‘NCIS’ Star Explained Why He Never ‘Questions’ Why Actors Have Left Show

by Shelby Scott
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

After almost two decades on CBS, it makes sense that “NCIS” has seen a broad collection of beloved cast members depart. At this point, even the show’s mainstay, Leroy Jethro Gibbs actor Mark Harmon, has made his own exit. However, despite the most notable of departures, one “NCIS” star reveals he never questions why cast members leave the show.

Leon Vance actor Rocky Carroll has remained a crucial character within the “NCIS” universe since first arriving in season five. 14 seasons later, the actor has taken a heavier role in directing more and more episodes of the CBS show. In doing so, Carroll’s surely experienced a handful of emotions when “NCIS’s” most beloved cast members head out.

In speaking with Parade while “NCIS” was in the midst of filming season 15, Carroll shared, “I never question anybody’s motives for [leaving the show.]” While surely the experience comes with a variety of emotions, the actor explained, “People forget that as artists you are constantly looking to evolve and grow.”

He went into depth about how many actors rarely have the privilege of choosing to leave a show. While “NCIS” is now in the midst of its 19th season, Carroll said, “Usually, you don’t have a choice [in leaving]. The show gets canceled. There are very few people who live in the rare air of being able to leave a show while it is still in production.”

“NCIS’s” Rocky Carroll Enjoys Working with New Cast Members

Oftentimes, fans have difficulty adjusting to new characters, especially on such a long running show like “NCIS.” However, Rocky Carroll revealed to the outlet that he actually enjoys working with new cast members.

“After 15 seasons…You have put each character in every conceivable scenario,” the actor began. “[S]o when you have three new characters, a lot of times you have a blank canvas from which to work.”

In this way, long-time “NCIS” fans may further respect newer additions to the beloved procedural drama. Take for example “NCIS’s” Monday night episode entitled “Collective Memory.”

While we saw the heartbreaking departure of “NCIS” icon Leroy Jethro Gibbs earlier this season, it seems his leave has sent writers in an entirely different direction. Taking on a case never seen in the history of our D.C.-based team, “NCIS” works with a holographic version of a murder victim to help identify her killer.

Overall, the episode itself proved emotional for “NCIS” fans as a whole. However, it also highlighted that this season’s new cast additions have taken the plot of “NCIS” in a brand new direction. Which always serves up more excitement on the part of the fans.

Conclusively, Rocky Carroll stated during his interview with Parade, “At 15 seasons, I admire our writing staff and producers who come up with new ideas after so many years. Having new characters with a new energy and a new dynamic gives us all something else to work with.”

In his opinion?

“I think it is a welcome change.”