LL Cool J On Character Sam Hanna, “Potential To Be One Of The Iconic Characters In America”

The eighth season of NCIS: Los Angeles wraps up this Sunday, May 14th at 8:00 PM ET/PT on CBS. In the penultimate episode of season eight Sam Hanna, played by LL Cool J, goes through a living nightmare when his wife is kidnapped and held for ransom. Season eight’s 24th and final episode, “Unleashed,” finds Sam looking for revenge against the group that has changed his life forever.

CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke with “LL” about transitioning from music to acting, playing the role of Sam Hanna and what to expect from the final installment of NCIS: Los Angele‘s eighth season.

MW- Good morning LL, how’s it going?

LL- Oh, I’m good Matt, how are you?

MW- Doing very well over here. So to start things off, I want to let you know that you and I have something in common. I was born and raised in North Babylon on Long Island and I believe you and I went to the same middle school.

LL- No way, get out of here!

MW- Yes sir, Robert Moses Middle School.

LL- Absolutely, I went to Robert Moses Middle School. That’s amazing I never meet anybody from there (laughs).

MW- So from Long Island to Hollis, Queens. From your incredible rap career to the set of NCIS: Los Angeles, you’ve always been very versatile. What’s it like going from music where you’re telling your own stories and writing your own lyrics to acting where you’re bringing someone else’s stories to life?

LL- It’s very fulfilling. Especially when you get to do episodes like this one coming up, but I have a great time doing this show. NCIS: Los Angeles is a lot of fun, you get to bring these characters to life in a big way. I get to do things I never dreamt of doing, have experiences I never dreamt of having.

In terms of the difference between song writing and acting, if you didn’t write the script, from an emotional standpoint there is no difference because regardless of whether you wrote the material or not it’s still up to you to bring it to life. It’s still up to you to make it your own. It’s still up to you to make it absolutely everything it could be and then some. I’ve been having a good time with this.

I also really like being versatile, doing different things. I like the fact that sometimes I’m producing and hosting and sometimes I’m performing on stage doing music. Other times I’m on set going through these journeys as a character. It’s always a lot of fun.

MW- And on NCIS: Los Angeles you’ve been playing Sam Hanna for eight seasons now. At this point, does it start to feel like this is really your character with all you’ve invested into him?

LL- No question about it, I’m definitely invested in the role. With the help of the writers obviously, we’ve turned this guy into a really special character that I think has the potential to be one of the iconic characters in America 20-30 years from now when people look back. I think this guy has values, he has principals. He’s been through some unbelievable things, just recently on an episode his wife was kidnapped and killed. Now he’s going rogue in this upcoming episode to avenge her passing and we get to see what this guy’s made of.

We get to see him at his highest point and his lowest point. We get to see that he’s not perfect, he’s flawed like all of us are. I think the people are really going to enjoy this episode, both people who watch the show and those that don’t, they can finally check it out and find out that this guy is amazing. He’s a hero.

MW- I think there’s definitely a lot of depth there, for sure. You mentioned that Sam is going rogue in this next episode, can you give us a look into his mind state?  Sam has always been a team player and a leader for the squad, but now he’s breaking away for his own personal vendetta.

LL- I think that he feels like all bets are off. This guy (the kidnapper) took one of the most important things away from him and he wants to do everything in his power to return the favor. He has a single minded focus and he wants to get to the people that did this and deal with them.

MW- Everything is set up for a really electric finale this Sunday. Well thanks for the time today LL, it’s been great talking to you!

LL- Dope man, good to talk to you too. Love the fact that you went to Robert Moses, that’s crazy (laughs). Take care!

The season eight finale of NCIS: Los Angeles airs on Sunday, May 14th at 8:00 PM ET/PT on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.

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