LL Cool J now knows 100 is a magic number.
The actor and rapper hits one hundred episodes as a star of “NCIS: Los Angeles” with Tuesday’s (Oct. 15) airing of the CBS action drama, a story that puts his character Sam and the rest of the team on a kidnapping case … with the victim claiming to be the father of Sam’s main partner, Callen (Chris O’Donnell).
The milestone-marking tale was written by series executive producer Shane Brennan, and LL Cool J tells Zap2it he “didn’t have any expectations” when the show began. “All I wanted to do was the best work we could do, get out of the way, and let it become what it was destined to become.
“To say that I knew all along [it would be a hit] would be an absolute lie. I had no idea this show was going to be as successful as it is, and I’m just hopeful that people continue to embrace it, watch it and enjoy it. And hopefully, those people who haven’t watched yet will decide to give us a shot and get into it as well.”
Current repeats on USA could help with that, just as they have in keeping parent show “NCIS” one of television’s top-rated programs consistently. The earlier stories confirm how much more has been learned about Navy SEAL turned NCIS operative Sam Hanna along the way, and LL Cool J appreciates not having too much revealed too soon about his character.
“Slowly, we are learning more about Sam — what makes him tick, how vulnerable he is, how much he cares about the people around him, and how much he’s willing to put his life on the line to preserve democracy and the things that he believes in. Over time, we’ll learn more, but right now we’re in a good place with Sam. We know enough to like him.”
A two-time Grammy winner whose latest album is “Authentic,” the performer also has derived good things musically from his ongoing relationship with CBS. On Friday, Dec. 6, he’ll return as host of “The Grammy Nominations Live! — Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night,” a role he’s filled annually since the special’s first broadcast in 2008.
“I can’t really take all the credit,” he reflects of maintaining his dual careers. “I have a great team of people around me, and they really help me make decisions and do the things that I do. Teamwork makes the dream work, so when you have a group of people who believe in the vision and the mission that you’re trying to accomplish, it helps. And I’m thankful.”