Maria Bello Leaves ‘NCIS’ With a Sweet Tribute to Her Co-Stars

Why is Maria Bello leaving ‘NCIS’? Read about the actor’s departure from the CBS show’s 18th season — and the writers’ plans for her character.


Mar. 3 2021, Updated 7:38 p.m. ET

Maria Bello
Source: CBS

Much to fans’ dismay, Maria Bello is leaving NCIS, and she bid her character and colleagues adieu on Instagram.

“And that’s a wrap for Jack Sloane!” she wrote on Dec. 8, sharing photos of herself with costars Mark Harmon, Rocky Carroll, Emily Wickersham, and Wilmer Valderrama.

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During the show's 18th season, Sloane said an emotional goodbye to her fellow agents after the death of another, proclaiming, "I'm done ... call it what you want: quitting, running, I don't care. I'm out. I'm done!"

But why is Maria Bello leaving NCIS?

Why is Maria Bello leaving 'NCIS'? It might be to focus on other work.

maria bello
Source: Getty Images

Newsweek reports that Maria only signed a three-year contract when she started playing Special Agent Jacqueline “Jack” Sloane on NCIS in 2017 and that she opted not to renew her contract when it came time to re-up. 

It’s also possible that the two-time Golden Globe nominee chose to leave NCIS because she’s in pre-production for the upcoming Viola Davis movie, The Woman King, which marks Maria’s writing debut.

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Her fiancée was recently diagnosed with cancer.

maria bello dominique crenn
Source: Getty Images

Another potential reason for Maria’s departure: Her fiancée, the Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn, recently battled breast cancer. Dominique shared her diagnosis in May 2019, but now she’s in remission, as she told British Vogue in a new interview. 

“I feel amazing,” she said. “I’ve been in remission for the past year now. It’s been a tough battle, but [meeting Maria] helped save me.”

In her Instagram post on Dec. 8, Maria gave props to the NCIS producers for letting her support Dominique. “I only had the privilege of standing by Dom’s side during cancer because my producers worked so hard to make sure I was there for every treatment,” she wrote.

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Maria is grateful for her time on the show.

On Instagram, Maria couldn’t speak more highly of her NCIS colleagues. “I’ve learned many things on this journey for the last three and a half years,” she wrote in her post. I learned about commitment and community. I’ve learned that the woman I am enjoys process over product. I’ve never worked with a kinder, more generous group of people.”

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She went on: “Though in our business, like many, there are quite a few a--holes, there is not one on the set of NCIS … Only a profoundly decent group of people who care more about each other and the world in general than what is in it for them." 

"I understand why this show after 18 years is the most-watched in the world — you must all feel our love. 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.”

In September 2020, NCIS co-showrunner Frank Cardea told TVLine that the writers would be scripting a fitting ending for Maria’s character. “When we’re trying to figure out how to exit a character, one thing we always ask is, ‘What does that character deserve?’” he said. 

“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.”

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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