‘NCIS’: Why Emily Wickersham’s Character Ellie Bishop Eventually Got Divorced on Show

by Megan Molseed

When “NCIS” fan favorite, Ziva (Cote de Pablo) exited the series, producer’s found they had a big job replacing the mysterious agent. Show creators hit it spot-on when they brought in agent Ellie Bishop.

Known for her strong-willed nature, Ellie Bishop was known to play by her own rules. Her headstrong nature fit right in with the “NCIS” team.

It was clear early on that Bishop and Ziva have very little in common. However, Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) quickly became a favorite for many “NCIS” watchers.

During her time on “NCIS”, the character faced some major life changes. A unique bit of information is that producers felt her love life, and its impending change, was important for the character’s longevity on the show.

Ellie joined the NCIS team after working for the NSA. She was known to “NCIS” leader, Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his team for her work. Bishop often acted as a liaison between the two agencies.

Big Life Changes Often Help Drive the “NCIS” Storyline

When Ellie moved to the NCIS full-time, it created some friction in the agent’s personal life. Her husband, Jake is still with the NSA as an attorney. And, despite the changes, it appears the couple is perfectly suited for each other. They often expressed support for one another’s accomplishments.

However, fans would soon learn there was more than meets the eye to the seemingly “perfect” relationship. According to a recent Looper article, this upset the Bishops’ marriage and was planned early in the character’s arrival.

“NCIS” characters have been known for falling into failing relationships. Obviously, Bishop was no exception to this rule.

The catalyst for the relationship eventually falling apart was when Bishop’s husband was hurt in a bombing in Season 13. One would think that the event alone could cause issues, but really it led to another twist: Jake reveals he’s been having an affair.

Maybe the Relationship Was “Too Good To Be True”

In a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Wickersham said that she believes that the marriage between Ellie and Jake was never as strong as it initially appeared.

“In reality, that shouldn’t end a marriage,” Wickersham said in the interview. “So I feel the marriage, the foundation, wasn’t strong enough, to begin with.”

Thankfully the divorce allowed Ellie Bishop to fully devote herself to her job at the NCIS, meet new people, and start a new chapter in her life. 

For seven seasons, Ellie Bishop continued her role on the hit CBS series. However, she exited at the end of season 18.