6 NCIS Spinoff Characters Who Can Replace Jessica Knight After Season 21’s Twist Ending

A close up of Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) in NCIS


  • Ruah’s Kensi Blye could seamlessly slide into Jessica Knight’s role on the MCRT with her vast experience and connections.
  • Gregorio from NCIS: New Orleans possesses skills and qualities that align with Knight’s, making her a solid replacement option.
  • Lucy Tara from NCIS: Hawai’i could provide a fresh perspective as Knight’s replacement, adding new dynamics to the team dynamic.

After the twist ending for Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) at the end of NCIS season 21, a character from one of the show’s spinoffs could fill her role on the Major Case Response Team. It was revealed that the special agent was departing the team in the NCIS season 21 finale, and Jessica Knight’s departure continues a 19-year franchise legacy. When looking at who could fill the role next, it’s important to consider how a potential replacement would gel with Alden Parker (Gary Cole), Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), and the rest of the NCIS cast.

Naturally, a new character in the role could completely change the NCIS season 22 story. The show has been on-air for over two decades, and the savvy changing-of-the-guard between characters when they arrive and depart the series is a main contributor to the show’s longevity. Another factor of the show’s success is the authority established by the many spinoff shows that comprise the NCIS shared universe. The franchise launched some of the spinoffs with backdoor pilots in the main series and has a history of finding different ways to incorporate characters across its many shows.

Because of all the shows that make up the NCIS universe, the franchise is actually full of pre-existing characters that could easily fill the void left by Knight’s potentially permanent departure. After all, each show in NCIS’ world generally comes complete with its own cast of major and supporting players, which lends itself well to crossover opportunities and possible character replacements. What’s more, since some shows are longer on the air, there’s quite a few characters who would be available if a move to NCIS season 22 ever became a necessity.

7 Special Agent Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah)

NCIS: Los Angeles

Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) smiling after getting married in NCIS LA season 10 episode 17.

One agent who’s more than capable of taking on Jessica Knight’s role on the flagship MCRT is Daniela Ruah’s Special Agent Kensi Blye. Although she’s used to working in the Los Angeles Office of Special Projects, Blye is no stranger to the flagship NCIS. In fact, Ruah has been featured on the main show in three episodes. She appeared on the show twice in season 6 to launch NCIS: Los Angeles, and she made an appearance recently in NCIS season 21. Ruah is also familiar with the police procedural format, appearing in over 300 episodes of the LA-based spinoff.

Ruah has a lot of connections to the flagship show that make it an obvious choice to pull her from the cast of NCIS: Los Angeles. Ruah appeared on the show in the NCIS 1000th episode, signaling her character’s major significance to the NCISverse. Additionally, Ruah has directed several episodes across the franchise, directing six episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles during her stay on the show and one episode of both NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i within the last year (she directed NCIS season 21, episode 4, “Left Unsaid”). Joining the main series would provide an abundance of directing opportunities for Ruah.

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6 Special Agent Tammy Gregorio (Vanessa Ferlito)

NCIS: New Orleans

Vanessa Ferlito as Tammy Gregorio in a scene from NCIS: New Orleans

Another agent well-suited for the role is Special Agent Tammy Gregorio, who hails from the NCIS: New Orleans cast. Gregorio would make a great replacement for Jessica Knight simply because she shares qualities with other agents who have shined in the role in the past. For instance, Gregorio is a former FBI Special Agent, and she has FBI profiling experience, which is something Caitlin “Kate” Todd (Sasha Alexander) brought to the team from her experience with the Secret Service. It’s a quality that, when it’s present in the team, offers a richness to the formulaic case-of-the-week investigations.

Tammy is a trained sharpshooter, often serving as the team’s sniper on NCIS: New Orleans. The special agent’s skills proved to be valuable many times throughout the series, and her excellent marksmanship would be the perfect addition to the D.C. office. Tammy’s skills evoke the same versatility that Jessica Knight, Ziva David, and Caitlin Todd brought to the team. In fact, her experience as a sniper gives her characteristics that cross over with Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), proving she has the right stuff for the flagship MCRT. She and Parker would also have a connection with their FBI backgrounds.

5 Special Agent Lucy Tara (Yasmine Al-Bustami)

NCIS: Hawai’i

Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara looking skeptical in NCIS Hawai'i

Lucy Tara would make a great replacement for Jessica Knight, especially after the cancelation of NCIS: Hawai’i before season 4. Lucy is a capable agent who shows composure in harrowing situations but is fiercely dedicated to her work. Incorporating Lucy into the main show wouldn’t make up for the massive loss for the franchise that came with the cancelation of NCIS: Hawai’i, because her role on the show is irreplaceable, but a continuation of her story on the flagship series is the least that could be done for her character and would give her some well-deserved spotlight.

