The real reason Maria Bello left NCIS – and what she’s up to now

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NCIS viewers were forced to bid farewell to forensic psychologist Jacqueline “Jack” Sloane (played by Maria Bello) in season 18, just three years after she was introduced.

Although she was one of many fan-favorites to depart from the CBS drama over the past two decades viewers were heartbroken to see her go.

After her season 15 debut, Sloane became a key member of NCIS’ Major Case Response Team led by NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon).

She provided profiles of the criminals they were looking for as well as occasionally going into the field to help the team during their investigations.

However, Sloan’s portrayal on screens came to an end when Bello decided not to renew her three-year contract.

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Although there was speculation of tension on set, the actress only had kind words for the series as she announced her exit.

Alongside photos of her character and a behind-the-scenes goodbye kiss with her co-star Mark Harmon, Bello shared a lengthy statement on Instagram confirming her departure.

She wrote: “And that’s a wrap for Jack Sloane, I’ve learned many things on this journey for the last three and a half years.

“I understand why this show after 18 years is the most watched in the world – you must all feel our love. Keep watching. I have a feeling there will be many more years to come.”

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“Thank you to all of my pals at NCIS and to all of our fans. I am truly grateful,” she concluded.

Following her exit, Bello decided to move forward with other projects including a a role in 2020’s The Water Man and a starring role as Jordan Forester in Netflix’s Beef.

The latter has been lauded as one of her best performances and even earned her a Primetime Emmy nomination in 2023.

As well as her on-screen portrayals Bello, is also credited as a writer and producer for The Woman King, which stars Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, and John Boyega.

At the time of her CBS departure sources claimed her exit came after it was revealed her partner Dominique Crenn was facing a cancer battle at the time.

Despite her contract, Bello did return to NCIS for the first seven episodes of season 18 to give her character the ending she deserved.

Fans will recall Sloane began growing emotionally drained from apprehending criminals after a case involving her murdered friend Darya Borov (Sara Emami).

She ultimately resigned from the NCIS team and began living in Afghanistan with the intention of continuing the work her late friend had started.

NCIS seasons 1-20 are available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

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