‘NCIS’: Why Did Jennifer Esposito Leave the Show After One Season?

by Shelby Scott

Just like during this season of “NCIS,” season 14 of the CBS show saw some significant cast turnover. Early in the season, following the departure of fan-favorite character Tony DiNozzo, fans were introduced to former undercover “NCIS” agent Nick Torres. When he first joined “NCIS,” we thought he would be the sole agent making up the team’s missing fourth person. However, in a surprising turn, “NCIS” Agent Gibbs gained two new team members, the other being Jennifer Esposito’s Alexandra Quinn.

Six seasons following his introduction to “NCIS,” Wilmer Valderrama’s Nick Torres is still a crucial part of the series’ makeup. And when we first met Jennifer Esposito’s character, writers gave her such depth that we were certain she’d stick around for a while. Now, ahead of season 20, we know that’s not the case. But why exactly did Esposito leave “NCIS”?

As we’ve learned across nearly two decades, even “NCIS’s” most central characters can become weary of the show. Take Mark Harmon‘s character Special Agent Gibbs; Gibbs, from the get-go, was the patriarch of the entire series for 18 full seasons. But, when it came time to film season 19, he just couldn’t do it anymore. So he left.

As to Jennifer Esposito’s “NCIS” character? According to Looper, rumors arose following the actress’s departure that she had taken ill. However, Esposito quickly shut those down on Twitter. She wrote in a post, “No, I am not ill, but I so appreciate your concern!”

She further explained, “Was not meant to be [on ‘NCIS’] long but happy I was. Met some great new friends! Love 2u all.”

‘NCIS’ Star Sean Murray Says Two Beloved Characters Could Potentially Return

There are plenty of characters that “NCIS” fans would love to see make a return to the series aside from Jennifer Esposito. However, two characters we’d definitely love to see return to the show are Special Agents Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Michael Weatherly’s Anthony DiNozzo. Fortunately for us, one current star thinks there’s a very good chance both characters could return in the future.

During an interview with Parade, Sean Murray revealed, “[Mark Harmon] does pop in.” At the time of the interview, he said he’d actually seen the Gibbs actor a couple of weeks beforehand. “[H]e’s around,” the Special Agent Tim McGee actor continued. “It’s not like he’s packed up and left town or anything.”

However, even more noteworthy, Murray said, “I’m not saying this just to say it for a tease and all that BS, I really, truly believe Gibbs could pop up somewhere.”

As to a potential Michael Weatherly return, the “NCIS” star said, “I talk to Michael all the time so we joke about that possibility sometimes.

Nevertheless, given the massive turnaround in cast we’ve seen over so many seasons of “NCIS,” we’d love to see a return from Jennifer Esposito, Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Cote De Pablo, and so many more.