This ‘NCIS’ Actor Was ‘Very Unhappy’ To Be Killed Off, Creators Said

Not every 'NCIS' actor is happy to leave. Here's what one actor said about receiving the call from the showrunners about his character's death.


The CBS hit NCIS continues with season 21 in the near future, and fans can’t wait to see who returns. In the past, the show has unexpectedly killed off several characters. And one NCIS actor wasn’t happy about how his character was killed, according to creators.

‘NCIS’ creators said actor Muse Watson was ‘very unhappy’ about getting killed off in season 8

Since NCIS started in 2003, fans have seen several of their favorite characters leave. As much as we’d love to see most of the characters make it through every season, the actors have their reasons for calling it quits. And sometimes, it’s not up to the actors at all. Instead, the creators have their own plans that go against everything that actors hope for.

NCIS creators spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about killing off characters through the years. “There’s a joke sometimes where people would say, ‘You never know who’s going to survive on NCIS,’” executive producer Charles Floyd Johnson said. “Because Lauren Holly (Jenny Shepard) was there, and she went that way, and a couple of others. And some fans complained that it was always women who went faster than the guys. But it did keep audiences’ attention.”


Johnson continued by explaining that Muse Watson, who played Supervisory Special Agent Mike Franks, wasn’t happy when he was killed off in season 8. “There was a character that Muse Watson played where he was an old NCIS investigator who would come and go,” the executive producer stated. “He loved the show, and he’d come in two or three times a season, and he ended up getting killed. I know he was very unhappy.”

Muse Watson said leaving the show was like ‘losing an old friend’

Muse Watson didn’t keep quiet after his NCIS character was killed. He shared his feelings about Mike Franks’ death while speaking to NCISfanatic in 2012.

“To be fair, I think in planning it, it sounded good. But the way it played out, I think Mike needed more,” Watson stated.


Watson added that he found out his character would die while filming a Christmas production in Branson, Missouri. The executive producer and a writer from NCIS called the actor. “I kind of figured it would be them proposing his death,” he added. “At that point, I heard their idea. It’s like losing an old friend. But, I gotta be honest with you, this is my living, too, so it’s like losing a job. I wasn’t too excited about it.”

The creators told Watson he shouldn’t fear losing screentime, though, as they wanted him to reappear as a ghost.

Several past cast members explained why they left the series

While Muse Watson’s NCIS character was killed off, several other characters had other reasons for exiting. Fan-favorite actors like Michael Weatherly, Mark Harmon, and Cote de Pablo explained why they wanted to quit the series despite receiving much love from fans.

De Pablo clarified that it was the storyline that made her want to leave. “Look, I love this character. I worked eight years crafting this character and loving her,” she said, according to Digital Spy. “And so when I felt or I perceived that the character was not being treated with the respect that she deserved, no money in the world [would make her stay].”

As for Weatherly, he left after feeling burnt out from the series, and he pursued another acting gig with the TV series Bull. Harmon left after spending two decades on the series, but he still serves as an executive producer.


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