How Will Eric Handle Nell Leaving on 'NCIS: LA'? (VIDEO)

NCIS Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 20 Eric Reacts Nell Leaving
CBS

Nell (Renée Felice Smith) is using her vacation time to think about her future at NCIS, but how is Eric (Barrett Foa) going to handle his Ops partner being away? Not well, it looks like.

The next NCIS: Los Angeles episode will see him dealing with the aftermath of her leaving the team, but as a sneak peek shows, it may take a little while for him to open up to anyone about his feelings. Fortunately, it looks like Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) is going to be by his side when he's ready to talk.

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Is Hetty leaving? Is Nell gone for good? Can we expect a happy ending for Callen and Anna? EP R. Scott Gemmill, Chris O'Donnell, and LL Cool J break it down.

What Eric thinks is just an "obligatory morning salutation" is really Deeks' attempt to check in on his friend. But if Eric's not ready to admit how he's really doing, the LAPD officer isn't ready to talk about how he broke his big toe. (And that explains why the photos above and below show Deeks in Ops this episode.)

What will it take for Eric to talk about Nell leaving? Will a shoulder massage help? It looks like Deeks is at least going to try.

This hasn't been an easy season for Eric, Nell, or their relationship. He went on a secret undercover mission at the beginning of it, and when he returned, he and Nell realized just how disconnected they'd become; neither really minded that he moved out to allow her and her sister to be together during a tough time for the family. After that, they decided to remove all labels from their relationship.

While this time away for Nell is obviously going to be just what she needs — she wanted to quit after realizing she no longer wanted to work at NCIS, but Hetty (Linda Hunt) insisted she use her vacation days to think about it — maybe it's also what her and Eric need. At the end of the last episode, she was going to fill him in on her plans after avoiding him for most of the day. Perhaps we'll hear just what was said in that conversation in "Knock Down." That might also inform how Eric reacts to being without Nell by his side for the time being.

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Considering how understanding he was after Nell had him move out — she even called him out on that — this could be when we get more of an emotional reaction from him. We'll have to see if he does open up to Deeks or if we see him talking to someone else by the end of Episode 20.

And luckily, Nell's absence won't be forever. She'll be back, but as TV Insider previously reported, Smith is working on other projects. Maybe when she does return, she and Eric will be able to get some clarity for their relationship.

NCIS Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 20 Knock Down Deeks Eric

(CBS)

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