Fall TV Preview
NCIS New Orleans Brody Leaving

NCIS: New Orleans Scoop: Original Cast Member Exits Ahead of Season 3

There’s no big easy way to say this: Agent Pride’s team will be down a man when CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans opens Season 3.

TVLine has learned exclusively that original cast member Zoe McLellan, who played Great Lakes transplant Special Agent Meredith “Merri” Brody, will not be returning for the coming season.

The reason for McLellan’s exit was a creative decision, seeing as her character had been compromised in the Season 2 finale, due to her association with a Homeland Security agent who turned out to be a misguided zealot.

The black mark on Brody’s record will in fact speak to a larger concern with Pride’s NCIS team, paving the way for the FBI Special Agent being played by new series regular Vanessa Ferlito (Graceland) to come snooping around, to see what’s what.

NCIS: New Orleans opens Season 3 on Tuesday, Sept. 20, now airing at 10/9c (after Michael Weatherly’s new series, Bull).

Want more scoop on NCIS; New Orleans, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Imagecrafters says:

    Not surprised. I never warmed up to Merri.

    • Bella says:

      Can’t say that I will miss her character, I never warmed to her either.

    • Shunda1177 says:

      Same here.

    • Kate says:

      To me, as an actress Zoe McLellan just doesn’t resonate on screen whatsoever; even is a bit annoying. So I stopped watching NCIS: LA in the first season. Maybe I’ll reconsider the show this Fall.

    • grandpa says:

      Really? I thought she was the best character on the show. Won’t be watching without her.

    • Ann says:

      Me neither. Didn’t like her at all. Her acting was terrible.

    • DJ says:

      Totally stinks. Not sure I want to watch anymore. Her character worked. I don’t care for this FBI character after watching the season opener.👎😞

      • D. Welch says:

        It was a lame excuse that “creative decisions” took Brody off NCIS New Orleans. She was an integral part of an excellent ensemble cast…painful to have her gone. CBS and the writers could have easily included “a tough time” coming back for an episode or 2 for Brody….keep in mind at the end of season 2 she helped bring down the mole as much OR MORE than the rest of the team. Many other options than to write her out of the show, makes no sense. Vanessa Ferlito is awkward and does not mesh with the rest of the cast, in my opinion.

        • Barb Flavin says:

          I agree with you D. Welch. I thought she did a great job; I definitely do not care for Vanessa Ferlito–or maybe it’s just the part she’s playing. She’s way too pushy and I don’t understand what’s up with the duck bill lips? I know that isn’t very kind, but it seems intentional and I don’t understand a purpose in that.

        • Pat Ross says:

          I totally agree with you D. Welch. I’ve liked her since her days on Jag. I think they will regret letting her go. There were definitely other, better ways to write for her character and I was so disappointed in the new shows I shut off the TV.

          As for the new crew on NCIS, I’m equally disappointed. You can’t replace Tony. The writers need to be a lot more creative in their story lines. Right now they just seem a hot mess. Here’s hoping they improve. Maybe the writers are the ones who should be replaced.

          • Stephanie says:

            Agree! It’s rare I take the time to write a comment, but when I like a show and they do something so stupid you think you’ll quit watching it, then let them know! No offense Vanessa, but Zoe’s smile shows more personality and brings more class to the show. What were you people thinking? Obviously, the fans aren’t privy to everything. Maybe she was awful to work with…..??

          • Marie says:

            We also liked Zoe very much and so thoroughly dislike this new person. She puts us in mind of a bulldog…not friendly, know-it-all sourpuss face. We quit watching this used-to-be wonderful show. If they get rid of the bulldog, the FBI, and get Brody back and return to their original concept that made this show so great, we’ll start to watch again. As for the original NCIS, we think they hired too many people. Now there is not much screen time for the original characters we all love. We’re not too happy with this big group. Who knows how long we will watch this show.

          • Kay says:

            I don’t care for Vanessa Ferlito. She looks like she’s half asleep and pouting all the time.

    • I am very not pleased that Brody is not back this season!! It has taken a lot away from the show even though I am in love with Scott Bakula and Lucas Black!! Her replacement will not fit in Brody’s shoes at all! The new character is rude and bossy and I particularly do not care for her!!

