‘NCIS’: The 8 Saddest Characters, Ranked

successful series, NCIS is one of the longest-running police procedural shows aired by Mark Harmon As Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs who investigates cases involving the Navy with his colorful team. NCIS Noted for its clever cases, witty humor as well as memorable performances by an impressive cast including Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, And David McCallum.

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Throughout the series, there are several characters such as NCIS director Leon Vance and special agent Eleanor Bishop who have come and gone, but there are some final exits that are heavy on fans compared to others. From the uncertain fate of Special Agent Ziva David to the bittersweet departure of Gibbs, here are 8 of the saddest. NCIS Character out, ranked.

8 Special Agent Ziva David

Cote de Pablo in NCIS
Image via CBS

Former Mossad agent, Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) was introduced in the season 3 premiere, ‘Kill Ari: Part 1,’ and after rescuing Gibbs, she officially joined the team. David is a beautiful but violent enigma who quickly catches DiNozzo’s attention and for several seasons, the two engage in flirtatious banter that develops into one of the series’ most compelling storylines.

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Initially fans believed that David was killed in a house fire in Israel, but in season 16, it was revealed that she was alive and had to fake her own death to protect her family. De Pablo returned to the show for several guest appearances in season 17 and although things worked out for her in the end, her exit was still an emotional rollercoaster for viewers.

7 Abigail Scuito

Pauley Perrette in NCIS
Image via CBS

NCIS Chief Forensic Scientist, Abby Scuito (Pauley Perrette) is an important part of the team who also cares deeply about his colleagues. Scuito marches to the beat of her own drum and while she may not appear like a traditional scientist, she has a vast knowledge of many topics that make her a top scientist.

Scuito is one of the show’s original and unique characters who is known for her bubbly personality, massive caffeine and gothic style. The character first appeared in season 8 of the series, JAGwhich served as a backdoor pilot for NCIS. At the end of season 15, Scuito informed the team of her resignation leaving a significant hole that no one could fill.

6 Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo

Michael Weatherly in NCIS
Image via CBS

Former Chicago detective, special agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) first appeared with Scuito in JAG and is known for his frequent pop culture references and playboy antics. Despite his grumpiness and humor, DiNozzo slowly reveals a softer side and eventually forms a bond with Gibbs and the team that makes him one of the hardest characters for fans to watch.

NCIS Fans learned in season 13 that DiNozzo and David’s relationship turned romantic and resulted in the pregnancy of their daughter, Tali. After David is killed in a house fire, DiNozzo makes the difficult decision to leave NCIS and become a full-time father to his and David’s daughter. It was incredibly hard for fans to say goodbye to DiNozzo but watching him interact with Tali were some of the most touching scenes of the show and made his exit a little easier.

5 Director Jennifer Shepard

Lauren Holly in NCIS
Image via CBS

Former NCIS agent, Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) was made the director of NCIS in the third season of the show and viewers quickly discovered that she and Gibbs had a romantic history. By season 5, fans were informed that Shepard’s father, Colonel Jasper Shepard, was accused of receiving bribes, but before the investigation was completed, he died and his death was ruled a suicide.

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Shepard’s search for the truth about her father’s death leads to her own death in the finale of season 12. She dies from injuries sustained during an old shooting that also claims the life of Gibbs’ teacher, Mike Franks (Muse Watson). Holly was not surprised by her exit and reportedly tired of playing the character and eager to take on something new.

4 Ned Dorget

Matt Jones stands next to Sean Murray while on the phone in NCIS
Image via CBS

Special Agent in Charge Ned Dornget (Matt Jones) is the son of CIA agent, Joanna Teague (Mimi Rogers) and made his first appearance in the season 9 episode, ‘Sins of the Father,’ where he is blackmailed into taking care of DiNozzo’s father (Robert Wagner). Like most young agents, Dornget wanted to work on the field, and the following season, he began an assignment with Gibbs and the team.

as well as NCIS Fans began to fall in love with Donget, who was killed in the season 12 finale, ‘The Lost Boys,’ after he selflessly stayed behind to help refugees during a bomb attack in Cairo. His death was shocking for the audience but while it was a sad ending for such a great character, Dornget still came off as a true hero.

3 Clayton Reeves

Duane Henry in NCIS
Image via CBS

MI6 agent, Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry) began working as a liaison officer with NCIS in season 13 and made his first appearance in the episode, ‘Dead Letter’. Reeves is soon welcomed into the tight-knit team and just as he begins to find his feet in the group, his life is cut short while protecting one of his own team.

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In the season 15 episode, ‘Two Steps Back,’ Reeves is killed by ex-Army specialist, Kent Marshall while protecting Abby Scuito. According to the actor, NCIS actor, Gary Glasbergdeveloped his character and when Glasberg died unexpectedly in his sleep in 2016, the producers were not sure what to do with Reeves and decided the best way to kill him.

2 Special Agent Caitlin Todd

Sasha Alexander as Caitlin Todd in NCIS
Image via CBS

Special Agent Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander) is a former Secret Service agent recruited by Gibbs during the first episode of the show, ‘Yankee White’. Unlike Gibbs, Todd has a hard time separating herself from the victim, but her vast abilities and natural intuition make her an ideal NCIS agent.

Fans were shocked by Todd’s murder in the season two episode, ‘Twilight,’ making her death one of the saddest aspects of the show. Many took to online to express their anger at Todd’s exit but according to Screen Rant, she is ready to move on to a different project. Alexander makes several guest appearances as Todd, bringing closure to the agent’s unfortunate departure.

1 Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Mark Harmon in NCIS
Image via CBS

Leroy Jethro Gibbs is a former US Navy sniper who is now the agent in charge of the NCIS Major Case Response Team in Washington D.C. Due to his tragic and dangerous career, Gibbs mostly keeps to himself but has the unwavering support of his team, friends and family who all admire him greatly.

In 2021, Mark Harmon announced that he will leave NCIS After 18 years in the show, his departure changed the whole process. In the 19-episode season, ‘Great Wide Open,’ Gibbs decided to retire and live in Alaska where he found his first sense of peace since losing his wife and daughter. CBS has recast the face of their popular shows before, but Harmon is the backbone of NCIS And without Gibbs, it’s not the same for most fans.

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