NCIS: Los Angeles is sending Eric on a high-risk adventure in order to accommodate portrayer Barrett Foa‘s temporary exit.
TVLine has learned that the CBS procedural is writing Foa out of five of Season 11’s first six episodes to allow the actor to pursue another professional opportunity. (Foa is set to star in a production of Angels in America at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis this fall.)
A CBS rep confirms Foa’s five-episode leave of absence, and teases that Eric’s mysterious whereabouts will be woven into the Season 11 narrative. Specifically, 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. And — as per NCIS: LA tradition — the situation will take a dangerous turn and Eric will need to rely on the team to survive.
At the end of Season 10, Foa’s Eric fled to San Francisco to be by the side of girlfriend Nell (Renée Felice Smith), who was tending to her ailing mother.
NCIS: LA returns with its 11th season on Sunday, Sept. 29 on CBS.