One interesting fact about Lucy is that she carried a SIG-Sauer P365. The pistol is the same brand as the weapon of choice for Kate, Ziva, and even Jess. It’s memorable that Kate carried a SIG-Sauer P228 because at one point, in NCIS season 1, episode 16, “Bete Noir,” Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin) confiscates Agent Todd’s SIG Sauer. He later instructs Leroy Jethro Gibbs to pick it up and persuades Gibbs to use the pistol to shoot at him so that he can execute his escape plan. It’s a fascinating detail connecting Lucy to the role’s legacy.

4 Constable Evie Cooper (Tuuli Narkle)

NCIS: Sydney

Tuuli Narkle as Evie Cooper looking serious in NCIS: Sydney

It would make for a wild twist to fill Jessica Knight’s role with Constable Evie Cooper from the cast of NCIS: Sydneyespecially since the show is still running. She works for the Australian Federal Police and serves as a Liaison Officer with AFP and the NCIS Sydney Task Force. Although her work with the task force established in Sydney is just getting started, it would really shake things up to include Tuuli Narkle’s character in the flagship series. However, it would take some finessing to incorporate why she needed to be transferred to Washington D.C. into her storyline.

While it would be fun to see Tuuli’s character on the flagship NCIS, it probably won’t happen since CBS has renewed NCIS: Sydney for season 2. While it would be great to have Evie’s charisma on the main show, what she provides to the cast of Sydney is too valuable to take away from at this point. Evie Cooper is still establishing her connection with Special Agent in Charge Michelle Mackey (Olivia Swann), Special Agent DeShawn Jackson (Sean Sagar), and Bluebird “Blue” Gleeson (Mavournee Hazel), and so moving her at this point seems highly unlikely, and would compromise NCIS: Sydney.

3 Sam Hanna (LL Cool J)

NCIS: Los Angeles & NCIS: Hawai’i

Sam on NCIS Hawaii

While Jessica Knight’s role has traditionally been filled by a strong female character, Sam Hanna would also be a worthy candidate to become a special agent at Washington D.C.’s flagship office. Joining NCIS at their headquarters feels like a natural progression for LL Cool J’s character, who was a part of the Office of Special Projects as part of the cast of NCIS: Los Angeles, and he spearheaded an elite team of federal agents in season 3 of NCIS: Hawai’i. It wouldn’t be the first time Hanna was recruited from one NCIS office to another, making his NCIS return likely.

Sam Hanna was introduced at the onset of NCIS: Los Angeles with other characters like Kensi Blye and G Callen (Chris O’Donnell), and after the conclusion of NCIS: Los Angeles, his role continued to evolve. LL Cool J’s character appeared in NCIS: Hawai’i season 2 episodes 10 and 22, and he would go on to star as a series regular in season 3. He also made an appearance in Hawaii Five-0, another series that exists within the NCISverse. After canceling NCIS: Hawai’i broke an unwanted franchise record, Sam will need a new position to hold his standing.

2 Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant

NCIS: Hawai’i

Vanessa Lachey looking distraught in NCIS: Hawaii

Jane Tennant would be a good Jessica Knight replacement for NCIS. However, the position would be a downgrade for her, after serving as Special Agent in Charge of the NCIS Hawai’i Field Office. With the recent cancelation of NCIS: Hawai’i, Tennant’s character is left with incomplete storylines. At least a role for Jane on the flagship series could see her further explore the Maggie Shaw cliffhanger that concluded the NCIS: Hawai’i season finale. While other unfinished storylines for Jane make Hawai’i‘s cancelation worse, bringing her character to the flagship could be the only way for her character to get resolution.

It would be a downgrade for Tennant to take the role as it is, but perhaps instead of replacing Jessica Knight, Tennant could become the Special Agent in Charge at NCIS Headquarters to help fill Knight’s vacancy from a different angle. Knight’s responsibilities could be shifted to Supervisory Special Agent Alden Parker, who took over for Gibbs (but never in the capacity of Special Agent in Charge). In that sense, she could replace Knight. Tennant has a working relationship with the characters from the main NCIS, starring alongside Jess and Torres in an NCIS: Hawai’i crossover episode.

1 Ziva David


Cote de Pablo as Ziva standing against a railing in NCIS

Finally, the best agent for the job could be Ziva herself. Ziva would make an excellent replacement for Jessica Knight because she defined the legendary role on the MCRT with nearly a decade of service to Gibbs’ team and the NCIS. She was introduced at the onset of season 3, at which point she ultimately killed her half-brother, protecting Gibbs and avenging Kate’s death. She was a mainstay on the show until season 11. Ziva would be the perfect character to step into the role, but her time at NCIS Headquarters would be provisional.

It wouldn’t be the first time the actor appeared on NCIS temporarily. The season 6 finale shocked fans when Ziva returned in season 16. Furthermore, Tony DiNozzo actor Michael Weatherly, seemingly confirmed Ziva’s return for season 21. Her not making an appearance boosts the chances of seeing Ziva in season 22. Since the spinoff won’t air until late 2024 or early 2025, it creates the perfect window of time for Ziva to return and launch her show on the flagship. Ziva has big things coming in NCIS: Tony & Ziva.


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