Exclusive: 'NCIS: LA' star goes AWOL

WARNING: Stop reading if you have yet to watch last night’s NCIS: LA. Everyone else, onward and downward…

NCIS: Los Angeles has been on the air for just five months and already it’s undergoing its first major shake-up: Original castmember Adam Jamal Craig is leaving the hit procedural. But when? Last night’s powerful episode — which revolved around the abduction of Craig’s special agent, Dom Vaile — left the character’s fate very much up in the air. Is Dom dead? Will his kidnapping remain an unsolved mystery? Why was Craig written out? In this exclusive interview, executive producer Shane Brennan clears the air on all of the above and more…

Where’s Dom?
He’s gone. He’s out there somewhere.

Will the team continue to search for him?
They’re not about to leave one of their own unaccounted for, but life goes on. They’ve got cases to solve. So they continue to do that, and we continue to wonder what happened to Dom.

How long will this story play out for?
It will arc the season. I won’t leave any unanswered questions at the end of the season. But in the great tradition of NCIS, it doesn’t mean that having answered the questions I won’t pose more.

Why did you decide to write out a main castmember this early in the show?
To my mind, particularly in the first season of a show, there is no main cast. The audience is meeting a whole bunch of characters, and you get the opportunity to play around with them. I’m a great believer in playing with the audience’s expectations. It’s about making it as different and fresh as often as you can. And I certainly took that approach with this first season… I want them to know that nothing is sacred. And the cast is aware that this is the game I play. No one’s safe.

What was Adam’s reaction?
He was incredibly professional. Everyone’s aware that these sorts of things can happen. I warned everyone that I shake things up all the time. And by the way, just because Dom’s missing doesn’t mean you won’t see him again. There’s a lot of blood in the car, but is he dead? Alive? What’s going to happen? There is a powerful episode to come that will provide some resolution.

NOTE: Although Adam Jamal Craig wasn’t available for a formal interview, he shared with me via e-mail his reaction to learning that he was being written off the show: “I had big hopes for Agent Vail, so, naturally, it took me by surprise. But I have complete trust and respect in Shane’s vision for the characters and the world he created. It has been an incredible experience working with such a talented cast and crew.”

Thoughts? Will you miss Dom? Are you hopeful he’ll be back in some capacity? Sound off below!

Comments (316 total) Add your comment
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  • Sally

    I personally will not miss Dom. Out of the cast, he was the one who stuck out. His character had nothing to do. His disappearance, oddly, is possibly the biggest impact it’ll have on the rest of the team. I’m glad to hear that this will be a continuing arc, with resolutions.

    • firemendate

      I think the show is really good

    • Carter

      exactly. dom was the worst character & i’m glad brennan recognized it & got rid of him. he was the worst part of the show & i’m glad he’s gone. i hate for an actor to be out of a job & i hope adam can find another show to work on. but the character dom had to go.

    • Kvivik

      Dom was LA’s version of Spencer Reid from Criminal minds, people.
      The actor couldn’t pull off the genius geek/serious agent role that they tried to put him in (and the character was atrociously written, may I add).
      I’m only sorry they didn’t kidnap Kensi too. Hate that actress.
      Hope the actor gets a better role. :-)

      • diane

        agreed she really needs to go!

      • Rachel

        Nope Kensi is good in her role and they shouldn’t take her out. As for Dom he needs to stay he’s a good actor and as his actor said I had high hopes for him as well.

      • Harlee

        I liked kensi she stay’s and dom should stay too :) them killing him off was a bad idea:(

      • Madeline

        I agree that Kensi should go. Seeing her “birthmark” right eye is very annoying. I can’t stop looking at it….it’s distracting!

    • ashlee

      I agree. Frankly, I didn’t remember who he was and couldn’t understand why everyone was so upset until I read The File. The character was poorly written and gave him little to do. I wish Adam good luck with his next audition.

    • kathy

      He had nothing to do because they did not write for him or develop his character. As for myself I really liked him and was hoping he would get a big storyline, but not this way!!

    • reed

      so typical, they killed off the black guy. who would have guessed.

      • Jill

        yeah, i am sure that is what happened. they said, hmm…who can we kill off? let’s kill of the black guy! yeah, that’s it…the black guy. ahhhh haha hahahaha…. then in season 2, we’ll kill off the other black guy! ahhhh hahahahahaha!!!!

        those writers are so diabolical.

