NCIS Boss, Mark Harmon Tout 'Heart-Wrenching' Two-Parter That Reveals More Of Gibbs' Past

Get More: Previews, Scoop

As November sweeps rolls on, CBS’ NCIS next Tuesday at 8/7c will kick off a two-week arc that involves the crash of military plane that was carrying caskets filled with the remains of felled Marines. When the case takes a curious twist, it will prompt Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) to flash back to his days as a young Marine.

“There’s a huge crime scene, and an investigation takes part in trying to identify those remains — with in some cases the remains not being what they were supposed to be,” Harmon told TVLine during a conference call to promote his USA Network movie, Certain Prey (airing this Sunday at 9/8c). “The case kind of births with that, and forces Gibbs to remember a couple of things from his past that connect him toward this current [mystery].”

Says NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg, “We’re very proud of ‘Engaged,’ Parts 1 and 2 because of the complex, heart-wrenching story they tell, our attempt to depict and honor the bravery of the Marine Corps, and the insight viewers will gain about Gibbs and his early days in the military.”

Exclusive: Eureka‘s Jaime Ray Newman ‘Collars’ NCIS Role Starting Nov. 8

As Harmon points out, the ongoing opportunity to revisit characters’ pasts is what helps keep NCIS fresh, even nine seasons in. “So much of what we do — and certainly when we do the flashback stuff — is meant to give more definition to the characters,” the actor says, “and answer some of the questions people have.”

Once again playing the younger Gibbs in flashback is Harmon’s real-life son. “It was especially fun bringing back Sean Harmon,” says Glasberg. “He shares a certain sparkle in his eyes that must be in the Harmon blood.”

All told, Glasberg reports, “Everyone involved brought their ‘A’ game to this two-episode arc and we hope people enjoy it…. This storyline had us globe hopping from Afghanistan to Arlington Cemetery. Consider it a tribute to our brave men and women overseas who put their lives on the line every day.”

Looking further ahead, NCIS will close out sweeps by shedding another bit of light on a different agent, thanks to an encore by a familiar face. “[After the two-parter] is the return of Robert Wagner, as DiNozzo’s dad,” Harmon says. “And we all look forward to that.”

Comments (44)

  • NCIS always tells fabulous stories in November! I can’t wait!! And I know a lot of people hate her, but I really miss Ziva this season. She’s hardly been in the episodes so far (last week was better, though). Where’s my favorite butt kicking Ninja?!?!

    Comment by Becky – November 4, 2011 08:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This fan doesn’t hate her :). Gibbs, Ziva and Tony are my NCIS trifecta; can’t get enough of them.
      Anyhow, glad Mark Harmon is making the promotional rounds; he seems like a genuine, down-to-earth guy (and not bad on the eyes). And “Engaged” sounds like it’s sure to be absorbing; Gibbs flashback eps always deliver the goods.

      Comment by Alicia – November 4, 2011 08:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Hey,what about McGee? Probalicious, Probie-San, Probie Wan Kenobi..Elf Lord?Do any of these names ring a bell? Geeks want love,too.

        Comment by Allison – November 8, 2011 01:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She hasn’t hardly been there. She had a whole episode centering around her AND she will accompany Gibbs to Afganistan.
      With the whole Ray-thing still unresolved, I believe we will get to see more of the Ziva character in the second half of the season.
      There is also this “old female friend” of Ziva, who will appear.
      So don’t worry.

      I am glad they are doing this two-parter. Gibbs’ past is always intriguing. The preview for the two-parter is insanely good.
      I am really looking forward to it.

      Comment by Svenja – November 4, 2011 11:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I really like NCIS! Mark Harmon is great. Like Ducky, Tony, Ziva and Magee. Abby is a must on the show! It is always good to learn more about the people who play these roles!

      Comment by Martha Reissig – November 6, 2011 01:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I am one of those that hate, hate, hate Ziva and hope they finally write her off the show this season! Maybe she’ll married CIA-Ray and move to Florida!!
      Other than that, I like this season if only because we are seeing a bit less of buffoon-Tony …. looking forward to Robert Wagner coming back.

