Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (2023)

Here is why each main character leftNCIS. As one of the longest-running shows on television,NCIShas seen plenty of turnover in its team of special agents. Though some fan favorites make an appearance on NCISfrom time to time, otherexits have been much more permanent. While most departures from the show were made on a high note, some farewells were less than fond.

NCISfollows the Major Case Response Team of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service — or NCIS — as they work to conduct criminal investigations surrounding the US Navy and Marine Corps. Stationed out of Washington D.C., a rotating cast of special agents, psychologists, forensic specialists, and more work together to solve murders and prevent terrorist plots, both foreign and domestic. The team is led by Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), theNCIS team will stop at nothing to bring the guilty to justice.Beginning in 2003,NCIShas become a staple in theCBSline-up.


Related:NCIS: Why Playing An Autopsy Dead Body Is So Bad

The cast and characters ofNCISare a large part of why the series has become one of the most successful on television. Approaching its 20th season,NCISis still one of the most-watched scripted television series in history, pulling in millions of viewers every season. Starting as a spin-off of the hit show JAG,NCIS itself haslaunched several successful spin-offs based throughout the country, includingNCIS: LA,NCIS: New Orleans, andNCIS: Hawai'i. While the plots and twists ofNCIShave entertained fans for almost two decades, it is the characters that provide the true heart of the show.

Caitlin Todd

Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (1)
(Video) The Real Reasons Why Main Characters Left NCIS | ⭐OSSA

Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander) was one of the first special agents on theNCISteam. As a former Secret Service Agent on board Air Force One, Kate was an expert psychological profiler that was frequently surprised by NCIS' shirking of the rules. Kate eventually settled in alongside her partner, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), and eventual teammate, Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray). Todd's exit fromNCISat the end of season 2 was one of the most shocking in the history of the series, as she was shot in the head by the Mossad double-agent and series antagonist Ari Haswari right in front of her team — an assassination that leaves a mark on the team for the rest of the series.

Though Alexander was initially signed on to play Todd for a six-season stint, she left the series as a regular character at the end ofNCISseason 2. Then-showrunner Donald Bellisario cited that Alexander did not have the stamina to meet the filming demands of a 24-episode season, which Alexander toldTV Guidespanned "10 1/2 months a year, 17 hours a day." Alexander doesn't regret her decision to leave the hit series, explaining that she would not have the family and creative liberties she has now if she had stayed.

Ziva David

Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (2)

Israeli Mossad officer Special Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) was brought in to take the place of the recently-deceased Agent Todd. Starting as Liason Officer, David eventually resigned from Mossad to become a full-time member of the NCIS team alongside DiNozzo and McGee. Ziva's romance with fellow agent Tony was one of the series' greatest relationship arcs, culminating in the pair welcoming a daughter, Tali David-DiNozzo.After the entire team resigned fromNCIS in order to protect their team leader in NCISseason 1o, David opted to return to her home country of Israel when her colleagues returned to their positions. Though viewers — and her team members — were led to believe that David died in an attack on her farmhouse in season 13, it was later revealed that she had faked her death to go deep undercover and eliminate the criminals that had attacked her and her family. After the threat was eliminated, Ziva was able to retire to Paris with her love and her daughter.

(Video) NCIS: The Real Reasons Why All These Actors Left The Show |⭐ OSSA

Related:Pauley Perrette's Favorite Episode Of NCIS

Cote de Pablo had a long run as the no-nonsense Ziva David onNCIS, and leaving the series was not an easy decision for her. Despite being offered even more money to stay on, de Pablo chose to maintain David's integrity. de Pablo ultimately cited that the scripts were no longer good enough for her character, revealing in a 2016 Q&A that her character "wasn't being treated with the respect she deserved," and that she told the show "until someone can write something really fantastic for Ziva I won't come back."

Tony DiNozzo

Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (3)

Tony DiNozzo was one of the defining members of theNCISteam. Starting alongside Gibbs from the beginning of the series, Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo was known for his charm, humor, and playboy behavior — something that frequently earned him a smack upside the head from his team leader. Just when it seemed like nothing could tear DiNozzo from his position, love ultimately won out. DiNozzo originally left to take care of his daughter after Ziva's "death," but his story didn't end there. Having tracked down Ziva during her supposed death, DiNozzo was ready to settle down and raise their daughter in Paris once the dust had cleared.