    • Eva says:

      And I can’t stand Ferlito. Lousy actress. If she’/ in, I” out.

  2. Celyn says:

    That kinda stinks. I liked her character & her as an actress. :(

    • suzi says:

      I did as well, I’m sorry to see her leave.

    • Really stinks! She was “real”.
      Doubly stinks that they’re going to trash her reputation on the way out the door. Oh wait, they already did that by making her boyfriend a traitor. Guess she has to pay for not being clairvoyant.

      • meredithbrody says:

        Preach!!! Brody figured Russo out before anyone, how come she is being blamed when she worked it out. They’d all be dead if it wasn’t for her!

      • rosie519 says:

        I agree. Writers really aggravate me a lot with their lack of logic and storylines. They just expect us to swallow every bit of their nonsense.

      • preta4 says:

        NavyResGirl & others, they are NOT trashing this woman’s character, and I also enjoyed her as a part of the “team”. What I’ve come to learn in the many years that I’ve been watching t.v., when you see “creative differences” the majority of the time it stands for “money issues” (raises, etc.) that wwere NOT solved the way the actor/actress had hoped, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see that going on here (I could be wrong). I intend to continue on watching, in the hope that she WILL return, but should “she” decide against it I WILL continue to support this show for the other cast and crew.

        • D. B. says:

          I, too, really liked Brody as a part of the team. From my perspective, she delivered her role nicely and the character, flaws and all, filled an important role. I’m not as impressed with Shalita Grant as Sonja Percy. It’s not that I don’t like Grant, but I don’t like the character in Percy. It’s too soon to tell on the new cast members, but it may be the plot where NCIS gets blamed for another agency being infiltrated by a terrorist. Investigating NCIS is a stupid plot turn and the writers need to be redirected.

          But, then, I don’t like the NCIS:LA series at all… too much blowing things up and outlandish plots.

          • The only thing I didn’t like with Brody was her hair the 2nd season. Liked her better with the short hair.
            I stopped watching NCIS:LA because the stories were so convoluted and hard to follow although I loved the cast.

        • crm says:

          She didn’t have anything to do with leaving. It was all network

      • G Lee says:

        Moving to 10pm and no Brody…Probably will stop watching.

    • Ellen Ockert says:

      I liked Brody with short hair, thought she fit in nicely–guess Zoe wanted to move on. I have never liked this Vanessa person with her constant pursed lips and occasional pout–quit watching CSI: New York because of her character. Guess I will drop New Orleans because I’m not too crazy about the short girl either.

      • Jenifer says:

        I agree Ellen, her mouth drives me nuts. Always has a look of she smells something that stinks!

      • preta4 says:

        Ellen Ockert, “Vanessa”?? I’m glad that at lease the “small girl” IS still there. To each her/his own I guess, these ‘layoffs’ Are happening all over T V Land but I’ve given up on enough shows already, and am staying put with this one. I wish McClellan all the best and will watch her wherever she ends up.

      • SuziQ says:

        So true Ellen! I just said same thing regarding Sonja Percy (the short girl). I didn’t go back to CSI: New York until they got rid of Ferlito.

      • Vanessa Ferlito is a horrible actress and has ruined this show. Zoe was let go by CBS. Big mistake.

        • TerrieD says:

          Before this season I never missed an episode of NCIS New Orleans. I always recorded the series in case I had to work. Now that Vanessa Ferlito is on I don’t care if I miss the rest of the season. I think her acting skills are insufferable. She has ruined this show just like she ruined CSI New York. What was CBS thinking??????

      • cindy says:

        agree 100%

      • Kensington says:

        Totally agree! Ferlito ruined csi:ny. Was sooo happy to see her go. That show improved immensely. Dont want her here either. Bring back Zoe! Much better actress, and character.

    • Lauren says:

      This is bad news. The show will not be the same without her. Not sure how much I will like the show with out her. Will she be on another TV show? Where is life taking he.

  3. While I really like everyone on NCIS: New Orleans, I’ve learned that very often, those exits are for the best of the show. Hopefully, the show will grow stronger and eventually the cast will find a perfect balance.

  4. Rotten Fish says:

    Goodbye NCIS New Orleans

  5. Mare says:

    I never really liked Brody and I never thought the actress was very good but it’s too bad they wrote Brody into a corner with her incredibly unprofessional behavior last season and the actress is the one who pays the price.

