Nell Jones: One Cute Girl With A Gun

When Nell Jones was added to the Ops center in season 2, it was apparent that Eric had been teamed up with someone who was highly intelligent and quite comfortable in his computer domain. Although their job titles suggest that their primary functions with NCIS differ, it was immediately evident that Miss Jones possessed skills that overlap with those of her techie partner. (Nell herself admitted, in a much later episode, that she speaks ‘Geek.’) So by the time she appeared in her second episode, I had mentally filed the young Information Analyst away as a female version Eric Beale.

But then all that I thought I knew about Nell Jones was challenged when her third episode [Standoff -2×06] rolled around. We see her at the actual crime scene, climbing out of the backseat of Sam’s car. Well this is different. Our Eric had never ventured past the safety of the walls of the Office of Special Operations. (And later, when he does finally go out for his first assignment, he almost gets himself ‘frelted.’) Turning down Sam’s offer of assistance, Nell leans over into the trunk of the Challenger to haul out a big equipment case, and… Wait! What is that?!?! The cute little red-head is packing! This small piece of metal, tucked into the waistband of her pants, suddenly set her apart from the rest of the geek-world.


The next time Nell’s gun makes an appearance is in “Blye, K. Part 2” [3×17]. She had accompanied the team to a meet up between Kensi and someone who has information about Kensi’s father. But this time, Nell’s weapon is drawn. A sniper had taken a shot at Kensi, putting the team on high alert. It was then that we realized that the Analyst had not only received instruction in firing a gun, she had been trained in using that weapon in the field.


We don’t actually get a look at her gun in the “sunglasses scene” in Season 4 [Recruit – 4×02], but Nell assures a frightened Eric that she is carrying one. “Yes. I have my service weapon,” she responds when he asks if she is “strapped,” “packing,” “carrying heat.” Although the trembling Tech Operator is not comfortable with the idea of even picking up a firearm, he seems to find comfort in the fact that his partner is “carrying heat” when they venture out of Ops.


In “Unwritten Rule” [5×05], we get a glimpse of Nell’s gun and badge that have been placed on the desk in front of her, while she searches for clues in a company’s computer system. With a room-full of Eric-clones watching her from a distance, Callen comes and hovers over her like a protective big brother. (I know. I know. For you Nallen fans, it wasn’t all that brotherly.) When Callen tells her he thinks she has some admirers, she tells him she thinks they are more interested in talking about her gun. “What’s with that? Guys and guns?” To which Callen responds, “I think it’s more about cute girls with guns.” Not too much later in the episode, for the first time, we see Miss Jones fire that gun. Although it was just a warning shot to halt a fleeing suspect, the team appears to be quite impressed.


Nell gun Merry Evasion
Nell’s gun makes at least three more appearances before the end of Season 5. In “Merry Evasion” [5×12], when she temporarily becomes the fourth team member, she draws her weapon, assisting them in subduing a baddie.
Nell gun Windfall
In “War Cries” [5×14], I think my heart stopped when the psycho woman-killer knocked her gun out of reach. Then in “Windfall” [5×20], because Hetty is not sure Kensi is ready to return to work, Nell is sent into the field again. The over-zealous Analyst draws her weapon when the “Little Dip” thug decides to run from Deeks.

Up until the start of Season 6, Nell possessing, and even firing a gun, had been treated rather lightly. In fact, a couple of the scenes had been downright funny. This all changed in the third episode of the Season [Praesidium]. Miss Jones willingly placed herself in a dangerous situation, going undercover as Hetty, and was subsequently forced to kill a man. Our brave little Nell was undone. As Callen told Granger, she had never killed anyone before. The fact that the shooting was in self-defense was not easing her pain. When Nate pays her a visit, she has retreated to her apartment, contemplating the darker side of the day in the life of an agent [The 3rd Choir – 6×04]. The Operational Psychologist explained to her that there was no way to prepare yourself for this; killing someone “goes against every moral fiber engrained in you since birth.” Nell was able to rationalize that the man she shot was bad, and that her actions were in self-defense, but she couldn’t shake the thought that the man she killed was once someone’s child. Although it was good for Nell to share her feelings with Nate, she was still haunted by what had happened, wondering if she could ever put herself in that situation again.

