Jennifer Esposito — who once clashed with CBS over her treatment as an actress suffering from celiac disease — is back on the network. “NCIS” just announced that she will join the cast as a series regular next season.
The apparent let-bygones-be-bygones move by CBS is an unusual one for a business with long memories, and sometimes unforgiving ones too. Esposito — who played Jackie Curatola on “Blue Bloods” — was dropped from the show in October 2012, after the Brooklyn native demanded a reduced workload because of her ailment. Infuriated, Esposito took to Twitter, calling CBS’s move “absolutely shameful behavior,” and said the network had placed her “on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doctor said you needed a reduced schedule due to Celiac.”
Celiac is a serious autoimmune response related to eating gluten, found in various grains.
At the time, CBS responded that, “Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule. As a result, she’s unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence.”
The temporary leave eventually turned into a permanent one, and while Esposito’s career cooled somewhat, it was hardly derailed — there was a role on “Mistresses” and a brief run on the hot Showtime series, “The Affair.”
Now, the career’s hot again. According to CBS: Esposito “will play NCIS Special Agent Alexandra “Alex” Quinn, an experienced agent who left field work and became an instructor at the Law Enforcement Training Center. Gibbs [Mark Harmon] will lure her back into the field as part of his team, where he will take advantage of her sharp wit, quick mind and immense talent as a federal agent.”
“NCIS” — TV’s most viewed drama — returns Sept. 20.