Why did NCIS star Maria Bello leave the hit series?
Bello’s character Jack Sloane appeared in 73 episodes. Her final episode aired on March 2, 2021 entitled “The First Day.” She revealed to TV Insider that the reason for her departure was because of another work commitment. She noted that the project combined her love of “adventure travel and women’s history.”
“I’ve had this commitment for years to make a movie, The Woman King, with Viola Davis,” she explained. “It’s a female Braveheart based on 5,000 women warriors in [the 18th- and 19th-century African kingdom of] Dahomey, modern-day Benin. The French said they were the biggest badasses they’d ever fought.”
According to CinemaBlend, her NCIS contract was also expiring. Her original contract had her on the show for seasons 15 through 17. However, Season 17 was shut down early due to the coronavirus pandemic. She reportedly agreed to stay on the show for the beginning of Season 18 so that her character could get a proper exit.
The final episode featured Gibbs and Sloane going to Afghanistan. The team was helping kidnap victims and when they were completing the mission, Sloane told Gibbs that she wanted to remain there. She wanted to stay because she needed a different lifestyle and so she can witness the good that she was doing. Whereas with NCIS, it was mostly preventing bad guys from completing their missions. After four years, Gibbs finally kissed her goodbye.
Maria Bello’s Farewell to ‘NCIS’
Maria Bello paid tribute to the cast of NCIS in a heartwarming Instagram post. The photo showed NCIS lead Mark Harmon kissing her forehead.
“And that’s a wrap for Jack Sloane @ncis_cbs,” she began. “I’ve learned many things on this journey for the last three and a half years. I learned about commitment and community. I’ve learned that the woman I am enjoys process over product. I’ve never worked with a kinder, more generous group of people. I only had the privilege of standing by Dom’s side during cancer because my producers worked so hard to make sure I was there for every treatment.”
She revealed that she made a speech for the crew for a proper farewell. Bello noted that there are “quite a few assholes” in the entertainment business. However, there “is not one on the set of NCIS in front of or behind the camera.”
“Only a profoundly decent group of people who care more about each other and the world in general than what is in it for them. I understand why this show after 18 years is the most watched in the world – you must all feel our love. Keep watching. I have a feeling there will be many more years to come. Thank you to all of my pals at NCIS and to all of our fans. I am truly grateful,” she concluded.