Nell gun Praesidium

Nell is in her living room, sadly flipping through phots of the dead guy, when she receives a call from Hetty. When her boss asks her for an update on the case, she has to explain to her why she is at home, rather than in Ops. Hetty expresses her understanding, but then quickly urges Nell to get back into the game. “But I need you to focus. Chin up.” Nell gun The 3rd ChoirHetty Lange needs Nell’s help! Miss Jones seems to snap out of her gloomy state when Hetty begins reeling off a list of instructions, putting her to work. The next time we see Nell, she is in the OSP, diving through the air, pushing her Operations Manager to safety. She then draws her weapon, ready to do whatever it takes to protect her beloved boss from the evil Mattias. When the danger is over, the young Analyst confidently holsters her weapon. Nell Jones is back!

What are your thoughts about this? Will Nell be able to re-enter the field? Will she continue to pursue her aspiration of becoming a Field Agent?

7 thoughts on “Nell Jones: One Cute Girl With A Gun

  1. Rayanne

    Thank you for this!! Nell is my favorite character on the show. I think that in time she will go out in the field again. I think that she has a lot to learn before becoming a full time agent but as she said she has to do it her way. She did question herself after what happened in Praesidium but I would have worried if that hadn’t been addressed. I just wonder how she will react the next time she does go out in the field. I know a lot of people want to see her stay in ops but I have liked seeing her grow. One more note, I am a Nallen fan and proud of it!

  2. Rex041085

    I also thank you for this. I love it. Eric and Nell are my favourite characters. I like it because she is not only a smart girl in the OPS and equal to Eric, but she also evolved during the seasons. Shooting someone was a deep impact for her and like she said, she must find her own way, but that’s why I love her.
    I think, she will go out on the field, but it will be interesting, how she will react the next time, when she need to use her gun again.

    I love to see her growing and evolving.

    And for the notes: I’m a Neric-fan / Neric-shipper. 😉

  3. BW

    I like Nell, and I do see her growing and maturing,. i am not convinced she really is a Field Agent. I see this only as something she wants because this is not what she is suppose to do. She doesn’t have the same desire for this that I see when she is in analytical mode. More of just proving others wrong.

    This is JMHO.:-)

  4. BH72

    Thank you, JustDreaming for this write up of Nell. I like the way the writers are developing her character. She may never be a bad ass like Kensi, but she can hold her own and I perceive her as someone with a great deal of potential.

  5. Lloyd Morman

    I enjoy Renee Felice Smith (a.k.a. Nell Jones) on the show! She is one of a kind, smart, cute, & can hold her ground! I hope that they will let her show witty side more & some other things that the fans have not seen from Nell that will play in a BIG way later on. Please keep up the great work Renee!

  6. ChrisDaisy

    Thanks so much for this great article about Nell!
    At first I thought of Nell as a „female Eric“, just like you described, but Nell is far more than that. We have certainly seen some development in her character and she manages to surprise again and again.
    Seeing Nell with a gun for the first time was a big surprise and it still doesn’t come as natural to me as it does when the other team members are handling a gun.
    I found it reasonable that Nell was having trouble coping with the fact that she killed someone, even if it was in self defense. I somehow doubt that Callen, Sam, Kensi or Deeks had the same problem after they first killed somebody, I figure them more to be like Granger in this case. And this is why I am not sure if Nell will really become a Field Agent in the end. She surely has a lot of talents, the training and the ability to do so but will she really choose that way?

    For me, I have to say that even though I enjoy seeing Nell out in the field from time to time I prefer to see her working side by side with Eric up in ops. I am not a shipper but I like the chemistry between those two so I hope they won’t change Nell’s working area some time soon.

  7. Bob Clevenger

    Nell entered the show as a rather minor character. Renée took that character and made her an indispensable part of NCIS: LA. As Nell is now written and portrayed she is smart and strong with an underside that is still waiting to come out. Yes, I am sure that she will go into the field again, but she is too valuable as a fellow geek to Eric and the whole team to ever leave the tech centre completely. Sure, killing someone impacted her a lot. She is much too empathetic for that not to have done so. But she can see the logic of the situation and she has the strength to apply that logic.
    All I can say is” What a woman!” That goes for Nell and Renée equally.

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