NCIS has said goodbye to and lost agents and family members over the years, but it feels like Season 18 has been one gut-punch after another. Not that were counting, but so far there have been two deaths, a major exit, and a life-threatening injuryin the span of just a few episodes. . The news of the first death comes in Episode 7 which brings the NCIS world into pandemic times. Medical examiner Dr. Jimmy Palmer Brian Dietzen lost his wife, Breena Michelle Pierce, to COVID. Not only is he now a single parent, he couldnt say goodbye to her due to pandemic restrictions. The team instead gathers to help Palmer say his farewell a letter hes written to his wife, which he reads out loud. . . In the very next episode, Maria Bellos character, forensic psychologist Jack Sloane, exits the series. She lives thankfully, but after going to Afghanistan to help a woman who helped her when she was held captive, the agent chooses to stay to be where she feels shes most needed. She and Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs Mark Harmon, whos with her overseas, finally kiss after a very slow-burn relationship. . That amount of loss would be plenty. But the hits just keep coming in Episode 9. Gibbs old friend and ex-FBI agent Tobias Fornell Joe Spano shares his plans to move to Costa Rica setting up yet another goodbye only for it to end with a gut-wrenching twist. Fornells daughter, Emily Juliette Angelo, who has been battling addiction, dies after a relapse. . . The only bright light? Forensic Scientist Kasie Hines Diona Reasonover doesnt lose her mother, who goes to the hospital also in Episode 9, too. Her mom passes all the tests. . . This all comes after the season kicks off with an emotional blow for viewers and Gibbs. The boss shooting one of his agents, Timothy McGee Sean Murray. Once we catch up to that point in time in Episode 5, we learn its to save his life. Theres a bomb on the plane McGee is approaching. The agents are also worried that one of their own, Ellie Bishop Emily Wickersham, is on board, including after it explodes until she limps over, safe. . Everyone lives, and McGee and Gibbs clear the air it was a necessary shoot. But at the time, especially as Gibbs has to shoot not once but twice, and later sits in McGees hospital room after, its another utterly heartbreaking moment when all realize how easily he could have died. Bishop notes that McGee is one of Gibbs best friends as she worries about their boss reaction after the fact. . . As we said, there have been deaths and utterly heartbreaking ones over the previous 17 seasons, starting with Special Agent Kate Todds Sasha Alexander, by recurring baddie Ari Haswari Rudolf Martin in Season 2. There have been stretches of episodes where things havent been easy for the agency. For example, look at what Jonas Cobb, aka the Port-to-Port Killer, played by Kerr Smith, put them through at the end of Season 8. when he killed Gibbs old boss Mike Franks, played by Muse Watson, and Special Agent Levin, played by Alimi Ballard. . . But this feels different. These losses havent been done to the team. Yes, Gibbs has to shoot McGee because of a criminals actions, but its something he did. Breena died due to COVID and Emily her addiction. Jack chooses to leave. For the most part, in the past, the agents had someone they could go after to bring to justice. This season, thats not the case. . Consider this. The seasons not over yet. Coming episodes could bring more tragedy to the team. With the way things are going, thats pretty much what were expecting. And for a show this far in its run its closer to its end than not, theres only so much gloom that the characters and fans should have to endure.