NCIS is making a very unconventional time jump in its upcoming 18th season.
Co-showrunner Steve Binder has revealed current plans for a spectacular opening segment to kick off the season, but then NCIS will actually move backwards in time following its opening credits.
The CBS procedural will shift back to November 2019 – before the pandemic – for a multi-episode storyline to explain Gibbs’s (Mark Harmon) absence during a season 17 episode.
“We had an episode last year called ‘Musical Chairs’, where Gibbs disappears from the squad room to go on a mission, and then he shows up at the end of the episode with a black eye,” Binder told TVLine.
“We are going to pick up season 18 with that mission that Gibbs was on, back in time. We’re in a pre-COVID world for a little while.”
This storyline will allow NCIS to avoid having to directly deal with the pandemic until early next year, according to Binder. In February, viewers will finally be back in DC as the team deal with operating during a pandemic.
One other major change coming to season 18 is that CBS Television has committed to reforming the way police action is depicted across the NCIS franchise and Blue Bloods, in response to the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
Producers will be working with law enforcement and public safety advisory group 21CP Solutions to reflect “a great deal of responsibility” shows like NCIS have with their police depictions.
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