NCIS is saying goodbye to forensic psychologist Jack Sloane. For the past three-and-a-half seasons, Maria Bello has played the smart and savvy character that has had a “will they, won’t they” relationship with Jethro Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon).
But now, Bello is saying goodbye so she can move onto other projects. Ahead of her final episode, Bello confirms that Sloane and Gibbs have “a great love” for each other.
Why is Maria Bello leaving ‘NCIS’?
Ahead of season 18 of NCIS, Bello revealed that she would be leaving the CBS procedural. Instead of waiting until the end of the season, however, Bello is departing after just eight episodes.
Why would Bello walk away from the highest-rated drama on network TV? According to TV Line, Bello has other commitments. This includes a movie and a new TV pilot.
“I’ve had this commitment for years to make a movie, The Woman King, with Viola Davis,” Bello explained. “It’s a female Braveheart based on 5,000 women warriors in [the 18th- and 19th-century African kingdom of] Dahomey, modern-day Benin. The French said they were the biggest badasses they’d ever fought.”
Bello is also going to work on a TV pilot in Haiti that combines her passion for “adventure travel and women’s history.”
Sloane will spend her final episode with Gibbs in Afghanistan
For Sloane’s final NCIS episode, she will head to Afghanistan with Gibbs when she suddenly gets a message from an old friend. Bello says that Sloane knows she has to go, but she won’t go without Gibbs. She says they “want to do this mission together.”
“Someone who Sloane became close with when she was being held captive leaves her a note in Afghanistan,” Bello said. “And Sloane feels indebted to this woman. She helped to save her life really. She has to go back and help and see what she can do.”
When it comes to Sloane’s relationship with Gibbs, Bello says it’s obvious that they are good friends. She says that over the past three-and-a-half years, fans have seen that they’ve become “good pals” who really like and respect each other.
“They really trust each other,” Gibbs said. “They have a good sense of humor between them.”
The ‘NCIS’ star admits that Gibbs and Sloane have a ‘great love’ for each other
Bello admits that for the past three seasons, a possible romance between Sloane and Gibbs has been “teased a lot.”
“Some people are like, ‘are they really sleeping together? Weren’t they? Was there a romance?’ And, who knows if that question will ever be answered. But, it’s safe to say that it will be a continuation of that great love that they have for each other,” Bello revealed.
The actor says that her final episode is “a very good” one. She mentioned that co-showrunner Frank Cardea has said that they wanted to give her character an honorable exit. Bello added, “I think they did a heck of a job.”
Bello also revealed that she had input into her character’s exit. She said that she’s had input the entire time, which is why she has loved this job so much. Bello explained her time on NCIS as “the most creative, rewarding” set she has ever been on.
“Not just because the people are so kind and good, but because it’s very collaborative,” Bello explained. “We have input on anything that happens with our characters. And particularly for this last one there was a lot of talking back and forth.”
Bello says that between her, co-showrunners Cardea and Steven Binder, and Harmon, they came up with something she believes audiences will enjoy.
Bello’s final episode of NCIS airs Tuesday, March 2 on CBS.
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