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With the death of David McCallum’s Ducky, NCIS Season 21 signaled the end of an era, as no original characters remained active members of the Major Case Response Team. Over time, the initial team members have left the firm for various reasons, resulting in a shifting ensemble cast typical of long-running television shows.

Among these departures, Special Agent Kate Todd’s death stands out as the most startling and cruel, especially given her dramatic assassination by Ari, Ziva’s half-brother. With Ari’s introduction, Kate’s death appeared almost inevitable.

Unlike some other exits from the show, there was no behind-the-scenes drama behind Sasha Alexander’s decision to leave NCIS. Her departure, unlike Pauley Perrette’s later contentious exit, was amicable. Alexander chose to leave due to the grueling filming schedule required for the 24-episode seasons, which heavily featured her and the core cast. Despite the brutal way her character was written out, it was Alexander’s own decision to end Kate’s arc.

Alexander’s departure highlighted the taxing nature of the job, a sentiment shared by Mark Harmon, who cited similar reasons for retiring his legendary character, Gibbs. Alexander’s long-standing friendship with her co-star Michael Weatherly demonstrates that her leave was free of any off-screen dispute.

NCIS has become adept at navigating the departures and arrivals of cast members, maintaining its appeal and longevity despite the changes. Kate Todd’s death remains one of the most memorable moments in the show’s history, underscoring the unpredictable and often harsh realities faced by the beloved characters.

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