‘NCIS’: Why Caitlin Todd’s Death Is Still One of Show’s Most Shocking Twists

by Madison Miller

If you’ve been an avid viewer of “NCIS” live for years, you have to remember this moment in TV history.

You go to turn on your TV on May 24, 2005. It’s the second season of “NCIS” and an episode called “Twilight” is premiering that day. The team is working to try to clear warehouse housing that is a known terrorist cell.

Kate’s Shocking Death During ‘NCIS’ Season Two

The team, including Gibbs, DiNozzo, and Caitlin Todd, are sweeping the area when someone shoots Todd right in the chest as she goes to protect Gibbs. He immediately shoots this person and the team rushes to her side. Luckily, she had on a bulletproof vest when she was shot.

Not so luckily, that luck ran out rather fast.

As the team is smiling and grateful to be alive, double-crossing Mossad Agent Ari Haswari snipes her right in the head. The impact of the shot sprays blood into the air and onto both Gibbs and DiNozzo.

Both of them look absolutely stunned as Caitlin Todd falls to the ground dead. It is later revealed that Special Agent Ziva David, the replacement for Kate, is Ari’s half-brother. It’s also revealed that killing Kate was done to cause pain for Gibbs and he even nicknamed the Bravo 51 gun “Kate.”

Her character, as well as the show itself, hadn’t even been around for long when Kate was killed off. This made her death that much more shocking to “NCIS” audiences at home. Caitlin Todd was also a fan-favorite character, partially due to her hilarious love-hate relationship with DiNozzo. The two had an absolutely perfect amount of flirtatious banter that made the show more lighthearted.

Sasha Alexander’s Reason for Leaving the Show Early

In many ways, it seems pretty clear that this death wasn’t exactly planned by “NCIS” writers early on. In fact, Sasha Alexander’s character was a core part of the team and a romance with DiNozzo seemed to be in the future.

Alexander ended up calling it quits due to the incredibly intense filming pattern of “NCIS.” The show can shoot up to 24 episodes per year. This means the cast would work months on end and would sometimes be in the studio for 17 hours or even longer. To film a full season it could take 10 months of work.

The showrunner at the time, Donald P. Bellisario, told The Chicago Tribune, “Sasha came in… with tears in her eyes, she said, ‘I just can’t work this hard,'” in response to these grueling hours.

As for fans shocked and saddened by her death, she has had several other less death-riddled roles in the entertainment world. She has appeared in “Dawson’s Creek,” “Friends,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” and “Shameless,” amongst others.