NCIS: Los Angeles returned to CBS in November 2020 for Season 12, and viewers probably took note that it interestingly takes place in a post-pandemic climate. We started the new season with a bang (or a bomb), with the team finding themselves on a mission to find a Russian bomber. Viewers also probably have noticed that Eric Beale has been absent in the first few episodes. Is NCIS: LA writing off Barrett Foa's character?
The explanation we were given (in the series) is that Eric is involved in an undercover mission in Tokyo and that Nell hasn't seen him in a while. Let's take a closer look.
Where is Eric on 'NCIS: LA'?
Don't worry, Barrett Foa hasn't left NCIS: LA. But he did take a short break so that he could perform in a play called Angeles in America in St. Louis. We won't see Eric for a few episodes, but that doesn't mean his character is gone forever.
And as we've learned, his absence has been explained in the script. "Viewers will learn that Hetty (Linda Hunt) has assigned Eric to work a clandestine case with an outside company. When Eric resurfaces on screen later this fall, the veiled specifics of his mission will come to light," it was reported.
TVLine added, "And — as per NCIS: LA tradition — the situation will take a dangerous turn and Eric will need to rely on the team to survive."
Back in August 2019, Barrett updated fans on Instagram, writing, "Missing my NCIS: Los Angeles family so much right now as they dive into what is sure to be an incredible and unforgettable Season 11. Meanwhile, I’ll be flexing some different muscles by diving into this complex and beautiful Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Missing you, Renée, Dani, Eric, Chris, Todd, and Linda. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in October!"
We also have an idea for what's in store for Eric and Nell. Kind of.
"In a conversation she has with Eric, Barrett Foa's character, in the season, he expresses that she's still trying to get used to Nell being in charge," actress Renee Felice Smith told Entertainment Tonight. She added, "And Nell replies saying, 'Yeah so am I. I'm still getting used to it, so it's a period of adjustment for us all. You're not alone in this period of transition. I'm experiencing it too."
In the episodes between Nell and Eric, Renee wasn't super forthcoming about what transpires between them and claimed she doesn't know what will happen.
"We don't know yet. I'm curious to know as well. That has yet to be divulged to me, even," she said. "We do know that they are on great terms. Eric is back working with the team in a new capacity, which is also very exciting. They're exploring this new level of their friendship and relationship, and yeah, I'm excited to see what will come of it all as well."
Meanwhile, Barrett has kept up with his NCIS crew on Instagram and showed his support by posting a Hetty for President sign.
NCIS: Los Angeles airs every Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.