Here's Why Nell Is Leaving NCIS: Los Angeles

Many NCIS: Los Angeles fans took to social media on March 29, 2020, to express concern that Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith) might be leaving the show for good. The rumor kicked off after CBS aired Season 11's 19th episode, "Fortune Favors the Brave," during which Nell has a conversation with Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah) about feeling unsatisfied with her job. "I don't think I want to be an agent anymore," the intelligence analyst confessed (via TV Insider). "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." 

Although Kensi tried to reassure her and suggested she take a break, Nell remained firm. "I'm going to resign from NCIS," she declared, leaving viewers uncertain about her fate on the show. This mystery intensified when Henrietta "Hetty" Lange (Linda Hunt) gave Nell an interesting offer, telling her possible successor, "You are an important part of this team, with several weeks of unused vacation days. ... If I don't hear from you once they've elapsed, you can consider yourself resigned."

It remains to be seen whether Hetty will hear from her bright protege, and now NCIS: Los Angeles fans are wondering why Nell would leave the show. So what's the deal?

Renée Felice Smith hasn't said goodbye yet

The actor who plays Nell Jones, Renée Felice Smith, hasn't confirmed as of this writing whether she's leaving NCIS: Los Angeles. However, Smith did possibly share a clue via an Instagram post after the episode aired, captioning a shot with her on-screen boyfriend, Eric Beale (Barrett Foa), "Tonight a wistful Nell comes to your small screen." 

Wistful, per, is an adjective "characterized by melancholy; longing; yearning." It's interesting that Smith, who has been on the series since Season 2, would use this word considering it involves the past and feelings of sadness. Hmm.

Another clue involves a conversation between Hetty (Linda Hunt) and Grisha "G." Callen (Chris O'Donnell) about the topic of succession, which took place in the "Kill Beale: Vol.1" episode in November 2019. When Hetty suggested Callen could call the shots at the Office of Special Projects (OSP), he replied (via Country Living), "I thought you were grooming Nell for that." Hetty then said, "I did, too." 

If Nell is no longer a top contender to replace Hetty, it seems to suggest her future at the OSP is coming to a close.

Of course, this is all speculation, and fans will have to wait and see how this one turns out. In the meantime, you can check out all the NCIS secrets no one will ever tell you.

What's next for Renée Felice Smith?

Although Renée Felice Smith has yet to confirm her future plans, it's possible she's shifting gears toward her own creative pursuits. In 2015, for instance, Smith produced and starred in a short film titled, Baby. When asked by The AU Review about how she manages NCIS: Los Angeles while working on other projects, she explained, "It is almost twelve months, it is a long haul. So I have to make the most of those breaks and try and be as creative as possible because so much of my time is spent carrying out someone else's idea." She added, "I've always been a creative person and I think that now, at this point of my life, I want to try and create my own ideas or at least bring those to life and share them."

In 2017, the New York native released her feature directorial debut, Relationtrip, a film that premiered at the SXSW festival. "It's really validation as a maker of any art," she told Women and Hollywood about the honor. "To have a festival as highly regarded as SXSW, a tastemaker in our industry, want to share your film with their audience is hands down the highest compliment we could ever receive and we are most grateful for their support."

Will Smith move on from NCIS to making movies full-time? We won't rule it out.

Fans don't want to see Nell Jones go

Once word got out that Nell Jones might be resigning from the Office of Special Projects (OSP), fans took to Twitter to vent about potentially losing the beloved character.

"Say what???? Nell is gonna resign from NCIS? No please don't Nell," one fan wrote, while someone else said, "I can't believe Nell is leaving NCIS: Los Angeles." However, one person was confident this isn't the end for Nell. "I'm sad that Nell chose to go, but respect her motivations, I'm sure she'll be back, it's people she cares about!" they reasoned.

Considering Nell has been a fixture of the show for so long, it's understandable people are upset about possibly seeing her go. The good news? As of this writing, the special agent hasn't left yet, and it's likely NCIS: Los Angeles will get renewed for Season 12.