The CBS drama NCIS: Los Angeles has been teasing the possibility that Renee Felice Smith’s Nell may be leaving the show for some time. Now, Nell is on a leave of absence, and her character is helping to take care of her ailing mother.
It’s possible that viewers will not get much more information about Nell’s return this season, and the show has not yet been renewed for a season 12. CBS reportedly finished filming at least 21 episodes of season 11 before shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Nell is not mentioned in the episode synopsis for either episode 20 or 21.
The show is expected to be renewed for a new season, which would begin airing in the fall of 2020. The coronavirus pandemic may make that more difficult, though, since it’s unclear when filming for any shows will be able to start back up.
Nell Took a Leave of Absence From the NCIS
During a recent episode, Nell decided to resign from the team and told Kensi Blye that she just didn’t want to do the job anymore.
“I don’t think I want to be an agent anymore. 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,” she said. “I feel like it’s not right for me anymore. 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.”
When Nell confessed this all to Hetty later on in the episode, she was informed that she had several weeks of unused vacation days and encouraged to take them.
“If I don’t hear from you once they’ve elapsed, you can consider yourself resigned,” she said.
Nell’s Mother Has Been Sick & Nell Helps Take Care of Her
It was revealed earlier that Nell’s mother was sick, and Nell had to travel between two cities in order to do her job and also help take care of her mom. She was hopeful early on, but her mom’s health has seen no improvement, so she’s constantly facing the possibility that she will lose her at some point.
Also, when it comes to work, Nell has dealt with trauma there, too. Eric Beale (Barrett Foa), Nell’s boyfriend, was kidnapped and in mortal danger. Add that to the fact that Eric went undercover for some time early on in the season without talking to Nell about it, the fact that he didn’t put up a fight when she asked him to move out so her sister could move in, and her general feeling of being disconnected from both work and her relationship, and she’s been under a ton of stress for the entire season.
Now, Nell is using her vacation days to ponder whether or not she really wants to stay in the NCIS, and she may return with a different mindset about what she wants with her job and Eric. She may decide she loves both her job and Eric, leading her to want to stay around after all.
NCIS: Los Angeles airs at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on CBS.
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