      • Pat

        Isn’t that the truth…Anyone who wanted some off the show because of their birthmark, he to be released from their job because they are distracting.

    • Jan

      If he stuck out it is probably because of the writer. They should have done more with his character. It appears like soemone did this on purpose, poor lines, poor character.

  • Cari

    I really liked Dom, I’m gonna miss him. Wonder if they will get someone to replace him? :[

    • megan

      i really liked dom too! i started crying yesterday nite when it comes on dvd im so buyin it i think that dom was a good charachter and that the team needed him just like in ncis kate dies,ziva comes but its not the same dom was awesome on the team there is no one else like him

      • Ashtrash

        NCIS improved dramatically when Kate was written off – it kind of forced the show to grow up, in a way, (while still keeping it’s humor at other times.) And I was a BIG Kate fan. I hated Ziva at first, because she wasn’t Kate, but now she is one of my favorite characters. I think this Dom drama is a brilliant move – it really humanizes the remaining characters and provides an intriguing continuing story line. Well done, SB!

      • Mark

        personnally, I think most of the Charaters a pretty good…Nate’s is kinda odd, but Dom had a lot to offer as a developing character. Maybe it’s just me, but I like crossovers, it shows that they are an agency not a set cast, it’s more real life. But who knows, maybe with just being missing, the Character will be written back in, after all, we still need a why they took him….he wasn’t a prominant character…maybe they can pull in the BAU from Criminal Minds to figure it out? lol it’s a thought!

      • Kate

        when i found out, via Adam’s twitter page i cried my eyes out, i watched a video on it and jsut cried and cried for so long. i want Dom back!!
        LETS SAVE DOM!!! http://www.cafepress.com.au/NCISfanatichttp://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Bring-Dom-Home

  • Jack McPhee

    To be honest, I’m not surprised. It’s very obvious that AJC’s character was the one member of the team that they weren’t fleshing out in any way, shape or form – I believe the character was created in order to be the red shirt in this episode and give the show the requisite ‘shocking twist’ that are really no longer shocking anymore. It’s a shame for AJC though, no actor deserves to be strung along like he so obviously was.

    • ADAMA

      He was just getting into the grove of being a part of a team. another McGee. love most CSIs (MIAMI, NOT!!). Maybe he could go undercover someplace else.

  • Stephanie

    I was just finally starting to appreciate the character and then he’s MIA!

    The big upside might be what they do with him might involve a crossover with NCIS: Original Recipe.

    • Teresa

      I hope they don’t do a crossover with the original NCIS because this show needs to establish itself as different than that show. And personally I can’t stand the original and I like this show.

      • Carolyn

        So funny! I don’t like a lot NCIS LA but love the original! LA is OK but not near the mesh of characters, humor, and interest of the original. Do not particularly favor the characters of Hetty in LA or Vance in original.

      • wolverine

        Oddly enough, I adore the original, and though I’ve tried, I really can’t get into NCIS LA.

      • Mark

        Cant stand the original? Your weird.

      • kathy

        I love the original NCIS. NCIS LA took me a while to warm up to but now I find the character personalities evolving and more interesting.

      • Laurie

        I am so surprised. My brother-in-law turned my husband and me on to NCIS the original, and we love it!!! This one I have watched a few times but it just doesn’t click with me like the original. I do not want to miss NCIS and the L.A. version I would watch if there was nothing else I wanted to see or do.

      • Debbie

        Haven’t they already had crossover with the original. We have had Abby and Vance

      • taco

        ya im with carolyn and wolverine… the original is AWESOME… this one has some growing to do. still has lots of corny stuff that needs to be worked out. the cast of the original ncis gels much better then this cast.


        Much prefer the original series; only tolerate the spin-off. I just can’t get into the characters, outside of that short little lady. Chris O’Donnell can’t act at all–and the rest are just so-so.

      • Greg

        Vance isn’t a crossover. He is the director. Both groups are under him.

  • Hallie

    Personally, I found the character to be quite annoying. I cannot say I’m disappointed that Dom won’t be back any time soon.

