NCIS Los Angeles has finally said goodbye to one of its own, though not in the way people had expected. When actor Miguel Ferrer tragically passed away in January, the fate of his character Owen Granger was put into question. Generally, it was assumed that Granger might be killed off the show too, in dramatic fashion. That would have left no loose ends, and given rest of the NCIS LA cast closure as they salute him off.
But in the end, the show opted to take a more open-ended route. NCIS LA season 8 episode 16 Old Tricks aired with one last tribute to Miguel Ferrer – and Owen Granger leaving of his own accord. The decision to leave Owen Granger’s fate as a mystery turned out to be the right move for fans, as many of whom had trouble watching the credits through a film of tears.
At the end of the episode, Hetty visits Owen’s hospital room, where he was recovering from his previous stab wounds. Perhaps, of all the NCIS LA team, Owen got the worst of the mole hunt’s consequences. When she finds his hospital bed empty, she approaches a nurse to inquire about him.
“I’m afraid he’s gone,” the nurse answers her. “One minute he was here and the next minute he wasn’t. He must have turned off his alarms, because no one heard him leave.” Hetty looks visibly shaken and confused: “Sorry, what?”
“I guess he pulled out his IV and walked out,” the nurse tells her, before asking, “Are you Henrietta?”
She hands Hetty a labelled note from Granger that reads, “Don’t blame the doctors or the nurses, but I’ve had enough of hospitals for one life and I have some unfinished business to take care of. I have no idea what you’re going to tell everyone, but I’m sure you’ll think of something. You always do. Be safe. OG.”
As Hetty reads it, a version of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Ferrer’s band, The Jenerators, starts to play. It’s a subtle but heartfelt nod to a man who was with the team for six whole seasons, whom both cast and fans have come to love. As Hetty steps into an elevator and the doors close behind her, the screen fades to black, and a portrait of Ferrer comes onscreen with one final dedication.
The Fans’ Response
Though it wasn’t the expected move, the Twitterverse consensus has been overwhelmingly positive. One fan called it “a wonderful tribute”; another wholly greed, calling it “a classy ending”.
Thanks to #ncisla for a wonderful send-off to the character of Asst Dir Owen Granger and the man who portrayed him. RIP Mr Ferrer
— Daisy (@daisyt13) March 6, 2017
— April de Gala (@april_degala) March 6, 2017
— Amor Powers (@tracymacrazy) March 6, 2017
It wasn’t overly dramatic; with Hetty’s presence reflecting the whole cast, the writers made sure the moment was special without being too crowded. And knowing that Grangers is still alive somewhere out there, even though he’ll never show up again, is a fair gift to for the show’s loyal fans. Even symbolically, it assures that he somehow lives on in the show. In one Buddy TV poll, 82% of fans said they “loved” Miguel Ferrer’s last wave into the sunset.
The NCIS LA team will keep doing what they do best. But Grangers will be missed.