Weatherly was a staple onNCISfor 13 seasons — and, after such a long run, the actor was simply burnt out byNCIS. Weatherly was tired after so many demanding seasons, tellingHollywood Reporterthat he was "ready for a new challenge." He also greatly missed the on-screen chemistry between his character and Ziva David, who had already taken her leave. Though many theories surrounding his return have been circulating with Harmon's departure, nothing has been confirmed so far.

Abby Sciuto

Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (4)

Though she was not a field agent, Abby Sciuto was beloved both by her team and audiences alike. As the quirky, Gothic forensic specialist, there wasn't a bit of evidence that could escape Sciuto's keen eye — as long as there was enough Caf-Pow to fuel her, anyway. Though her methods weren't always traditional, Abby always got the job done. After 15 seasons onNCIS, Abby left the series to start a charity in honor of her friend, Clayton Reeves, after he passed away saving her life.

Related:NCIS Season 19 Finale's Parker Twist Supports Gibbs Return Theories

(Video) The Real Reason This NCIS Character Left

While the departure seemed good-hearted on the surface, there was a lot brewing behind the scenes. Despite Abby and Gibbs' close relationship, Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon had a falling out after Harmon's dog attacked a crew member on set. When Harmon reportedly continued to bring the dog on set, the feud between the two grew so heated that they filmed on separate days, and the script was written to avoid having them on screen at the same time — if it was unavoidable, they were placed together by the magic of editing. Perrette would ultimately leave the series, stating (viaTwitter) that she was "terrified of Harmon"and that she had nightmares of him attacking her. Though fans were hopeful she would eventually return, Perrette made her stance on that clear, tweeting, "NO I AM NOT COMING BACK! EVER!"

Eleanor Bishop

Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (5)

Special Agent Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham) joined the NCIS team inNCISseason 11, taking up the mantle of Ziva's absence. As a former NSA member, Bishop was an incredibly capable and quick-witted member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team. Bishop ultimately left the series after almost a decade with the team when it was discovered that she had leaked an NSA document in her past career. This, however, was revealed to be part of a ploy for Bishop to enter an undercover operation after leaving NCIS in "disgrace."

Though Wickersham never cited a reason for leaving NCIS, it seems the departure was made in good spirits. Wickersham announced herexit in a 2021 Instagram post, thanking the cast and crew for the opportunity to appear on the show. Wickersham has not appeared in any projects sinceNCIS, but the actress welcomed a son with her partner shortly after her departure.

(Video) The Real Reason These NCIS Actors Left


Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (6)

Dr. Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane (Maria Bello), a former Lieutenant in the US Army, served as the team's operational psychologist and profiler. The NCIS senior special agent had a close relationship with team leader Jethro Gibbs, to the point that the team would frequently rib the pair by hinting at a relationship between them. Though Sloane had hoped to retire to a peaceful life in Costa Rica, she ultimately decided to return to Afghanistan and further help those in need, continuing the work of a murdered friend.

Related:Everything We Know About NCIS Season 20

Maria Bello's exit from the show is another that seems to be in good spirits. After three years, the actress simply decided not to renew her contract, though has never stated why. Bello expressed her love and gratitude for the cast and crew in a 2020 post (viaInstagram), stating that she has "never worked with a kinder, more generous group of people."

Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Why Every Main Character Left NCIS (7)

As the team members of the NCIS Major Case Response Team rotated out, Agent Jethro Gibbs seemed like a permanent fixture. Taking no nonsense from his agents, Gibbs ran his team like a well-oiled family, keeping them all in line with a series of his own rules while ensuring they got always got their guy in the end. While it seemed like Gibbs would run his team forever, he made the surprising decision to retire to Alaska in 2021, where he finally found peace.

After 18 years on the show, Mark Harmon is stepping down fromNCIS— in an acting capacity, anyway. Harmon will continue to serve as an executive producer on the show, working behind-the-scenes instead of in front of the camera. An on-screen return for Gibbs is not entirely out of the question,butnothing has been confirmed as of yet — still, a large faction ofNCISfans are eagerly awaiting his return.

