‘NCIS’ Has Killed Off a Lot of Major Characters Over 18 Seasons

NCIS has been on TV for a really, really long time. Currently, people are graduating from high school who have never lived in a world without NCIS.

For 18 seasons and more than 400 episodes (so far), the CBS procedural has told the story of Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his Washington DC-based team at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

They have also killed off a lot of major characters.

Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the team must take a second look into the death of a lieutenant after the blogger who accused them of a cover-up ends up dead, on NCIS, Tuesday Oct. 6
Mark Harmon on the set of ‘NCIS’ | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

‘NCIS’ started killing off characters in season 1

During season 18 of NCIS, fans have witnessed a major character exit (Jack Sloane), two character deaths (Emily Fornell and Breena Palmer), and a life-threatening injury to one of the team’s most beloved members (Timothy McGee).

The series has turned quite dark, and it has not gone unnoticed. But this is nothing new for fans who have watched the show since the beginning.

Back in season 1, the JAG spinoff killed off its first character — Agent Chris Pacci (Tim Kelleher). He wasn’t part of Gibbs’ team, but he did occasionally help out. During an investigation into a cold case, Pacci was murdered during Season 1, Episode 19 “Dead Man Talking.”

The season 2 finale was a shocker

NCIS took things to another level during the season 2 finale with the murder of Agent Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander). This one really hurt because everyone appeared to be safe and they thought the threat had been taken out. It was then that Ari (Rudolf Martin) shot Kate in the head from a neighboring rooftop.

During Season 5, Episode 18 “Judgement Day,” NCIS saw the demise of their first female director. Before Director Vance (Rocky Carroll), there was Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly).

She flew out to Los Angeles for a funeral but ended up ditching her security detail so she could investigate her friend’s death. She died in a shootout in a diner after putting up one heck of a fight.

‘NCIS’ killed off two agents during season 6

During season 6, Director Vance briefly broke up Gibbs’ team and brought in new agents — Brent Langer (Jonathan LaPaglia) and Michelle Lee (Liza Lapira).

During the episode “Last Man Standing,” Lee killed Langer when he found out she was leaking classified info.

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Nine episodes later in “Dagger,” Lee was discovered as the mole. She admitted her betrayal of the agency and explained she did it to save her sister. Agent Lee ended up sacrificing herself to stop the person responsible for the entire operation.

Gibbs’ best friend is dead, but he still comes back on occasion

In Season 8, Episode 23 “Swan Song,” Gibbs’ longtime friend, fellow marine, and former NCIS agent Mike Franks was killed during their investigation into the Port-to-Port Killer.

He was the only person in the world who could call Gibbs “Probie.” Franks also fought the serial killer in the rain until he died. Since his demise, he has come back a few times in Gibbs’ dreams.

The Port-to-Port Killer case also ended up taking out Gayne Levin (Alimi Ballard) and Simon Cade (Matt Willig), who were part of E.J.’s (Sarah Jane Morris) team.

‘NCIS’ killed off a major character in four straight seasons

During Season 12, the beloved Ned Dorneget (Matt Jones) was working with Gibbs’ team to help track down terrorists who were killing children. In episode 23 titled “The Lost Boys,” Ned was killed in one of the group’s attacks.

Ned was an absolute sweetheart who worked with Gibbs’ team quite often. For many fans, his death was quite personal and difficult.

One season later, former NCIS director Tom Morrow (Alan Dale) was killed while working with Gibbs and Fornell (Joe Spano) as the Homeland Senior Division Chief.

In Season 14, Qasim Naasir (Rafi Silver) was working as a translator when he was unexpectedly shot. Fans later learned that he had proposed to Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and she was going to tell him “yes.”

Then in season 15, Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry) was out to dinner with Abby (Pauley Perrette) when he was gunned down by a man they thought was a mugger. It was later revealed that he was a hitman and Abby was his target.

NCIS airs Tuesday nights on CBS.