Why NCIS: Los Angeles Was Canceled

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The “NCIS” franchise has been notably successful over its decades-spanning existence; it’s impressive alone to note that it’s managed to spawn five spin-offs, and of those five series, two have managed to make it through fairly long network runs. But even the most successful of series must conclude at some point, and “NCIS: Los Angeles” was allegedly a victim of one thing — its budget.

Deadline reported in 2023 that the show was axed due to cost concerns, meaning it met the same fate that befell “NCIS: Hawai’i” in 2024. Like “Hawai’i,” which was doing well in the ratings, the decision was a shock to cast and crew alike in its suddenness. But unlike “Hawai’i,” “Los Angeles” was given the opportunity to craft a proper series finale, even though some fans thought that ending did the show a disservice.

That ending includes G. Callen (Chris O’Donnell) finally marrying Anna (Bar Paly), Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) finding out they’re expecting a baby, and the team hearing from their erstwhile handler, Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt), once more. When we last see Sam Hanna (LL Cool J) and Callen, they’re on another mission in an exotic locale, their lives clearly improved by being a part of NCIS, terminally and forever paired together as partners. But that’s not the last time we ever see Sam Hanna and Kensi in the “NCIS” world.

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Sam Hanna made a home for himself on NCIS: Hawai’i

“NCIS: Los Angeles” lives on in two important ways: through various cameo appearances its characters have made on other shows in the franchise and through one long guest starring stint one character made on a sister program.

Most recently, Kensi Blye popped up on “NCIS” to help celebrate that show’s 1,000th episode. She appears alongside Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) in a video conference call regarding a terrorist who seems to be threatening the NCIS organization at large.

Even more importantly, Sam Hanna surfaces on Season 1 of “NCIS: Hawai’i” and becomes a regular player on the program, as he trains a special ops team and takes part in Jane’s adventures. He helps Jane out with mission after mission, and though the Season 2 finale suggests that he goes back to Los Angeles after they put the kibosh on a big-time terrorist, one can imagine him sticking around.

“Sticking around” is just what the folks from “NCIS: Los Angeles” have managed to do. They may be gone, but its characters are immortal — and continue to live rich, fulfilling lives even after their onscreen stories conclude.

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