CBS series NCIS first aired back in 2003 with audiences plunged into the high octane world of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Major Case Response Team. Each week the team crack a case as the clock ticks. The show has proved to be such a success that it spawned the spin-off series NCIS: New Orleans and NCIS: LA. The show has a massive cast of characters that have changed over the years.
One of the early cast members to have departed from the show was actress Lauren Holly who played Director Jenny Shepard in the series.
She was part of NCIS from 2005 to 2008 (seasons three to five) with the role reuniting her with Mark Harmon and Rocky Carroll, whom she’d worked with on Chicago Hope.
The character of Director Shepard had previously been romantically involved with the head of the NCIS team Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon).
She also had a close relationship with Ziva David (Cote De Pablo) which began before she was working as the director.
As the show went on, Director Shepard appeared to be suffering from ill health with other members of the team finding her medication.
However, her specific medical issues were never revealed in the show.
Instead, Shepard was killed off by a Russian crime lord whom she’d spared years before.
The crime lord ordered Shepard’s assassination with the director succumbing to her injuries.
Reflecting on getting asked to join the show in the first place, actress Lauren Holly wrote on her website: “I was living in a Chicago suburb raising my three boys when I got the call about being on the show.
“It was a guest-starring arc that would be about six episodes.
“The role was of the new Director of the agency, and things were made complicated because she had a “past” with the lead agent, Jethro, played by Mark Harmon.”
She said she “loved” being back at work and was embraced by the cast.
Speaking about leaving the show, she said: “To be honest, now that the work bug had bitten me again, I got bored with my part of the “Director.”
“Then the decision was made to kill me, and boy did they. About five different ways!”
She added: “I wish them all success. The show continues to be watched by millions.
“A lot of people depend on it for their families. For that, I hope it continues forever. It probably will. I think of them all often.”
NCIS season 17 airs on CBS in the US on Tuesdays 8/7c