When NCIS returns for its 19th season this fall, it will be navigating one of its biggest cast transitions to date. But how do the latest exits from the CBS drama stack up against the biggest ones of years gone by?
Over the course of three consecutive (!) mid-Season 18 episodes, we learned that Jimmy Palmer’s wife, Breena, had died of COVID during an off-camera time jump… operational psychologist “Jack” Sloane (played for three seasons by Maria Bello) relocated to Afghanistan to do good work… and Tobias Fornell’s long-suffering daughter, Emily, died of a drug overdose.
To cap off the eventful season, Special Agent Eleanor Bishop — played by eight-season cast member Emily Wickersham — bid colleague (and more?) Nick Torres a sudden and saddish adieu, as it was revealed that she had orchestrated the sullying of her own reputation as a former NSA analyst in order to go deep undercover for… um, something.
Now looking ahead to Season 19, which will mark the procedural’s fist time slot change in, well, ever (moving to Mondays at 9/8c), we have reported that Mark Harmon, who nearly exited the series wholesale, will have a very limited presence as former team leader Leroy Jethro Gibbs, while Katrina Law is now a series regular as Special Agent Jessica Knight and Gary Cole (The Good Fight) is coming on board as FBI Special Agent Alden Park.
On the occasion of this transitional season ahead, TVLine took stock of some of the show’s biggest exits from the past 18 years, ranking them by how greatly they impacted the plot/other characters. Check out our list and by all means weigh in with your own thoughts!