NCIS: Los Angeles spoilers from the memorable season finale on Sunday night will have viewers buzzing for a while.
When it was revealed that Hetty Lange was returning for the finale, we were left unclear which direction that the writers were going to go to close out Season 12.
For most of the season, the subplot was getting built up that Nell Jones was going to take over for Hetty and that it was only a matter of time until it happened.
In hindsight, we should have paid more attention to the return of Eric Beale that also got presented in a sneak peek for the new episode.
What we really didn’t expect was one of the most important characters to the NCIS: Los Angeles cast riding off into the sunset. Literally.
NCIS: Los Angeles spoilers from season finale
Nell Jones, played by Renée Felice Smith since Season 2 of the show, had been presented with taking over Hetty’s job. She was given an ultimatum by Retired Navy Admiral Hollace Kilbride to have an answer by the end of the day (the end of the hour for us), and boy, did she ever make a big decision.
When Eric Beale (played by Barrett Foa) showed up, he let Nell know that he had received funding for the international HQ of his Kaleidoscope. He also let her know that it would be based in Tokyo and that he had received permission to bring her along. Surely, she wasn’t going to leave everything behind and move off to Tokyo. Wrong. She left with Eric.
The end of an era on NCIS: LA?
According to a report from TVLine, this wasn’t just a stunt for the NCIS: LA Season 12 finale.
“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,” showrunner R. Scott Gemmill told TVLine. “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.”
His statements didn’t quite end there, though, as viewers may have spotted a possible loophole within the writing that could allow Nell or Eric to return at a later date.
“There’s a little loophole in there, when Nell says she’s going to be alone in Tokyo with Eric, and she gives it ‘six weeks’ before she’s back. So, we’ll see what happens,” Gemmill stated.
Even the hint of Foa or Smith returning isn’t enough for us to get over the shock of both characters leaving during NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12.
CBS show has been renewed, so more new episodes of NCIS: LA will begin airing in the fall. It also pretty much dictates that there will be some casting changes coming, including a new person running the team if Hetty remains in the field. But her reappearance may mean we get to see much more of actress Linda Hunt during Season 13.
NCIS: Los Angeles returns for Season 13 in the fall on CBS.