Following the Season 12 finale of NCIS: Los Angeles, two stars are exiting the CBS procedural. With both Barrett Foa (Eric Beale) and Renée Felice Smith (Neil Jones) departing, the series is now making a major promotion, and a recurring character will be getting a lot more screen time in the upcoming thirteenth season.
Gerald McRaney has been promoted to series regular for Season 13 of NCIS: LA, per Deadline. Since 2014, the actor has recurred as the retired Admiral Hollis Kilbride, who advises and counsels the LA division of the NCIS Special Projects unit during undercover ops. In a statement, executive producer R. Scott Gemmill praised McRaney and noted how excited he is to give him a bigger part in the NCIS franchise:
When you have an actor of Gerald McRaney’s caliber, you do everything you can to make sure you get him as often as possible. Admiral Kilbride has been an esteemed part of our universe for seven years now and we look forward to viewers seeing him come in and shake up our NCIS: LA world.
Following the Season 12 finale, Renée Smith opened up about her exit, revealing that she’s ready for her next chapter, “in whatever form it will take.” Smith has been on NCIS: LA since Season 2, while Barrett Foa had been on the show since the very beginning. While the series won’t be the same without Eric and Neil, it will be interesting to see what Admiral Kilbride brings to the table in the upcoming season and how he will be part of a bigger story in NCIS: LA.
While the Season 12 finale involved a couple of exits, it did feature a major return. Linda Hunt, who has portrayed Operational Manager Hetty Lange since the first season, was absent through much of Season 12, due to COVID concerns. However, fans remained hopeful that Hetty would return, and so she did in the finale. While there really wasn't any explanation for Hetty’s in-show absence, it’s possible that Season 13 could explain why she’s been gone, or the writers may just keep it a mystery, seeing that most fans likely know the real-life reason for Hunt's absence.
Meanwhile, Gerald McRaney has an extensive filmography going back to 1969. He’s done multiple television films and has appeared on shows such as Deadwood, Mike & Molly, CSI, and Castle, with one of his most regular roles being Fox's short-lived drama Filthy Rich, which aired last year. McRaney even won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance on This Is Us in 2017.
Catch McRaney as Admiral Hollis Kilbride when NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 airs this fall on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.