‘FBI’: Why Did Sela Ward Leave the Show After One Season?

by Caitlin Berard

In the pilot episode of the hit TV show FBI, Connie Nielsen portrayed Ellen Solberg, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), the leader of the FBI unit that the series followed. After the pilot episode, however, the role of SAC was taken by Dana Mosier, played by Sela Ward. Through the remainder of FBI Season 1, Sela Ward’s character led her unit through all the drama and danger that comes included with a typical day in the FBI.

After just one season, however, Sela Ward announced her unexpected departure from the Dick Wolf series. The actress appeared to have no ill feelings toward the show or its cast and crew, as she posted a cheerful message to social media following her departure.

“So grateful for my time on [FBI]. Such a wonderful show with an amazing cast and crew,” she wrote. “Much love to all of our fans of the show. Thank you for everything!”

Though there appeared to be no bad blood between Sela Ward and the rest of the FBI crew, fans were left wondering why she would exit the show after such a short run. Now, Ward never gave any explicit details regarding her departure. However, in a 2019 interview with TV Insider, she hints that she was growing tired of police procedurals.

“When I have a role like CSI or [FBI], I feel like a racehorse who gets five gallops out of the gate and then gets stuck, [even though] I’m ready to fly around the track,” Ward said of her FBI casting.” I did this because I’ve known Dick Wolf forever and it would give me a reason to be in New York. I’ve been dying to move back here.”

‘FBI’ Star Missy Peregrym Leaves Series for Maternity Leave

Three seasons after Sela Ward’s departure from FBI, another star has made her exit. This one, however, is only temporary. Missy Peregrym, the actress behind Special Agent Maggie Bell, is expecting her second child and took a break from FBI for maternity leave.

Ahead of her Season 4 departure, Peregrym took to Instagram to write a farewell message to her fans. “Tonight is my last episode of the season,” the FBI star said. “You don’t want to miss it! I’m off for maternity leave now…”

In her last episode of FBI, Maggie Bell is tracking a known terrorist in possession of deadly sarin gas. While Bell does kill the terrorist, she’s exposed to the sarin gas in the process. In an interview with TV Line, series showrunner Rick Eid explained how they managed to write Maggie Bell off the show while leaving the door open for a return in the future.

“We had a bunch of different ideas circulating among the writers,” Eid said, “and it just so happened we were like, ‘Hmm, there’s this sarin gas idea out there…,’ and it could be an interesting, organic way for Maggie to take some time off. We had a need to find a story point that sent her off for a while, and this one seemed like a natural.”