Pacci (Tim Kelleher) was the first real loss the agency suffered, and we hardly got to know him. Though not part of the team, he occasionally helped out Gibbs. (We even saw one instance in a flashback to Tony’s introduction to the team that recalled his death.) But it was his investigation into a cold case that led to his murder.
“Twilight” (Season 2, Episode 23)
This one really hurt because it came just when we thought everyone was safe. Kate (Sasha Alexander) was on protection detail for Gibbs, but they and Tony thought the threat was over after she took a bullet to her vest and they killed the shooter. Then Ari (Rudolf Martin) killed Kate from a neighboring rooftop.
Paula Cassidy & her team
“Grace Period” (Season 4, Episode 19)
Gibbs’ team was supposed to be on-call that weekend, but instead, it was Paula’s (Jessica Steen) that ended up killed in an explosion. She later sacrificed herself to stop a suicide bomber.
“Judgement Day” (Season 5, Episode 18)
Before Vance (Rocky Carroll), Jenny was the Director of NCIS (and the first woman to hold that position). She flew out to Los Angeles for the funeral of an agent and ditched her security detail — Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) — to investigate what happened to him. She died in a shootout in a diner, though she put up quite the fight.
“Last Man Standing” (Season 6, Episode 1)
There was a brief time when Vance broke up Gibbs’ team and new agents sat at Tony, McGee (Sean Murray), and Ziva’s desks. One of them was Langer (Jonathan LaPaglia), and Michelle Lee (Liza Lapira) killed him to keep anyone from finding out she was leaking classified information.
“Dagger” (Season 6, Episode 9)
Once the others figured out that Michelle was the mole, she admitted that she only betrayed her agency to save her sister. She sacrificed herself to stop the person responsible for the entire operation, nodding to let Gibbs know it was okay to shoot him through her.
“Patriot Down” (Season 7, Episode 23)
Macy (Louise Lombard) was introduced in the backdoor pilot for NCIS: Los Angeles in Season 6, but she left the L.A. office a year prior to her murder. (Linda Hunt’s Hetty would go on to become OSP’s operations manager when the spinoff premiered.) Though they suspected her death was connected to a rape case she was working, she was killed because she knew Gibbs killed Pedro Hernandez, the man who murdered his wife and daughter.
“Swan Song” (Season 8, Episode 23)
Mike Franks (Muse Watson) might forever be known as the only person who could call Gibbs “Probie” and get away with it. He joined the team in their investigation into the Port-to-Port Killer, whom he fought to his death in the rain.
“Pyramid” (Season 8, Episode 24)
Levin (Alimi Ballard) was part of the team led by E.J. (Sarah Jane Morris) assigned to the Port-to-Port killer case, and in an attempt to apprehend him, the agent paid with his life.
“Nature of the Beast” (Season 9, Episode 1)
E.J. lost the other member of her team when she, Tony, and Cade (Matt Willig) were lured into a trap by Casey Stratton/Jonathan Cole (Scott Wolf). Cole killed Cade, and Tony put the pieces together when he was set up for the murder.
“Till Death Do Us Part” (Season 9, Episode 24)
It wasn’t until “Crossing the Line” (Season 16, Episode 15), that we heard about Girard when his son was one of three teenagers Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) had to mentor. Girard used to have Jack’s (Maria Bello) until he died — and his son, who was also in the building that day, lived — when the Navy Yard was bombed.
“Crescent City” (Season 11, Episode 18)
In the backdoor pilot for NCIS: New Orleans, Gibbs and Pride’s (Scott Bakula) teams worked together to investigate the murder of this former NIS agent and congressman. McLane was part of the team, along with Gibbs, Pride, and Mike Franks, on the Privileged Killer case, which played a significant role in his death.
“The Lost Boys” (Season 12, Episode 23)
Dorneget (Matt Jones) worked with the team to track down terrorists recruiting children, and he was killed in one of the group’s attacks. Though not an official member of Gibbs’ team, he’d worked with the others enough times for his death to make this case quite personal.
“Return to Sender” (Season 13, Episode 21)
Morrow (Alan Dale) was the director of the agency when the series first premiered, and while he survived his time at NCIS, he was killed while he was serving as Homeland Senior Division Chief. He was working with Gibbs and Fornell (Joe Spano) to track an MI6 agent agent who’d escaped from prison when he was killed.
“Willoughby” (Season 14, Episode 11)
Qasim (Rafi Silver) was working with the team on their investigation into a businessman who used acts of terror to manipulate the stock market when he was unexpectedly shot because of a translation he was working on. We later learned that he had proposed to Bishop (Emily Wickersham), and she wanted to say yes.
“Two Steps Back” (Season 15, Episode 22)
Abby (Pauley Perrette) invited Reeves (Duane Henry) out to dinner with her, and when they were approached by a man they thought was a mugger, she ended up in the hospital. However, Reeves died of his injuries. (The team later realized Abby was targeted.)
The NCIS agents have a dangerous job, and they don't always make it home.
While Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) team hasn't lost many members over the years — and fans even recently found out that someone they thought was dead is actually very likely alive (Hello, Ziva!) — the agency has lost more than its fair share.
From her warning to Gibbs to her status with Tony, we want answers after that Season 16 finale shocker.
And we know these characters are actually dead because we've seen it happen on-screen or the bodies after. Click through the gallery above to see all the members of NCIS (and those who have worked with them) who have died over the years.