‘NCIS:’ Jack Sloane to Be Written Out By the End of Season 17?

Maria Bello has starred on NCIS as the Gibbs-challenger Jack Sloane since season fifteen. A forensic psychologist who can profile anyone, Sloane and Gibbs often go head-to-head, yet their squaring off grows from a place of mutual respect. Remember: Sloane is a former army lieutenant and Gibbs is a former U.S Marine Corps Scout Sniper.

Maria Bello
Maria Bello | Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

Maria Bello’s presence on the show has added depth and complexity to an already narratively strong series, boasting strong character dynamics. Many fans adore the character, for she is portrayed by the two-time Golden Globe nominee known for outstanding turns in The Cooler and A History of Violence.

Maria Bello’s contract expires with season 17 of ‘NCIS’

Though Bello’s character has been welcomed with open arms, she may not stick around for much longer, for she reportedly signed a three-season contract, expiring with season seventeen.

While many fans thought Sloane would be written out following the season 15 episode titled “Keep Your Friends Close” – at the end of which she winds up bleeding on the ground, unable to move – NCIS writers weren’t done with her just yet. Then, killing off Jack Sloane did not make contractual sense, nor did it fit into the story. However, with her contract expiring, is Bello’s time as Sloane coming to an end?

If Maria Bello is bound to go, how will the writers pen her exit? Will she get to walk, or will she face a darker finish? Given that news regarding an updated contract has yet to be announced, fans have begun theorizing all the ways the writers will bid her farewell. And, the longer Bello waits to confirm additional seasons, the more probable her exit becomes.

Why and how Maria Bello’s Jack Sloane should leave ‘NCIS’ in season 17

Many fans have noticed that the relationship between Gibbs and Sloane has been venturing into the flirtatious territory. If this is true, and the writers want you to believe that a romantic/sexual tension is boiling underneath the surface, ripping Sloane away before the relationship is ever fully realized would be a great narrative approach.

Gibbs is always seen as committed to his work, yet “alone at night,” as Mark Harmon explained during an interview with Larry King. Changing this fundamental aspect of Agent Gibbs would change the show’s overall vibe, and not in a favorable way. This is a Gibbs rule – “Never date a co-worker –” that should not be broken; however, rather than letting Gibbs question the rule, the writers should never give him a chance to.

Gibbs is meant to be the psychologically tortured one; thus, having him rediscover a deeply buried romantic inclination seems out of line with his characterization up to this point. So, what would be more fitting? Through Sloane’s death, he is reminded of why he has the rules in the first place.

Allowing a passion to exist will be stronger for the show than permitting one to come to fruition because this will once again place Gibbs in a state of reflection and internal turmoil – questioning his ways and his life – rather than pushing him forward into a relationship, as a means of escaping his narrative repetition. Yes, his narrative repeats as a tumultuous psychological cycle, yet this is destined to end when the series does. And, as far as we know, the show is not stopping with season seventeen.

So, the answer: kill off Sloane right before she and Gibbs admit to what exists between them. Use season seventeen to stress that a romance is building, but never take it too far. Let it dangle before their eyes like a leaf in the wind. Yet, as soon as a strong gust blows, it’s gone without a trace…only to exist as another “almost.”