The 17th season of NCIS has been underway since September and the mid-season finale is approaching. Since she only has a three-year contract with CBS, actress Maria Bello (52) would have to leave the show unless she plans to continue starring as "Jack Sloane".

NCIS: "Jack Sloane's" death might be necessary

If Maria Bello were to leave NCIS after season 17, having her character die would be the most fitting departure. Though it might be devastating for fans, it would make sense for the showrunners to have "Sloane" pass away.

Especially in regard to "Gibbs", (Mark Harmon, 68) the death of "Sloane" would work well. The two maintain a very special relationship and fans have often asked themselves if something was going on between "Gibbs" and "Sloane".

But so far, "Gibbs" has been very closed off and one of his famous rules states that one should never enter into a romantic relationship with a colleague - for good reason. But would "Gibbs" break his own sacred rule and start seeing "Sloane"?

Also, would it be strange to see "Gibbs" in a relationship? His deeply isolated and lonely character defines him on NCIS. If "Gibbs" ever gets a 'happy ending', this will probably coincide with the end of the popular show.

With him and "Sloane", there certainly would be the danger of a 'happy ending', which is why TVInsider suspects that the forensic psychologist will die at the end of the season. Her death would be a big mental setback for "Gibbs" and leave him where the writers want him to be.

NCIS: Could "Ziva David" return if "Sloane" dies?

Also, "Sloane's" death could mean that Coté de Pablo (40) returns to NCIS as "Ziva David" as series regular. The agent, who left the show years ago, has already appeared in several episodes of season 17. Will she soon be back permanently?

Coté de Pablo left the show because she was dissatisfied with her character's development in the series. She had a feeling that "Ziva" wasn't treated with the respect she deserved.

But when "Ziva" returns and "Gibbs" loses "Jack Sloane", her death could serve as a basis to rebuild the relationship between "Gibbs" and "Ziva". The two once had kind of a father-daughter bond that was torn apart.

If "Ziva" is there to support "Gibbs" after this loss, it would drastically change her role on the show. She would be there for him and could support him in this difficult time.

But fans still have to be patient. Whether "Jack Sloane" will actually die and what will continue to happen in the 17th season of NCIS remains to be seen.

NCIS airs every Tuesday at 8 p.m. (7 central) on CBS.