NCIS: Los Angeles star Renée Felice Smith bid farewell to Nell Jones.
Smith alongside fellow actor Barrett Foa (Eric Beale) made their exit during the Season 12 finale. During the episode, Linda Hunt (Hetty) gave her first appearance on the show this season. Hetty gave Nell the option to take her job. To the shock of fans, Eric and Nell ventured off to Tokyo for Eric’s tech company.
“Oh, my God…. My heart. Linda is just a magical creature,” Smith gushed to TV Line. “To have her back was really quite emotional. She was essentially sidelined by the pandemic, as you could imagine, so to even see her in the flesh, let alone share a scene with her.”
Show creators purposefully left their exit to not be finite so they can return to the show if they’d like. When asked if she would return for episode 300 late next season she said “of course.”
Smith said that this NCIS: Los Angeles season has been one of her favorites. She enjoyed seeing Nell “stand in her power” and “found her voice.” Smith revealed that she is similar to Nell in that she is a people pleaser and overachiever.
“As a young woman it was empowering to play that side of the scene,” she shared. “Nell, I think, is a natural leader, and I really do think her strength as a leader is her vulnerability.”
Smith said that Nell has “been such a gift for me as an actor to play.” She noted that she loved her evolution from a sidekick to a boss.
Life Post-‘NCIS: Los Angeles’
Smith admitted that she has been “ready for my next chapter for a while now.” She finally found the perfect time to exit NCIS: Los Angeles, at least, for now. She plans to use the time off to focus on her other skills like directing, writing, storytelling, and television development. they even have an independent show in the works.
“It is reflective of my own journey and my own life,” she continued. “So, to be able to step forward and say, “You know what, this is the path I want to take now and I’ll potentially disappoint people while doing it, I commend Nell for her bravery in that.”
She just released her first children’s book, Hugo and the Impossible Thing. The story is about her real-life dog that overcame an “impossible” brain tumor. Her goal is to pass on Hugo’s message in hopes that it will inspire others.