What happened to Eleanor Bishop on ‘NCIS’? Emily Wickersham’s role and departure, explained

Emily Wickersham

Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic

CBS hit NCIS, and one of the original series’ stars, Emily Wickersham, garnered attention as news broke that its spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles is set to conclude its successful run on May 22.

NCIS, which debuted on the network in 2003, follows Washington D.C.’s major case response team as they solve various cases. The series stars Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, David McCallum, Pauley Perrette, Michael Weatherly, Sasha Alexander, Joe Spano, Cote de Pablo Ziva, Lauren Holly, Rocky Carroll, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, Maria Bello, Duane Henry, Diona Reasonover, and many others.

Over the years, following NCIS’ success, CBS would spawn several spinoffs of the show with similar themes, including NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, and NCIS: Hawai’i. Each series would premiere on the network in 2009, 2014, and 2021 respectively. NCIS added Wickersham to the cast in 2013 as Special Agent Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop during the show’s eleventh season. Despite being a fan favorite, Wickersham, who also appeared in NCIS: New Orleans for an episode, would shock many in May 2021 by announcing on Instagram that she was leaving the show after almost eight years.

Why did Emily Wickersham leave NCIS?

In the post shared on May 25, 2021— although Wickersham didn’t explain why she was leaving NCIS — the actress opened up about “what a great ride it’s been” surrounded by “wonderful people,” including the cast and crew. In addition to those sentiments, Wickersham disclosed how lucky she was to be a part of NCIS despite the entertainment industry being “finicky and weird.” She wrote,

“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. #ncis #cbs.”

Immediately following her post, Wickersham received a comment from CBS’ official account. In it, the network thanked the star for her contributions to the series. The statement read, “Thanks for making history with us…Our one and only Ellie Bishop.” A few months following Wickersham’s departure announcement, she shared that she was expecting her first child with her longtime partner James Dale. This news led many to believe that the reason why Wickersham left NCIS was to have a baby. The couple would welcome their son Cassius Wickersham Dale in December of that same year.

How was Emily Wickersham’s character written off?

Wickersham’s last appearance on NCIS as Special Agent Ellie Bishop was on May 25, 2021 during the show’s eighteenth season. Throughout the season, Hello Magazine reports that Bishop was under investigation after she allegedly leaked important documents. After initially denying the claims, the special agent would ultimately confess to the crime.

The publication also stated that in the season 18 finale titled “Rule 91,” Bishop “was subsequently fired from the NCIS.” With the limited storyline, it left the opportunity for Wickersham’s character to return. Since then, Wickersham has yet to appear on NCIS in recent years, and it is unclear if she would be included in NCIS: Los Angeles‘ upcoming series finale, despite making a past appearance on one of NCIS’ spinoff shows.

New episodes of NCIS air Mondays on CBS, and fans can relive moments with Special Agent Ellie Bishop by watching seasons 11 through 18 on Paramount Plus.

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