It's sad but it's true:
NCIS is losing a beloved series regular during NCIS Season 18.
It was confirmed earlier this year that Maria Bello was bowing out of her Jack Sloane role.
With Bello set to appear in eight more episodes of the series, the co-showrunner is opening up about losing her.
"When we’re trying to figure out how to exit a character, one thing we always ask is: ‘What does that character deserve?' And the character of Sloane is a very strong character, and a passionate character, so we’re going to really have her go on something worthy of that," co-showrunner Frank Cardea explained to TV Line.
It's certainly exciting when a big character leaves a beloved series because it brings a sense of finality to the particular character's arc.
However, not all goodbyes work out well for the fans. It could be that the exit didn't fit the character, or that it felt forced to bring an end to a particular storyline.
The good news here is that fans will have eight well-constructed final episodes with Jack Sloane as her final arc plays out.
Knowing the creative forces behind the show are planning something of that caliber makes it easier to digest the looming exit.
Bello joined the cast back on NCIS Season 15, and it has since been revealed that she had a three-year deal with the show.
She was a series regular from the jump, allowing Sloane and Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to grow closer together.
If you watch NCIS online, you know there have been hints of a potential relationship between the two agents, but given that Bello is gearing up for her last hurrah, it's likely this one will end in tears.
When NCIS does return for its COVID-19-delayed 18th season, it will be backtracking a little.
The series will be revisiting an NCIS Season 17 episode in which Gibbs disappeared from the squad room to go on a mission, only for him to return with a black eye at the end of the episode.
Co-Showrunner Steve Binder told TV Line the news.
"We are going to pick up season 18 with that mission that Gibbs was on, back in time. We're in a pre-COVID world for a little while."
What are your thoughts on the news?
Are you excited for Sloane's farewell?
Hit the comments below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.