After four years and 70-plus episode of playing Jack Sloane, the NCIS is about to lose one of its most significant cast members. While a few months earlier, the news that Bello was leaving was made, the CBS procedural episode of February 9 was the first to set up precisely how Sloane would go. It also suggested what this will mean for Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon), with whom she still had a friendship of the will-they-won’t-they sort.
While NCIS Season 18, Episode 7 (titled ‘The First Day’) concentrated more on Jimmy Palmer (played by Brian Dietzen) and the loss of his wife Breena to COVID-19, Sloane’s departure was also set up, coming to CBS very soon.
Gibbs heard during the show that Sloane was packing up her office. “Then the forensic psychologist told him, “I think it’s time I slowed down my life a little… maybe go to Costa Rica… just be.” However, it was not disclosed precisely what Gibbs felt about his sparring partner-turned-confidante leaving the NCIS squad.
However, viewers are set to find out very shortly how Sloane’s departure is going to turn out and how Gibbs is coping with it. It was reported that the actress had signed on for eight episodes of Season 18 before Bello revealed that she was leaving the programme. As she has starred in all seven episodes of the show so far, this presumably means that her last episode on the show will be Episode 8, scheduled to air on March 2, 2021.
The official CBS synopsis definitely indicates that Sloane will be based on the upcoming episode, titled “True Believer,” “When Sloane’s name is discovered in Afghanistan at the site of an abandoned bus with a dead driver, Gibbs accompanies her on a trip to find a group of girls who were kidnapped from the bus. Also, McGee (Sean Murray), Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) track down a hacker who emailed compromising information to the Taliban.”
NCIS co-showrunner Frank Cardea said in a TVLine interview: “When we’re trying to figure out how to exit a character, one thing we always ask is: ‘What does that character deserve?’ And the character of Sloane is a very strong character, and a passionate character, so we’re going to really have her go on something worthy of that.”
The same interview even teased that it would get some resolution with the Gibbs-Sloane flirtation. He said that the final episode will discuss, “ongoing wonderment about what’s going on between her and Gibbs.”
In November 2020, when the A History of Violence actor’s three-year contract for the show expired and was not extended, Bello’s departure from NCIS was confirmed. However, she did agree to film eight episodes of NCIS Season 18 in order to offer a decent exit to her character.