    • canadian ninja says:

      Not to mention the awful season 2 hair/cap-wig she had to endure.

      • innerjuju says:

        I thought it was a wig, too but on her facebook page she referred to it as her own hair. In fact, saying she was dubbed “lucious locks”. I couldn’t believe it. That hair didn’t even look REA much less “lucious”.

  6. Emily says:

    I’m not really surprised: it fits the franchise pattern (Kate, Dom) and while I like McLellan, her character is definitely the weakest link. And I loved Vanessa on Graceland…

    • KLS says:

      I forgot about Dom from NCIS:LA. I was not a big fan of that show in the early years. They spent so much time talking about their wardrobe for undercover ops, it was annoying and so beneath Linda Hunt, I was surprised she stuck around.

    • Kate says:

      Except Sasha Alexander (Kate) asked to be let out of her NCIS contract. She wasn’t written out like Adam Jamal Craig (Dom). But it does sometimes take a season or two for a cast to shake out and get its rhythm.

  7. KLS says:

    I was wondering what Vanessa was going to investigate. Now we know.

  8. jeff says:

    They should have gotten rid of that annoying Percy that character is unwatchable.

    • KLS says:

      I would keep Percy, but get rid of LaSalle (Lucas Black). I hate his accent and the way he smiles when he speaks, but that’s just me.

      • MH says:

        Really, considering he’s from Alabama and that’s his real accent? Kinda funny to complain about someone actually having an authentic accent. Now, that doesn’t address the portion about the smirk, but I personally kinda like it. I do like Percy (the actress) as well though the writing for that character could be better. I do like the flirtation and chemistry between both these characters.

        • KLS says:

          Not everyone from Alabama sounds like that. They are some NY accents that are authentic as well, but some people find them annoying….

        • Niki Hunter says:

          I like LaSalle and love his accent! I like Percy also. She’s kind of a smart @^#. Gotta be when you’re short. :)

        • B. L. says:

          I agree! Accents are important especially when they’re authentic and the smile….we need more of them on TV!

          • tomus225 says:

            I love “LaSalle’s” accent. It’s real. Not a phoney Southern accent. His only problem is he’s an Alabama fan! 😉 #War Eagle

          • Marcus Scheer says:

            About Lasalle. If there wont come anything in Surprise way, then i thing, he is already on the way to get Kicked out!
            Reason: Whole NCIS thing was never something in way of Sexuell things. If Skin was shown, then only for Sub Leven and fitting to Story shortly!
            But this changed complete and far unnormal with LaSalle.
            With him in last Season ( Episodes ) not only came in ” Sex Sells” What NCIS never needed. Much more. More then one time, he was clearly reduced to a pure Sex Object.

    • bj says:

      I agree.

    • Haven’t warmed up to Percy. Her snark isn’t appealing to me.

    • Susan says:

      Totally agree she is why I barely watch anymore and often turn off the sound on her..she irritates the heck out of me…

    • Jmiller0212 says:

      I agree! I really liked Merri & unlike everyone else, I thought her longer hair was cute. I also agree LsSalle is very nice looking and would hate for him to leave. Percy, on the other hand, I’ve just never been a fan. She’s awkward and tje whole thing between her and LaSalle – yuck!

  9. Tracy288 says:

    That’s a shame – she’s about the only one I liked.

  10. meredithbrody says:

    Terrible idea. Really terrible idea.

    • Niki Hunter says:

      I like LaSalle and love his accent! I like Percy also. She’s kind of a smart @^#. Gotta be when you’re short. :)
      I hate the idea that Brody will not be in Season 3. I’m sure there could have been a way to keep her in the show and work out the story line for her. She did not know the idiot was a bad guy until the very last minute! How was she supposed to know? No one else did.

      • meredithbrody says:

        Add on that they said she was cleared in the finale!

        • dragons3 says:

          Being cleared doesn’t mean that your credibility isn’t fried, though. I’ll wait to see how things shake out, but I’ve never really liked the character. She didn’t seem to have any chemistry with the other team members.

