Question: I was so shocked to see Kate (Sasha Alexander) killed off on NCIS! Did Sasha want to leave the show? — Josh

Ausiello: Based on the avalanche of e-mails I received just seconds after the finale aired last week, I don't think anyone saw that killer twist coming. But to answer your question, yeah, Sasha wanted out. Series creator Donald Bellisario told my colleague Mary Murphy that Sasha approached him in March and asked to be released from her contract. "She came in with tears in her eyes," he recalls, "and said, 'I never worked this hard in my life. I just don't have the stamina to do it [anymore].'" So, Bellisario says he was faced with two choices: make the actress honor her contract or write her exit into the story. "And since NCIS deals with the reality of what happens in the biz — and people die — I decided it was better to let her die in a very impactful way," he explains. "I knew it would shock everybody."