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Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) made an unexpected exit during the NCIS Season 18 finale. If Bishop’s exit has you puzzled, we’ll explain what happened. Here’s the real reason Bishop left the NCIS team.

Bishop is accused of leaking NSA documents on ‘NCIS’

Emily Wickersham  on 'NCIS'
Emily Wickersham on ‘NCIS’ | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

Bishop was accused of leaking classified NSA documents about a secret operation where Syrian refugees were used as bait to lure an Al-Qaeda leader out of hiding. The information leak, which occurred 10 years ago while she was still working with the NSA, appeared to get into the hands of arms dealers.

Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) tried to defend Bishop. He told her to go home until things settled down. However, she came back to the office and said she was responsible for the information leak. Bishop then quit and left the building. McGee goes after her to ask her what happened.

Bishop and McGee have a heart-to-heart

Emily Wickersham and Sean Murray
Emily Wickersham and Sean Murray | Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images

At first, Bishop says she doesn’t want to talk about what happened with the NSA leak, but McGee (Sean Murray) refuses to back down. “You and I have been through too much together for you to box me out like this,” says McGee. Bishop decides to talk, telling McGee she wasn’t in agreement with the NSA’s treatment of Syrian refugees. However, McGee doesn’t understand how capturing Al Qaeda leaders could be wrong.

Bishop explains capturing the leaders wasn’t what was wrong. She didn’t agree with the methods used for making the captures. “Using innocent people as pawns—that’s wrong,” says Bishop. However, McGee says he dug deeper into the NSA intel and found that some of the refugees were foreign fighters using civilians as a cover. Bishop says the information is just from one source and it was unreliable.

McGee asks Bishop if she has regrets about the leaked documents. She says her only regret is not releasing the documents sooner. However, McGee says she should have thought about filing a whistleblower report. McGee goes to Gibbs’ house to talk about Bishop. He’s upset because Bishop could face up to 20 years in prison for what she did. He asks Gibbs how he can help her, but he says there’s really nothing he can do.

Torres struggles with Bishop’s situation

Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) has a difficult time with the investigation into Bishop. He was in denial, not wanting to believe the accusations. Torres insists she’s being framed.

When Torres tracks Bishop down, he learns the truth. Odette planted the leaked documents in the arms dealer’s bag. Now, Bishop is on her way to continue training with her. The information leak was all part of an operation led by Odette. Bishop needed to be a disgraced NCIS agent to move on to wherever she’s going next. Torres assumes her next step is probably CIA or Homeland Security.

When Torres asks Bishop why she pushed him away, Bishop explains it was all about doing what was best for her. She was given an opportunity to join Odette and work with her, so she took it. “If we worked regular 9-5 jobs, things could be different,” she tells Torres. “I didn’t mean for us to happen.” With that, Bishop kisses Torres and walks away.

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