Lucas Black attends the screening of "NCIS: New Orleans" at the National WWII Museum on September 17, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

NCIS: New Orleans just gave us the rudest shock midway into season 6. Christopher LaSalle, our favorite NCIS agent with a thick accent, was killed off in last night’s episode (November 5). This comes at a time when rumors were circulating that Lucas Black, who plays LaSalle, is leaving the show. Fans are obviously sad to see LaSalle go and want to know why was he written off. While an initial reason hasn’t been disclosed, Black’s costars hint at why Lucas Black is leaving NCIS: New Orleans.

What Happened to LaSalle on NCIS: New Orleans?

If you’re a loyal fan of the NCIS universe, you’d know that Christopher LaSalle, the senior field agent, has been with the team since season 1. But season 6 marked the end for LaSalle on the show.

As things happened on NCIS: New Orleans this week, LaSalle tracks down the drug ring that is responsible for his brother Cade’s death. His search brings him to Alabama, where he meets a woman who leads him to a cabin where Cade was supposedly killed.

While LaSalle is looking at the blood-stained floor, a gunman barges into the cabin and takes aim at the woman. But LaSalle pushes her out of harm’s way and takes the brunt of the gunfire.

Dwayne Pride arrives on the scene soon after and has LaSalle airlifted to a hospital. Though LaSalle survives the surgery and seems fine, his vitals soon start crashing.

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As his failing vitals set off the machines connected to him and medical personnel perform CPR on him, LaSalle dazedly looks into the distance and claims, “Let’s go fishing, Cade….” He is pronounced dead, much to the shock and grief of the entire team.

Fans are shook by this turn of events, as is evident in their Twitter reactions.

Why Did Lucas Black Leave NCIS: New Orleans?

Ahead of season 6, there were rumors that LaSalle may be leaving the show. Before last night’s episode aired, Black further fueled those rumors by saying on social media, “Proud to play a character in law enforcement. One that represents law enforcement in a positive and uplifting way, Sacrificing his life to serve the people and keeping peace [sic].”

As Black indicated, LaSalle did go out like a hero, and was rewarded by reuniting with his brother. Soon after the tragic episode aired, Black thanked all the fans on Twitter, writing, “Thank you all! Really appreciate the love and support from you! My time on NCIS New Orleans was an amazing experience!”

NCIS: New Orleans showrunners Christopher Silber and Jan Nash also released a statement, saying, “We had an amazing run with Lucas Black and he has been such an important part of our NCIS: New Orleans team. We are sad to see him go, but happy he will have more time to spend with his family.”

Both responses make it clear that there’s nothing negative about Black’s departure from the show. Silber and Nash’s statement indicates that this decision wasn’t story-driven, either, and LaSalle’s ending was written when Black decided to leave.

It’s rumored that Black is returning to the Fast and Furious franchise’s ninth installment, slated for a 2020 release. He made his debut as Sean Boswell in the blockbuster street-racing franchise with 2006’s Tokyo Drift and reprised his role in 2015’s Furious 7.

If Black is indeed returning to the next movie, we can understand how filming for a longrunning TV show and an action-packed movie that moves around the world might leave very little personal time. And he needs to spend time with his family, too.

The dad-of-three probably decided to bow out of his TV home since 2014 to focus on his family and other projects.

In an exit interview, he said, “…this job isn’t easy for me. There’s a lot of priorities in my life that get sacrificed for me to be here. But it’s time for me to focus on those priorities.

Scott Bakula, who plays Pride, called this development a “dramatic change.” Necar Zadegan, aka Hannah Khoury, emphasized how important LaSalle is to the show, which means his death will have a big impact on the team.

His other costars praised Black for mentoring them and being an inspiration for them. They also reiterated Black’s decision to devote more time to his family.

We’re going to miss LaSalle going forward. But he’s not going to be forgotten. As Zadegan hinted, the team is sure going to be affected by this loss. We’ll have to see how when NCIS: New Orleans airs on Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. EST on CBS.

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