Callen’s Corner: Callen And His Aliases

Callen’s undercover skills are legendary. He is a natural at what he does, a born operator.

In the beginning of “Keepin’ It Real” (S1x6) Sam and G argue about whether operators are born or made.

 Sam: Operators are made not born, G. Skills can be taught.
(G doesn’t agree, he is of a different opinion.)
G: Look, I will take a lazy natural operator over an all-night studier any day of the week.
Hetty: Nature versus nurture. Quite the conundrum.


Sam: Do you think Hetty was born or made?
G: Hatched.
Sam: How long have we been working together, G?
G: Two years?
Sam: Three next month. And the longest you ever had the same partner was?
G: Your point?
Sam: Point is we complement each other. Because I’m a natural…
G: I’m natural and you’re made.
Sam: No, I’m the natural operator.
G: Well, if you’re natural, I’m supernatural.
Sam: That doesn’t even make sense.

Later in the episode even Sam admits that G is excellent at what he’s doing:

Sam: He’s a born operator, Dom.

 One reason for his extraordinary skills definitely are his genes. His mother was an agent as was his grandfather as we learned in “Deadline” (S3x4).

G: My mother worked for the CIA?
Hetty: And her father before her. You see Mr. Callen, it’s in your blood.


Another reason for his being so good at what he does is his upbringing. The fact that he grew up changing foster homes every few months, weeks or days must have formed his ability to adapt quickly to all kinds of situations, to contain and control his emotions, not to show them, to keep his feelings close to the vest and thus make himself unreadable and untouchable for most cases.

Also, as was mentioned in a previous post on Callen and Identity – the different aliases give him an opportunity to try different lives, different characters to see which one would suit him best.

He never had a family – so an alias might give him an idea of how family life can be (see “Past Lives”, S1x12) – without any obligations and the possibility to make an easy retreat.


Callen Undercover Moments

Callen undercover has brought about some of the greatest moments for those of us who love the blue-eyed agent.

Remember how utterly gorgeous he looked when going undercover as Canadian Gordon Taymis in “Keepin’ It Real” (S1x6)?
And weren’t we all holding our breaths when he stared down the barrel of a gun as Nathan Wilson in “Black Widow” (S2x2) without even blinking?

 Thierry: You both have ten seconds to sort this thing out. The loser dies.

Who would’ve not wanted to be cured by “Dr. Callen” (“Ravens & Swans”, S4x22)?

And don’t we all love it when G is all dressed up for an undercover operation (“Anonymous”, S2x7)?


Didn’t your heart skip a beat when he was forced to drink the cyanide in “Purity” (S4x20)? Or when he was almost killed in “The Chosen One” (S4x14) when his cover was blown because the real Anwar Amurov was left handed?


Steve Wells, the “bad boy type who needs saving” geek in “Search and Destroy” (S1x4) still brings a smile to my face.

 Eric: All right, you’re up against a deavil-droid. You have to transform yourself into a dweed.
Callen: I already feel like a dweeb sitting here.
Eric: Not a “dweeb”” a “dweed”” It’s a combination between a dwarf and a steed. All right, grab your treasure torch and… Okay, not good. Not good. You have used up one more and you die.
Callen: Okay, we need to go to plan B, Eric, and fast.


And then, of course, there’s Mr. Carl… – Unforgettable! (“Plan B”, S2x22)

 Woman: Can I help you?
G: I’m Mr. Carl.
Woman: I don’t know you.

G: Something you need to understand about Mr. Carl.
Woman: What’s that?
G: He likes to party.

Sam: You know Mr. Carl. He’s the man.


And there’s so much more, so many aliases and undercover operations…

That being said we want to open Hetty’s Closet on G Callen and take a closer look at his various aliases every now and then – starting coming Monday.

Stay tuned and take a closer look at one of G Callen’s aliases next week!


Which one of Callen’s aliases is your favorite? And why? Because it was a highly dangerous operation, putting our favorite agent into a life threatening situation? Or because it helped uncover some information about his mysterious past? Or simply because he looked absolutely stunning in his undercover outfit? (Yes, we are not too shallow to admit things like that :)). We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Special thanks to Vicki, Bee, Richtsje, justdreaming, Keviana and sindee for delving into Callen’s past aliases and undercover operations with me. Also, thanks to for the screencaps.

6 thoughts on “Callen’s Corner: Callen And His Aliases

  1. mckenna

    Love this post, great idea!! I have to say his alias in The Chosen One was my favorite. He looked great :), had a very suspenseful, dangerous situation and moment with the team, and we got to see him fill the type of character Sam usually plays (e.g. terrorist). And I love when we see him speak and play a Russian ( or Chechen as Hetty emphasizes).
    Although his alias in Purity and Mr. Carl are definitely up there for me too. 🙂

  2. Linda

    Thank you very much for this interesting analysis. I would have to say that my favourite alias is Mr. Carl. We know that in this alias he is up to something not exactly legal but he does it so smoothly. Besides, Mr. Carl ( Callen ) can at times dress quite elegantly. I do love that casual, but smart look. You know what I mean, the sports jacket, open neck shirt, no tie, perhaps jeans or not. It really doesn’t matter what he wears. Callen undercover will always be able to carry it off.

  3. Charla

    I love reading these posts. Its so hard to pick one. Mr. Carl sounds kind of fun. When Callen went in as a teacher earlier this season was good too. I also like the ones where Sam and Callen make up aliases on the spur of the moment. I can’t remember which episode but when they are arguing over who would be the quarterback and whose the agent.

  4. BH72

    I love it when Callen becomes an alias. Watching him change personas is one of the things I love about the character. My favourite has to be Mr Carl, there is definitely a good story behind that alias, especially seeing he’s returned in Tuhon. But Jason Tedrow was another favourite. I would love to see him bump into Kristin and Michael again. Still curious as to why she’s so sure he isn’t Michael’s father. And I think Chris O’Donnell revealed his amazing acting talent, when he put on a nervous Gordon Taymus. One of my favourite undercover stints yet. I would love to see more of Callen going undercover on the show, with Sam worrying about him. Great post ChrisDaisy, thanks for your hard work.

  5. skippy2105

    That is a great post. I have to scip through the seasons to figure out which one of his undercover aliases I like the most.

    Though I love the episode Ambush and his undercover with the militia guys I think I finally choose the undercover in Endgame. He was Callen, only the rogue Callen. He tricked the bad guys pretty impressive. And he went lone wolf on this one, which I love.

    1. mckenna

      I agree. Loved Ambush and Callen was awesome in Endgame, and he was more or less himself. Definitely showed how good of an agent he is.

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