NCIS is in full swing prepping for Season 18, with production underway to get the show on the air ASAP. As it stands now, November seems to be the targeted date for having Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the gang back on our screens — a flexible target that’s of course dependent on factors including the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. When NCIS returns, fans will be looking for resolution on a number of important storylines, including how exactly Sloane (Maria Bello) will say farewell from the show, and what’s up with the recently reported time jump backward to last year.
But there’s another big event happening fans will be thrilled to see too: the show’s 400th episode. It’s not uncommon for reality, variety, or new shows to hit such a high episode count — Dancing with the Stars and Saturday Night Live for example, have aired over 400 and almost 900 episodes respectively — but for a scripted, live-action program, few shows of the modern era reach such an advanced milestone. (Law & Order is one; it aired 456 episodes in its 20-year, 20 season run.) NCIS, which began in 2003, may well be on its way to matching that record if it pushes on a few more years, but for now, it’s still got a big, respectable birthday coming up.
NCIS of course ended Season 17 prematurely in April, two episodes shy of its quadricentennial with “The Arizona,” the moving episode starring Christopher Lloyd as World War II veteran Joe Smith. When NCIS returns, it won’t continue that storyline explicitly, but will continue to explore the ramifications of it– especially how Gibbs has become more introspective and emotional. How will all that ladder up to NCIS‘ big anniversary episode? Here’s what we know so far.
It’ll be a flashback. ”It’s about how Gibbs and Ducky met,” showrunner Frank Cardea told TV Guide in April. “It’s a case that brings them back. There are wonderful moments and we see how Ducky and Gibbs met under strange circumstances.”
It may give insight into a mystery. The recent news that NCIS’ opening episodes will dig into what happened when Gibbs went off the grid in the Season 17 Episode 8 episode “Musical Chairs” likely means we’ll uncover more about Gibbs past.
There may be some new faces or characters to emerge. Jason Kennedy, casting director on the show, posted a pic in August of a piece of paper with “NCIS #400” written on it — a clear indication the series is picking new peeps to populate the episode. Of course, these could be minor characters as much as they could be integral storyline folks, so we’ll have to wait to see exactly what that means.
— Jason Kennedy Casting (@kennedycasting) August 28, 2020
NCIS aired its last episode of Season 17 before a hiatus on April 14. Past episodes are streaming on CBS All Access.