This Is Why NCIS Got Rid Of Mike Franks

To date, "NCIS" has run on CBS for a remarkable 18 seasons. The show — which was recently renewed for a 19th season — continues to be a ratings juggernaut for the network, with more than 12 million viewers tuning in for each episode (via The Hollywood Reporter). Given the show's popularity (it's even spawned multiple spin-off shows like "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "NCIS: New Orleans"), it's not surprising that its fans would become particularly invested in its characters — and may not even agree with all the decisions the show's creators make.

For example: The death of Mike Franks (played by actor Muse Watson) in the show's eighth season (via Entertainment Weekly). Franks made his first appearance on "NCIS" back in Season 3, when he was introduced via flashback as the mentor to Leroy Jethro Gibbs, becoming acquainted when the pair served in the Navy together during the Vietnam War.

In the show's eighth season, Franks shared that he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. However, it wasn't his disease he succumbed to, but to serial killer Jonas Cobb, who was pursuing and killing former Navy personnel (via CBS). And while Franks might have met his untimely demise, he saved Gibbs' life in the process, even further cementing the special bond of their mentor-mentee relationship.

Moving the story forward

Because there does not appear to be any ill will between Watson and the cast and crew of "NCIS," fans have reason to believe that his character was killed off not because of any on-set disputes, but simply to move the show's plot forward (via Entertainment Weekly).

That being said, Watson would have liked to have seen a more fitting end for his character.

"To be fair, I think in planning it, it sounded good, but the way it played out — I think Mike needed more," he shared in an interview with NCISFanatic (via YouTube). "When you sum it up to a boy in the rain with a scalpel ... it just wasn't enough to get Mike."

Although Watson might have been killed, it wasn't the last "NCIS" fans saw of him. He's made frequent appearances on the show since season 9, sometimes via a hallucination, and others in flashbacks. His last appearance to date was in Season 15.

Watson is also known for his portrayal of Charles Westmoreland on "Prison Break," and has made appearances on shows like "Franklin & Bash," "Justified," and "Eagleheart." And Watson has one more iconic role under his belt: He's perhaps most famous for playing the fisherman in "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (via Vulture). So if fans miss Watson, they should check out some of his other projects, but given the show's track record for bringing him back to "NCIS," there's no telling what might happen in Season 19.