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CBS has a good thing going with NCIS, which is set to enter its fifteenth season in the fall. We learned earlier this summer that one of the stars of Season 14 would not be returning for the next batch of episodes, and we now know that there won't just be a hole in the cast. A brand new lead is joining the series, and she won't exactly make life at NCIS easier for Gibbs. Maria Bello of Touch and Goliath has joined the NCIS team for Season 15.
Maria Bello will play an NCIS agent who has developed the reputation as the premiere forensic psychologist of the agency. She's an army veteran, having served two tours in Afghanistan as a second lieutenant. She'll set herself apart from the other NCIS agents due to her ability to challenge and even second-guess Gibbs, which will naturally lead to some conflict between the two. They will also respect each other, but it seems that the respect won't come easily. That said, she has a mischievous streak that lends to a sharp sense of humor, and she'll be an asset to the team.
We don't yet know the name of Maria Bello's character, but we'll see plenty of her in Season 15. Bello has signed on as a series regular. The character doesn't sound like she'll be a simple replacement for Jennifer Esposito's Agent Alex Quinn, so it should be interesting to see how she fits into the team dynamic in the new season. NCIS has gone through some significant casting changes over the past few years, starting with Michael Weatherly's momentous decision to depart.
Of course, there's a lot about the NCIS team that's currently unknown. The Season 14 finale ended with the lives of a couple of major characters in jeopardy; while it was never especially likely that NCIS would kill off Gibbs and/or McGee in a season premiere, fans have still had to wonder if a change to the status quo was in the works. There were hints earlier in Season 14 that Gibbs could be earning a big promotion, which would definitely make any second-guessing from a new character rather contentious.
The NCIS gig won't be the first time that Maria Bello has landed on a law enforcement TV show. She had a memorable role on Law & Order: SVU back in 2010, and she played a detective on Prime Suspect from 2011-2012. Touch took her in a different direction in 2012-2013. She recently starred in the first season of Amazon's legal drama Goliath, which has been renewed for a second season. We'll have to wait and see if Bello's role on NCIS will impact Season 2 of Goliath in any way.