NCIS: Los Angeles returned on Sunday night, but Tech Operator Eric Beale was missing.
Actor Barrett Foa did not appear on the Season 12 opener, raising a lot of questions about his character and if the actor had left the show.
Fans should keep in mind, though, that this isn’t the first time that a season of the show has started out with Eric missing from the main storylines.
What happened to Eric Beale on NCIS: Los Angeles?
The season premiere started out with its regular method of setting the stage for what would come later. Following the opening credits, a long scene with Intelligence Analyst Nell Jones (Renee Felice Smith) played out.
Nell was told to meet Hetty (Linda Hunt) in her office, where she learned that Hetty was going to be out of the country and she needed Nell’s help to lead the team.
As the episode started to progress, it was Special Agent Fatima Namazi (Medalion Rahimi) who was helping run things from the OPS Center, with nobody addressing the fact that Eric wasn’t even there. He was simply gone.
It wasn’t until later in the episode that Eric was even referenced.
“Where is Eric anyway?” asked Nell while she was having problems with her phone and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) joked that he had seen him stirring his coffee with it.
“He’s officially on vacation,” Deeks stammered as he tried to answer the question.
“Unofficially he’s at a Tokyo trade show,” Kensi elaborated. “That company that he was working for last year in San Francisco was bogus but the technology he was developing was very much real.”
It was an interesting way to explain the absence, but it’s definitely possible that he is just undercover working for Hetty again, setting up some storylines that could play out later in the season.
His lack of lines in the episode also served as an easy way to re-introduce viewers to Special Agent Devin Rountree (Caleb Castille) who has made the move from the FBI over to NCIS.
We expect Eric Beale to return soon
There has been no announcement about actor Barrett Foa leaving the show, and the opening episode was written in a fashion to lay the groundwork for elaboration a bit later. With that in mind, we fully expect Eric Beale to return this season.
Without Eric as a part of this episode, it also allowed Nell to show what she can do while leading the team. That was an important facet of the episode that allowed the character to shine on her own without having to simultaneously deal with the relationship drama with Eric.
For viewers who watched the episode and saw the title paying tribute to David Bellisario at the end, we have written up a piece on the long-time worker for the show.
NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sundays at 8/7c on CBS.