‘NCIS’ Fans Say One Character’s Death Was the Most Jarring of the Series

by Shelby Scott

“NCIS” has been airing on CBS since 2003, now entering its 19th season just this week. And while some character deaths along the way were foreseeable and, therefore, more acceptable, others are absolutely jarring. 17 seasons later, some “NCIS” fans remain shocked by the death of our first female lead agent, Caitlin “Kate” Todd.

Todd (played by Sasha Alexander) debuted on “NCIS” in the show’s very first episode, “Yankee White.”

Prior to becoming an NCIS Special Agent, Todd served the secret service as one of the president’s closest security counsels. Further, Looper claims Agent Todd, alongside “NCIS” patriarch Special Agent Gibbs, served as the most important character of the show.

The outlet claims Todd, as a former Secret Service agent, provided much-needed outsider perspective and talent. Several of which fellow Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, or even Gibbs himself, could not always contribute.

So, after only two seasons as Kate, her death during the finale of Season 2 took viewers by complete surprise. Further, she suffered a brutal shot to the head when she dove in front of Gibbs to save his life and sacrificing her own.

Redditors additionally have created a poll surrounding the most surprising deaths on “NCIS.” Although, unsurprisingly, Todd’s sudden death in season 2 won by a mile, earning 65% of the total votes. Beneath the post, fans shared their thoughts as to why Kate’s death was most surprising.

“Going into season 2 NCIS was at peak primetime and had amazing following and reviews. For an actor to leave in season 2 would never have crossed my mind,” contributed one commenter. Another user stated, “Kate’s death was…literally out of nowhere. One moment she’s there, and BANG! She’s gone.”

Why Did ‘NCIS’ Kill Off Kate Todd Anyway?

Throughout the course of “NCIS” history, many fan-favorite characters have either made their departures or died one way or another. These include characters from Gibbs’ friend Mike Franks all the way up to the “NCIS” most recent departure, Special Agent Ellie Bishop.

Although, many of these characters remained on “NCIS” for multiple seasons, while Todd only played her role for two. So why exactly did she leave?

While fans experienced complete shock at the end of season 2 when Kate Todd suffered a brutal headshot, it was nevertheless the actress’s request. When asked about her sudden departure from “NCIS,” Sasha Alexander simply attributed her choice to the show’s grueling schedule.

“People don’t realize that on a network show, you make 24 episodes a year,” Alexander stated during a 2012 interview. For those unfamiliar with the intense acting schedule, she explained, “That’s 10 and a half months a year, 17 hours a day.” Overall, she said, “It’s hardcore.”

No doubt, as the 17-hour shift more than doubles an 8-hour workday. So, while many Outsiders miss Kate’s presence on “NCIS,” it’s understandable she decided to take her career in a different direction.