Callen’s Corner: What the ‘G’ Stands For


It was the enigma posed to us when we first met G Callen. What does that lone letter stand for? What does it mean? All names have meanings. A story. A hint to one’s past. But, not this letter. It stands alone, just a piece of the alphabet with no real explanation.

Imagine with me, that it’s you.

It’s your name.

A letter.

I’m serious. Take a moment and reduce your name to it’s first initial.

Write it down.

Stare at it for a moment.

I’m serious! Do it. Stare at it. This post will wait for you.

Now, pretend your letter has no story. No meaning. No parents to explain it to you.

And this is what everyone calls you.

Just a letter.

It’s your name.

Forget the people who should have raised you. The people who should have been there. They are gone. Absent.

That’s all you have.

A letter.

Are you panicking slightly? Getting a little teary?

This is what G Callen has dealt with the majority of his life.

Would you want to know what the letter stood for? And, after several long years of being known as a solitary letter, would you give anything to know?


There are words that clearly describe what Callen has been going through, trying to discover what that letter was meant to mean: anguish, anger, confusion, frustration, sadness, loneliness, longing, resentment… And it’s always one step ahead of him.

And so are the people who know.

Eugene Keelson.

Alexa Comescu.

How utterly cruel that these individuals knew and the knowledge died with them.

Tragic. He almost didn’t pull the trigger on Keelson.

Callen acts like not knowing doesn’t bother him. He has everyone believing that he can fully function for the rest of his life without knowing, and, I suppose, he might have to. His caring isn’t necessary, however, since the desire to know is so inbred in us… We secretly need our names.

Names are vital.
Names with a story.
Names with a reason.


“I will find out who I am and who my family was, with or without anyone’s help.” -G Callen

This heart-moving determination from Callen is most likely the reason for the results of our last Callen’s Corner poll. When we asked if you wanted to know what the ‘G’ stood for or not, the majority of you responded that, yes, we want to know what the ‘G’ stands for. (We want destiny to quit playing around! This is causing anguish for Callen, and we can’t have that long-term. We need to know. He deserves to know!)

Being fair, there was a large number of you wanting to never know,  or to find out at the last possible moment, concerned that knowing the answer would take the intrigue out of the adventure.

So, I have a suggestion.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we should receive a new mystery about Callen of equal intensity at the same time we discover his name.

That’d be a great way to continue.

One mystery solved and another begun.

Neverending mystery.

That’s our G.



#CallensCorner #TheGMystery

56 thoughts on “Callen’s Corner: What the ‘G’ Stands For

  1. Vixstar

    Wow, Keviana, you’ve really got me drawn in on this post. If I lived my life with just the letter V, no parents, no one to tell me what it stood for, who my family were, hell yeah, I would want to know. I liked the episode when Callen is telling someone (cannot remember who at present), that he had an older foster brother who would come up with names for him, such as G-Force, G-Ride etc. His Foster brother helped make him feel special with some cool names for him 🙂

    1. Keviana Elliot Post author

      One of my favorite admissions from Callen was his telling of that story…

  2. Richtsje

    In fact, I was one of the ones who does NOT want to know what the G stands for. Being selfish, I know, in this case it’s about me and not about G! The quest for his name is part of the show and the show should go on, so, let him search, please! I’ll gladly join G Callen.

    He’s lived all his life without knowing, and he can go on living like this. True, he desperately wants to find out. But that is exactly what I love about him, the mystery and the need to know make him the one he is.

    The suggestion you make though ‘One mystery solved and another begun’ is a good one. I can live with that too 😉

    Living with a letter only is not easy ~ neither is my first name 😉
    [great topic, as ever!]

    1. Keviana Elliot Post author

      I must admit, your first name has had me bamboozled since day one…

      Great comments, Lady!

    2. SnoopGirl

      “Living with a letter only is not easy ~ neither is my first name ;-)”

      How do you pronounce your name in English?


      1. Richtsje

        How do you pronounce it? I can hardly explain…
        Ri, then the ch which is like in Loch Ness, then tsj which is like the ch of which, and an e, pronounced like the u in uhm?

        That’s right. Keep practicing 😉

  3. Gayle

    As someone with the first initial “G” that is regularly used as a nickname by my BFF (long before NCISLA was ever on TV), I love it.

    I guess this also depends on what your first name is, how you got it, and what it’s supposed to mean. I like the mystery of Callen’s “G”, so I don’t need to know now. But should it be revealed at some point, including where it comes from? Absolutely.

  4. Bradley Adams

    I don’t really want to find out his name until the last episode ever. Even if we did find out before then, everyone would still call him G.

    And, doesn’t the Chameleon know? He said in Sans Voir that he did?

