‘NCIS: LA’ Is Temporarily Losing Barrett Foa in Season 11

Born to Run
Bill Inoshita/CBS

When NCIS: Los Angeles returns in the fall, the team will be down a member — but it’s only temporary.

Barrett Foa will not be appearing in five of the first six episodes, due to his role in Angels in America at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. TVLine first reported the news and revealed how Eric’s absence will be explained.

On Hetty’s (Linda Hunt) orders, he’ll be on “a clandestine case with an outside company,” the details of which will be revealed when he returns. Furthermore, “the situation will take a dangerous turn and Eric will need to rely on the team to survive.”

This won’t be the first time that the series has adapted a storyline for a character due to real-life circumstances. NCIS: LA wrote around Daniela Ruah’s pregnancies in Seasons 5 and 8.

And in Eric’s case, this could mean quite the change for the character. While he has evolved from the tech operator who never left OSP that he was when we first met him, and has since gone into the field (though not as many times as his girlfriend), this is going to be something new. But just like the other times one of the team has been on his or her own mission — like Kensi (Ruah) in Afghanistan in Season 5 — we don’t doubt his colleagues will be there when he needs them.

Some viewers were worried that Season 10 was building to both Eric and Nell (Renée Felice Smith) leaving the team. He received a job offer in San Francisco, and she was considering moving there to be with her mother, who was diagnosed with coronary heart disease.

(Cliff Lipson/CBS)

And in the finale, Hetty sent Eric to be with Nell when her mother got worse. We’ll have to wait to see how that, along with the other cliffhangers of the finale, will be resolved in the fall.

NCIS: Los Angeles, Season 11 Premiere, Sunday, September 29, 9:30/8:30c, CBS