I watched the first six or seven seasons of NCIS: Los Angeles before deciding to stop as I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. A show about an undercover unit in the Naval Investigation Service, Miguel Ferrer was one of the later additions to the main cast, starring as Assistant Director of NCIS Owen Granger, there to stand in the gung-ho agents way and remind them about following rules and not disturbing delicate politics. But he did so as someone who’d been an agent himself, with a deep history with the unit’s enigmatic leader Hetty. He had a sardonic quality that was awesome, how he could unnerve the agents and he also showed he wasn't someone who frequently used conventional tactics himself. He wasn’t a nerbish pen-pusher or obnoxious and ripe for being pushed off his perch. Instead this was a powerful man, implacably determined for these very talented but relentless agents not to screw up the other work NCIS was doing.
I also liked when there were rare glimpses of his personal life; like when the group is shown waking up in their individual manners one morning when getting a call to get into work fast – Granger is sleeping beside a mystery blonde female, then whispering a goodbye as he swiftly leaves. Definitely not what’s expected. Granger had a past, apparently as action-packed and mysterious as Hetty’s, who he more often than not called Henrietta, a privilege few were granted, just as she called him Owen. He also almost became the team dad to Hetty's team mom in that he was older and experienced and often commented on the agents and soon came to work more often with them, never losing that taciturn implaccable quality that set him so apart from the brightly-coloured characters the people is peopled by. He was a unique character, not an archetype.
Ferrer had one of the most fantastic voices, deep and gravelly. I loved listening to him talk. I loved the stillness he employed; making his actions when they came always impactful and how he could hold a stare. I was delighted to see him pop up in a small role in Iron Man 3, whispering to Anthony that Ferrer's character likely shouldn't be trusted as more often than not, he played the villain.
I can't speak for his other roles, though I know he’d found fame for his characters in more cult shows and films – he was a main cast member of iconic show of weirdness Twin Peaks and had filmed the first episode of the 2017 revival of the show. He was also in the original Robocop film, one of many villains he'd played, thanks to his strong looks and deep voice. He came from an acting family - his father was Oscar-winning actor Jose Ferrer and his cousin was George Clooney.
I had no idea he was ill – he had throat cancer, something I believe they wrote into NCIS: Los Angeles, perhaps aware of how serious the diagnosis was. I just know I thoroughly enjoyed him as Owen Granger, how a subtle look could make me laugh as he reacted so minutely to what happened around him and yet always proved himself a powerful man and ally to have. He's given so many people tremendous enjoyment over the years and I really feel like, especially with Twin Peaks coming back, he had a lot more to give. RIP.