Next:NCIS: Why Michael Weatherly Should Not Return To Replace Gibbs


Why is Mark Harmon not on NCIS anymore? ›

Harmon reportedly was ready to hang up Gibbs' cap after Season 18, but learned that if he did so, CBS might not renew NCIS. As such, he agreed to return in a limited capacity for Season 19, and wound up leaving four episodes in.

Is Tony DiNozzo coming back to NCIS? ›

After Rumors About Tony DiNozzo's NCIS Return Swirled, Michael Weatherly Fed Right Into Them. The former Bull star isn't playing coy with his intentions. The NCIS universe is gearing up for a franchise first almost as soon as 2023 arrives, with a three-way crossover coming to CBS all on the same night of January 2.

Who is coming back to NCIS in 2022? ›

The twentieth season of the American police procedural television series NCIS premiered on September 19, 2022 on CBS during the 2022–23 television season.
NCIS (season 20)
StarringSean Murray Wilmer Valderrama Katrina Law Brian Dietzen Diona Reasonover David McCallum Rocky Carroll Gary Cole
Country of originUnited States
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Why did DiNozzo leave in NCIS? ›

Losing the dynamic between Tony and Ziva was a big reason Weatherly opted to exit, as he missed the onscreen chemistry between the two characters and working with de Pablo. Beyond that, Weatherly had grown a bit bored with playing his NCIS role after 13 years and found himself itching to pursue other projects.

Is Gibbs gone for good? ›

However, Harmon assured fans that Gibbs is “not retired” and that he is “living in Alaska as far as I know,” per Entertainment Tonight.

Did Mark Harmon have a stroke? ›

On April 13, 2011, Harmon suffered what doctors believe was a stroke and was flown from Rock Springs, Wyoming, to Salt Lake City, for treatment, Cook said.

Will Ziva ever return to NCIS? ›

With regards to this, NCIS co-showrunner Steven D. Binder said to TVLine in 2020: "We've really played, for now, all of the cards there are to play [with Ziva], so we have no plans at the moment.

Does Ziva come back to Tony and Tali? ›

Ziva then reappears in the season 16 finale, "Daughters", to warn Gibbs he is in danger after he takes down drug dealers. Ziva reveals that she faked her death and went into hiding to protect Tony and Tali after learning that a powerful woman named Sahar with ties to her brother Ari wanted her dead.

What did Gibbs whisper to Ziva? ›

As she leaves with Palmer to head to the airport to join her family in Paris, Gibbs steps off the elevator so they can exchange a quiet, lovely goodbye, which he concludes by whispering, “We're always here for you.”

How was Abby written out of NCIS? ›

The antepenultimate episode of Season 15, which aired back in May 2018, set the stage for original cast member Pauley Perrette's exit by way of a seemingly random street mugging in which the assailant put multiple bullets into MI6 agent Clayton Reeves and critically wounded NCIS Chief Forensic Scientist Abby Sciuto in ...

Will Gibbs come back? ›

I'm not going back home.” However, that doesn't mean that we'll never see Gibbs again. As far as Harmon understands it, his character is still very much alive and active in Alaska. “I'm not retired… the character is living in Alaska as far as I know,” he said in the featurette.

Is Mark Harmon coming back to NCIS in 2023? ›

The actor who played Leroy Jethro Gibbs exited the series after 19 seasons, and many fans are hopeful they'll possibly get to see him return. Unfortunately, it looks like the NCIS production crew switched around a few details to make it known that Harmon might be gone for good in the current season.

Did Mcgee leave NCIS? ›

Sean Murray is coming back for NCIS Season 20. He will be in the premiere episode and beyond. This has been confirmed thanks to behind-the-scene cast photos and some of the promotional shots for the first episode of the season.

Has Bull been Cancelled? ›

It's official: The sixth season of the CBS legal drama "Bull" was its last. Series star Michael Weatherly made the announcement on Twitter, and the finale aired in May.

Who replaces Tony on NCIS? ›

NCIS's Newest Cast Member Wilmer Valderrama on How He Isn't Replacing Michael Weatherly. When NCIS returns for its 14th season on September 20, Wilmer Valderrama will be joining the cast as NCIS Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres.

