NCIS fans are always thrilled when it's confirmed that the CBS show will be returning for another season. But while the show's longevity is certainly impressive, it also means that it has lost several cast members over the years.
Have you ever wondered why they left and where they are now? From Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo to Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon, find out what the actors who have left the hit CBS series are up to now...
Mark Harmon left NCIS viewers devastated in 2021 when it was announced that after almost two decades as the military police drama's lead, he was taking a major step back and retiring from the team. In the fourth episode of season 19, Leroy Jethro Gibbs decided to retire from law enforcement and spend the rest of his days in scenic Alaska, where his last case had led him.
However, following Mark's onscreen departure, showrunner Steve Binder released a statement that heavily suggested Gibbs could make a comeback in future seasons. It read in part: "Regarding the future of Gibbs, as long-time fans of the show may have noticed over the years… never count Leroy Jethro Gibbs out."
Since leaving NCIS, Mark has revealed he will be releasing a non-fiction book inspired by his time on the show.
After 13 seasons as special agent Anthony DiNozzo, Michael Weatherly made the decision in 2016 to move on from the show and look for roles elsewhere - and it didn't take him long to find some.
In 2016, just months after his NCIS character handed in his resignation, Michael made his debut on CBS's Bull, which is loosely based on the early career of TV's Dr Phil. The series ran for six seasons, before coming to an end in May 2022.
Pauley Perrette's exit in 2018 came as a bit of a shock to fans. On the show, her character Abby Sciuto resigned after an assassination attempt, but according to multiple reports, Pauley left after a falling out with the series lead Mark Harmon. The two had a number of clashes behind-the-scenes after Mark brought his dog to set, where it bit a crewmember leaving him needing 15 stitches.
While Pauley went on to land a lead role on the 2020 sitcom Broke, but the show was cancelled less than a year later. In July 2020, Pauley announced that she was officially retiring from acting.
Cote de Pablo
Viewers were led to believe that Cote de Pablo's character Ziva David died at the end of season 11, but she made a shock return in season 16 when it was revealed she had faked her death. She appeared in a few episodes of season 17 also, but then left the show again.
Away from the series, Cote has held roles in the films The 33 and The Last Rites of Ransom Pride and the CBS miniseries The Dovekeepers. More recently, she stepped behind the camera to work as a producer on 2019's MIA.
Lauren Holly left the show in season five after her character, Director Jenny Shepard, was killed off in the episode 'Judgement Day (Part 1)'. The actress wasn't fussed about the decision to kill her: "To be honest, now that the work bug had bitten me again, I got bored with my part of the 'Director,'" she admitted to fans on her website. "Then the decision was made to kill me, and boy did they," she joked.
Since NCIS Lauren has had many roles in both TV and film, in shows including Motive, Lucifer and Family Law.
Sasha Alexander's character Caitlyn 'Kate' Todd was the first main cast member to depart from NCIS when she was killed off in season two. While fans were hugely disappointed about Sasha's departure, the actress' revealed she had wanted to leave the show for many reasons, including how demanding she found the work.
"People don't realize that on a network show, you make 24 episodes a year — that's 10½ months a year, 17 hours a day. It's hardcore," she told TV Guide in 2012. Since leaving the show, Sasha has gone on to star in many shows and films including Rizzoli & Isles, The Ride and Dangerous Lies. She also directed an episode of Michael Weatherly's TV show Bull.
Jennifer Esposito's time on the show was short but sweet. She joined in 2016 for a one-season arc as Alex Quinn before bowing out of the show in the finale. Since then, she's gone on to land roles in Law and Order: SVU, Amazon's The Boys and comedy series Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens.
British actor Duane Henry first appeared as MI6 agent Henry Reeves in season 13 of NCIS and returned as a main cast member for season 14 but was written out just a year later. According to sources, the writers' room didn't know what to do with his character after the showrunner who created him passed away, so they chose to kill him off.
There were no hard feelings, with Duane telling TV Line that he felt he had "the best exit". He made his final appearance on the show in 2018 and, just a year later in 2019, he landed himself a role in the blockbuster superhero flick Captain Marvel. He has since starred in the Hallmark and Lifetime movies A Gingerbread Romance and Mistletoe In Montana.
Jacqueline Sloane became the latest major character to leave the series after it was revealed midway through season 18 that she would be relocating to Afghanistan. While actress Maria Bello has not spoken publicly about her exit, she reportedly only ever signed on to star in three seasons of the show and never planned to stick around.
Maria has gone on to work on several projects, such as 2023's Beef and 2020's The Water Man. The actress' greatest project so far post-NCIS came from working behind the camera, however, as she wrote and produced the BAFTA, NAACP and SAG award nominated film The Woman King.
Emily Wickersham, who played agent Ellie Bishop, announced that she was officially bowing out of the series for good in the season 18 finale, which saw her character head off on a secretive undercover mission.
It remains unclear why exactly she has chosen to depart the series, but given the fact that the door has been left open for her return in the future, it seems that she's leaving on good terms. It's safe to assume that the 39-year-old actress was just ready to move on from the series and explore other opportunities after spending nearly a decade in the same role. In December 2021 she welcomed a son with her partner James Badge Dale.