If you hadn’t heard the big news as of yet, here it is again: Maria Bello is leaving NCIS. Yet, at the same time she’s not leaving immediately. Reports indicate that Jack Sloane will be a part of eight episodes prior to her exit, so her departure is not going to come out of nowhere.
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Can we start here by giving Maria a little bit of praise? If it was her intention for her to leave after season 17, then we have to appreciate her making sure fans get a proper end to her character’s story. We’re sure that we’ll get that — hopefully, there will be an open door for more appearances later, but nothing is 100% on that at the moment.
What we’re left to wonder instead is this: Will there be another cast member coming in this season because of this? When Pauley Perrette departed, we ended up seeing the arrival of Diona Reasonover. Wilmer Valderrama came on after the departure of Michael Weatherly, and Emily Wickersham came on after Cote de Pablo. It makes sense for the writers to fill the void left by one character with another.
Yet, it’s also not something we see them being in a hurry to do here. Being that things are so uncertain in the world right now, we wouldn’t be shocked if they finished season 18 with the rest of the cast they had before starting to look elsewhere. This would give their established cast more screen time — it feels like Sean Murray didn’t get nearly enough this past season — and also give them time to come up with the best character to come on board. We know that new cast members allows the show to stay fresh — though with that said, we still don’t want to see her go.
Ultimately, we’ll see what the writers/producers decide to do here. Because they have some time until Maria exits, they may be able to plan out a replacement character further out in advance.
Do you think that NCIS season 18 will introduce a new cast member?
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This article was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.