NCIS exit: Why did Alice Krige leave as Maggie Clarke? Star weighs in on return

Since airing back in 2003, NCIS continues to go strong with a huge global fanbase and a 20th anniversary on the horizon in 2023. Over the years, the CBS show has featured many characters and famous faces, including cameos from the likes Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Obama, Zach Efron and Sterling K. Brown. There have also been many exits and fleeting characters including Maggie Clarke (played by Alice Krige), who only appeared in a handful of scenes but was a key person to Dr Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum).

Why did Alice Krige leave as Maggie Clarke?

Maggie appeared in a story back in 2014 when Ducky went to London to warn her and his friend of impending danger.

NCIS fans gained a small insight into Ducky’s love life with Maggie revealed to be the object of his affections, despite being his best friend Angus Clarke’s (Adam Croasdell) fiancée.

Even though Maggie and Ducky kissed in an insightful flashback, she still chose to marry Angus.

Ducky subsequently went Stateside, presumably heartbroken at the rejection from Maggie.

NCIS: Alice Krige as Maggie Clarke
NCIS: Alice Krige as Maggie Clarke (Image: GETTY)

NCIS: David McCallum as Ducky
NCIS: David McCallum as Ducky (Image: GETTY)

Viewers learned Maggie’s marriage to Angus was an unhappy one as well as learning why Ducky also never married.

He explained after seeing his best friend Gibbs (Mark Harmon) losing his family in the line of duty, he was fearful the same thing could happen to him and decided it was best to remain unattached.

Krige was only signed on to appear in the episode and there were sadly no plans to extend the character’s stay on NCIS.

She revealed exclusively to Express.co.uk how actor McCallum had been hoping for Ducky to get a happy ending but “it wasn’t to be”.

The South African star added: “When he met the character when he read her, he really did wish it could turn into a fulfilment of that promise.”

NCIS: Alice Krige as Maggie Clarke
NCIS: Alice Krige as Maggie Clarke (Image: CBS)

Alice Krige is starring in film She Will
Alice Krige is starring in film She Will (Image: GETTY)

On the possibility of reprising her role as Maggie and returning to NCIS, Krige said: “It would have been lovely, it would have been absolutely lovely. Yeah.”

Krige said at the time, the several scenes she featured in were “very much that” without any scope of spinning out the story.

The star said she was interested in “just about anything” and would consider appearing in a procedural like NCIS or Law & Order in the future should the opportunity present itself.

Krige explained: “I am interested in exploring character and I don’t really mind the format it comes in, so long as there is a story to tell or a story to explore.

“In a recurring role, they are often very difficult – [Maggie] was the exception really – it’s very difficult for a recurring role to have a compelling reason.

“They are there to support the storyline going forward and that is challenging, to create full human being with a full, internal life when it is not the function of the story to explore that.”

Krige is next going to be appearing in the psychological horror She Will, starring as an aged actress who confronts her former a***e and trauma through the power of her dreams.

Also starring Kota Eberhardt, Malcolm McDowell, and Rupert Everett, the film sees Krige’s character Veronica Ghent reborn from the ashes of her past.Krige got involved in She Will after meeting with director Charlotte Colbert and the two women got chatting rather than Krige submitting an audition tape, which the actress found “refreshing”.

The star said: “We were in the same imaginative space and I was fired up by what she was saying and she was kind of fired up by what I was saying.

“So it was a very good meeting of minds meeting and that’s how it continued. I really loved working with her.

Filming took place over the course of six weeks in the rugged Cairngorms in Scotland with the landscape proving a dramatic backdrop for the film.

“I just loved the subject matter,” Krige said. “There are multiple stories that twine like a thread of yarn into each other as the story progresses.”

NCIS season 20 will be airing on CBS in the autumn

She Will will be released in cinemas on July 15