NCIS: Here's Why Bishop Left the Show

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Emily Wickersham, NCIS

NCIS put Emily Wickersham in the forefront as Special Agent Eleanor Bishop before her unexpected exit in 2021.

Bishop joined the NCIS team in 2013's Season 11, previously working as an NSA analyst before becoming a full-time member of Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs' team.

As a replacement for Cote de Pablo's Ziva David, the Oklahoma native quickly impacted the team, working cases with them over eight seasons and over 170 episodes.

Why Did Eleanor Bishop Leave NCIS?

Emily Wickersham as Eleanor Bishop in NCIS

NCIS Season 18 marked the final season of work for Emily Wickersham as NCIS Special Agent Eleanor Bishop, who left the team at the end of Episode 16.

After taking down a pair of arms dealers, the team's mission leads them to an abandoned house where they find a classified NSA file, which was initially leaked by Bishop 10 years prior.

This news threw the team for a loop as they found Bishop planted the file herself. She had prepped for an undercover operation for former CIA instructor Odette Malone. Malone had previously worked with Ziva David, whose position Bishop filled in the first place.

This undercover operation would take her away from the team for "too long" of a time, in Bishop's own words, as she was fired from NCIS for leaking the documents. This led to her official exit from the series.

In real life, Wickersham decided to leave NCIS on her own terms, although she did not specify her reasons for departing.

On May 25, 2021, she shared behind-the-scenes pictures from the NCIS set on Instagram and a lengthy message confirming her exit. She had nothing but praise for her co-stars and crew, thanking everybody involved while detailing how lucky she was to have such a long run on the series:

"Hangin this hat and jacket up. What a great ride it’s been.

This cast, this crew, are top notch. 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. This business is finicky and weird and consistency is a rarity. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of a show where I got to show up and act and laugh and learn with wonderful people. A moment in time I surely won’t forget. Thank you CBS and 'NCIS' for including me in a part of television history.

Time goes fast.

Eat it up but chew slowly."

Additionally, two months after her exit, Wickersham announced her pregnancy on Instagram, confirming she had a son on the way that year.

Some have speculated this to be her reason for departing NCIS, though she never confirmed or denied that speculation.

Could Bishop Return to NCIS?

NCIS is still going strong with Season 21 behind its cast of mostly newer characters. However, there could be room for Bishop to return.

The most important part is that Bishop was only written off the show and not killed, with her character still alive and well on her new undercover mission in-universe.

Her return would mostly depend on whether Wickersham would want to return to the series.

Season 21 gave Wickersham an uncredited appearance in the episode that paid tribute to Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, honoring the late David McCallum after his death.

However, Wickersham has mostly been out of the spotlight since her departure in Season 18, with NCIS being the only credit on her resume since 2016 (where she reprised her role for a crossover with NCIS: New Orleans).

The actress seems content spending time with her family away from the Hollywood scene. Still, fans will not count out a potential Bishop return should her circumstances change.

New episodes of NCIS Season 21 air on Monday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS before streaming the next day on Paramount+.

Read more about the greater NCIS franchise below:

Full Cast of NCIS Season 21 Episode 7: The 1000th Episode - Guest Stars, Actors & Characters (Photos)

LL Cool J's NCIS Hawaii Role Explained: Why He Joined the Spin-off

NCIS Hawaii: Who Is William 'Kono' Dahlin? Show Tribute Explained

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.