What’s Next for the ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Team After That Shocking Death? (VIDEO)

Skip Bolen/CBS

In the November 5 episode, NCIS: New Orleans killed off a special agent we’ve known and loved since Season 1 (and earlier, on NCIS): charming, brave man of faith Christopher Lasalle, played by Lucas Black (above).

Shot defending a woman he thought was helping him (“We knew Lasalle needed to go out as a hero,” co-showrunners Christopher Silber and Jan Nash say in a joint interview), Lasalle later died in the hospital, surrounded by the team headed by Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula).

Black indicated at the end of last season he wanted more time for family and other creative pursuits. “Everyone gets itchy to see what is over the horizon. We weren’t surprised,” Silber says. “I only asked that he allow us to give his character an amazing send-off.”

Shooting the death scene was emotional, but producers say Black kept spirits up with jokes, including a “jump scare” coming “back to life” in the hospital bed after “dying.” Still, tears were shed at the actor’s farewell.

“All of our characters are left reeling,” the showrunners say. “Pride is hit hardest. Lasalle was almost like a son.”

They go after prime suspect Eddie Barrett (Eddie Cahill, returning November 26 and December 17) after he’s released from jail because of his alibi. But the enraged squad is determined to close the case and avenge Lasalle.

Watch an exclusive sneak peek of Eddie in court:

The loss will bring a new face to the Big Easy team. The producers tease, “No one can ever replace Christopher Lasalle; however, we will be adding someone new.”

NCIS: New Orleans, Tuesdays, 10/9c, CBS