  • Mike

    I hate to see anyone lose their job, but his character was pretty useless. This might be a good thing show the show, I don’t even like it b/c of all the extra cast.
    This show would be better if it was just G and Sam (even better if it was JUST G) get rid of Kensi (also useless)and Nate (even more useless) and limit Eric and Hetty to reaccurring characters like Vance.

    • Sally

      I actually want more Eric. But I pretty much agree with the rest, though I don’t mind Kensi as much.

      • derk

        Same here. Eric gets as much screen time as the rest of the principals, but he’s still only listed as a Guest Star each week. I say bump him up. I think he’s a fun character and enjoy him much more than Dom. He’s got the kooky tech thing down (a la Garcia from Criminal Minds).

      • derk

        Nevermind. He’s now a regular. Yay.

      • grace

        I think last night’s show was the best so far of NCIS La. As far as Garcia on Criminal Minds goes,derk, she should GO! They are only trying to copy Abby from the origianl NCIS and SHE is an original herself and cannot be copied or duplicated. Criminal Minds is a great show, but the character of Garcia does NOTHING for it.

    • Susan

      I agree–Kensi and Nate are both very poorly written. I think without them, things would get better. That and if they start giving Sam better lines (yikes he gets the most trite dialog ever!)

  • kse

    It’s the psychologist that bugs me! Nothing against the actor, but it’s the character that seems useless to me.

    • EveClayton

      The psychologist is there to interpret with the killer could be thinking next. As for G and Sam…i love them. (Couldnt be better than McGee and Tony) but they are good. Kensi, i agree too, needs to go. But all in all, the show is a good show, no complaints, but I would always love NCIS original. Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, Abby, McGee and Ducky! Love Tony and Ziva together, McGee and Abby are sweet

  • Nicotine

    I think Dom’s character was very useful. He was the ‘probie’. What NCIS is valid without a ‘probie?’ What would McGee be on the original NCIS if not for the name ‘probie?’
    That character gives us, the fans, a person to relate to. We learn as they learn.
    I don’t think Dom’s gone for good, though. I think he’ll be back. Of course, I could be wrong. I mean, NCIS surprised the heck out of me when they killed Kate, so I guess anything could happen.

    • taco

      the next cast member will be the new probie, its an easy spot to fill in a new series

  • Michelle

    Although I’d rather they’d have gotten rid of Nate (what exactly does he do for them? It continues to baffle me.), I’m not really going to miss Dom either. Nothing against Adam, but the writers never bothered to give us a reason to care when he went missing. Like someone else said, Dom’s biggest impact will probably be his disappearance and subsequent torture/return/death. I personally think Dom is dead or will be dead by the time they find him. But that’s just me.

  • Kelley

    I hate to see AJC gone from the show. Last night’s episode was very good. Daniela Ruah played Kensi with such great emotion. I hate to see Dom not get to grow as McGee has in NCIS. I do see this storyline bringing another crossover with NCIS.

    • G8rgrl

      I agree with your comment -the core 3 characters are coming along but the supporting characters are just bland. The female agent (I don’t even remember her name) is beyond vanilla. They need someone with a more interesting back story. The psychologist needs to go as well – he’s not adding any value to the stories. The sets are hokey at best. I can’t imagine the gov’t setting all of that up – and, really, does any of this stuff really seem to need to be ‘undercover’? Finally – the plots need some major work. I find myself tuning out about halfway through because they are just bland.

    • G8rgrl

      Oops – I hit the wrong ‘reply’ – this was intended to append to Carol’s comment below.

  • Carol

    The show needs some fine tuning. Ditch the set, the interrogation shack is stupid. I also find it hard to believe people at NCIS are allowed to wear shorts to work,

    Get some personality in there, last night’s new tech character was a good start. Replace Nate with Alexis Denisoff from Angel. Add another strong female character. The only characters working for me right now are Heddy, G and Sam.

    But last night was a shocker. Still didn’t see the reason to kidnap him yet.

    • annie

      I agree, aside from the two male leads, the cast needs an overhaul. Get rid of the female agent – her acting is annoying. And, most of all, bring in new writers. The banter and dialogue on this show is way below the level of the writing on NCIS. It’s either the acting or the writing. It just doesn’t flow.

      • taco


      • mari

        thank you :) i never liked kensi (the female agent). the psychiatrist/profiler is kinda useless too. what they should have done was just focus on the 2 male leads and then have the token tech geek. the boss and the profiler should just have been recurring characters.