    1. Keviana Elliot Post author

      Did he?! Holy heck. How could I have missed that?!

      That, right there? That’s true torment. Poor G.

  5. LasiaMsinRed

    I love this post and I agree with Keviana we need names!Callen deserves to know!
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who asked her parents as a kid what other names the picked out for me and when the answered ….didn’t you imagine how your life would have been if that had been your name? I did.
    The name we carry was chosen for us for a reason.Of course,we can always go with “His parents just liked the name” but c’mon that’s not the whole STORY!
    Maybe you’re named after someone?So who was this person? Why were you named after her or him? Maybe your name has a meaning,for example in a different language,that refers to you?
    So what’s in a name? A lot if you ask me.
    Even if we get to know his name he’ll always be our “G”.
    Don’t worry, there’ll always be something mysterious about him…it’s Callen.

    1. Keviana Elliot Post author

      Good insight.

      And, that’s true: Callen and mystery seem to be synonymous.

    2. Richtsje

      Love your reply, Lasia. You are so right, there will always be something mysterious about Callen, EVEN if he finds out about his first name…

  6. Diane

    Never thought about how fortunate we are if we know how we got our first names and if we could find out directly from the people who gave it to us. Poor Callen. He can’t do either. It’s sad. I really want him to have that gift that I take for granted. Nice post. Phillydi

  7. Carrie

    Ha that reminds of an episode of the Simpsons where Homer wanted to know what his middle initial of J stood for. He finally found where his full name was printed on the side of a building and moved the bush covering the J part away to find out that his middle name was Jay.

    I know we can’t really do that for Callen…Unless his first name is Guy (french version pronounciation) I read a fanfiction story once where the person had Deeks and Callen as foster brothers and Deeks as a kid called him “Cal”. I would imagine that Callen has a Romanian sounding name… Gregovitch! lol…

    Honestly though I don’t know if I want to find out ever… I mean we all have a name in mind for the G and I think G is who Callen is… not Gordon, Greg, Giovanni etc. I think finding out his name should be endgame so we don’t see the Callen we know change into the Callen to match his name.

    I’m rambling…

    1. Keviana Elliot Post author

      You aren’t the only one to mention that Simpsons episode to me! Haha. Yes, all this talk and action to find his true name, and it could be a totally let-down! Wouldn’t that be something…

  8. Chris

    You know, Keviana, you’re right (again ☺). Our names make up a large part of who we are. G deserves to know his name. His past is mysterious enough to come up with another secret we can follow G along, hoping, worrying, feeling with him (as we always do ☺).
    But even if the secret of his name is revealed at some point he will always be G. I don’t think I could really go with another name…

    And there definitely needs to be some kind of mystery around Callen. I just can’t imagine G with the mystery of his past completely solved. His past and his upbringing made him the man he is and I somehow can’t picture him coming to a rest even when the entire story of his past would come to light.

  9. monty

    G Callen is a troubled man.
    He appears as a solitary man but he is hungry for feelings. And the feelings are experienced with others!
    I believe that G Callen he wants to know his name because, finally, he could shout.
    He could shout about it and let so much pain.
    Luckily Callen is a strong man to survive each day to the G, which means everything and nothing.

    My daughter’s name is Eleonora.
    I call her B because when she was little called itself Biba.

    The latin alphabet has 26 letters … guys, we do not go out more …

    Hi from Rome.
    Until next time!


    1. LasiaMsinRed

      I’m glad you posted this comment because my theory,well one of them, is that Callen’s first name doesn’t necessarily have to start with a “G”.

      Thank you 😉

      1. Keviana Elliot Post author

        You have just echoed my thoughts. A diversionary tactic, perhaps a final “gift” from his parents?

        1. I Feel Possessed

          I’m in agreement; maybe his name doesn’t start with a G. I also don’t want to know what the G (if it is in fact a G) stands for until the end. I love the mystery of Callen and the psychological turmoil produced when anything to do with his past emerges…

        2. LasiaMsinRed

          I’m kind expierenced when it comes to that;)My nickname which has been with me since the day I was born,is not even close to my real name,it’s an insider and there’s a story behind that.***not a CIA-type one**

    2. Keviana Elliot Post author

      I wonder if his “troubledness” would ease with knowing his name, or not. That’d be a bummer if it didn’t.

      Someone get Nate on the line.

      1. LasiaMsinRed

        We need Nate back on the show! Callen needs him.Even if G managed to trick him(once again) I do believe that Nate’s job as a profiler and the expierence he gained in the time he was absent will help him to handle Callen a little bit better.

  10. G. Callen Rocks!

    Well…if my name were to ever be reduced to one letter which is ‘S’, that wouldn’t be a good thing, if you erm…think about it. Lol.

    I fall in the category of being two minds over Callen’s mysterious ‘G’ name.