          • meredithbrody says:

            I’ll have to agree to disagree there, I think she’s got amazing chemistry with some of them. Especially Pride, Loretta and Sebastian. She’s got a good sibling rivalry type going on with LaSalle and Percy (to a lesser extent) too. I absolutely adored the subtleties of the character, but it seems like a lot of people don’t appreciate unless they are shoved in their face.

  11. Molsongold says:

    I liked Zoe McClennan, but am admittedly ambivalent about her departure, would have given the actress more heads up at end of last season that her character was not being continued…that being said…
    Now? Now? Now? GG? Make peace with Diane Neal and bring her on on board permanently?!

  12. Kaye says:

    Not happy with this cast change. If not broke, why change it. Bad move😡

  13. chuckiechk says:

    When watching the show, I always remembered her as Petty Officer Jenny Coates from JAG

  14. Shaun says:

    Maybe she can go back to being Jennifer Coates on the original NCIS,lol

  15. PatriciaLee says:

    Brody and LaSalle were a fun duo. She will be missed.

    • bj says:

      They were and i hated that they broke them up when Percy came in. They seldom worked together after that. And since I’m not a fan of Vanessa I probably won’t be a regular viewer next season.

  16. meredithbrody says:

    As my name may suggest, she was my favourite. There was so much more to learn. Her history with Gibbs, her growing relationship/tension with Pride, her friendships with Percy and LaSalle, Sebastian’s crush on her… This was a terrible “creative” decision CBS.

  17. Gina E. Martin says:

    I have to admit, I’m a little bummed about this. I like the character of Brody. However, I was concerned about it getting crowded with the additions of Percy and the new FBI agent.

  18. Chris H says:


  19. gcw07 says:

    Really disappointed in this. She was my favorite character and next to Scott Bakula, she was my favorite actor on the show. I really have never liked Vanessa Ferlito, so not looking forward to her joining at all.

    • meredithbrody says:

      I’m 100% with you here. I’m honestly unsure about watching next season. I like the show well enough, but my main reason for watching was Brody and without her… I dunno if the other characters can keep me interested.

  20. skrable2 says:

    Gee … did you have to say that Pride’s team would be “down a man”? I mean, “woman” is just two more letters! … I kid, I kid

    I like the actress and the character, but it sure seemed like a pickle they had created for themselves with the end of last season.

    Here’s a way to stir the pot: With all those new faces at the NCIS mothership, maybe someone … coughcoughBishopcoughcough … can be transferred to New Orleans.

  21. Ralph says:

    I love Vanessa Ferlito. She should bring some much needed sex appeal to the show. Brody just wasn’t cutting it.

    • Susan says:

      I’ll take Brody over Vanessa any day…not everyone wants their entertainment to be about sex appeal…plenty of good actors/actresses that can carry a role without pushing for sex appeal. Sorry to see this show go by the wayside but a show that constantly changes cast members seldom keeps a solid fan base

      • Thierry says:

        Find a way to bring Brody back and send Vanessa back to NY/DC or wherever she came from.

      • Amanda says:

        Agree. Zoe was terrific. I hope they beg her to return at some point –but I won’t hold my breath. Under the lousy circumstances I wish her well and I’m hoping she bags a role that pays triple and takes off like crazy for 15 seasons. Or better yet, a star role in a smash movie!

      • Seconded. Zoe McLellan has a killer body, and I loved that she didn’t have to flaunt it on screen to be sexy.

  22. Mia says:

    I kinda liked Brody. Oh well maybe it is for the best

  23. Marco Piazzo says:

    I really liked Zoe, but her new character wasn’t very good. They should just bring her back in as Coates. After all, this IS set in the JAGverse.

  24. Queenie says:

    Huge mistake! Creative reason!? Shouldn’t they fire the writers if they can’t be creative without kicking the major character off!? Clearly they suck at being creative! And they wrote all Brody storylines so this is pretty much their fault.
    I feel bad for Zoe. :( She and NCIS:New Orleans will be missed because I won’t be watching anymore.

  25. Norm Al says:

    That is bad. Not liking this at all!

  26. KeithH says:


  27. auntiemm says:

    Not buying it. The season ending arc was conceived weeks or months before filming. I had a feeling when Percy was brought on that Brody’s days were numbered. With Percy and LaSalle paired there just didn’t seem enough for her to do. Would have liked to see her transfer to NCIS where I think she’d be a better fit.

