(Additional reporting by Kate Stanhope)
NCIS: Los Angeles' last episode shocked fans when the hour ended without solving the abduction of rookie agent Dom Vaile (Adam Jamal Craig).
Check out photos of the NCIS: Los Angeles cast
Viewers weren't the only ones caught off-guard.
"I didn't know it was going to happen; I was surprised," Daniela Ruah tells TVGuide.com. "But just like on the original NCIS, you never know who's going to stay and who's going to go. For the audience, it's crazy and keeps people hooked on. For [the cast], it can be a little scary here and there."
So what are we to make of the jaw-dropping twist?
Executive producer Shane Brennan has confirmed that Craig will no longer be a regular part of the cast. But there's no reason (yet) to give up hope for Dom's survival.
"We didn't lose him yet; he's missing," LL Cool J
stresses. "I really don't know [what's going to happen]. He's missing and we'll keep looking for him. I think it will continuously be addressed on the show."
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Indeed, the team's search for Dom and the story line's ultimate resolution will play out through the remainder of the season. In the meantime, the team will have to find a way to focus on more pressing matters, including a potential outbreak of botulinum toxin in Tuesday's episode (9/8c, CBS).
"We learn that it's actually the deadliest substance known to man," Ruah says. "It's pretty shocking, considering in Hollywood, everyone injects Botox into their face. It paralyzes the nerves and muscles, so if you breathe it in, it paralyzes your respiratory system and you die. It's a very risky substance to be working with, and I think it gives the story a real oomph."
Even with the work, each team member is all going to suffer with Dom's loss in his or her own way. "Even though Kensi is a tomboy and she's tough, she's still a woman. Inevitably, there's this sisterly or maternal something in her that worries for Dom," Ruah says. "I think it's instinct. She's just very protective over him. I think Kensi becomes a little more emotional [than usual]."
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And if viewers can't shake the sadness over Dom's unresolved fate, Ruah thinks she knows what will cheer some of them up. "We're searching for this guy at the Beverly Center, and the time is ticking. And for the ladies out there who might find it amusing. LL and Chris [O'Donnell] end up in the fountain. Together."
"That could be appealing to the ladies, I don't know," Ruah jokes.
Are you sad to see Dom's story come to a (possibly permanent) end?
Thoughts? Will you miss Dom?
Are you hopeful he’ll be back
in some capacity?
Sound off below!
Bring Dom Home! — Petition to Return Dominic Vail (Adam Jamal Craig) to the