    • ragincajun

      I totally agree about adding a strong female character to the show. If I have one problem with it, it’s that it has too much testosterone. Is it too early to start a “Cast Summer Glau” campaign????!!!

    • Sally

      Agreed with this. They lack a strong female character that can play off Callen and Sam.

      • Jiv

        Lets see , i suspected dom or nate would go missing . but i believe dom plays a serious role inside . his a newbie , trying prove his worth . so most likely he got caught in big action . its the kind of break he would need ! as for testosterone , we have our short lady boss in ncis to take care of it !

    • TVER

      I agree also. The cast is dragging down this show to the point where it is almost unwatchable. LL and Chris are great and the others are dead weight. The whole charm of the original show is the chemistry between the characters. I can’t watch original NCIS before Ziva came on. Kate was awful too.

    • bdoll

      i don’t watch this show but if they put alexis denisof in it i would definitely start.

    • Cyn

      100% agree. Keep 2 male leads and Heddy and get rid of everyone else and the set. A nice bomb could do the trick. A new strong female lead is desperately needed and while they are at it, perhaps they could add a bit more INVESTIGATION and less shot-em-up-bang-bang.

    • RMW

      The writing really needs to improve on this show. Also, I think it’s time to get a new composer. The music is far too tongue-in-cheek, and it tries to hard to telegraph “quirky” and “witty” when the writing and performances should be doing that.

      • RMW

        Tries “too” hard. Darn it, I sure hate to commit a typo when I’m criticizing someone else.

  • Kermonk

    He is not the only one they should get rid of from that cast. Several of them are of little talent and no charisma.
    But of course if the ratings are high they don’t care.
    And what kind of bull answer was that “I have complete trust and respect in Shane’s vision for the characters”
    It would be refreshing if someone would own up and say “I’m pissed of!”

    • castiella

      Refreshing, yes, but probably not career-advancing for the actor in question, which is why you’ll never hear any of them react that way.

  • GMD

    I thought it was hilarious that one minute they are all on the verge of breaking down over the disappearance of their “friend” then they find an empty van and the next thing you know they are playing with bobblehead dolls and doing dishes. Oh well, life goes on.

    • Pinky

      The bobble headed alien was Dom’s, probably to show they hadn’t cleared off his desk in hope he’d be back. Kensi was in Dom’s apartment, washing the dishes that Dom left in the sink. I believe that montage of scenes was showing how the team was dealing with the disappearance. Eric played video games with Dom, Nate was trying to figure out what happened, Sam was working out his frustration, Kensi trying to put Dom’s apartment to rights. Callen had to do the report and Hetty was keeping the faith.

      • Maria

        That is exactly what I thought. Everyone deals with loss differently and thanks for NCIS:LA for showing that.

      • Reggie

        I agree with the comments about everyone dealing with loss differently. I thought the show handled it with just enough suspense and I think the show’s characters showed every range of emotion. I have fallen in love with this new NCIS and will follow it as ardently as I follow NCIS (Gibb’s and company). Keep up the great work!

      • Stephanie

        That’s exactly it. Sad as that montage was, it was very well done. It shows how deeply these guys cared for Dom even though they’d known him less than a year.
        I for one was surprised that he was still nowhere to be found at the end of the episode. Shane Brennan certainly is the master of curve balls. I’m sorry to see Dom go; he may not have had a whole lot of screen time, but the character had potential. Well, I guess we’ll just have to see what comes of this…

  • Joe

    Just a couple observations . . . if you look closely at the ep. that aired on 01.12.10, AJC was listed as regular cast in the opening credits, with Barrett Foa (Eric) on the “Guest Starring” list. In “Missing,” AJC is off both lists and Barrett Foa is listed as regular cast. Just noticing.

  • Cabram

    Dom was the weakest-link in the show. Getting rid of him already increases the quality of the show and by the same token, the way they got rid of him was interesting story wise… something NCIS: LA has been lacking. Other than 2 or 3 interesting episodes, NCIS: LA overall has been a huge disappointment. But this is a good sign of moving in the right direction.

    • Doris

      I think it is a good show with lots of potential. I agree that Dom was the weakest link and will not be missed. I enjoy the way the other characters inter-act. I am looking forward to seeing this all develop as NCIS has done.

      • Teresa

        I love the original!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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