has solved many mysteries and has saved plenty of lives over the course of the past decade, but it has also claimed numerous lives, including characters we love. While some fatalities were expected, some deaths were heartbreaking and unfortunately they still linger until now. Let's look back at 10 of the most beloved characters killed off by the CBS police procedural franchise.
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Ziva David - NCIS
Perhaps one of the most disappointing deaths on the show is Ziva David's demise. The former Israeli Mossad officer has been sorely missed since she resigned permanently from NCIS but all hope of her ultimately ending up with Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo was crushed when it was revealed she was killed during an attack in the farmhouse where she lived -- leaving her little girl Tali motherless and prompting DiNozzo to resign to take care of their child full-time.
Caitlin Todd - NCIS
Caitlin Todd's promising NCIS career came to an abrupt and tragic end when she was shot in the head by sniper and Mossad double-agent Ari Haswari. The fan favorite's death not only surprised viewers but also left a huge impact on Gibbs, DiNozzo and the rest of the team.
Jennifer Shepard - NCIS
Almost everyone took the death of Jennifer Shepard extremely hard. She wasn't just a badass NCIS Director, she was also Gibbs' lover. Though she was already ill, she succumbed to death from injuries sustained in a shootout in the Mojave Desert against assassins sent by Natasha, whom Shepard previously let go. Gibbs and Mike Franks decide to cover Shepard's mistake and death by burning down her Georgetown mansion. Her cause of death was eventually reported as "death in home fire."
Qasim Naasir - NCIS
Qasim Naasir only appeared on a handful of episodes but he was not hard to like, especially when it was revealed he was dating Ellie Bishop. The charming NCIS translator even proposed to Bishop only to end up dead from injuries sustained in an attack by a criminal that the NCIS team has been tracking.
Michael Franks - NCIS
Michael Franks was killed by Jonas Cobb, the "Port-to-Port Killer," outside of Gibbs' house in season 8, where it was also revealed he was dying of cancer. It was sad to say goodbye to the person who basically taught Gibbs everything he knew about being an NCIS agent but Gibbs' former mentor and partner's legacy lives on. It's also comforting to know that he continues to appear as a figment of Gibbs' imagination, usually offering advice.
Paula Cassidy - NCIS
Not a lot of fans were probably affected by Paula Cassidy's departure but her loss had a purpose. The criminal profiler for NCIS, who first appeared in the season 1 episode "Minimum Security" where she worked at Guantanamo Bay as an interrogator and who was at one point intimate with DiNozzo, sacrificed herself to stop a suicide bomber -- sparing the lives of Gibbs, DiNozzo, Ziva and three clerics.
Jackie Vance - NCIS
Jackie Vance, the wife of Leon Vance, made her debut in the season 6 episode "Knockout" and showed her fierce side in the season 7 episode "Endgame," where she shot Kai and finished what Leon could not do 17 years ago in Prague. She later met her end in season 10 in the crossfire when Roland Ames assassinated Eli David on the orders of Mossad Deputy Director Ilan Bodnar.
Michelle Hanna - NCIS: Los Angeles
Michelle Hanna wasn't just Sam Hanna's wife, she was a tough and fearless deep-cover CIA operative who would go to great lengths just to get the job done. Though she risked her life numerous times, she met her end in season 8 as she was put in a portable freezer and suffered from carbon dioxide poisoning.
Dominic Vail - NCIS: Los Angeles
Dominic Vail may have copped a lot of flak for being a probationary agent and the team's new guy but his heroic sacrifice will never be forgotten. Everyone's sort of younger brother stepped in front of gunfire during his own rescue mission, ultimately saving Sam.
Lauren Hunter - NCIS: Los Angeles
Not the most beloved character, Lauren Hunter eventually warmed up to the team and viewers as she succeeded Hetty temporarily as Special Agent in Charge of OSP. Her stint, however, was short-lived as she was murdered by the Chameleon.
Whose death hit you the hardest? Can you think of any other characters who belong on this list? Let us know what you think in the comments.
(Image courtesy of CBS)