'NCIS': Why Did Maria Bello's Jack Leave the CBS Show

After Pauley Perrette exited the series in 2018, NCIS recently underwent another major cast shakeup. During the Tuesday, March 2 episode of the CBS police procedural, Maria Bello's Jack Sloane officially left the series, but why exactly did she leave? Warning: This post contains major spoilers for NCIS Season 18, Episode 8, "True Believer."

The all-new episode of the long-running series kicked off with Bello's onscreen counterpart telling Gibbs (Mark Harmon) that she was ready to pick up her roots and settle down in Costa Rica, where she put an offer on a house, something that had been hinted at earlier in the season. The moment was cut short, however, by news out of Afghanistan that a school bus carrying four young girls was hijacked by the Taliban. A message on the bus read "SLOANE NCIS," and Jack quickly realized it was left by Darya, a "chaperone" and fellow captive who took care of her while she was held hostage in Afghanistan by "The Monster." Darya is later found dead with a note reading, "Go home or there will be more blood."

Later in the episode, Jack and Gibbs had a conversation about her leaving after she wanted to go on a solo mission, with Jack stating, "You can't ground me when you don't like the plan." Gibbs countered the argument with, "I can when I want you around." Jack asked, "On NCIS, or on the planet?" to which Gibbs replied, "Both."

After the captured girls are found safe, Jack revealed that she was not going to Costa Rica, but would instead be staying in Afghanistan to continue her friend's humanitarian work, meaning her time with NCIS was ending. She told Gibbs, "I have loved my time with NCIS... You don't need me anymore... I don't belong behind a desk. Never did. And you're right, I was running, and I don't want to anymore. I want to make a difference here." She went on to say, "and as forRECAP: you, if you ever want to visit—," but Gibbs cut her off and instead pulled her in for an embrace.

As Jack's exit quickly sent shockwaves through the fanbase, Bello took to Instagram to share a screenshot from her final scene on the series, writing, "Dear Gibbs—my pal.—Did we or didn't we? Who will ever know. They will only know that we loved each other dearly and were grateful for our time together with our crew. Love. Jack Sloane." According to Newsweek, no bad blood led to Bello's decision to exit the series, on which she starred since 2017. Rather, Bello simply decided not to renew the contract she signed in 2017. New episodes of NCIS air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Stay tuned to PopCutlure.com for the latest updates.