Is Bishop gone for good? ›

At the end of Season 18, we said goodbye to Eleanor Bishop, played by Emily Wickersham. The exit was a surprise to many, confirmed afterward that it would be permanent.

Who replaces Gibbs on NCIS? ›

Like it or Not, NCIS Found the Perfect Replacement for Agent Gibbs. Gibbs was the face of NCIS for nearly two decades, but Gary Cole's Agent Parker has done an admirable job taking over Gibb's leading role.

Why does Gibbs have a boat in his basement? ›

As Mark Harmon departed his role as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS on Tuesday night, CBS' No. 1 drama finally revealed how he got the boat, Rule 51, out of his basement: he busted out the wall, which means his house had a huge hole!

What is Mark Harmon's salary? ›

Mark reportedly earned $525,000 per episode

He said the opportunity to tackle "fresh" and "challenging" material is what kept him coming back each season, alluding to the possibility that he felt that after almost two decades on the show, he no longer felt that was the case.

What branch of military was Mark Harmon in? ›

1. Leroy Jethro Gibbs. L.J. Gibbs is played by Mark Harmon on the show NCIS. The character is a former US Marine Corps scout sniper who is now a special agent commanding a team for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Quantico.

How much did Mark Harmon make per episode of NCIS? ›

For "NCIS," Harmon reportedly earns $525,000 per episode and around $12.6 million total for each 24-episode season (via Hello! and The Sun). While the CBS hit series may be Harmon's biggest cash cow, the longtime actor has also had countless other Hollywood projects that helped boost his net worth over the years.

Is Tali Tony's daughter? ›

It's no secret that DiNozzo is afraid of kids—but you'd never be able to tell by watching him interact with his daughter, Tali. While he just met her for the first time, this cute tot is already the apple of his eye. Click through to see the most heart-melting moments of the adorable father-daughter duo.

Why is Bull ending? ›

“Bull” is ending after six seasons on CBS. Season 6 of the series began airing in October 2021 with the finale to air in the coming months. Series star Michael Weatherly announced on Twitter that he would be leaving the show to “pursue new creative challenges” after leading the legal drama these past six years.

Is Jason Weatherly returning to NCIS? ›

While fans would love to see Weatherly return to the role that made him, it's unlikely he will immediately return to the NCIS franchise. Still, the producers are aware of how much it is something that the fans want. According to Newsweek, Stephen D.

When was DiNozzo last episode? ›

Bellisario, he is credited in episode 306, but actually appearing in 305 of the series.
Anthony DiNozzo Jr.
NCIS character
Michael Weatherly as Anthony DiNozzo Jr in a screencap from the NCIS season 2 premiere episode, "See No Evil".
First appearance"Ice Queen" (JAG)
Last appearance"Family First"
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When did Ziva get pregnant by Tony? ›

In season thirteen, it is revealed that they also consummated their relationship, leading to Ziva becoming pregnant. Though DiNozzo was not informed of this, Ziva gave birth to a daughter named Tali.

When did Gibbs leave NCIS? ›

Longtime NCIS star Mark Harmon left the CBS crime procedural last fall, four episodes into the series' 19th season. However, even though his character Gibbs was gone from the show, Harmon still led the opening credits throughout the rest of the season.

What was the one last thing Ziva had to do? ›

The “One Thing” Ziva Has to Do Is …

Only one photo, of Adam, hands bound, being pushed into a building by a man. After Bishop tells him what she did, Gibbs calls the number Ziva gave him for emergencies.

What did Tony say to Ziva when she left for her father's funeral? ›

They embrace, with Ziva finally accepting comfort for her loss, and Tony reminds her in Hebrew, "Aht lo levad" ("You are not alone").

Why does DiNozzo say very special agent? ›

Very Special Agent

Growing up, Anthony DiNozzo Sr. wasn't around very much and his son was often alone and ignored. Calling himself 'Very Special' is just an attempt to validate his existence after years of being ignored and sidelined.

Did Abby and Gibbs get along? ›

The pair fell out in 2016. For over 15 years NCIS fans loved the relationship between Mark Harmon's Jethro Gibbs and Pauley Perrette's Abby Sciuto but it came crumbling down in 2017 when the actress unexpectedly left the hit CBS show.

