NCIS season 18 is the final one for Maria Bello's character, Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane. There are a lot of questions about how she will be written out in the story since she's an essential character, especially in Leroy Jethro Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) storyline. There's also a question of whether she'll be replaced or not.

Sloane's departure remains to be one of the biggest mysteries in NCIS season 18, with speculations ranging from a new job offer to sudden death. But, beyond that, another important question is: will the series bring a new character on board to fill her place?

There is no clear answer to that question at the moment. Sloane becomes one of the most essential characters ever since she arrived in the procedural drama. Bello has been on the series for the past three seasons and many were shocked when it was announced earlier this year that she's leaving.

In a recent interview with TVLine, executive producer Steven D. Binder discussed whether Sloane will be replaced eventually, if not in NCIS season 18. When asked if they're going to find someone to fill the character's spot, he noted that they'll deal on the particular matter a bit "further down the line."

Binder explained that there is a core team, and it was a function for Bello that's why they were able to give her so much to do. Then executive producer added that they won't necessarily find someone to replace the character right away.

While Sloane is officially leaving NCIS season 18, her spot will be vacant -- at least until around the potential season 19. The good thing is that fans will see more of the character since she'll be appearing in eight episodes. Thus, there is no real rush to find someone to fill her place immediately.

As for how Bello's character is going to exit, Binder told the aforementioned outlet that they always try to figure out how to write out in the story. He explained that they always consider what does a character deserves, particularly his or her ending.

For Sloane, she is a passionate and strong character. The executive producer said that they're going to give here something "noteworthy" of that. Fans need to wait and see what the upcoming installment has stored for the character, though some were hoping a happy ending should wrap up her story.

NCIS season 18 premieres on Tuesday, Nov. 17, on CBS, with an episode titled, "Sturgeon Season."