Henrietta "Hetty" Lange is the operations manager for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's Office of Special Projects which is located in downtown Los Angeles.
Hetty made her debut appearance in the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 episode, Episode: Identity, replacing Lara Macy who had originally held the position but following an assassination attempt on G. Callen, Macy was reassigned elsewhere before being murdered prior to the NCIS Season 7 episode, Patriot Down (episode), resulting in Hetty being given the position of Operations Manager which she holds to this day.
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Despite her small size, Hetty is by no means a pushover and is something of an intimidating figure. She often uses her resources to ensure that the safety of her Agents and she also harbors a gruff, no nonsense temperament.
Although this trait can sometimes put others off, Hetty demonstrates a degree of affection for G. Callen and the rest of the OSP team. Hetty sometimes exhibits a maternal instinct towards her agents.
When her agents were in serious danger in the episodes "Ambush" and "Found", she used her considerable political capital and her aforementioned contacts to pull out all the stops in rescuing them (such as convincing SECNAV to authorize a F-22 Raptor fly-over of the militia camp).
Like Eric Beale, she is fond of Abigail Sciuto and when the latter visited the OSP operations center, Hetty points out to the other agents Abby's ability to "be functional and stylish at the same time". When Marty Deeks was shot and there was no one to call, Hetty told him to put her down as his next of kin in the future.
Hetty is deeply affected by the line-of-duty death of an agent, and has twice resigned (albeit unsuccessfully) from NCIS. The first was in 1999, when a promising young NCIS Agent (Sullivan) she had personally recruited was later killed when attempting to infiltrate a militia group.
The second time was following the death of Agent Dominic Vail in the Season One episode "Found". Although she delivers her resignation letter to Director Vance personally, it is later returned to her by Callen who had picked the Director's pocket to recover the letter.
Hetty does eventually resign in the penultimate episode of season two, and is replaced by Senior Agent Lauren Hunter as the new Operations Manager.
She also subscribes to an older unwritten code of conduct, evidenced by her disgust at the new generation of Russian agents who have "broken all the rules" by killing innocents which is shown in the NCIS: Los Angeles Season 2 episode, "Deliverance".
Hetty's favorite beverage is tea which she loves to such an extent that in "Bounty" she approved a mission in Afghanistan after Callen and Sam Hanna promised to bring her back a bag of tea leaves.
She is a fan of Lady Gaga, stating that she "will forever love the Gaga."
One of the last surviving Cold Warriors, Hetty has unparalleled access to contacts throughout the intelligence and defense communities, which she does not hesitate to exploit when required for the success of a mission or to protect the lives of her agents.
Her reputation has taken on an almost legendary aspect; it is such that the mere mention of her name is often enough to strike fear into those who have heard of, but never met her, the most notable being Hawaii Five-0 Detective Sergeant Danny Williams.
In addition to the many languages listed in her personnel file to which she is fluent, she has also been heard speaking and understanding Romani and Chechan, as well; she spoke Romani with Marcel Janvier after he was brought to the Boathouse for interrogation, and she helped Callen practice his Chechan skills, and corrected his grammar before he left to go undercover in a Chechan terrorist ring. She has also been seen speaking Welsh and Japanese with the other members of the team, though whether she is fluent in these languages or just knows enough to speak at a basic level remains to be seen.
She has an extensive list of aliases, as evidenced by multiple driver's licenses seen in a locked drawer of her desk, as well as several others hidden in a private safe deposit box.
According to her personnel file, Hetty has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Sorbonne. She also has a degree in computer science from UCLA in 1969. (NCIS: Los Angeles - Season 5, Episode 16: "Fish Out of Water")