL Cool J came to prominence as a music star in the mid-1980s when he helped turn hip hop into a mainstream genre. After some small parts in movies playing himself or a version of his own character, the rapper appeared in "Toys" alongside Robin Williams to launch his acting career. Since this first role, LL Cool J has appeared in a range of popular films, including "Halloween H2O" and "In Too Deep." In 2009, LL Cool J took the role of Sam Hanna in "NCIS Los Angeles"
"NCIS Los Angeles" is produced by CBS Television Studios and Shane Brennan Productions for the CBS Network which has broadcast all ten seasons of the show since it began in 2009. Shane Brennan acts as showrunner for "NCIS Los Angeles" after he developed the story as a stand-alone series which he could not get off the ground until adding the "NCIS" franchise label to the title. In the U.S., the show is streamed through the CBS app which rarely allows its properties to be streamed by other, more traditional services.
The arrival of "NCIS Los Angeles" was much anticipated, based largely on the star power of the lead actors. However, the critical response to the show was largely mixed with Metacritic giving the show a rating in the mid-50s with critics often stating the show struggled to achieve the seriousness of "NCIS." The show met with some criticism from professional critics who stated it was more akin to episodes of "The A-Team" rather than the deep character development of "NCIS." Despite their criticism, the show premiered to over 16 million viewers and kept the majority of its fanbase through its first five seasons. In the latter half of its run on CBS, "NCIS Los Angeles" saw a decline in viewers and the critical response to the latest adventures of the team headed by G. Callen.
Broadcast around the world. "NCIS Los Angeles" is shown on Channel Five in the U.K. and Channel Ten in Australia. A series of novels based on the characters in the show have been written and produced to run alongside the TV show. Another spinoff has been developed but was not picked up by CBS with characters involved in "NCIS Red" introduced throughout season six and eight of "NCIS Los Angeles."
"NCIS Los Angeles" was original to be called, "NCIS Legend" to show the gravitas of the character played by Chris O'Donnell. The character of G. Callen was fleshed out with a biography stating he lived with more than 30 foster homes during his childhood. In season four, episode six casino scene, the mothers of Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J, and other cast members are seen playing games throughout the scene.