'NCIS: LA' Finale: Nell Has Real Doubts About Taking Over Hetty's Job

Is Nell ready to be the new Hetty… permanently?

NCIS: LA wraps up its 12th season Sunday with a finale that directly addresses that question. After being handed the unofficial reins earlier in the season by Hetty herself, Nell (Renee Felice Smith) is beginning to have serious doubts over whether she wants to take on the position of operations manager full-time after Hetty extends the offer.

In ET’s exclusive finale sneak peek, Nell goes to Callen (Chris O’Donnell) to vent her frustrations about her unique situation. As she explains it, she has “to take over [Hetty’s] job or get lost” — not exactly a reassuring dilemma to be confronted with. Oh, and she has to make the decision that day.  

“I don’t want Hetty’s office,” Nell admits to Callen. When he asks why not, she simply replies, “Because it’s Hetty’s. And I’m still not even sure if I want her job.”

“I hate to break it to you but you already have it. You’ve been operations manager for six months now, once you pass the half-year mark it’s kind of your job,” Callen points out.

“This wouldn’t be happening if Hetty were here,” she laments, prompting Callen to say what Nell’s been afraid of all along: “But she’s not.” What will Nell do?

At the start of the season, Smith spoke with ET about Nell becoming “baby Hetty,” as she referred to her character’s role change.

“It’s been quite a change-up but in a really good, really refreshing way,” she said in November. “I can confirm that we will be seeing another side of Miss Jones. She’s really finding her voice. She’s learning how to manage and engage her team in a new way. There are some really, really beautiful moments with other characters throughout this season, including moments with Callen in Hetty’s office and a really sweet heart-to-heart with Kensi and quite a touching scene with Deeks. And Sam gives her a talking to as well about her new position and her intentions with it. Nell will have some big decisions to make.” 

“I’m also looking forward to Nell growing into this role. Will she become more confident as the operations manager? Possibly even build an understanding as to why Hetty made some of those morally questionable decisions that she had witnessed over her time there. And maybe Nell’s perspective on Hetty’s decisions will shift and change as she takes on the responsibilities of being the operations manager herself,” Smith added. “We never truly know what it is until we are standing in those shoes. We never know why or how another person arrives at their conclusions or their decisions, so it’s exciting to be in this new position for sure.”

The season 12 finale of NCIS: LA airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For more, watch below.

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