Following a protracted absence of nearly seven months, NCIS – CBS’s stalwart crime procedural – is scheduled to return to our TV screens on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. But what exactly can fans expect to see as Season 18 kicks into high gear?
NCIS Producers Open Up About Season 18
First and foremost, don’t anticipate any mention of COVID-19. Instead, NCIS will be turning back the clock to 2019 and continuing last year’s truncated plotline which concerned the hunt for a villain who supplied Tobias Fornell’s (Joe Spano) daughter with a cache of potentially lethal drugs.
The aforementioned Fornell and NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) will be tackling that case, while the rest of the team will be on the lookout for a missing cadaver.
Season 18 will also feature the milestone 400th episode (titled Everything Starts Somewhere) which executive producer Steve Binder revealed to TVLine would feature younger versions of Gibbs and former NCIS medical examiner Donald “Ducky” Mallard.
Binder further explained that “[the episode] revolves around their first meeting and they’re at a crossroads in their lives…it’s a very pivotal moment in both of their lives and they’re able to help each other get on the path that leads them to where we find them in the present day.”
Returning for the special presentation are actors Adam Campbell (who’s played “Young Ducky” on three previous occasions) and Sean Harmon, who just so happens to be Mark Harmon’s firstborn son. This will mark his seventh episode playing Young Gibbs.
When pressed for details concerning upcoming storylines that would delve into the personal lives of the series’ characters, Binder’s fellow EP, Frank Cardea, divulged that Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) and his wife, Delilah (Margo Harshman), would be front and center around the fourth episode and he also promised that the Bishop (Emily Wickersham)/Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) relationship would be prominently featured in an upcoming installment.
The duo cautioned against the hope that Robert J Wagner would make a return appearance anytime soon – owing to filming restrictions with actors of advanced age (Wagner turned 90 in February) – and they also teased their handling of Maria Bello’s upcoming exit.
Bello, who has played forensic psychologist Jacqueline “Jack” Sloane since Season 15, decided to forgo a contract extension last year and, as a result, her character will be bidding the NCIS team adieu sometime during this year’s set of episodes.
Explains Binder, ” Sloane is a very strong character, she’s a passionate character, and we’re going to really have her go out on a note worthy of that.” But don’t expect to see a new actor or actress embodying a similar character.
Says Binder, “There’s a core team, and I think it was a function of Maria that we were able to find so much to give her to do. If it’s not Maria [in the role], then I don’t know if we need to necessarily fill it right away.” NCIS airs Tuesday nights on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes.