Assistant Director Owen Granger has been looking and sounding progressively ill over the twelve months and with the lack of a press release stating actor Miguel Ferrer was ill, I refused to believe the rumours. I thought it was stage make up, lighting, post production special effects and part of the long game the writers and producers love so much.It was when my son (who last watched NCISLA in season 7 – The Seventh Child – and then recently watched a season 8 episode) said Granger looked really ill, did it occur to me that he could be sick. Even when the news trickled on to Twitter, I was still in denial. I wanted it from an official source, lest I were to perpetuate a hoax. But as the minutes ticked by it became apparent that the NCISLA family had lost one of it’s own. One article featured a quote from cousin George Clooney, then a tweet from Chris O’Donnell and a statement from showrunner Scott Gemmill. And since then the tributes have flooded in; genuine, heartfelt and eloquent words about a sincere, funny, grounded and passionate man. I knew little about Miguel before he joined the cast of the show. He was in Robocop and Twin Peaks, both of which I’d seen in the 1990s…but that was it.
Granger arrived in season three of NCISLA in the most dramatic fashion. He pretended to take Hetty hostage in the boatshed, is swept to the ground by Callen and with all characters pull their weapons on him. The team had gelled nicely and Granger signaled an end to this equilibrium. He caused conflict, angst, anger and hatred – among the characters and fans alike. For a long time, Granger was the character everyone loved to hate. Miguel played him with relish, scowling and growling his way through lines, remaining tough and scary though out. Granger was not a character to be messed with and he changed the dynamics and shook up the episode whenever he appeared. Initially he was out to get Kensi but from day one, he frequently butted heads with Hetty and Callen.
Gradually Granger developed a softer side for the LA team. In season four he supported Sam in the nukes/Sidorov case. By the start season five he was in the field with Kensi and Callen, closing off the same case. He was in Afghanistan with Kensi in the hunt for the White Ghost. The arrival of season six saw hard-ass Granger trying to protect the team, yet still failing to control Callen’s insubordination as Hetty faced danger from Matthias. But after he was poisoned by the mole, Carl Brown, his near death experience showcased some terrific acting from Miguel and seemed pivotal to Granger’s evolution. He started to mellow and a softer side to Granger emerged to the extent that various team member – Callen included – invited him to post-mission drinks. By season seven Granger had developed into the team’s father figure. mentoring Nell in the field and throwing around one liners even sounded like an errant father:
“If you get caught, I’m gonna show you what a real crime against humanity is.”
Granger’s past has only really been explored the eponymous Granger,O, which allowed Miguel to showcase his talent. (If you’re unsure which scenes to look for, I would recommend all those where he is on the plane with his daughter.) The hurt and conflicted emotions that he conveyed with a look said more than any dialogue ever could. Granger had a CIA and black ops and past that involved Hetty, and now that rich backstory between Hetty and Granger will never be explored in anyway that could bring justice to the now departed Miguel.
The writers will have known about Miguel’s illness and had already began writing this into the show. A few episodes ago in Crazy Train, Granger undergoes an MRI scan and the sobering final scene with Hetty basically sets in motion a way for Granger to be killed off. In Kulinda Callen says to Sam that Granger’s been looking rough lately, which leads into Hot Water. Granger is drugged, framed for assault and arrested. He has no lines in the episode (probably due to Miguel’s decreasing health and speech) and is then stabbed twice in the lower back. Hetty later tells Kensi that Granger is alive but it’s not looking good. It maybe that Miguel’s passing was earlier than thought. The next 2-3 episodes have already been shot, with more scripted..Granger was never going to ride off in to the sunset and live happily ever after, that would just not be Granger. But it’s heart-breaking that Miguel Ferrer has died, and from an NCIS: Los Angeles fan perspective, the depth of character he brought to the table will leave a huge hole.
