‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Two Series Regulars to Exit in Season 12 Finale

by Jacklyn Krol

Fans will say goodbye to two beloved NCIS: Los Angeles cast members.

Beloved characters Eric Beale (Barrett Foa) and Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith) will be exiting the show following the Season 12 finale. And as always, spoilers ahead!

The show had Eric establish Kaleidoscope tech firm’s office based in Tokyo, Japan. Eric originally told his board that she would serve alongside him before getting her final answer. Nell was hesitant to join as Operations Manager at first. She even turned down Hetty’s job. Finally, she decided to go with him for a new adventure.

Foa has been on NCIS: Los Angeles since the pilot episode and was later promoted to series regular midway in Season 1. He has appeared in the majority of episodes but was absent for certain episodes in Season 11 and 12. Overall, he played Eric for a whopping 280 episodes.

In late Season 1, Smith’s character was introduced. Similarly, she was absent from numerous episodes during Seasons 11 and 12.

Barrett said that he approved of the couple’s epic send off.

“I think it’s really fun. He pulled up in a matte black Lamborghini, opens the door, and he’s like, ‘Do you like it? Is it too much?’ He can’t even stand by it, because he’s Eric Beale; he needs to ask Nell and Deeks if they like it. But he’s got to put that money somewhere,” he said.

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Send Off

Showrunner R. Scott Gemmill spoke with TV Line to discuss the pair’s major exit.

“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,” Gemmill said. “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.”

Gemmill clarified that this does not have to be the ultimate end for either character. The team created somewhat of a “loophole” so that they could make returns to the show if they feel like it. He joked that he only gives Smith six weeks before she returns.

Gemmill said that the writers teased fans with the possibility of her taking Hetty’s job as she was trained to do.

“But it’s a good thing, in some ways, to have that little bit of unpredictability to the show. That keeps it fresh and honest. But also, like I said, we keep in loopholes so that we can bring people back,” he concluded.