    On the one hand, I do want to know, infact this is one of the reasons why I keep watching the show – in the hope that we find out eventually along with Callen what it stands for.

    On the other hand, if we all find out what the G stands for, what then becomes of this mystery that has plaqued us for 4 seasons?

    Would Callen fans lose interest? We all need a good mystery to keep us wanting to come back to find out more.

    Hence your idea of solving the G mystery and giving us another mystery about Callen is a superb idea.

    So I guess, in a nutshell, let the poor guy know his name on the condition that we get to ponder on another mystery about Callen.

    Yeah, we do love a mysterious Callen.

    1. Keviana Elliot Post author

      “Would Callen fans lose interest? We all need a good mystery to keep us wanting to come back to find out more.”

      Good question.
      And, I agree: we do love a enigmatic Callen.

  11. justdreaming-83

    Oh, oh, oh. Sometimes it is so much fun to come into these posts late! Had such a great time reading all the comments and responses!!!

    I totally agree with one of Chris’ comments. I can’t imagine G without all the mystery behind him. But I am also a true-blue Hurt/Comfort junkie. The anguish, the emptiness, the never-ending quest… Yes, “I Feel Possessed,” we need to join a support group. We’ll call it “Hurt/Comfort Anonymous.” That’s right. We’ll stand and raise our right hands with all the other selfish ones (that includes you, Richtsje.)

    The solitary, lonely, independent letter G? Well, that’s just who Callen is.

    Ha! See Carrie? I also know about rambling. And Keviana? I know I told you I would just keep this opinion to myself. But since we’re back on the subject… I think Hetty knows his name. There. I said it.

  12. trytofindme

    Callen’s name isn’t so much a search for his name anymore. It is a search for his identity.
    A person’s name is really only a place holder for you in the world, otherwise why would we have deedpoll where we can change our names to our identity. Eg when you get married you take your husband/wife’s name to show a change in identity. Or you really hate the name that your parents gave you (David Bowie’s son) and change it to something more plain. Name is only a small part of identity. Family history, actions and character are larger parts of this.
    A person’s identity comes from knowing their family and their past. In Callen’s case he is still missing a large part of this, not knowing his father and some of the memories from when he was young.
    I think it says a lot that he didn’t use deedpoll and fill in the blank space himself.

    1. Keviana Elliot

      So you’re thinking it’s a lot more than the meaning to the letter we’re after? Hmmm. I hear warnings written all over this. Ones like “Do Not Disturb” and “Warning: Explosive Material”… They’re kinda echoing in my head. Maybe G Callen is so dangerous because he is so lost. So on a mission. He wants that solid identity…

      Great. I see new post material.

    2. Monty

      In Italy only in very rare, rare, rare cases, you can change its name.
      Fortunately instead a married woman, she retains her name.
      By law, the name of the husband does not count for anything and she can not use it.
      The name of her husband can use it in the laundry room or the bakery!
      Only when she becomes a widow on her husband’s name written documents: “Widow of …”.
      Hi from Roma.

  13. Vixstar

    Hey just dreaming-83, I totally agree with you. I too believe Hetty knows his real name.

    I also think that the G represents his grandfather’s name George. If we remember back to s1, E1, we see the name Callen, G printed on the bed roll he sleeps on. That bed roll looks like something his Grandfther George owned, so it’s a link to his past, but not anything to do with his name. What if his name was the same name as his Father, and to protect him from his Father, or people out to get his Father, he has no idea what his real name is, so he’s made to believe the name on the bed roll is his? Remember when he finds Amy Callen, but she was really Hannah Lawson? Callen asked her what his sister Amy called him. Her answer was, just baby brother. Obviously there was a really good reason why his sister never referred to him by his real name.

    I agree with you Keviana, that admission was a great little snippet into his past. You can just imagine a younger Callen desperately wanting more than just a letter for a name.

  14. Keviana Elliot

    The bedroll. The one Hetty loaths.

    Doesn’t it prove that Callen has served in the armed forces? Can anyone answer this?

    And, yes. I’m thinking his sister may have been protecting him, too. Maybe Amy was told to protect him, or maybe she just wanted to, but, still, yes.

    1. skippy

      Hello Keviana.
      to answer your question. No Callen hasn’t served in the army. It is said in the episode “Venegance”.
      And also at the comicon 2 years ago COD was asked in an interview if his character ever served and he said no.

      1. Keviana Elliot

        Brilliant. Thank you, Skippy.

        So, the new big question, thanks to Vixstar: where’d G get the bedroll from? And, is that his name and initial on it, or someone else’s? Does that little object have a story, or is it a mystery that will stay a mystery?

