Like many of you out there, we are still reeling from the news that Maria Bello is leaving NCIS and her role of Jack Sloane at some point during season 18. It’s not something that we wanted, but if Maria feels it’s best for her, it’s hard to have many arguments on that subject.
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So with the news that Bello is going to appear in eight episodes, the question becomes this for the writers: When do you start to hint at an exit storyline? Our feeling for the time being is that it won’t be right away. There are a few episodes left over from the end of season 17 that need to be filmed, and we’re not sure that there will be any hints of her exit there.
With that being said, the show shouldn’t wait too long before starting to plant some seeds of that. One of the criticisms of Cote de Pablo’s exit was that it felt sudden; it even felt a little fast losing Pauley Perrette, and the show had a lot of time in order to plan for that. We don’t want Sloane’s exit to be setup in just a couple of episodes. Our hope is that we’re going to see something that lasts for three or four installments, even if it starts a little low-key.
What would this mean to the story? It could represent a slow build to her exit, or that she put a lot of thought into it. Also, it’s better for viewers to have time to prepare for the idea of saying goodbye to the character. Remember that the vast majority of people are going to be unaware of Bello’s impending exit until it happens. In the midst of everything happening right now, it’s understandable that this will not get center stage.
How do you think NCIS season 18 will write in Maria Bello’s exit?
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This article was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.