How does Jack Sloane leave NCIS?

We knew Jack Sloane was going to leave the team during NCIS Season 18, Episode 8. How permanent is the exit? Is there a chance she’ll return?

Before NCIS Season 18 began, we learned Maria Bello was leaving the show. She’d be around for eight episodes, giving the writers time to craft an exit for the character. For fans, this mean no quick mention of what the character is up to.

The show had set the seeds during the previous episode for the exit. Jack mentioned she needed to get away and talked about going to Costa Rica. Would that be where she’d end up going after the events in Afghanistan?

More importantly, would she even get a chance to even get to Costa Rica? Would something a little more permanent happen to Bello’s character?

Jack has had enough of the bad on NCIS Season 18

Jack and Gibbs head out to Afghanistan to help save a school bus full of girls from the Taliban. During the case, Jack breaks down.

She’s had enough. Sure, they catch the bad guys, but nothing ever changes except for “them.” She means herself, Gibbs, and others. They become shells of themselves because of the things they experience and see.

This seemed to happen quickly, but we have to remember that there’s been a time jump. By this point in the show, we’ve got through the majority of the COVID pandemic. Mask-wearing is still going on but business is pretty much as usual.

Many of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, have done some soul-searching during this time. We’ve seen the darkness of humanity and questioned whether the human race even deserves to be saved at times. Jack is going through that, and it’s happened over time but we haven’t had the chance to see it.

Jack decides to stay in Afghanistan

At the end of the episode, Jack and Gibbs get the girls. It’s a happy reunion, and now it’s time for Jack to figure out what she’s going to do. Part of her has known what she’d do from the minute she stepped in Afghanistan.

She’s staying.

The girls need her help. She wants to help more young girls get to learn math, English, and other subjects in a country that views women as just wives and mothers. Women aren’t “supposed” to learn in the country according to the most extremist Muslim men.

This is Jack’s chance to feel like she’s making a difference.

The good news is she could pop up again in NCIS. If the team ever ends up back in Afghanistan or there’s a problem where she needs help, there’s a chance for her to pop up should Bello want to return and there’s a story there.

What did you think of Jack’s decision to leave on NCIS Season 18? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS. Catch up on CBS All Access (soon to be Paramount+).