‘NCIS’: How Did Director Vance’s Wife Jackie Die?

by Shelby Scott

“NCIS’s” iconic and long-reigning director, Leon Vance, has been a staple to the hit show since season five. The early season saw the death of former director, Jenny Shepard. Since then, we’ve seen Vance develop as a director, but more so, as an individual overall. Part of that comes as a result of his wife Jackie’s tragic death in “NCIS’s” season 10.

Former “NCIS” director Jenny Shepard possessed professionally driven traits, often putting her own development before her personal values. Meanwhile, Director Vance demonstrates a drastically different personality, with additional yet different values.

As we learned early in Vance’s appearances, the director serves as a loving father to two children. “NCIS” fans have watched Vance grow as a father since the children’s first appearances on the show. Further, early seasons of “NCIS” frequently saw the director having private phone calls with his wife Jackie. The character was frequently eager to return home to her and his family at the end of a hard day.

Unfortunately, Vance’s family saw immense tragedy when Jackie Vance died in season 10. The character’s death came when fan-favorite Ziva David and her father Eli attended a dinner at the Vances’ home.

Eli David, both Ziva’s father and the director of Israeli Intelligence Community’s Mossad, had been the target of a drive-by shooting during the season 10 episode. The culprits opened fire on the Vances’ home, demolishing the home’s front and signifying the heartbreaking demise of Jackie Vance.

Here’s Why ‘NCIS’ Showrunners Killed Off Jackie Vance

As one of television’s most iconic procedural crime dramas, “NCIS” has seen the development of numerous beloved characters. However, as such, it has also seen a vast collection of heartwrenching events. Obviously, one of the most memorable came at the death of Jackie Vance.

According to Express, the “NCIS” character marked a pivotal moment for Director Leon Vance, a character whose personal life, until that point in season 10, had been immensely positive and heartwarming.

However, as Outsiders know, “NCIS” showrunners have a harsh way of reminding fans of the reality of the agents’ work. According to the hit show’s showrunner, Gary Glasberg, Jackie Vance’s death had been several seasons in the making.

Glasberg shared with TVLine, “I really wanted to do something that would open up [Vance’s] world a bit, because [his] family life has been very grounded and very positive.”

And for many Outsiders, a continuance of that positivity may have helped heal later heartbreaks had the director’s wife remained on “NCIS.” Nevertheless, the CBS show has to maintain variety somehow. Unfortunately, that often features a dramatic demise.

Unsurprisingly, Jackie Vance’s actress, Paula Newsome, was not entirely thrilled at her character’s death, according to the outlet. However, Glasberg said both she and Eli David actor Michael Nouri “were total pros” and wanted to give “NCIS” “everything they could.”

Nine seasons following the character’s death, we continue to see the transformations and traits the “NCIS” director has since developed.