      Comment by charli – November 7, 2011 08:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i LOVE Ziva! she is one of my & my hubby’s favorite characters…a strong female that can kick a guy’s butt? what’s not to like??

      Comment by Tara – November 8, 2011 06:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love the show, new episodes sound great. Looking forward to it.

    From a marine,


    Comment by Ty – November 4, 2011 08:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very excited for this 2-parter! Already stocking up on Kleenex. All top notch episodes so far this season and it looks like more great story’s to come!

    Comment by Wennuhpen – November 4, 2011 08:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So far NCIS is a little dissapoiting this season, but this two-parter should be great! The promo looked already promising.

    Comment by Daisy – November 4, 2011 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t wait to see Harmon play Lucas Davenport in the Certain Prey movie Sunday night.

    Comment by Templar – November 4, 2011 08:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank you so much for the NCIS scoop. I’ve been very happy with the episodes so far this season, and this two-parter looks very dramatic and exciting. I absolutely love the fact that they delve so far into the character’s lives, which is what sets this show apart from other procedurals. I love all the characters, and enjoy learning more about them, so curious what new insights we will get about Gibbs that we don’t already know. And being a HUGE DiNozzo fan, can’t wait until the Robert Wagner episode. Hope we get lots of Tony goodness. Thanks!

    Comment by ncisfan4evr – November 4, 2011 09:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was concerned when I first heard about Engaged and because I’ve been disappointed in the past few November sweeps episodes, but these sound GREAT! I love that they’re reconnecting with the show’s military roots. Season 9 has been *incredible*, with only Safe Harbor being a low note (and it wasn’t *that* low). Can’t *WAIT* for Robert Wagner’s return, too! The chemistry between him, Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly is delightful to watch.

    Gary Glasberg is doing an excellent job and my faith in the show is slowly being restored.

    Comment by tejas – November 4, 2011 10:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have read some info into the second part of this episode and Ziva is supposed to have a bigger part in it than some of the others, outside of Gibbs. Ought to be an awesome episode! I’m also looking forward to finding out Tony’s biggest fear

    Comment by Kat – November 4, 2011 10:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The promo for “Engaged” part 1 looks amazing and heart-wrenching and like the kick-off to a great 2-part story. I’m so glad to see the show retuning to the focus it started with, honoring the men and women of the US military for their service.

    Gary Glasberg is doing an excellent job with season 9 so far! We’ve had a lot of character depth and exploration all around, we’re returning to team-focused episodes, fantastic guest stars who bring a great deal of entertainment and some serious acting chops, and good, solid storytelling.

    THRILLED to hear about the return of Robert Wagner reprising his role as DiNozzo Senior. It’s always a joy to watch the chemistry between Robert Wagner, Mark Harmon, and Michael Weatherly! I do hope NCIS takes full advantage of the incredible dynamic Robert and Michael share on screen.

    Since he’s currently promoting the upcoming “Certain Prey,” I’m eagerly awaiting Sunday evening and seeing Mark Harmon bring Lucas Davenport to life!

    Comment by Blix – November 4, 2011 10:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh, yes! I can’t *wait* for Certain Prey! I love Sandford’s books and Lucas Davenport is a fascinating character. I may have to rewatch Casualties and Deliberate Stranger in preparation for it. :-)

      Comment by tejas – November 4, 2011 10:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Harmon’s character in the series is a joke. There’s no way in real life a guy like him, who refuses to play politics in DC NONETHELESS would be able to keep his job for the last 10 years. Ps. the same apllies to sinise’s in CSI:NY. FU CK OFF BOTH SHOWS.

    Comment by UHSFSMHFSJOH – November 4, 2011 11:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If you don’t like the show “THEN DON’T WATCH IT”. We all have free will, so button up your filthy mouth and let the rest of us enjoy!!!

