After more than a decade on NCIS: Los Angeles, Nell Jones actress Renée Felice Smith finally stepped away from the show ahead of Season 13. Fans have been missing her presence since the premiere of the current season earlier in October. And while we may not be able to get her back on the show, we can at least check in on what she’s been up to since leaving.
Before we jump to conclusions, though, it’s important to note that NCIS: Los Angeles hasn’t closed the door on a Nell Jones return for good. For that matter, Smith’s former co-star Barrett Foa may return at some point too.
“Both Renée and Barrett have been on the show a long time, and they’re both very ambitious individuals who have projects that they want to do on their own — and we’ve been giving them time off to do so. It seemed like a natural time to let them go off and do some other things, and give [their characters] what is a happy, hopefully, ending,” showrunner R. Scott Gemmill told TV Line in May.
So we’re holding out some hope that we could see Nell and Beale back on NCIS: Los Angeles someday. In the meantime, however, Smith has already made a big career step. She recently published a children’s book called “Hugo and the Impossible Thing,” which she co-wrote with Chris Gabriel.
The book is based on Smith’s dog and his fight to overcome a life-threatening illness. It was very well-received, earning a five-star rating with 135 total reviews on Amazon.
“Our hope for the book is that Hugo will inspire readers, young and young at heart, to politely ignore the naysayers and really to set out and conquer their own impossible thing, whatever it may be,” Smith told The Talk.
The Former ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Wants to Explore Her Storytelling Side Further
While actors are sometimes considered storytellers, Renée Felice Smith is really about that life. Yes, when actors deliver their lines, they are technically telling a story. But as the children’s book proves, Smith is using her time away from NCIS: Los Angeles to explore the writing and producing side of storytelling.
“I hesitate to be part of the ‘cliché actress’ calling herself a storyteller, but I really am one. I’m a writer. I’m a director. We are developing television currently. We have another indie in the works. I want to tell compelling stories, poignant stories that offer an escape and chance of reflection for the viewer, so that’s where my focus is,” Smith told TV Line in May.
It appears she’s already tackling those stories. Per her IMDb page, Smith is starring in an upcoming short called Someone to Carry You. The project is still in post-production and doesn’t have an official release.