It goes without saying that M16 agent Clayton Reeves was a breath of fresh air on the long-running show NCIS. So when he exited the show so suddenly after only two seasons, it was a disappointment to NCIS viewers everywhere, and we all couldn’t help but wonder why he left.
Reeves, portrayed by British actor Duane Henry, brought a new life to the show, and wasn’t a planned part of the series. But when former showrunner Gary Glasberg met Duane, he knew he had to bring him in, and created the character of agent Reeves. So why did Reeves leave NCIS after only two short seasons?
It wasn’t Duane Henry's decision for Reeves to leave ‘NCIS.’
Although many might expect that it was Duane’s decision to leave the show, he actually was written out by the writers’ room. Not to worry, though, there’s no hard feelings! Duane was super grateful to have played Reeves on NCIS, since it was his first major role in America. Duane told TV Line,
“I sat down with the producers, and we were just talking about the character. [Former showrunner] Gary [Glasberg] was obviously ‘my guy’ — from my first audition, he and [director] Jimmy Whitmore did that point-and-click and said ‘You’re going to be a star, kid.’ Clayton was Gary’s brainchild, he created this character.”
Unfortunately though, Gary passed away during the 14th season of NCIS. Since agent Reeves was really Gary's baby, Duane was worried about his character's fate, and as it turns out, he was right on the money. The writers weren’t really sure what Gary had in mind for Reeves’ storyline, so they decided to write him off of the show.
When Reeves left ‘NCIS,’ Duane was very happy with the way he left the show.
Even though Reeves was forced to leave NCIS, Duane wasn’t unhappy about his character’s exit. Basically, at the end of Season 15, Reeves and Amy come across a mugger. Reeves immediately gives up his wallet, but Amy tries to talk to him. The mugger reacts by saying, “You think you’re better than me?” and fires a gunshot.
We see in the next episode Reeves’ body on the autopsy table. We learn that Reeves jumped in front of Amy to save her, so he sacrificed himself for Amy. It’s a super noble way to go out of a show. Duane remarked, “This is TV history at its finest. I have had the best exit, I think, for a show in America for somebody who’s not from here. You can’t ask for a better exit.”
Not only that, but Duane’s time on NCIS meant a lot to him. He explained the loss he dealt with when he lost both a girlfriend and a mentor, and how going to work every day helped him cope. He also loved associating his exit with Pauley Perrette’s, who played Amy. She actually took him in when he was homeless, so he said that this experience was truly “a dream come true.”