Grisha Alexandrovich Nikolaev or G. Callen (G. or Callen to his NCIS colleagues) is an NCIS Special Agent and also a member of the Office of Special Projects in Los Angeles, which is run by Henrietta Lange.
Like his good friend and fellow NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs who is the head of the NCIS Major Case Response Team in Washington D.C, Callen is also the lead Agent of the Office of Special Projects with his partner in the field being former Navy SEAL, NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna.
Born in Romania to a Russian father, KGB Major Nikita Alexsandr Reznikov and Clara Callen, a half-Roma CIA agent, Callen lived a relatively normal life up until the age of five.
Callen's story begins during the Second World War, when an American OSS operative named George Callen parachuted into Romania in 1944 to assist in King Michael's effort to overthrow the Fascists who had sided with Hitler and the Axis Powers. The coup was successful, resulting in Romania switching its allegiance over to the Allied Powers. After the war ended, George Callen remained in Romania, where he had taken to the cause of hunting down war criminals. One of his targets was a family with known connections in human trafficking named Comescu. After killing three prominent members of the family, the next head in line of the family swore an oath of revenge against George Callen, vowing to 'end his bloodline', which the rest of the Comescu family followed in suit. They came after George Callen in 1947, shortly after he had married a Romanian woman. They had one child, a daughter named Clara. He was killed, but his wife and daughter escaped, fleeing to safety in the United States.
Nineteen years later, the roots of Callen's relationship with Henrietta Lange were established, when in 1966 she became acquainted with Clara Callen, who had since followed in her father's footsteps by joining the OSS, more formerly known as the CIA. They met at Langley, Virginia after Clara had been recruited to go undercover as a student in Romania, for which Hetty had been assigned as her handler. The mission began smoothly, and remained as so for more than a year, but sometime in 1967, Hetty lost contact with Clara. Details about Clara's actions or whereabouts during the six years that followed remain vague, but what is known is that Clara became involved with a Russian man named Nikita Alexsandr Reznikov, a Major in the KGB, the Committee for State Security of the Soviet Union. During this time, the couple had two children, a daughter, Amy around 1967, and a son, G in 1970.
In 1973, Clara re-established contact with Hetty. Reznikov's whereabouts at this time were unclear, but what was made apparent was that Clara was desperate in seeking a way out of Romania for her and her children. It seems evident that the Comescu somehow came to obtain information about Clara's true identity and had been made aware that she now had two children and was living in Romania. Remaining loyal to the vow of revenge against her family, the Comescu family most likely had made attempts to find them, and once she was aware of this, contacted Hetty. Hetty and Clara had made arrangements to meet on a beach on the coast of the Black Sea, but before the meeting could occur, the CIA ordered Hetty to abort the mission and return to the United States. Unaware of this, Clara took G and waited at the location on the beach for Hetty, but was instead met by a member of the Comescu family, who shot her to death while another member of the family distracted G with a small toy soldier.
Following his mother's death, the fates of Callen and his sister was determined by the actions of their father. Evidently, Reznikov had been part of a network of men who helped refugees flee communist oppression in eastern Europe and start new lives in the United States. Among them was a man named Hans Schriber, whose family had escaped East Germany with Reznikov's help in 1969. Schriber later changed his name to Michael Reinhart and out of gratitude to Reznikov, vowed to repay him for helping him and his family escape. His chance to repay that debt was presented in 1974, when not long after Clara's death, Reznikov was arrested after his actions to help people escape to the west was discovered by the Soviets. He was sent to a prison labor camp in Siberia. When this happened, Reinhart promised to keep an eye on G and Amy until their father returned for them, which unfortunately he never did.
It is not clear to as under what circumstances G and Amy were taken out of Romania and brought to the United States, but what is known is that he and Amy were both brought to Los Angeles around the same time Reznikov was sent to Siberia, and unfortunately were separated, placed in different state-run orphanages. Around 1975, when Callen was 5 years old, Hetty discovered that Clara's children had been brought to the United States and had been placed in orphanages. She immediately took action and pulled him out of the orphanage and with a foster family. However, due to his rather "challenging" behavior problems, he was moved around a lot. Having failed to save his mother, Hetty felt obliged to look after him and over the next thirteen years oversaw his placement with a total of 37 different foster families until he aged out of the system in 1988.
