'NCIS' Renewal Leaves Some Fans Hoping for a Departed Character's Return

CBS renewed NCIS for a 19th season on Thursday, instantly sparking hope from fans that one [...]

CBS renewed NCIS for a 19th season on Thursday, instantly sparking hope from fans that one character will make a comeback. Maria Bello's character, Special Agent Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane, left the series in the episode "True Believer," but since Jack did not die, the door is certainly open for a return. NCIS' renewal came amid questions about Mark Harmon's role on the show, but he is expected to be back.

During "True Believer," which aired in early March, Jack told Gibbs (Harmon) that she was planning on leaving the team to live in Costa Rica, where she already put down an offer for a new house. Unfortunately, the conversation was cut short when the team learned at the Taliban hijacked a school bus carrying four girls in Afghanistan. A message on the bus read "SLOANE NCIS," and Jack realized there was a connection to the late Darya, who was held hostage alongside Jack when she was last in Afghanistan. Jack decided to travel there and told Gibbs she will be staying in Afghanistan to continue Darya's humanitarian work instead of going to Costa Rica.

Bello finished working on NCIS in December. At the time, she posted a warm tribute to her NCIS team, making it clear that she left the show amicably. She thanked the cast and crew for giving her time to be with her fiancee, Dominique Crenn, who was treated for breast cancer. In the end, Bello even urged NCIS viewers to keep watching the show. "I understand why this show after 18 years is the most-watched in the world - you must all feel our love," she wrote. "Keep watching. I have a feeling there will be many more years to come. Thank you to all of my pals at NCIS and to all of our fans. I am truly grateful."

Before NCIS was officially renewed, there were questions about its future amid NCIS: New Orleans' cancellation and news that NCIS: Hawaii was in the works. There was speculation that Harmon would be leaving, which would make it very difficult for NCIS to continue. Deadline reported Thursday that he is "expected" to be back for Season 19.

The show recently introduced Marcie Warren, a new character played by Harmon's wife, Pam Dawber. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dawber said she was not introduced on the show to be a new love interest for Gibbs. She also denied the idea that her joining the show is connected with Harmon possibly leaving. "That has nothing to do with anything," she said. "This is just a good storyline. I'm not going to go tip the hat on anything, but they don't think like that over there. A good storyline is a good storyline, and honest to God, we don't even know how it's going to end."

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Past episodes are available on Paramount+. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.