The Top 5 Saddest Character Exits

5.Director Jennifer Shepard

In the third season of the show, Jenny Shepard, portrayed by Lauren Holly, becomes the director of NCIS. As the series progresses, it becomes apparent that she and Gibbs share a romantic history. By the fifth season, viewers learn that Shepard’s father, Colonel Jasper Shepard, faced allegations of accepting a bribe. However, before the investigation could be concluded, he passed away, and his death was officially ruled as a suicide.

Shepard’s quest for the truth surrounding her father’s demise ultimately leads to her own tragic end in the Season 12 finale. She succumbs to injuries sustained during a dramatic shootout, which also claims the life of Gibbs’ mentor, Mike Franks, portrayed by Muse Watson. Notably, Lauren Holly’s departure from the show was not unexpected, as she had expressed a desire for new challenges and had grown weary of portraying the character.

4.Ned Dornget

Special Probationary Agent Ned Dornget, portrayed by Matt Jones, was introduced as the son of CIA agent Joanna Teague, played by Mimi Rogers, in the ninth season episode titled ‘Sins of the Father.’ In this episode, he becomes entangled in a blackmail scheme, being coerced into looking after DiNozzo’s father, played by Robert Wagner. Despite his initial eagerness to work out in the field like many young agents, Dornget started taking on assignments with Gibbs and the team in the following season.

Just as NCIS fans were beginning to form an attachment to Dornget, his character met a heartbreaking end in the season 12 finale titled ‘The Lost Boys.’ In a selfless act of heroism, he remained behind to assist people in evacuating during a bomb attack at an event in Cairo. Dornget’s death came as a shock to viewers, but it was a tragic yet honorable exit for a character who truly embodied the spirit of a hero.

3.Clayton Reeves

MI6 Agent Clayton Reeves, played by Duane Henry, joined NCIS as a Liaison Officer in season 13, making his debut appearance in the episode ‘Dead Letter.’ Reeves quickly became an integral part of the close-knit team, finding his place among them. However, just as he was settling into the group, his life was tragically cut short while protecting one of the team members.

In the season 15 episode ‘Two Steps Back,’ Reeves met his demise at the hands of former Army Specialist Kent Marshall while selflessly shielding Abby Sciuto. According to the actor, NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg had been instrumental in developing his character. However, when Glasberg tragically passed away in his sleep in 2016, the show’s producers faced uncertainty about Reeves’ future and ultimately decided that the most fitting course of action was to have his character meet a heroic end.

2.Special Agent Caitlin Todd

Special Agent Kate Todd, portrayed by Sasha Alexander, was a former Secret Service agent recruited by Gibbs during the show’s first episode, ‘Yankee White.’ Unlike Gibbs, Todd struggled with detaching herself from the victims, but her extensive skills and natural intuition made her an invaluable addition to the NCIS team.

Viewers were left stunned and saddened by Todd’s tragic murder in the season two episode ‘Twilight,’ marking one of the show’s most heart-wrenching character departures. Many fans took to the internet to express their frustration over Todd’s exit, but according to Screen Rant, Sasha Alexander was ready to pursue different projects. She later made several guest appearances as Todd, providing a sense of closure to the character’s unfortunate departure.

1.Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a former U.S. Marine sniper, serves as the leader of NCIS’s Major Case Response Team in Washington D.C. Gibbs, due to a tragic past and the inherent risks of his profession, often keeps to himself. Nevertheless, he enjoys unwavering support from his team, friends, and family, all of whom hold him in the highest regard.

In 2021, Mark Harmon made the announcement that he would be departing NCIS after an impressive 18-year run on the show, leaving a significant impact on the series. In the season 19 episode ‘Great Wide Open,’ Gibbs makes the decision to retire and remain in Alaska, where he has finally found a sense of peace following the loss of his wife and daughter. While CBS has previously recast characters in their popular shows, Harmon’s portrayal of Gibbs was the cornerstone of NCIS, and his departure has left a void that many dedicated fans find challenging to fill, altering the series’ dynamics significantly.

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