Damn. I thought Percy would at least last through the season.
But no. She handed in her NCIS badge on NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 19.
Maybe Shalita Grant just decided to use her built-up vacation time. Who can say?
That's been part of the problem right along with Percy. She was gone about every third episode. And, unlike some ensemble shows, the cast wasn't big enough that one character missing wasn't noticeable.
Like Patton, Percy has always felt like a recurring character, not a full-fledged cast member. As such, that character wasn't as well-developed as others.
Instead, little factoids about Percy would just pop up in the script as needed. For example, this episode we found out she was supposedly a skilled poker player from her time with the ATF.
Like she and LaSalle said at the end, you have to wonder what might have been, if Grant had been available full time.
Did Percy get a proper sendoff? I'd say so. After all, her departure has been set up for months.
Best of all, Percy was allowed to walk away on her own terms, rather than be killed off. So she could always return for a guest spot, if there is another season.
Fortunately, it was a solid, Percy-centric episode on which she went out.
Watching the opening scene, I figured there was a real calamity coming, with the naval cyclists and the distracted truck driver hitting the intersection at the same time. But no, that was just a clever fake to reveal the real murder victim.
The deceased had a gambling problem, and he was last seen heading to an underground poker game. It was the perfect setup for Percy to use her newly revealed poker skills, to which only reformed gambler Patton was privy.
The episode featured a nice, slow burn. Rather than have Percy win, then get invited to the private game, she overplayed her hand and lost, building up the tension. That pressure to perform was only worsened by her obvious indecision about staying rather than accepting the FBI position.
When she did get to the big game, she and LaSalle hammed it up for all they were worth, and Young and Chen bought it. But no one was expecting LaSalle to get kidnapped, which again put more pressure on Percy to succeed, seemingly all by herself.
Percy has always been the most likely team member to try something crazy (excepting Pride, who's in a league of his own that way). So driving like a madwoman at armed sailors, then rolling her SUV, was, frankly, perfectly in character. It must be the gambler in her.
All through making her decision, Percy was rightfully most concerned about what effect her leaving would have on the team. Her fake enthusiasm early on betrayed her thoughts about staying. But in the end, everyone knew she was gone.
Her farewell to LaSalle was most touching. After so much will-they-or-won't they, Grant's exit slammed the door for good on that storyline.
The two mirroring storylines were effective as both Laurel and Percy wrestled with whether to do what they truly wanted to do or to stay where they felt they were needed.
Laurel was afraid that her dear old dad had nobody in his life. Still, she's been away pretty much for four years at LSU, so she doesn't realize that among his work family, Rita and the bar, he doesn't have the opportunity to get lonely.
Poor Pride has to be magnanimous and say goodbye both to his actual daughter Laurel and his surrogate daughter Percy.
It was amusing to watch him deliver nearly identical messages to them back to back.
It's a shame Grant decided to go. Percy and Gregorio were becoming BFFs. She and LaSalle were back in a good place after some rocky times.
So what's next? To be precise, next Tuesday night it's Elton John: I'm Still Standing -- A Grammy Salute.
SPOILER ALERT: Then, the following Tuesday on NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 20, Sydney Halliday returns. If you didn't read the writing on the wall on NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 18, Sydney will be Percy's replacement on the team.
I consider this a promising development as far as a fifth season, because I can't imagine adding a new cast member for only three epsiodes. If there's not another season coming, why bother?
To review Percy's career, watch NCIS: New Orleans online.
What did you think of Percy's farewell? How will the team dynamic change with Percy's departure? Was it good to see Laurel again? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.