Bishop, Tony, Ziva & More ‘NCIS’ Exits: Which Ones Were the Most Shocking?

NCIS Ziva Cote de Pablo Tony Michael Weatherly Bishop Emily Wickersham
Sonja Flemming/CBS (2); Cliff Lipson/CBS

NCIS said goodbye to one of its own — though not necessarily for good, since the character is still alive — in the Season 18 finale, and it was far from the first time the team bid farewell to one of its members. It also wasn’t the first time that someone left unexpectedly.

Ellie Bishop’s (Emily Wickersham) seasons-long arc culminated in her becoming a disgraced NCIS agent as a cover for some sort of undercover op, the details of which are unknown. And while it could easily have only lasted over hiatus (and she could have been back with the team early on into Season 19), the star confirmed after the finale aired that it was her final episode.

Wickersham joins a list that includes Sasha Alexander (Kate Todd), Michael Weatherly (Tony DiNozzo), Pauley Perrette (Abby Sciuto), Duane Henry (Clayton Reeves), and others. How does Bishop’s stack up against the other characters’ exits in terms of shock factor? Scroll down to see.

NCIS, Season 19, Fall 2021, CBS

NCIS Alexandra Quinn Jennifer Esposito
Bill Inoshita/CBS

Alexandra Quinn (Jennifer Esposito)

Shocking? No

Creative? Not particularly

Between Seasons 14 and 15, we learned that Esposito would not be returning as Quinn. When the new season began, we found out Quinn was taking care of her mother, who had Alzheimer’s.

NCIS Abby Sciuto Pauley Perrette
Robert Voets/CBS

Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette)

Shocking? No — we knew she was leaving

Creative? Somewhat — Abby had done plenty of charity work over the years, so it was fitting for her to move on with tha

Though it looked like Abby might be one of the characters who died in her final episode, she made a full recovery after getting shot. Instead, her next chapter was tied to that of another exiting character’: Reeves, who was shot and killed because he was with her. Abby did what he had planned to do: charity work honoring his mother.

NCIS Jack Sloane Maria Bello
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Jack Sloane (Maria Bello)

Shocking? Not really

Creative? Somewhat

Jack was planning her exit on-screen ahead of her final episode, though it didn’t turn out as she ostensibly said it would (pretty much a vacation). She ended up staying in Afghanistan to help the village where her friend had been located. She and Gibbs (Mark Harmon) even finally kissed. The writing was on the wall from the moment she got on the plane for Afghanistan.

NCIS Cote de Pablo Ziva David
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Ziva David (Cote de Pablo)

Shocking? Which time? Not compared to what came after

Creative? Yes

Ziva’s (initial) exit wasn’t too surprising, as she left NCIS and shared a heartbreaking goodbye with Tony. What was surprising was her subsequently being killed off (off-screen!) and then turning up alive in Gibbs’ basement.

NCIS Jenny Shepard Lauren Holly

Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly)

Shocking? Yes — we knew she was dying but she was killed in the field

Creative? Somewhat

The story did seem to be building to something as Jenny left her protection detail (Tony and Ziva) at an agent’s funeral in Los Angeles, though she took a fatal shot off-screen. But what came after her death is definitely up there in terms of shock value: The team was split up.

NCIS Ellie Bishop Emily Wickersham
Cliff Lipson/CBS

Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham)

Shocking? Yes — nothing onscreen definitively said she wouldn’t be back

Creative? Yes — and it utilized an ongoing storyline

Ever since Bishop met ex-CIA instructor Odette (Elayn J. Taylor) and began training with her, we saw little moments here and there demonstrating how she’d changed. It all culminated in her taking an undercover assignment for which she had to appear as a disgraced NCIS agent — and therefore confess to leaking NSA files. She left the team behind (and Wilmer Valderrama’s Torres with a kiss), but the real surprise is that her exit was overshadowed by Gibbs’ boat exploding. Plus, mos casual viewers might expect to see her back with the team or on her operation when Season 19 begins.

NCIS Clayton Reeves Duane Henry
Monty Brinton/CBS

Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry)

Shocking? Yes — the focus had been on Abby’s exit

Creative? Yes

Reeves was shot because he was with Abby when she was targeted. It was simply the wrong place at the wrong time — and with an original cast member exiting, to be honest, we had expected it to all be about her. (It was.)

NCIS Tony DiNozzo Michael Weatherly
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly)

Shocking? Yes — Tony and Ziva have a daughter?!

Creative? Yes

The pieces were falling into place for Tony to say goodbye to NCIS in his final episodes, and then came the real surprise: Ziva was dead (not really, as we found out later) and she and Tony had a secret daughter — one Tony didn’t even know abou. Wait, what?!

NCIS Kate Todd Sasha Alexander

Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander)

Shocking? Yes — the team thought the threat was over

Creative? Yes

The first major death came just as Gibbs, Tony, and Kate thought the danger was over. With terrorist Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin) presumably targeting Gibbs, Kate was put on his protection detail. Kate ultimately dove in front of Gibbs and took a bullet to her vest. Just as they thought all threats in the area had been eliminated, that’s when Kate suffered a fatal shot to her head, which kille her instantly.