  28. Dr. Phage says:

    This is really a bad idea. Especially after the writers spent the better part of last season setting up this conspiracy theory about her sister’s death not being an accident and the mysterious photos being sent to Brody. Now what are they going to do to address that? Knowing GG and his “writers”, this little mystery will probably just be dropped. That man can’t plan a storyline to save his life. So they ruin the mothership and this one. Hopefully LA can still continue on with some consistency with their new show runner.

  29. B. Lee says:

    Sorry to hear that you are leaving the show. You played a good part. Good luck in all that you do in the future. God bless!! I’ll be looking for you in your future endeavors.

  30. Fay Kelley says:

    I like her ! I like the entire team just the way they are!

  31. drhenning says:

    That is a shame since I like many on here remembered Zoe from Jag… but that is now over 11 years since that show went off.. they could have a reunion show where she comes to help babysit Harm and Mac’s child.. Meanwhile.. hope she finds another gig soon… I also liked her on Dirty Sexy Money which in retrospect sure had a great cast…

    • Fay Kelley says:

      Dang ! That’s the name of the drama she was in with Peter Krause! And who was the dad? Sutherland?

  32. Jackie says:

    Well, that sucks. I was only a casual viewer, but I liked her the best. But it’s CBS, so I’m not surprised.
    Hope she gets a better gig soon.

  33. Bella says:

    It was kind of hard to warm up to her characters. And every once in a while, she seemed to go off the rails and be completely unprofessional. I don’t think they really figured out who she was or much of a background story for her, other than her sister’s death.

  34. Andrew Hass says:

    I’m not surprised by this news because the show was bringing on a new female agent.So i guessed she was replacing someone.As for Brody leaves, maybe she knows if she stayed on the team it would just cause more problems for everyone.So my guess is when the show returns characters will say Brody left because she needed a break or something

  35. MMD says:

    Well that sucks big time. I liked her character and loved her on the mothership JAG although I never understood why they changed her character from Jennifer Coates to Brody. If anyone should go I would prefer it be LaSalle, I really wish they would stop messing around with my NCIS franchise shows.

    While I’m at it I would like to see more Hetty and less Granger on NCIS:LA. Hetty RULES that show imho!!!!!

  36. Pat says:

    I am sorry to hear this. I really liked her character and I am not sure how I feel about having an FBI Special Agent, snooping around. Is it me, because it seems like Pride has been under investigation for a long time and as far as I am concerned, he is one of the good guys and it seems like a personal grudge with these investigations.

  37. bill says:

    Shame; her character was the most real of any character on the show…. that love affair with the rogue agent that supposedly discredited her could have been drawn out as a continuing under story for an entire season…lazy writers…… seems they want to ‘ave the world” in 43 minutes every week….I watch only once in a while these days as I know there is no real conflict and the good guys always win…..lazy lazy writers….or is it just a New Orleans public relations show…. the NCIS thing is just a side line?

  38. maregolden says:

    Not surprised. Her character has been marginalized since they brought in Sonja. She didn’t have much screen time last season.

  39. Mece says:

    Too bad, i liked her character

  40. W R D says:

    Liked shorter hair style not longer. Never liked the high heeled shoes. What NCIS agent wears high heeled shoes?
    Like counterpart in Los Angeles tried to be glamorous instead of an agent.

  41. Song4Ten says:

    I can’t believe they’d get rid of Meredith Brody and keep Sonja Percy! Percy. The most angst-filled, annoying and unnecessary addition to the show. It just an attempt at diversity that will fail miserably at CBS.

    • Sam says:

      I fully agree with you! Brody was a character who was real and a role model for women. Percy is too snarky and dismissive for my taste. I was hoping she was the one leaving. I don’t know if I will continue to watch now that Zoe is gone.

  42. Longmire4ever says:

    Eliminate both female leads. Leave Lasalle alone. He is from The Fast and The Furious Franchise family. I love him as a character and actor.

