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The Real Reason Barrett Foa Didn't Return For NCIS: LA's Series Finale

In many ways, the series finale of "NCIS: Los Angeles" is the culmination of the show's entire run. Not only does the episode offer satisfying resolutions for mainstay characters like G. Callen (Chris O'Donnell), Kensi (Daniela Ruah), and Sam (LL Cool J), but it also features a couple of familiar faces who haven't appeared on the show in some time. However, despite this celebratory reunion of special agents new and old, there is one character whose absence is strongly felt during the episode: Barrett Foa's Eric Beale.

In an interview with TV Line, "NCIS: Los Angeles" showrunner R. Scott Gemmill went into detail about why Foa's Eric was not present for the series' final chapter. "That was about availability, and what we could do and what we couldn't do," he explained. "If I'd had the time and the money, I would have probably had everybody who had ever been on the show. We couldn't do everything we wanted to, unfortunately."

Foa would have liked to appear in the finale

Scheduling conflicts and availability may have kept Barrett Foa from returning to "NCIS: Los Angeles" one last time, but it certainly wasn't for any lack of desire on the part of the actor. In a statement to TV Line, Foa said: "Getting to play Eric Beale one last time would have been a dream, so I was bummed when it didn't work out. I'm grateful he got a shout-out and that he's out there making the world a better place. How cool that CBS gave the show a chance to give our fans a proper series finale."

As per the in-universe explanation Foa alluded to in the statement, his character is mentioned by partner Nell Jones (Renee Felice Smith) to be giving a TED Talk in Singapore in true Eric fashion. While it's a fitting explanation for the character's absence, fans can only hope they get a chance to see "NCIS: Los Angeles" veteran again if the show ever gets any sort of revival or reunion special.