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NCIS Fans Can't Help But Hate E.J. Barrett's Character

Poor Sarah Jane Morris. The actor played Special Agent Erica Jane "E.J." Barrett over eight episodes on the long-running CBS series "NCIS." Despite her lengthy presence on the show, it appears she was not a fan favorite. The opposite, in fact, seems to be true.

E.J. first appeared on "NCIS" back in March 2011, in Season 8, Episode 17, "One Last Score." The former high school cheerleader became the NCIS' head of the Rota, Spain, division after Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) turned down the position. E.J. eventually became a love interest for Tony, temporarily replacing Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) in that role — though some might say there's no replacing Ziva. E.J.'s introduction episode also served as Weatherly's directorial debut.

After E.J., Tony, and Special Agent Simon Cade (Matthew Willig) get caught in a shootout during the Season 9 premiere, "Nature of the Beast," Tony is hospitalized, Simon is dead, and E.J. is presumed dead, but her body disappears — only for the team to find E.J. again 11 episodes later, in "Housekeeping." With her help, they capture the shooter, and E.J. leaves to presumably live happily ever after while encouraging DiNozzo to begin a relationship with Ziva. 

"Housekeeping," the first episode of 2012, marks Morris' last appearance on "NCIS." The series is currently in its 20th season and streaming on Paramount+, and fans are still talking (and complaining) about Morris's character.

Fans listed E.J. Barrett as their least favorite side character

Redditor u/whispering_unicorn posed and answered the question, "Who's your least favorite side character," asking about the non-antagonist character fans are supposed to like but aren't really a fan of. Though a few were mentioned, like Jeanne Benoit (Scottie Thompson), M. Allison Hart (Rena Sofer), Agent Michelle Lee (Liza Lapira), and "the psychologist woman" Dr. Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis) — hmm, "interesting" that they're all women — the name mentioned most was E.J. Barrett.

"I tried really hard to come up with another – but – yeah. Nope. She was the worst," u/KeepLkngForIntllgnce agreed about E.J. "I don't know if it was the writing or the actress – but the only word that comes to mind is whiny. She just whines." u/Didilucy also agreed, saying "Barrett-Awful-Awful-Awful!" u/tellmemorenow was concerned that Barrett replaced Ziva David after Cote de Pablo left the show in 2013, because "I hated Bar[r]ett from the first episode she was in and had to google how long she stuck around. ... Thankfully not because I probably would have stopped watching." 

Yet another Redditor also agreed that Barrett was unpleasant, but gave a more specific reason for their dislike. "She got her team killed because of her arrogance." They also hated Barrett's relationship with Tony. "We were shown zero personality traits to win us over, so it was literally him sleeping with her 'because hot'."

Sarah Jane Morris seemed to address this animosity in an early interview with TVLine. Referring mostly to Mark Harmon's Leroy Jethro Gibbs character and his distrust of E.J., Morris said, "I still don't really get why no one trusts E.J." These fans seem to agree with Gibbs.