Love Is in the Air on NCIS: Los Angeles: L.A.

NCIS: Los Angeles
NCIS: Los Angeles

The characters on NCIS: Los Angeles are suddenly seeing a lot of action—and not the running-away-from-pyrotechnics kind. Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) and Kensi (Daniela Ruah) graduated from romantic ambiguity to actual workplace romance. Lone wolf Callen (Chris O’Donnell) landed a girlfriend. And since “we’re equal opportunity here,” quips executive producer Shane Brennan, things between Nell (Renée Felice Smith) and Eric (Barrett Foa) will continue to heat up. The duo, who shared their first smooch a while back, recently went home together for the holidays, then spent the new year exchanging flirty dialogue about racy lingerie.

“Nell knew Eric wasn’t going to make a move,” says Smith. “She was the one who pulled him in for the mistletoe kiss; she’s the one who invited him to Christmas this year. She was like, ‘Hey, man, I’m gonna take things into my own hands!’ That’s definitely more of a Nell character trait. I would not be so bold, but I appreciate a girl who is.”

But both Foa–and his character–are unsure. “I think even Eric is like, ‘Am I your boyfriend or am I pretending to be your boyfriend so that your parents don’t know we work for NCIS?'” says Foa. In a coming episode, Eric tells Nell that she is very hot. But in typical Eric fashion, jokes Foa, “something happens that then essentially negates the compliment.”

Tonight’s episode, “Forest for the Trees,” features Nell comically assuring the perpetually flustered Eric that he shouldn’t feel bad for having accidentally killed Deeks’s pet fish. “Nell,” Foa says, “is always calming Eric down and being an almost motherly figure–not to get too Oedipal here–while still remaining in a sexual realm.” But how sexual is their realm? Brennan says we’ll get a full explanation of exactly what provocative events transpired over that mysterious yuletide break…next season. “We’ve already figured out what’s going to happen next year, to Kensi/Deeks and Nell/Eric, and to Callen, for that matter.” In the meantime, enjoy the sexual tension!

NCIS: Los Angeles, Mondays, 10/9c, CBS