Why Jack Leaving ‘NCIS’ Might Be More Complicated Than She’d Planned

Maria Bello NCIS Season 18 Jack Sloane
Sonja Flemming/CBS

NCIS is gearing up to say goodbye to one of its series regulars in Season 18, and Special Agent Jaqueline “Jack” Sloane (Maria Bello) has already shared her plan with colleague and friend Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). But chances are it won’t happen exactly as she’d like.

In the last new episode, February 9’s “The First Day,” Gibbs notices travel brochures for places including Jamaica and Montana. “You planning a trip?” he asks.

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“I guess you could say that. I’ve been weighing some things,” including “leaving…NCIS,” she admits. “The last 10 months really have me rethinking what’s important.” The episode is the first to take place in a post-COVID world (the beginning of the season jumped back in time, starting in November 2019), and in the time off-screen, medical examiner Dr. Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) lost his wife, Breena (Michelle Pierce).

“I think it’s time I slowed my life down a bit — got out of the city, maybe go to Costa Rica, open a bar on the beach. Just be,” Jack continues.

But given the logline for the next episode, March 2’s “True Believer,” her plans may not come to fruition (at least not yet): “When Sloane’s name is discovered in Afghanistan at the site of an abandoned bus with a dead driver, Gibbs accompanies her on a trip to find a group of girls who were kidnapped from the bus. Also, McGee, Bishop and Torres track down a hacker who emailed compromising information to the Taliban.”

We’re betting that whatever happens in this episode will have a direct impact on how Jack leaves — the show and the agency. Maybe it’ll reinforce her plan to “just be” on a beach. Maybe she’ll decide she’s needed elsewhere and slowing down will have to wait. Perhaps whatever she does next will take her into the field more — like going to Afghanistan to find the kidnapped girls — than her job sitting behind a desk as the agency’s forensic psychologist.

Maria Bello Mark Harmon Season 17 NCIS Gibbs Jack

Patrick McElhenney/CBS

One thing we feel we can safely rule out is NCIS killing her off. It’s hard to imagine the CBS drama not wanting the option of bringing her back in the future. Plus, while it may not be the same relationship as others, given the potential romantic connection to Gibbs (will anything happen there before she leaves?), let’s not add to this mostly tragic list of his exes?

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS