‘NCIS’: Here Are the Most Surprising Exits From the Series So Far

by Amy Myers

Now at the end of its 18th season, popular TV crime drama, NCIS, says goodbye to yet another beloved character. With Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) now gone, she joins the list of unexpected exits from the series. In a recent article, TV Insider released a list of head-spinning show exits, but we’ve narrowed down the list to our Top Three.

‘NCIS’ Keeps Fans on Their Feet with Ziva David

Before Emily Wickersham joined the cast of NCIS, actress Cote de Pablo was the leading lady of the series. De Pablo’s character Ziva was a strong-willed and savvy agent that fell in love with her coworker, Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). With Ziva’s continued courage and provocative love life, she became a fan-favorite among the characters.

That’s why it was so hard for viewers to watch when Ziva announced her exit from the show’s main storyline. At the end of season 11, the character leaves the country after a terrorist group threatens the NCIS. A later episode revealed that Ziva died in Tony DiNozzo’s quest to bring her home.

But this was not the most shocking aspect of Ziva’s story. Three seasons after her alleged death, the agent reappears in Leroy Gibbs’ home. The character’s reentry occurred in the same episode that Gibbs suffered hallucinations, leaving fans to wonder if the beloved star had truly returned to the show.

Tony DiNozzo Follows His Beau’s Lead

Whenever two main characters of a show enter a relationship, fans desperately want the couple to have a happy ending. This made Tony DiNozzo’s exit in Season 13 that much more emotional for fans. Upon learning of Ziva’s death, DiNozzo decides he must leave the agency.

However, the writers of NCIS allowed fans to take some solace in the fact that Tony had a daughter with Ziva. With a daughter to care for and a lover to mourn, Tony left fans torn over whether they should feel happy or sad over his exit.

Kate Todd’s Early Finale

While most characters exit the show after a long career as frontrunners, Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander) is a different story.

In the Season 2 Finale of NCIS, Kate Todd is assigned protective detail for her fellow agent, Gibbs while tracking down an armed and dangerous terrorist. In the final moments of the episode, Kate steps in the way of a bullet that was meant for the other agent, and she manages to save both their lives. Just when the team (and the fans) thought the coast was clear, another shot struck Kate in the head and killed her seconds before the season’s end.

Although fans may not have been as emotionally invested with Alexander’s character, her surprise exit is one that no one could have predicted. Even with her short-lived career on NCIS, Alexander’s exit still ranks as one of the most unexpected that the show has seen.

Catch Season 19 of NCIS on Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.