      Comment by doglover – November 5, 2011 08:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Did you know that there is a button called off on your TV or maybe you could swithc to another channel. Should I explain to you how to use the remote, cause I get this feeling from your language that you use you don’t have much up there.

      Comment by Nemisses – November 6, 2011 02:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Thank you. Do you ever wonder just how miserable and boring someone’s life must be to spend time watching, reading about, and/or commenting on a TV show they despise? Yikes.

        Comment by lindsaywhit – November 7, 2011 07:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m with doglover…you don’t like the Gibbs character or his line of what he thinks of Capital Hill politics.OK. We could have done without the swearing.Just because one doesn’t like to work with shady people with strong politics,doesn’t mean you have to like it,or them.

      Comment by Allison – November 8, 2011 01:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

      Then why watch the show you moron?

      Comment by HJ – November 14, 2011 10:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yay! Can’t wait to see this two parter, seems like it will be one to remember

    Comment by irishtrisha – November 4, 2011 12:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That’s what they said about Harry Truman,

    Comment by Oh? – November 4, 2011 12:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not looking forward to a Gibbs/Ziva father/daughter bonding episode. Hope it doesn’t go there. Ziva had last year’s Thanksgiving along with Vance – surprised she gets it again.

    Comment by vickils – November 4, 2011 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I never look forward to a Ziva-centric episode, especially when she gets all father/daughter with Gibbs. Almost gagged when he made comment at the end of that one episode about family, then gave her a kiss on the cheek…. As far as I’m concerned she was forgive too easily after the stuff with Rivkin, even accounting for the torture she endured in Somalia .. but that’s just me..haven’t like her character since she was forced on the team by Sheperd.

      Comment by charli – November 7, 2011 08:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks for the scoopage, Matt. Sounds like a potentially good two-parter. I’m really looking forward to Robert W. coming back. And am glad to hear they’re going to give us some good Ziva time this season as I haven’t kept up with all the spoilers regarding the show. So thanks to the poster who filled people like me in on that. This season has been very good so far; Gary Glasberg has done a wonderful job. The only thing I’m curious about is are they going to give us any good Tiva this year? I love the great flashbacks filling in character’s pasts and the good stories they’ve given us this season. Last week’s episode was fantastic. But they’ve been a bit vague about Tiva this season and inquiring minds want to know.

    Comment by Samara – November 4, 2011 02:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • after having season 3 throw 6 I think we can take a break from Ziva

    Comment by Michael – November 5, 2011 10:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I love Ziva. She helps make the show. “ALL THE CHARACTERS” make up the show as a whole. They all have their own thing that they add to make it a #1 hit series all the time. So lay off Ziva.

      Comment by doglover – November 5, 2011 08:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • sorry, but some of us don’t like Ziva and still have the right to voice those opinions

        Comment by charli – November 7, 2011 08:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t wait to watch that episode. It sounds like a great one from the promo, and I think it’s a good idea to give heavy episodes once in a while. No one better than Gibbs to deliver these ones.

    Comment by Arelis – November 6, 2011 12:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Other then wanting to sleep with Tony what does Ziva bring to the table she suck undercover she not a really good fighter let be honestly the only reason she on the show is too make Tony look bad

    Comment by mAT – November 6, 2011 05:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • heck, last few seasons, Tony hasn’t even needed her help to look bad…. if he was really an agent he would have been fired long ago for acting like such an idiot all the time…glad to see that’s been toned down, at least a little bit this year, although I’d like to see it go away completely. bring back the teasing, yet competent Tony from the Kate years. He wasn’t serious all the time, but it was sure better than what we’ve gotten lately.

      Comment by charli – November 7, 2011 08:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Always love the episodes where they bring the family members in. Especially enjoy watching when Mark’s Son, Sean is brought in to play young Gibbs. Two Harmons to view……that and a box of chocolates and what else could a girl aske for…..without getting into trouble.

