When NCIS returned for its 19th season this fall, it was already navigating one of its biggest cast transitions to date. But has the CBS drama now delivered its biggest exit ever?
Over the course of 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 that 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 here we are at Season 19, which marked the procedural’s fist time slot change in, well, ever (moving to Mondays at 9/8c). For one, Katrina Law is now a series regular as Special Agent Jessica Knight. And Gary Cole (The Good Fight) came on board as FBI Special Agent Alden Park.
But the granddaddy of all departures came with the Oct. 11 episode, when Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs decided to stay in Alaska after catching the backer of a contract killer there.
On the occasion of this transitional season, TVLine has taken stock of NCIS‘ biggest exits from the past 18-plus 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!