Spoilers ahead for the May 18 episode of NCIS Season 18, called "Blown Away," and the promo for the May 25 finale, called "Rule 91."
NCIS debuted newcomer Katrina Law's Jessica Knight in "Blown Away" to set up the possible future of the series following its renewal, but it's the fate of a longtime star that fans should probably be concerned about heading into the Season 18 finale. After spending several episodes of the season subtly calling attention to changes in Emily Wickersham's Ellie Bishop, the promo for next week's finale combined with the episode description suggest that Bishop could be on her way out.
The Season 18 finale, called "Rule 91," will see the team get a shock while on the case of a dangerous arms dealer when Bishop is implicated in an NSA leak. Gibbs will still be working with Marcie (played by Mark Harmon's real-life wife Pam Dawber) on tracking a killer, although the killer may ultimately be onto them. With this episode coming after a loaded conversation between Bishop and Gibbs in "Blown Away" about whether what he lost in taking his stand was worth it, it seems like something has got to give.
And then, of course, there's the promo for the finale that not only paints a clearer picture of Bishop's possible departure, but shows a long-awaited moment between Bishop and Torres. Take a look:
Bishop is seen protesting her innocence, and Kasie at the very least doesn't believe that she would leak classified documents, but Bishop seems to be in some very hot water. Throw in the fact that she asks Gibbs about Rule 91, which Gibbs is explains is "when you decide to walk away" and "don't look back," and the teases of the Season 18 finale seem to be pointing toward Bishop departing.
Admittedly, a kiss between Bishop and Torres could normally mean the beginning of a relationship after they had "The Talk" recently, but it's also very possible that it's more of a goodbye kiss than anything else. Heck, Jack did the very same thing to Gibbs earlier this season in Maria Bello's final episode as a regular.
Plus, Katrina Law is reportedly under consideration for a series regular role in Season 19, and she was partnered with Wilmer Valderrama's Torres for much of the episode. Was this NCIS trying out Jessica Knight as Torres' new partner for Season 19, with Emily Wickersham gone as Bishop? Torres did note that he and Jessica weren't the best match since they were both attack dogs and needed somebody to keep them on a leash.
Still, their partnership in the penultimate episode followed by promotional material hinting at a potential Bishop departure leaves me more than a little concerned that fans will have to say goodbye to Emily Wickersham next week. If so, I just hope that Bishop's exit is because she makes a decision a la Jack, not because she was killed off! She does look to be in some danger in a shot from the promo. All of this said, we can only speculate until the finale airs and reveals Bishop's fate.
Weigh in our poll below about whether you think NCIS is saying goodbye to Bishop next week, and find out if Bishop and Torres are locking lips just in time to go their separate ways in the Season 18 finale of NCIS on Tuesday, May 25 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The NCIS franchise is losing an entry this spring thanks to the series finale of NCIS: New Orleans, but another spinoff is on the way, and CBS won't run out of NCIS franchise action any time soon.