    Comment by Brenda – November 7, 2011 06:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love the character of Ziva. She has brought so much to the show since she arrived in season 3. Even Mark Harmon has commented that the character has brought about storylines that could not have happened with Kate. And those wanting her gone, sorry to say it for you all but Cote dePablo and Mark Harmon just renewed their contracts for two more seasons

    Comment by Kat – November 8, 2011 11:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • LOL you do know Mark was paid to say that right for fear of her suing him beside what has she done that they could’t do with Kate beside the crap with her helping her brother kill kate and betrading NCIS 3 times

    Face the fact Ziva is outdatd and when her Conracts come up next year she is gone

    Comment by Michael – November 8, 2011 12:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Outdated nothing. Her character is awesome. Kate acted like a nun half the time. The chemistry of the team is better now than when it started and proof of that and that people like their chemistry even more now, show was ranked 24th in its couple of seasons. Has skyrocketed since the end kf season five so something tells me the majority of viewers like what they see now. And the proof is on Number 1 on Tuesday night and in the top 5 for the week, sometimes number 1 overall unless a great football rivalry game is on

    Comment by Kat – November 8, 2011 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As a latecomer-fan of NCIS I have soaked up every re-run, marathon, and new episode as to be a complete fan. I particularly love when we get to see a little insight into the characters, especially Gibbs, and sincerely have grown to love the show as well as all the characters. Thank you for keeping story lines fresh, delving into the past, and keeping me looking forward to the future. I eagerly await every new episode, and honestly I haven’t had the thirst for such a show in a long, long time. Thank you for helping me become a fan, and keeping me one.

    P.S. I love Gibbs showing a more personal side with memory flashbacks, it keeps one interested and knowing how and why he is as “Gibbsy” as he is.

    A True Fan Forever,
    Elizabeth C.

    Comment by Elizabeth – November 8, 2011 09:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • haters gonna hate. but the more you type “ziva”, the more popular she becomes. thank you, haters! ziva ziva ziva ziva…zi to the va! ziva! hahaha

    Comment by gentleDude – November 10, 2011 10:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seems like we have some lovers & haters of the show if truth be told.
    But as I live on this side of the “Pond” in the UK. Cote is better than
    Sasha also I think if one of the characters is to go then why not 1 of 2. Either Rocky Carroll (Vance) or Brian Dieznt (Palmer) or possibly it could just be a case of no one and then all of a sudden they decide to lose Sean Murray (Mcgee),who in my eyes is the weakest of the 4.Ok I may have upset some or none of you but those are my thoughts. Oh I don’t know if any of you remember ‘The X-Files’,but for those of you who do the ‘TIVA’ situation here is very similar to Mulder and Scully, in the sense of will they or won’t they. But 1player I don’t like is C.I.RAY,just as I don’t like NCIS L.A.
    But as you tend to say ‘if it aint broke don’t try to fix it’

    Comment by guy59 – November 12, 2011 08:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I like all the characters. I couldn’t stand Kate. She’s a great actor…just not on that show. Absolutely COULD NOT stand Jenny Shepard…every time she spike, it was like she was reading. And its not just N.C.I.S…ITS ANYTHING SHE PLAYS/HAS PLAYED in. But now, they have the PERFECT CAST. DON’T CHANGE A THING!!!

    Comment by pipeliner – June 5, 2012 08:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love ncis. I love Gibbs and his flippant ways. And when is Tony and Ziva gonna get it right. I’m on season 9 at the moment, can’t wait for the next 9 season. One of the few brilliant tv series.

    Comment by sue – January 10, 2013 03:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You know I love this show, but I was also a great fan of JAG. I would really like to see David James Elliott and maybe Catherine Bell make an appearance on this show! Is that too much to ask?

    Comment by Janice Watson – September 18, 2013 11:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ziva character will be mist alot by my wife Vicki and i.we watch all reruns on other channels i don’t know if it was really a money thing a poblo just wants to move on with life and acting if so i wish her the best we both love her character and her acting abilities she will not be gone from the movie or tv screen long lets hope

    Comment by danny j Dandrea – September 18, 2013 01:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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