Katrina Law as Jessica Knight in NCIS

What the ‘NCIS’ Season 21 Finale Means for Jessica Knight’s Time on the Show

Since Jessica Knight’s (Katrina Law) storyline took an unexpected turn in the season 21 finale of NCIS, viewers have questioned what it means for the character and if she’ll be back in season 22.

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Knight made her NCIS debut in season 18 of the long-running police procedural as a guest star. By season 19, she was elevated to a main cast member and has been a staple of the series since. She was initially a member of the REACT Unit in the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.. However, her group was disbanded after an explosion claimed the lives of most of her colleagues. When viewers first meet her, she is determined to find the one responsible for the incident that killed her teammates and begins working with Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) NCIS Major Case Response Team to get justice. After the case is closed, she joins Gibbs’ team full-time and begins to develop relationships with her new colleagues.

Given its 21-season run, NCIS‘s lead team of agents is always changing. Recently, Harmon, who had been with the show since its onset, departed after 19 seasons. After his major exit, viewers likely hoped it would be some time before another shakeup within the team. However, it now appears Knight may be on her way out the door.

Is Katrina Law’s Jessica Knight leaving NCIS?

NCIS season 21 has been a big one for Knight as she navigated her relationship with Dr. Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) and experienced some family and workplace drama involving her father, Feng Zhao (Russell Wong). However, the finale threw an unexpected curveball when Knight was offered the job of chief of training for the REACT team. As exciting as the opportunity was for her, it would require her to relocate to Camp Pendleton.

Many viewers expected her to turn down the offer, given the new life and connections she has built with the NCIS Major Case Response team. After an adrenaline-pumping case, though, Knight reveals that she will accept the job offer. Given that her decision came at the end of season 21, viewers won’t know the aftermath of that decision until season 22. So far, showrunner Steven D. Binder has remained cryptic about whether Knight is actually leaving. He told TVLine:

Well, we set something up there… And I will point you to our track record where you just never know. We’ve had people look like they were going away and then it turned out they weren’t, and then we had people who just disappeared, like Gibbs. So I will say this: We do aim to please, and we think the audience will be satisfied with where they see this go.

TVLine also spoke to Law, who told the outlet it would just have to watch the season opener when questioned if she’d appear in season 22. Their statements seem to suggest that Knight’s story isn’t over yet, as they have not shut down the idea of a season 22 appearance. It’s expected that she’ll at least appear in some capacity in season 22 before potentially leaving and being replaced by a new team member.

So, Knight doesn’t appear to be officially leaving NCIS yet, but the story arc in the season 21 finale seems to signal the beginning of the end of her time on the show.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.