Amy, on the other hand, was not so fortunate. In the orphanage she lived in she befriended a girl named Hannah Lawson. and one night during the summer of 1978, the two girls, both aged 11 at the time, sneaked out of the orphanage to play in a nearby river. While they were playing, Amy was swept away by the strong current and drowned. Hannah, devastated and overwhelmed with guilt over the loss of her friend, returned to the orphanage and crawled into Amy's bed, taking Amy's name. When Amy's body was found a month later, the officials at the orphanage carelessly assumed the body was that of Hannah, and interred her in a Los Angeles cemetery beneath a gravestone bearing Hannah's name. Afterwards, Hannah continued to bear Amy's name through adulthood. (Note: In Season 3, Episode 4 "Deadline", Hetty tells Callen that two years passed after Clara's death before she learned he was in the United States, by which time it had been too late to save Amy. Numerous other episodes pinpoint his withdrawal from the orphanage and entry into the foster care system around 1975, when he was 5 years old. However, in Season 1, Episode 24 "Callen, G", Callen is seen visiting his sister's grave, which bears the year of her death as 1978, three years later.)
Upon turning eighteen, Callen joined the United States Army although his history and what rank he held remain unknown. He later joined the CIA, working alongside Trent Kort for a time while Callen also worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA and FBI before he joined NCIS,
Callen later became an NCIS Special Agent and met fellow NCIS Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs with two assignments bringing both men to Serbia and Russia with Gibbs saving Callen's life on both occasions in the two countries.
At some point, Callen was reassigned to the Office of Special Projects located in Los Angeles where he remains to this day.
NCIS Season 6
Callen was first seen talking to Gibbs in a small park located presumably on Venice Beach with the two agents remembering the times they'd spent together in the past as well as the assignments they had gone on.
In Legend Part 2 (episode), Callen went undercover as arms dealer, Liam Coyle and was able to infiltrate the main terrorist cell which was located in a car shop in downtown Los Angeles.
A few hours later and after the case had been solved, Callen was left badly wounded in a surprise drive-by shooting that Sam also witnessed and would have died had Sam not arrived on scene, calling for an ambulance and presumably keeping Callen conscious long enough so that the paramedics could treat him.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1
Four months later, Callen returned to his duties and subsequently joined the Office of Special Projects Team, becoming the main team leader which occurred in the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 episode, "Identity".
Callen and his team along with newbie Dominic Vail worked various cases including one concerning Callen's assassination attempt where it was later revealed that a former CIA operative Ethan Stanhope had been responsible for the attempts. Stanhope desired to eliminate all persons with knowledge of Operation Cossack a joint NCIS/CIA operation in Russia that failed when it was compromised by Stanhope. Stanhope's goal was to conceal his treasonous actions and prevent any adverse disclosures that would have harmed his business ventures, all of which took place in the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 episode, "Keepin' It Real".
In the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 episode, "Random on Purpose", Callen along with the rest of the Office of Special Projects Team met NCIS Forensic Scientist Abigail Sciuto who had arrived in L.A. to investigate a serial killer named "The Phantom" although things took a turn when Abby was kidnapped.
Callen eventually saved Abby's life by shooting the killer, Tom Smith.
In the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 episode, "Missing", NCIS agent Dominic Vail disappeared without a trace which hit the OSP team hard.
Despite efforts to find him, the search came up empty with Callen filing a report on Vail which saw Vail's status being confirmed as "Missing".
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 2
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 3
In Episode:Pa Make Loa (Hawaii Five-0), a crossover with NCIS: Los Angeles Season 3 and also a part of Hawaii Five-0 Season 2, Callen traveled to Hawaii with Sam after learning from Hawaii Five-0 Detective Danny Williams that Callen's sworn enemy, Dracul Comescu and who was now on the Office of Special Projects's Most Wanted list had been sighted in Hawaii.
Callen and Sam arrived in Hawaii and began working with H50 on the case that resulted in Dracul dying at Callen's hands, finally ending the feud had been raging between the two families for months.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 4
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 5
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 6
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 7
In the NCIS: Los Angeles episode "Matryoshka", Callen meets his father who reveals that his birthname is "Grisha Alexandrovich Nikolaev".
