‘NCIS’ Season Finale: Is Emily Wickersham Leaving Show with Bishop Going Undercover?

by Suzanne Halliburton

Is NCIS ditching fan-favorite Ellie Bishop? If she’s going undercover, as Tuesday’s season finale suggested, what does that mean for next season?

Shortly after those questions were being asked by NCIS fans, the actor behind Ellie Bishop, Emily Wickersham, delivered an answer.

In an Instagram post late Tuesday, Wickersham said she is, in fact, leaving the show. She wrote:

“Hangin this hat and jacket up. What a great ride it’s been.
This cast, this crew, are top notch. I can’t say enough kind words about this group that I’ve had the pleasure of working with for close to 8 years now and 172 episodes later. This business is finicky and weird and consistency is a rarity. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of a show where I got to show up and act and laugh and learn with wonderful people. A moment in time I surely won’t forget. Thank you CBS and NCIS for including me in a part of television history.
Time goes fast.
Eat it up but chew slowly.”

Props to Writers Who Kept Everyone Guessing

NCIS writers did a masterful job with a couple of cliffhangers. One concerns Bishop, played by Emily Wickersham, and the other is what the hell happened to Gibbs? Is he faking his own death in a boat explosion? And if so, why?

Wickersham, as Bishop, has been an NCIS regular since season 11. She was former NSA who transitioned to NCIS. And the entire episode lurched between Bishop plotline/big reveals. To open the episode, she shot and killed two gun runners with some nifty, previously unknown, shooting skills. Torres and McGee applauded her ability to slide across the floor and accurately shoot two bad guys. They likened it to “Lara Croft.”

NCIS agents then raided an abandoned house for more info about the gun runners. The main guy still was out there. The agents also found some classified documents.

The next day, we discover more about the classified documents. NSA Deputy Director Ronda Ellis convenes a Zoom call with NCIS director Leon Vance and Bishop. She reveals that the documents, which contained information about a Syrian refugee program, were leaked from the NSA a decade ago. And the NSA knows Bishop leaked them.

Bishop’s fellow NCIS co-workers want to clear her name. Vance tells her to go home. Instead, she visits Gibbs, who also was suspended earlier in the season. She chastises Gibbs for not coming clean with everybody, telling him “you’re never coming back, are you?”

Wait, What? Bishop Confesses to NCIS Boss She Leaked Documents

It seems Bishop might’ve been talking about her own situation. She returns to the NCIS office and confesses to leaking the documents. A stunned McGee visits Gibbs and tells him he doesn’t recognize this Bishop. Gibbs tells him Bishop is at a “crossroads.” And McGee reminds him her path likely is to prison. Meanwhile, Jessica Knight (Katrina Law), who joined the team earlier this season, helps solve the gun runners case. Is she Bishop’s replacement?

Torres and Bishop have feelings for each other. So Torres tries to figure out why Bishop would confess to leaking documents. And as the episode closes, we see Odette, who is an associate of Ziva David. As NCIS fans know, Bishop replaced Ziva. And we later learned Ziva faked her own death. Odette is likely a deep CIA operative.

Torres tracks Bishop down to Odette’s home. He said he figured out her “lies, stories and half-ass excuses” and now knows she’s training for an undercover assignment. And she had to blow up her NCIS career to be believable in her next job, whatever that might be. The two share a passionate good-bye kiss.

Bishop also has one final conversation with Gibbs. She asks him what’s “Rule 91.” He tells her “You’re living it. When you decide to walk away, don’t look back.”