Some of my favourite Granger scenes:
- The battle between Granger and Callen in S3 Crimelean
- Eating Deeks’ homemade Swedish Nachos and being the only person to like it (S6 Forest For The Trees)
- Getting the Mexican family released from detention and not sent back to Mexico (S6 Black Wind)
- Revealing to Kensi her father’s secrets (S3 Blye,K parts 1-2)
- Visiting Kensi in hospital and connecting with her mother (S8 Black Market)
- All the scenes with his daughter on the plane (S7 Granger,O)
- Authorising a chopper for Kensi and Deeks to search for the missing sub containing Sam and Callen (S6 Deep Trouble Part 2)
- Collaborating with Eric to give the white supremacist a shorter skirt (S6 Rage)
- Nell giving him the ‘gorgan’ stare (S4 Kill House)
- Telling the team that Callen should go undercover in a mental hospital as he has ‘issues’ (S8 Crazy Train)
- The various Hetty and Granger one on one talks in her office
And some great quotes that instantly spring to my mind:
S03E12 The Watchers
Sam to Granger: You twitch. I shoot.
Granger: Is that a catch phrase?
Granger to Callen & Sam: I’m well aware of the urban legend that is Henrietta Lange.
Folklore is best suited for the history books
Granger to Hetty: Your remaining time might best be spent getting your affairs in order, Henrietta.
Hetty: I’m not afraid of you.
Granger: That was your first mistake.
Callen (as Granger walks away): This is my fault.
Sam: How do you figure?
Callen: I should have let you shoot him .
Deeks: Well, it’s probably not too late if you run out there.
S04E14 Kill House
Hetty to Callen:
You know, you look at Owen Granger, and you see a ruthless manipulator. I look at him, and I see a man who’s spent so many years alone he’s forgotten how to ask for help.
Granger to Sam, Callen, Deeks, Kensi and Hetty:
Well you dodged the bullet on this one, but if any of you ever pull something like this again…You all deserve each other.
S05E19 Spoils of War
Granger: I should have been made aware of your relationship with Jack Simon, and not as the assistant director, but personally.You owed me the truth on this.
Hetty: Owed you the truth? That’s a debt you’ve not paid me tenfold, Owen.
Granger: Not in a situation like this.
Hetty: You were part of the team sent to kill Jack Simon.
Callen: Maybe he still is. Shouldn’t we know that?
Granger: I don’t answer to you, Agent Callen, you answer to me.
Sam: We’re deep in the field, Assistant Director.
Granger: What are you saying?
Sam: What I’m saying is we stay on mission.
Callen: They cross over that border, – Kensi is as good as dead.
Granger: She might be already.
Callen: I’ll do it myself if I have to.
Granger: You’ll wait. That’s an order, Agent Callen. And make no mistake, I’ll do whatever it takes to make you wait.
Hetty: All you have to worry about now is getting better. You’re safe.
Granger: Don’t tell me you’re here to watch over me.
Hetty: Something like that. You need to go to sleep.
Granger: Don’t think this makes up for the time you tried to kill me.
Hetty: I wouldn’t think of it.
S06E14 Black Wind
Deeks: My God, I’m gonna hug you.
Granger: No, you’re not.
Deeks: Yes, I am.
S06E16 Expiration Date
Callen: I didn’t exactly make the best first impression.
Granger: It’s still early, but that’s my pick for understatement of the year.
S07E04 Command & Control
Granger: If you have a question, ask it.
Nell: Cool, I didn’t know if this was more of a Mr Miyagi, Daniel-San, don’t-ask-any-questions kind of thing, or you know.
Granger: Somebody shoot me in the head.
S07E23 Where There’s Smoke
Eric: Assistant Director? Out of curiosity what did you want to be when you were five years old?
Granger: Six years old.
S08E02 Belly of The Beast
Duggan: I’m still waiting for your briefs.
Granger: I’m more of a boxers guy and I don’t like to share.
Granger to Eric: Are you on drugs?
Granger: Should you be?
RIP Miguel Ferrer.