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?

SHANE BRENNAN: He’s gone. He’s out there somewhere.

Will the team continue to search for him?

BRENNAN: 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?

BRENNAN: 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?

BRENNAN: 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?

BRENNAN: 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!

NCIS: Los Angeles
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