Why did Lauren Holly really leave NCIS as Jenny Shepard?

NCIS is one of the longest-running dramas in the world and this is partly thanks to its ever-changing and interesting cast. Actress Lauren Holly, who was previously known for starring in Picket Fences for four years, was welcomed to the show as NCIS Director Jenny Shepard. She proved to be a hit with CBS fans so it came as a shock when Holly suddenly left the police procedural.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from NCIS.

Several years before NCIS started, Agent Leroy Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) was paired with special agent Jenny Shepard.

They were stationed in Europe for an undercover operation and started a romantic relationship while they were away.

However, when Gibbs was ordered to return to the USA, Jenny was offered to run her own NCIS unit in Europe so she decided not to return with her partner.

So when season three started airing, it was more awkward for Gibbs as Jenny was introduced as the next NCIS director, replacing Tom Morrow (Alan Dale).


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Why did actress Lauren Holly leave NCIS? (Image: CBS/GETTY)

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NCIS: Director Jenny Shepard was an ex-lover of Gibbs’. (Image: CBS)

Jenny and Gibbs’ flirtationship continued until season five when tragedy struck during an investigation.

She was accompanied by Gibbs’ mentor Mike Franks (Muse Watson) to an abandoned diner when there was a shootout with four hitmen.

They managed to k**l a number of them but Jenny d**d of her injuries sustained in the gunfight.

Her body was shortly discovered by agents Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) who had to break the bad news to Gibbs.

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NCIS: Jenny Shepard was played by actress Lauren Holly. (Image: GETTY)

NCIS: jenny shepard gibbs lauren holly actress

NCIS: Jenny Shepard was k****d off in season 5. (Image: CBS)

Why did Lauren Holly really leave NCIS as Jenny Shepard?

While it came as a surprise to viewers, it hadn’t to actress Holly who felt it was her time to go.

She admitted on her website that she was growing “bored” of her role and wanted to move on to another project.

Her feelings coincided with the writers’ idea of wanting to k**l Jenny off so it was a win-win situation for everyone.

Holly wrote: “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 k**l me, and boy did they. About five different ways!”

Following her dramatic exit, Holly did return a few times as a figment of Gibbs’ imagination.

Her final appearance was with Harmon in 2015 and she hasn’t been seen since.

Holly has starred in various popular shows like Motive, Hailey Dean Mystery, Designated Survivor and Tiny Pretty Things.

The actress’ most recent role was in the drama Family Law as Joanne Kowalski.

When it was Jenny’s time to go, she was soon replaced by Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) as the Director of NCIS.

He has remained the head of the Washington-based unit for the past 14 years and shows no signs of leaving any time soon.

So Carroll, along with the rest of the main cast, will be back when NCIS series 20 makes its debut.

NCIS season 20 premieres on Monday, September 19, on CBS in the USA. A UK release date hasn’t been revealed.

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