Over its first 18 seasons, NCIS has seen countless characters come and go and the departure of a fan-favourite is always a big talking point.
The newly released season 19 begins by exploring the fallout of Ellie Bishop’s exit at the end of last season and it’s safe to say that there’s been a big hole left in the NCIS team.
But just what happened to Ellie Bishop in NCIS, why did she leave and will actress Emily Wickersham ever return?
How Bishop is brought up in season 19
Season 19 of NCIS began on CBS on September 20th with Blood in the Water, continuing from last season’s dramatic cliffhanger that left fans fearing for Gibbs.
Ellie Bishop’s departure is a big talking point in the new episode, especially for Nick Torres, who had grown close to Ellie over her time on the show.
We see Nick pay a visit to Bishop’s old apartment which had been emptied almost overnight as Ellie left town without a trace.
Her absence leaves a gaping hole in the NCIS team, especially as Gibbs is missing following the boat explosion in the season 18 finale.
What happened to Bishop in NCIS?
In the season 18 finale, the NCIS team suspected that one of their own might be working against them and it eventually became clear that Ellie Bishop was the mystery figure in question.
After a fearsome shootout, where Ellie killed two armed men, it was finally revealed that she was the one behind the leaked NSA documents 10 years earlier and that her shady past was coming back to haunt her.
Bishop explained her motives behind leaking the documents, saying that innocnet people would be targeted if she didn’t do something.
However, Nick Torres tracked Bishop down and discovered that the leak had been part of a separate undercover operation all along and that she was planning to leave.
After saying goodbye to Torres in the final episode of season 18, it’s unclear where Bishop went.
Will Emily Wickersham ever return?
Ellie Bishop was left alive at the end of season 18, meaning that actress Emily Wickersham could return to the series if she wished.
However, a farewell post on the actress’s Instagram suggests that Emily – who is currently pregnant – has left NCIS for good, or at least that she isn’t planning on returning for some time.
The post, which Emily uploaded back in May, featured a touching message that read “Hangin this hat and jacket up. What a great ride it’s been.”
“I can’t say enough kind words about this group that I’ve had the pleasure of working with for close to 8 years now and 172 episodes later,” she continued. “Thank you CBS and NCIS for including me in a part of television history.”
NCIS season 19 continues weekly on Mondays on CBS after premiering on September 20th, 2021.