Why did they write Sasha Alexander out of NCIS? ›

Sasha Alexander played secret service agent Caitlin 'Kate' Todd for the first two seasons of NCIS, leaving in 2004 when her character was killed off in the season two finale. In 2012, Alexander explained to TV Guide that she was feeling overwhelmed with the pace of work on the police drama.

Why did Gibbs and Abby fall out? ›

While the departure seemed good-hearted on the surface, there was a lot brewing behind the scenes. Despite Abby and Gibbs' close relationship, Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon had a falling out after Harmon's dog attacked a crew member on set.

When did Abby leave NCIS? ›

Pauley Perrette, who played the beloved character Abby Sciuto on “NCIS” for 15 years before leaving the series in 2018, has offered fans an update on her health, one year after she suffered a stroke.

Is there a list of Gibbs rules? ›

  • Rule #1: Never let suspects sit together.
  • Other Rule #1: Never screw over your partner.
  • Rule #2: Always wear gloves at a crime scene.
  • Rule #3: Never believe what you are told. ...
  • Other Rule #3: Never be unreachable.
  • Rule #4: Best way to keep a secret: Keep it to yourself. ...
  • Rule #5: You don't waste good.
21 Aug 2022

Is Ducky still on NCIS? ›

In season 15, Ducky retired from the role of M.E. to become NCIS historian, with his autopsy colleague Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) taking his place.

Where is NCIS filmed? ›

Although NCIS takes place in Washington D.C., the show is actually shot in Valencia, Calif. at Valencia Studios reports Looper.

Will Mark Harmon ever come back to NCIS? ›

CBS fans keeping up with NCIS Season 20 aren't expecting to see much of Mark Harmon this season. The actor who played Leroy Jethro Gibbs exited the series after 19 seasons, and many fans are hopeful they'll possibly get to see him return.

Why did Gibbs leave? ›

In his final episode, entitled "Great Wide Open," Gibbs decided to stay in Naktok Bay, Alaska, and leave the NCIS team after finally finding peace following his family's death.

Who is replacing Gibbs on NCIS? ›

Viewers' hearts sank when actor Mark Harmon announced he was stepping down as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, but Gary Cole is a perfect replacement. NCIS newcomer Agent Alden Parker (Gary Cole) has become the perfect replacement for the show's long-standing character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

Will Gibbs return to NCIS? ›

I'm not going back home.” However, that doesn't mean that we'll never see Gibbs again. As far as Harmon understands it, his character is still very much alive and active in Alaska. “I'm not retired… the character is living in Alaska as far as I know,” he said in the featurette.

Which characters are returning to NCIS? ›

Continue reading to find out which cast members will be back for NCIS Season 20.
  • Gary Cole as Special Agent Alden Parker.
  • Sean Murray as Special Agent Timothy McGee.
  • Wilmer Valderrama as Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres.
  • Brian Dietzen as Dr. ...
  • Diona Reasonover as Forensic Scientist Kasie Hines.
31 Aug 2022

How was Gibbs written off NCIS? ›

The 70-year-old actor said goodbye to the procedural in the fourth episode of season 19 when his character Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs decided to stay in Alaska indefinitely after solving a case.

Did Abby leave NCIS? ›

“And still so grateful, Still so full of faith, And STILL HERE!” she closed. Perrette announced her exit from the popular CBS investigative drama in 2017, revealing that her decision to leave was made the year before.

Is this the last episode with Gibbs? ›

This seasons-long mystery is solved in Mark Harmon's final episode as the star of NCIS, which finds Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs finding a little peace after decades of struggle. Are you ready to say goodbye with me?

Is Mark Harmon still on NCIS 2022? ›

Despite having appeared in a few episodes of NCIS season 19 and remaining in the title sequence throughout the season, Mark Harmon is no longer part of the NCIS cast. Though he is still a part of the show as he remains an executive producer on the series and that's not expected to change.

Is Mark Harmon coming back to NCIS season 20? ›

The opening credits of the Season 20's premiere of "NCIS" did not feature the seasoned actor Mark Harmon. The show eliminated his name almost a year after the actor quit as Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the CBS procedural.


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