Certain essential cognitive processes require the precise temporal interplay between glutamatergic (excitatory) pyramidal cells and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-releasing inhibitory interneurons in the hippocampus. Basket cells, the main class of interneurons, target pyramidal cell somata and proximal dendrites and thus are poised to modify network oscillations. Though only present in limited numbers, the impaired development of basket cells can result in changes in the hippocampal circuitry leading to neurological disorders, such as schizophrenia. The diversity of the spatial origins, neurochemical make-up, cytoarchitecture and network contributions amongst basket cells is a provocative example of interneuron heterogeneity in the hippocampus. This review discusses recent data concerned with the developmental trajectories of one subclass, the cholecystokinin-containing basket cell, and emphasizes the significance of the short-range intercellular guidance cues that have recently emerged to impact the formation and function of their inhibitory synapses.