‘NCIS’: Why Did Duane Henry Leave the Show?

If you’ve followed “NCIS” for the last couple of years, you probably remember Duane Henry, the actor who played MI-6 Agent Clayton Reeves. One thing you might have wondered is why Henry left the hit CBS series. Here’s what Showbiz Cheat Sheet knows about Henry’s departure.

How did Clayton Reeves die?

Emily Wickersham and Duane Henry | Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images

Henry’s character, Clayton Reeves, was shot and killed during season 15, episode 21, titled “One Step Forward.” He was shot while trying to protect Abby (Pauley Perrette) from a mugger. The shooting occurred during the final moments of the episode. The mugger came up to Abby and Clayton, asking if they could give him spare change.

Things took a turn for the worst when the mugger pulled out a gun and demanded Abby’s purse and Clayton’s wallet. “Just give me the whole thing,” he growled. Abby told the man she wanted to help him. “You know, maybe if we could talk, I could help you,” said Abby. Instead thanking her for the offer, he became angry, saying, “You think you’re better than me? You want to help me? You can’t!” He then fired his gun. Clayton wrestled with the shooter, but was fatally wounded in the process.

Duane Henry as Clayton Reeves | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images
Duane Henry as Clayton Reeves | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Clayton’s death was confirmed in season 15, episode 22, titled “Two Steps Back.” The shooter was later identified as former Army Specialist Kent Marshall. He was dishonorably discharged for disorderly conduct and aggravated assault. It turned out the mugger was hired to put a hit on Abby. Her forensic work helped put someone in jail and that person wanted payback. Abby survived the shooting (after being in a coma) but decided to leave NCIS to help manage the charity Clayton wanted to start in honor of his deceased mother.

Duane Henry had a tough time with Clayton Reeves’ death

After his character was killed off, Henry took to Twitter to share how he felt about the end of his time with the show. Henry said it was difficult not being able to reveal Clayton was going to die. He also included a heartfelt tribute to late “NCIS” showrunner Gary Glasberg. “I’ve been wanting to share this with you guys for so long but for the sake of entertainment I couldn’t, and it is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to deal with,” wrote Henry.  

Why Duane Henry left ‘NCIS’

Duane Henry and Wilmer Valderrama |  Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Duane Henry and Wilmer Valderrama | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Henry told TV Line his departure was because Clayton’s storyline wasn’t really going anywhere after Glasberg passed away in 2016. Clayton was created by Glasberg, so the writers weren’t really sure where to take the character after the showrunner died. Here’s what Henry told TV Line:

I love the show and I love being a part of it — it was a life changer, a game changer for me, and something I’ll take with me forever and ever. But I have idle thumbs, and toward the end of last year I looked around a lot and started questioning things…. My brain starts to go to other places.

Obviously, there are a lot of characters in a lot of the stories [so] you have to have a lot of patience with this type of gig, and I felt like I wanted to be doing way more. I want to be out there hitting it, like every young actor does. I guess the universe sort of got wind of that.

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Why Did Michael Weatherly Leave the Show?

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