Callen is a tall, lean man of muscular build in his early forties with short brown hair.
As one of the senior agents associated with NCIS and Office of Special Projects, Callen is considered to be a key asset of the main OSP team.
As an NCIS Special Agent and a member of OSP, Callen is extremely skilled at going undercover and has been used for numerous operation in which he poses under a false alias to required whatever information is necessary for the operation itself.
Like all NCIS agents, Callen is highly trained in the use of a firearm.
He is often seen using his SIG-Sauer in the field, especially if he and his colleagues are being threatened.
Relationship with Colleagues
Callen and Sam are partners within the Office of Special Projects branch of NCIS, they share a stereotypical always comical "Buddy Cop" relationship that can sometimes be interpreted as brotherly.
Sam is one of the handful of people that Callen trusts, evidenced by both being able to pick up on each other's quirks and bad habits. They have excellent teamwork in the field and are very loyal to one another and despite this, Sam still has a desire to learn more about Callen's mysterious past.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Callen and Gibbs served together at least twice--first in Serbia and then in Moscow. It hasn't been stated exactly when, how and where they met, though Callen does say that Gibbs saved his life "that first time" in Serbia. Callen has an intimate knowledge of Gibbs' past, as he is aware of Gibbs' boat-building hobby and his three failed marriages. It is interesting that Gibbs, in NCIS episode "Legend Part 1" corrects and freely reveals to Callen that he had been married four times, indicating that Gibbs by now trusts Callen with this information.
By his own admission in "Legend Part 1", Callen considers both Macy and Gibbs family. Callen is also one of the few people that Gibbs permits to call him "Jethro."
Callen's relationship with Hetty is one of mutual respect and trust. Conversely, although Hetty's position as operations manager requires her to run a tight ship, she at times lets down her guard and adopts a motherly attitude towards Callen. This motherly attitude is demonstrated at the conclusion of Identity when she covered the sleeping Callen with a blanket before she departed for the night. In the later seasons, it is revealed that Hetty is the one that got Callen out of the Orphanage and into foster care. She was his mother's CIA handler. It is also revealed that Hetty knows more about Callen than she lets on.
Callen's relationship with Tracy is strained because, although he respects her commitment to the mission, he is still angry that she chose her career over their marriage. His anger stems from feelings of abandonment because while on a mission the conditions deteriorated and Callen was detained by local authorities. Rather than compromise the mission by attempting to extricate Callen from his difficult situation, she retreated to a safe house maintained by the Agency.
Callen's relationship with Kensi is one seen between siblings. Callen treats Kensi as a little sister. He goes out of his way to protect and care for her. Kensi knows that Callen will always have her back and will protect her. Callen frequenty acts like an over-protective older brother.
The relationship between these to is sort of a tease and torment. Mostly from Callen to Deeks. This is partly because of the difference between them (cop vs. federal agent) and the fact that Marty is just so tease-able. However, both of them know that it is only play and in reality they are part of a team and will always look out for one another and have each other's back. Callen was also the most accepting of Deeks (from the team) when he first became LAPD's liaison.
- Callen is played by Chris O'Donnell who viewers may recognize from his role as Robin in "Batman and Robin" and "Batman Forever".
- In the first two seasons of NCIS: Los Angeles, Callen and his colleagues with the exception of Detective Marty Deeks carried a SIG-Sauer P228, the current weapon of choice for their Washington D.C counterparts, the Major Case Response Team led by Leroy Jethro Gibbs. At the beginning of Season 3, however, they switched to the new model SIG-Sauer P229 with the redesigned slide and new grips which they have continued to carry to this day.
- With the exception of JAG, Callen is the only NCIS: Los Angeles character along with Sam Hanna and Kensi Blye to have appeared on NCIS and Hawaii Five-0.
- NCIS: (6 season; 3 episodes; First appearance)
- NCIS: Los Angeles (See G. Callen on the NCIS: Los Angeles Database for more details)
- Hawaii Five-0: Episode:Pa Make Loa (Hawaii Five-0)