NCIS fans are bracing for the departure of one of its main cast members.
Maria Bello, who plays Dr. Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane, an NCIS senior special agent and operational psychologist specializing in profiling, is exiting the series after four years and 70-plus episodes. Teasing her departure, the CBS show hinted this week how her storyline would end and where that will leave Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon), with whom the character had an ongoing will-they-won't-they type of relationship.
On the February 9 episode, the show sets up the exit as Gibbs learns that Sloane was packing up her office.
"I think it's time I slowed my life down a bit... maybe go to Costa Rica... just be,” she tells him.
Before her departure, it was confirmed that Bello had signed on to appear in eight episodes of the series’ current 18th season. Since she has now appeared in all seven episodes of the season so far, it is presumed that Episode 8, set to air on March 2, will be her last.
The official CBS synopsis certainly suggests that the upcoming episode, titled "True Believer," will be Sloane focused. That logline reads: "When Sloane's name is discovered in Afghanistan at the site of an abandoned bus with a dead driver, Gibbs accompanies her on a trip to find a group of girls who were kidnapped from the bus. Also, McGee (Sean Murray), Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) track down a hacker who emailed compromising information to the Taliban."
In a TVLine interview, NCIS co-showrunner Frank Cardea said: "When we're trying to figure out how to exit a character, one thing we always ask is: 'What does that character deserve?' And the character of Sloane is a very strong character, and a passionate character, so we're going to really have her go on something worthy of that."
As for what’s next two-time Golden Globe nominee, Bello is in pre-production on The Woman King, a drama about an all-female unit that will star Viola Davis and will be director Gina Prince-Bythewood's follow-up to her hit Netflix movie The Old Guard. This will be the 53-year-old’s debut as both the writer and producer of a movie.
NCIS is an action police procedural television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The show, a spin-off from the hit series JAG, premiered on September 23, 2003. Now in its 18th season, NCIS is the second-longest-running scripted, non-animated U.S. primetime TV series currently airing, surpassed only by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and is the seventh-longest-running scripted U.S. primetime TV series overall.
New episodes of NCIS air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.