What happened to Eric Beale on NCIS: Los Angeles? Fans missed Barrett Foa in the season 12 premiere, so let’s get his absence explained.

At what point does a TV show become stale?

Of course, there is no concrete answer to that and different audiences will have conflicting opinions.

It all depends on the show and the writers’ abilities to maintain interesting character dynamics, relationships and importantly, effective and gripping storylines.

Some series have arguably gotten off to a terrific start but fallen flat prematurely just a few seasons in. On the contrary, there are some which can surpass the ten season mark with their fan following largely intact.

Getting into the double digits with your seasons is impressive and many will argue that NCIS: Los Angeles has tackled this feat effortlessly.

Created by Shane Brennan, the first spin-off from NCIS has been on screens since back in September 2009 and fans are now tucking into season 12.

Although, while they’re glad to have it back, a certain character’s absence is raising eyebrows…

still from ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’, CBS Television Studios et al., IMDb

What happened to Eric Beale on NCIS: Los Angeles?

  • In the season 12 premiere, it’s addressed that Eric Beale (played by Barrett Foa) had become further involved with the work he was pursuing the year prior.

As highlighted by Carter Matt, it was explained that he had become “eccentric” and that he’s still involved in the narrative but simply not in the mission currently at hand.

Ahead of the character’s absence, TV Line [according to the Express] commented on the situation:

“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… 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.”

That leads nicely into the inevitable question that the same fans are asking: is Barrett Foa leaving NCIS: Los Angeles?

Has Barrett Foa left NCIS: Los Angeles?

No, Barrett Foa hasn’t left NCIS: Los Angeles but the recent storyline was influenced by the 43-year-old actor’s decision to take a break in order to pursue an opportunity on the stage rather than the screen.

As noted by the Express, CBS announced in 2019 that Eric Beale would be missing from five episodes so that he could take the time to perform in a version of Angels in America (he played Prior Walter) in St Louis.

The source adds that those five episodes would be five of the first six parts of the new season.

So, it doesn’t look like Barrett is leaving at all!

Interestingly, the previous finale did tease Eric and Nell potentially leaving for San Francisco. However, it appears the relocation isn’t on the cards after the latest episode.

Fans talk NCIS: LA season 12 on Twitter

The show’s return has led a number of viewers to post about their excitement over on Twitter.

Check out a selection of tweets:

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