‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Did Nell and Eric Leave the Show?

by Lauren Boisvert

NCIS: Los Angeles season 13 aired last night and fans are feeling the distinct lack of Nell and Eric. The two were nowhere to be found, and fans are wondering if they’re gone for good.

The short answer? Yeah, they did leave. In the season 12 finale, Eric asked Nell to go with him to Tokyo, while Hetty offered Nell her job as head of the team. Nell chose Tokyo.

It seems like their exit isn’t really cut and dry, though. It’s a bit more open-ended, so the characters could come back if they ever wanted to. When asked if she’d be back for the 300th episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, Renee Felice Smith, who played Nell, said “of course.” So, there’s a possibility we’ll be seeing Nell again, at least.

Why Did Nell and Eric Leave ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’?

According to showrunner R. Scott Gemmill, both Renee Felice Smith and Barrett Foa wanted to focus on individual projects. “Both Renée and Barrett have been on the show a long time,” Gemmill told TV Line, “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.”

Gemmill also said there’s hope Nell might come back based on a line she says in the finale. “There’s a little loophole in there, when Nell says she’s going to be alone in Tokyo with Eric,” said Gimmell, “and she gives it ‘six weeks’ before she’s back. So, we’ll see what happens.”

Of the ending, Gemmill said it was hopeful and happy, but also unexpected. “This seemed like a good time [to write Nell out] because you probably expected Nell to take Hetty’s job that she’s being groomed for,” he told TV Line. “But it’s a good thing, in some ways, to have that little bit of unpredictability to the show…But also, like I said, we keep in loopholes so that we can bring people back.”

Where Will Hetty Be for Season 13?

Speaking of characters leaving NCIS: Los Angeles, where is Hetty going to be for this new season? Season 12 saw her mostly in Syria on assignment, as Linda Hunt stayed away due to COVID-19 restrictions. Now, for season 13, it seems like Hetty is going back to Syria.

G. Callen is not so happy about this turn of events. Hetty just revealed crucial information about his past, and now she’s leaving again. So, he sends Zasha to spy on Hetty in Syria.

It seems like Linda Hunt is once again taking COVID-19 protocols into consideration when it comes to filming. She might be away for some time again, like in season 12, but that doesn’t mean she’s off the show. There has been no word that she’s leaving, just that she’s taking some time off due to the circumstances.