WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for the finale of NCIS: Los Angeles season 12. Read at your own risk.
NCIS: Los Angeles season 12 previously aired its last episode, which marks the final appearances of Renee Felice Smith and Barret Foa as Nell Jones and Eric Beale, respectively. Some already see this coming, and their departure likely changes the police procedural drama moving forward.
Prior to the official exit of Smith and Foa in NCIS: Los Angeles season 12, a lot of clues surfaced that the two are leaving the series at some point. For instance, they've had few appearances in the past seasons, hinting that the show is already setting up their departure.
As for why Smith and Foa left the series, showrunner R. Scott Gemmill has something to say about this. In a recent interview with TVLine, he said that while the two have been in the police procedural drama for a long time, they have other projects that they want to do on their own.
Gemmill explained that they've been giving both Smith and Foa time off to do these, adding that "it seemed like a natural time to let them go off and do some other things." Also, he noted that they were able to give Nell and Eric "a happy, hopefully, ending."
Meanwhile, Smith also talked about Nell's decision to leave in NCIS: Los Angeles season 12. Throughout the recently-concluded installment, the character acts as the operation manager while Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt) is missing in action.
Nell, however, was forced to make a huge decision in "A Tale of Two Igors." This comes after Retired Navy Admiral Hollace Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) showed up and informed her that she either takes over Hetty's position permanently or resign.
In a shocking twist, Nell chose to resign instead of becoming the operations manager for good. Then, Eric asked her to come with him and recruited her to co-run his company's international office located in Tokyo, and she agreed to the offer.
Speaking to TV Insider, Smith answered the question of whether that was her official farewell. She confirmed that "it's official and Nell has made an exit", then goes on to discuss her other projects. She said that she's doing a few TV shows right now, and released her first children's book with Chris Gabriel.
There is no clear indication whether or not Smith and Foa are returning as guest stars in the future. Their characters were both significant in the series, and it looks like the door is still open for them. But, for now, NCIS: Los Angeles season 12 serves as the last one for both of them.