‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Alum Renée Felice Smith Says ‘Come Sail Away’ in New Boat Pic

by Suzanne Halliburton

Renee Felice Smith is teasing NCIS: Los Angeles fans with her latest Instagram post.

She’s on a ferry, headed … somewhere, as she quotes a classic 1970s-era song from Styx.

Smith, who played Nell on NCIS: Los Angeles, captioned the photo “come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with meeeeeeeee”

Smith, as Nell, was a quirky, cool character NCIS: Los Angeles fans adored. But she left the show at the end of season 12. Her final episode was the season finale in late May. She played Nell for 11 of the show’s 12 seasons.

The season 12 finale centered around whether Nell would replace Hetty in the NCIS: Los Angeles office. Nell filled in for Hetty as operations manager for much of the season. But ultimately, she decided to leave with Eric and open up a new security office in Tokyo. But it was only after Hetty returned and gave Nell her blessing that she decided to leave. The two long-time NCIS: Los Angeles characters then drove off in Eric’s new sports car to start a glistening new life in Japan.

Hetty Approved, But Fans of NCIS: Los Angeles Hated to See Nell Go

Fans of the show mourned the unexpected departure of a popular character. Smith told Entertainment Tonight: “The door will always remain open for Nell at NCIS, but right now, it’s time for Nell to really explore her next adventure. Nell is a smart girl and she’s chosen stability for a good long time because it was the smart choice. But now she’s really questioning what she wants. And I commend her for being brave enough to even consider that line of questioning.”

“It’s truly difficult when you work with people you love who have become your family, who become so much more than your co-workers. (That’s) a lot like me and our fabulous crew at NCIS Los Angeles,” Smith said.”I do commend Nell for stepping into her power and really making a decision to serve herself rather than people-please and to serve others. It’s quite commendable.”

So what will Smith be doing, post-NCIS: Los Angeles? She talked about her future with TVInsider. Smith sounded a lot like her character on the show.

“Well, I think it’s complicated,” Smith said. “I mean, I think that I’ve been ready for my next chapter for a while now, in whatever form it will take. But it’s surely to be centered around 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 is currently promoting her new children’s book Hugo and the Impossible Thing