  43. Doluzo says:

    Well, well well, what’s happening in the NCIS kingdom that depend of Gary Glasberg (and Mark Harmon) ? The main actresses go at the last moment (Cote and now Zoe). Michael Weatherly also left the ship while he was the second main male character since the start (and the best). I don’t blame him, considering what Glasberg and his writers did to the character of DiNozzo. I no longer recognized this character that I loved. Well I only watched the first episode of NOLA. I haven’t hooked, it was boring. There must be misogynist executive producers who run these two series. It’s sad. Especially when they believe they have the talent of Don Bellisario, brilliant creator of JAG and NCIS, among others shows.

  44. kenneth Guier says:

    Too bad, when a show seems to have good chemistry with its cast, they always seem to shake things up. Same thing with Rizzoli and Isles, an excellent show suddenly cancelled for no apparent reason.

  45. Clau says:

    Sucks. I liked her. And more than some others.
    And the reason for her character getting cut loose is stupid. It’s not like she knew the guy was dirty when she slept with him. And she not once doubted the evidence against him, like it’s all just a coincidence. She actively went after him. So really. Seriously?? Most stupid reason ever. If you reason with that look at everyone else in the NCIS-verse.

  46. james yarbrough says:

    that’s terrible, she as great in that part, why are they replacing her?? does she have a nw show lined up.

  47. Eileen M Steinberg says:

    I liked her. Please write her back in. If someone has to go it should be Lucas Black.

    • meredithbrody says:

      Agreed totally. If you want to talk about a character in a corner look at LaSalle. All his major storylines revolved around his brother, his dead girlfriend or Percy.

    • Daniel says:

      Trust the writers. in their eyes, Brody’s story was over (for now). She’s not dead
      .. who knows, she come back. It’s better to cut Zoe from the show than to marginalize her, not use her & keep her in the background. They don’t have story for Brody so she’s out… That’s how the business works.
      Give the new season a chance. It may surprise you Brody fans. 😉 ✌👍

  48. BevHuggins says:

    We will miss Zoe from NCSI New Orleans!!!

  49. liame says:

    Dang, I don’t remember who the heck she is.

  50. Isla says:

    I am suprised at this ‘creative decison’
    axe the character of Brody, I thought she was one of the best characters on the show, I don’t see why she would have to leave, couldn’t they do a character arc where she has to earn her agent status back after the traitor reveal of last season? I mean she wasn’t actually the traitor, she just fell for one, she sussed him out first and shot him.

    I personally think that no adjustments needed making for NCIS:NOor the orginal series, ratings are still pretty strong for both shows ( I hope they remain so after the adjustments) I do however think that adjustments needed making for NCIS:LA as the writing has become so repetitive over the last few seasons, and I think the ratings reflect this unfortunately, this is one of the only NCIS shows that does not feature navy personale prominately like the other two shows. I think they need to return to this.,
    I am curious as to what other people think?

    • meredithbrody says:

      I agree with you literally 100%

    • Daniel says:

      They don’t show Navy personnel prominently because they are a covert branch of NCIS. They still investigate Navy Crimes. 😉 Ratings on Monday are down period…

    • Christine says:

      I agree they need to rethink this decision. I really think Brody should come back.

      • John says:

        I too will miss Brody. I would really like to have her come back. There seemed to be a great chemistry between everyone on the current team. I really thought the writers were had hit a home run with this series with all original cast members and story lines. Without agent Brody, (with her new hair style), and the 10:00 viewing I think I will turn the TV off.

    • J. C. says:

      I like the actors and the chemistries between them all on NCIS:LA ; BUT the stories are repetitive and boring. How many stories of terrorist cells from Sudan or Cantpronounceistan do we have to suffer through? Enough with using the street cam crutch. And the minimal Navy connection is they (bad guys) made it to LA via boat or flew on the same plane as a sailor in coach. Now CBS keeps moving air day and time so I haven’t watched for a whole season and half. Hetty and Granger still scowling at everyone?

      NCIS (original) is still by far the best but why do they always kill off every female agent eventually? Watch out Bishop! Also, wished Tony had been transferred to Rota or other, with a much deserved promotion, instead of bailing. I mean, he still needs to put groceries on the table and he now has three mouths to feed because you know his father is now going to live with him. (Yeah, it’s all fiction, I know) Watched the premier of that too tonight and BOTH new characters are also annoying. Does every newly introduced character in the NCIS franchise have to have a quirky attitude or “issues” to resolve?