NCIS fans are still waiting to find out more about the shocking season 18 cold open. Three episodes into the new season, the show has yet to revisit the stunning cliffhanger.
But for those worried about Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and McGee’s (Sean Murray) relationship, there’s some good news. Murray says answers are coming soon.
‘NCIS’ is time-jumping during season 18, thanks to the pandemic
After 17 seasons and nearly 400 episodes, NCIS fans were used to the format of the CBS procedural. Every episode usually has a new case for the team to investigate. And characters have story arcs over multiple episodes. The timeline has been linear, and the story usually moves forward each week.
But as Express points out, the pandemic has caused some major changes this season. First of all, production shutdowns in the spring of 2020 cut out the final four planned episodes of season 17. Then, after lengthy production delays, the cast and crew returned for season 18 two months later than normal.
CBS also reduced their order for season 18 to just 16 episodes. And new COVID safety protocols on set have presented even more challenges. All of these factors affected the season 18 storyline. And showrunners decided the best course of action would be to jump back in time to a pre-COVID world.
This led to the season 18 cold open that had the time stamp of March 2020. During the scene, McGee is approaching an airplane on a tarmac when he gets shot in the arm. It’s then revealed that Gibbs is perched on a roof with a sniper rifle.
Then, the opening credits rolled and the next scene saw a time jump back to November 2019. They’ve yet to revisit the shocking opener. And it’s become one of the most puzzling mysteries in the show’s lengthy history.
Sean Murray promises that season 18 will be ‘really interesting’
Ahead of the premiere, Murray revealed that McGee and Gibbs’ partnership does change over the course of season 18. He says it’s going to be “a really interesting season.”
“I know a lot of stuff that’s happening this year and it’s just going to be an interesting period,” Murray revealed. “But as far as with McGee there’s some good stuff going on. We’re going to see some really, really cool things. I can tell you we’re definitely going to see and explore sort of the evolution between Gibbs and McGee.”
The two characters are the only ones still around from season 1. And at first, McGee had trouble working with the unconventional NCIS team leader. But over the years, Gibbs has become one of McGee’s most trusted allies.
This fact has caused fans to wonder why Gibbs would be taking aim at McGee in that shocking opening scene. Murray did actually address the shocker, and said fans would find out answers very soon.
‘NCIS’ is returning soon with two new episodes in one night
Murray said that the cold open of the season 18 premiere is proof that they are “into some pretty cool stuff right off the bat.” He also revealed that they will spend “the first several episodes catching up to that point.”
“That becoming current time and going from there. It’s good stuff,” Murray promised. “We had to plan. These definitely had to be planned, these arts and everything, carefully. I love that. I love doing this stuff.”
After the third episode of the season aired on December 8, CBS scheduled a six-week break for the series. When they return, fans will get two new episodes on the same night. Episode 4, “Sunburn” and episode 5, “Head of the Snake” will air back-to-back.
Those episodes will bring fans closer to the date of March 2020, when the cold open took place. The answers are coming, fans just have to wait a little bit longer.
NCIS returns to CBS with two new episodes on Tuesday, January 19.
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