NCIS fans are in shock after Tuesday's Season 18 finale, which saw Special Agent Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) accused of leaking NSA documents before making her exit from the series in the most dramatic of ways. It all started with what was supposed to be a routine undercover gun buy turned fatal when Bishop ended up shooting two suspects, whom the team later discovered was in possession of NSA documents detailing an operation where the U.S. used Syrian refugees to lure terrorists out of hiding.
The team was in for a shock to learn that the back-trace on who leaked the documents turned up Bishop's name, and for yet another shock when Bishop tells Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) not to defend her anymore because she was the one who leaked the file. Bishop defends her act of espionage, saying the program was morally wrong to use innocent people to go after terrorists, and that she actually regretted not leaking the files sooner, despite feeling guilty for betraying her co-workers.
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When Bishop goes to Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) for a pep talk, the suspended agent tells her he's proud of her for following her gut and for living his new 91st rule: "When you decide to walk away, don't look back." Bishop's in for a new mission, we later learn with a visit to ex-CIA instructor Odette (Elayn J. Taylor), and she needs to be a disgraced NCIS agent where she's going. Bidding farewell to fellow agent Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), Bishop said she wished things could be different between them, but because of the nature of their job, any romance between them is impossible. "I didn't mean for us to happen," she tells him, kissing him before making her exit.
Off-camera, Wickersham said goodbye to her NCIS family in a heartfelt Instagram post. "Hangin this hat and jacket up. What a great ride it's been," she wrote. Thanking the "top notch" cast and crew, the actress continued, "I can't say enough kind words about this group that I've had the pleasure of working with for close to 8 years now and 172 episodes later. This business is finicky and weird and consistency is a rarity. I've been lucky enough to be a part of a show where I got to show up and act and laugh and learn with wonderful people."
Her time on NCIS is one she "surely won't forget," Wickersham assured, thanking CBS and NCIS for "including me in a part of television history." She ended her message with two simple sentences: "Time goes fast. Eat it up but chew slowly."