NCIS season 18: Jack Sloane and Gibbs romance ‘sealed’ in first-look photo

There’s plenty of drama on its way for the like of Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) and the team when the 18th season of NCIS kicks off later this month. Whether it be the action-packed return of Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) or a painful-looking incident involving Dr Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), CBS viewers are in for a dramatic ride. But one plot that’s left fans intrigued since it was announced she’d be leaving earlier this year is Jacqueline Sloane (Maria Bello) and Gibbs’ possible romance.

In one snap released by CBS before season 18 begins on November 17, Sloane and Gibbs are shown together.

And it appears her departure couldn’t be further from their minds as the two share a smile.

Not only that, but Sloane has an affectionate hand on Gibbs’ arm as she looks longingly into his eyes.

While the photo doesn’t confirm if they seal this moment with a kiss, it’s certainly the biggest hint yet their feelings for one another will come to the forefront.

NCIS season 18: Gibbs and Sloane back in season 17

NCIS season 18: Gibbs and Sloane back in season 17 (Image: GETTY/CBS)

But if this moment is to seal the long-awaited romance fans have been waiting for, surely only heartbreak awaits.

If they do finally get together, surely Gibbs would be left devastated when Sloane eventually departs – however that may be.

This first-look snap isn’t the only hint fans have had at Sloane’s involvement ahead of the series premiere.

CBS shared its first minute-long trailer for season 18 and Sloane makes an appearance, albeit brief.

Sloane’s return to the fray comes when Gibbs assembles a team to hunt down a suspect in the trailer.

“Let’s go catch a killer,” Gibbs tell his team, with them soon agreeing to come along.

“I’m in,” says Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), with Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham) soon concurring: “Me too.”

Moments after, Sloane waltz’s into the conversation and says: “Me three.”

But could this hunt be the storyline which leads to Sloane’s departure?

Fans will have to tune in to find out for sure just how she’ll leave the series with bosses staying tight-lipped about her departure.

But needless to say, she’ll be a much-missed character having won over the fans in the past three seasons.

NCIS season 18 premieres on CBS on Tuesday, November 17.