          1. Keviana Elliot Post author

            To my knowledge, only the armed forces get items like that… We need to call in an expert. Or, someone who is an expert Googler who can research this for us.

            See? This is why sindee (name not capitalized on purpose, sindee’s orders) needs to hire me a personal Eric Beale. I could already have this thing figured out.

  15. Monty

    Guys, we come back with the mind to 2×01.
    Callen at the cemetery.
    Noise of photographs.
    Start tracking.
    Callen runs at breakneck speed behind a man who is dressed like him.
    Indeed, it looks like himself.
    It is probably G.
    We do not see his face.
    Callen even sees it.
    He has to run. He has to stop it.
    If he will succeed, he will have all the answers.
    To infinity.
    Only the sky is the limit.
    G not there.
    He has lost it again.
    God bless Clint Mansell and his Lux Aeterna.

    I saw this scene right now.
    I am breathless!
    Just like Callen.
    And like him, I’m sad!


    1. Keviana Elliot

      “If he will succeed, he will have all the answers.”

      Ooooo, yikes, Monty. Never hit me hard until you just wrote this. That’s right. If Callen had been able to catch the one photographing him, and the one in backseat of the car, he would have probably gotten his answers.

      No wonder he had nightmares for two months.

  16. OSPliasion

    Keviana, thanks a lot – as always!

    I’m late to your party and enjoyed the comments very much! Interesting and clever thoughts about this name. For my part, I always wondered why he doesn’t know his name. Well he came to the first foster home aged 5. I think a child is well aware of his own name by then. Shouldn’t he know what name he was called by his mum or Amy or sb else? Mystic, dramatic, maybe tragic…

    I’m surprised that nobody mentioned Ernie yet LOL

    Callen’s Corner is a real gain for the fandom!

    1. Keviana Elliot

      You’re not late, and we were leaving the Ernie mention for you. (;

      You know, I’ve wondered about that, too. Most five-year-olds I know correct me if I say their name wrong. Maybe G’s parents/caretakers kept his name a secret from birth. If it was a nickname/secret name from the beginning, he wouldn’t know to correct anyone. And, he wouldn’t think it strange to answer to it, because it would be adults/kids later that would point out to him that ‘G’ is a letter, not a name.


      1. OSPliasion

        I agree. He probably never heard another name and thought it wasn’t just a letter (which it isn’t for us…). Still the “why” is a big mystery and right now I have no good explanation attempt. Also the point why Amy had a “real” name – not just “A”.

        1. Keviana Elliot Post author

          Oh, goody, I’m not the only one who wondered about Amy’s name!

          Maybe Amy was already too attached to her name?

          The mystery only ever grows larger.

          1. OSPliasion

            “The mystery only ever grows larger.” Yes, sigh.

            I really would like to know if Hetty’s file could answer any of the name related questions (the one that’s in the pic above).

            By the way: I would love an article about G and Hetty for #CallensCorner.

  17. Eileen

    Another late one here…

    I’m with Richtsje; leave him as G. It’s what helps define him, it’s the driving force behind his goal. Once he achieves that what will be the force behind him?

    He is G. It’s short and to the point;Agent Callen can be abrupt or curt and just cut to the chase.

    Maybe he can just come to terms with the fact he may never know and maybe find some peace in that. THEN like you said…another mystery pops up. 😉

  18. Keviana Elliot

    I could see it playing out like that. Brutal, but, hey, we already called in Nate.

    “…another mystery pops up.” Like daisies. (Ref. Disney’s Mulan)

  19. Monty

    These days I look back “Supernatural”.
    Death, the rider of the Apocalypse, builds to help Sam Winchester, a wall in the mind. In this way, Sam, can not remember the events very painful.
    So I got an idea.
    And if Callen was the victim of hypnosis?
    When he worked for the CIA, they could have hypnotized and induced not to remember.
    Callen can not remember anything about his childhood, his sister, his parents, and his name because he can not do under hypnosis.
    Actually all her memories are intact. Some memories he remembers: the beach, the tin soldier, the tattoo. For him they are like dreams, can not tell if they are real.
    He should find the word or words to unlock hypnosis.
    In this case, the G is only one letter, one of 26.
    If my theory is true, I wonder why the CIA has done to this Callen?
    Good question.

    I feel inspired by this evening (11:00 pm Rome). What can I see on TV?
    Dexter. Oh, yeah!
    What I will think? Brrrr!


    1. Keviana Elliot Post author

      That is something I’ve never thought of. Wow! That would open up a lot more questions, but it IS plausible.

      Good job thinking that through!

      Stay warm. (:

  20. Chris

    Wow, this post seemded to have touched a nerve. All those amazing thoughts and ideas leaving me (and probably not only me) with lots to contemplate about. I’m guessing this was not the last post on this subject.

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