“NCIS” is known for having a cast of characters who appear to be particularly talented at failing in relationships, and Ellie joins this group in season 13. The choice to let the character go through a divorce makes perfect sense considering the stress and distance the couple is going through, and of course there is Jake’s affair. But one of the biggest reasons Ellie and Jake split is the realization that they really do not have much in common.
The couple meet while they are both working at the NSA, and their job and devotion to the organization is what brings them together and keeps them together. When Ellie decides to move to NCIS, she probably thinks her marriage can handle it, as it’s just a new job. But once she starts working with new people and not with Jake, Ellie begins to realize that the NSA may be all she really has in common with her husband, and that’s certainly not enough to keep a marriage stable.
In an interview with Weekly entertainment right after the 2015 episode where Jake reveals her affair, Wickersham spoke about the fate of their marriage, saying that the inability to share all the details of her work in NCIS with Jake certainly is part of Ellie’s divorce, but that should not end a marriage, so I feel that the marriage, the foundation, was not strong enough to begin with. “Fortunately, the divorce allows Ellie to fully indulge in her job at NCIS, meet new people and start a new chapter in his life.