Is [Spoiler] Leaving ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ in Season 11?

NCIS Los Angeles Season 11 Exit
Spoiler Alert
Bill Inoshita/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 11, Episode 19 of NCIS: Los Angeles, “Fortune Favors the Brave.”]

NCIS: LA may be saying goodbye to one of its own. In Episode 19, a core member of the team decided that it was time to resign, but was Hetty’s (Linda Hunt) reaction enough to change that?

“I don’t think I want to be an agent anymore,” Nell (Renée Felice Smith) confessed to Kensi (Daniela Ruah). “It’s not really sudden, at least not for me. It’s a lot of things really, but mainly, I don’t think I’m the same person I was when I started working here.” While the other woman argued that was true for all of them, it was more than that.

“I feel like it’s not right for me anymore,” Nell explained. “I used to be fearless, you know? I wasn’t afraid of anything, except for maybe Hetty, but some days now, I just I don’t even want to get out of bed.” Kensi suggested that she give herself time to reset, maybe step away from field work, but it wasn’t just that. “I don’t want to be an intelligence analyst either,” Nell revealed. “I’m going to resign from NCIS.” She didn’t think taking a vacation would help, either.

Nell approached Hetty after the case was closed, and her boss already knew why she was there, cuing up the opportunity for the woman she’d seen as her possible replacement with a toast “to happy endings and new beginnings.”

Renee Felice Smith NCIS Los Angeles Season 11 Nell

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Nell confirmed she was resigning, adding, “you probably already know this too, but I’ve been through so much lately and I feel like I just can’t give this job the proper focus that it requires and frankly deserves.” But like Kensi, Hetty refused to just accept it and even had the same suggestion — and insisted she take her up on her offer.

“You are an important part of this team,” Hetty told her, “with several weeks of unused vacation days. … If I don’t hear from you once they’ve elapsed, you can consider yourself resigned.” It was up to Nell.

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Will Nell be back? As she left with Eric (Barrett Foa) to tell him her decision (after avoiding him for most of the episode), she took one last look around the office, which could have been a goodbye. Smith even posted a photo of that moment and described her character as “wistful” on Instagram prior to the episode airing.

As Kensi pointed out in this episode, Nell has been going through a lot lately, from her mother’s health — which pulled her away from the job going back to the end of Season 10 — to the step back she and Eric have taken in their relationship, not to mention the job itself. It’s completely understandable that she’s questioning things and makes for a great storyline.


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tonight a wistful Nell comes to your small screen. Tune in for an episode to remember directed by the inimitable #EricPot my fave. ❤️✨🙏 #ncisla #cbs #ncislafamilia

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We’ll have to see what this means for Nell’s future with the team, but we do know that it won’t be the same without her, whether she’s only gone for a few weeks or permanently.

NCIS: Los Angeles, Sundays, 9/8c, CBS