NCIS Team Teases 'What If?' Episode No. 200: 'It's About a Pivotal Moment That Gibbs Faces'

Television’s most watched scripted series, CBS’ NCIS, will have Jethro Gibbs travel down assorted roads not taken when the 200th episode, airing Feb. 7 and titled “Life Before His Eyes,” explores some “What If…?” scenarios à la the 1998 movie Sliding Doors.

NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg, who got the idea for the landmark episode over the summer, tells TVLine, “It very much is about a pivotal moment that Gibbs faces, and it literally looks back at key moments through nine years of NCIS where decisions had to be made, and had people gone in one direction instead of another, how the world would have ended up.”

In revisiting the past through a new lens, Glasberg says there will be “familiar faces, old faces, and faces the fans didn’t think they’d see again…. It was a lot of fun. It was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun.”

But in addition to some blasts from the past, the “alt-reality” adventure — which takes place in large part at the heretofore never-seen diner where Gibbs gets his morning coffee — will serve up fresh takes on familiar relationships. For example, viewers will see Tony and Ziva meet for the first time under very, very different circumstances, in a timeline where Kate’s NCIS desk was never freed up.

“For the first time, I didn’t know what was going to happen [in a scene],” Michael Weatherly says of the encounter. “I literally had to concoct in my mind seven years of ‘What if there was no Ziva in Tony’s life, how would he have been different?'” And Cote de Pablo did same. “The character that she brought into the room was so different from her normal Ziva,” Weatherly reports. “And I came in with my own tweak” — though not rocking “a full Tom Selleck ‘stache,” as he had hoped.

Such revamped relationships and odd proverbial bedfellows are served up for all of the long-running characters. “There are some real weird, dreamlike juxtapositions,” Rocky Carroll tells me, though Vance is still the officious NCIS Director. “There are a lot of surreal, ‘How did we all end up at the same table?’ kinds of moments, and the audience is going to love that.”

There are also some truly shocking moments, including one that comes in a scene Glasberg screened for the press at the Television Critics Association winter tour on Wednesday afternoon. In that clip, in the aforementioned under-a-bridge diner, Gibbs is approached by a hooded stranger toting a pistol. And just as Jethro begins to ID himself, a shot is fired from someone’s gun.

All told, Glasberg tells me, Gibbs comes away from the illuminating episode with “the realization that the decisions he has made were meant to be. And as he looks around NCIS, he realizes that this is where he should be.”

And how.

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107 Comments
  1. HoldOn2Smallville says:

    200 episode so can’t wait.

  2. Alyssa says:

    There is a reason this show is number one. Couldn’t ask for a better 200th episode :)

    • Pepper says:

      Because it’s a very easy show to follow.
      I’m a fan but I have to admit that it has one of those very mainstream, dumbed-down crimes like CSI and Bones and any other police procedural, for that matter.

      Now I feel like that people watch these shows because they’re there to watch – like my parents, for example – or die-hard fans who watch it for the relationship stuff.
      And a small third group including me, who’s hoping that one day the writers will stop insulting our intelligence with these stories.

      • Eurydice says:

        I think you’ve missed the major reason why people watch episodic television – it’s because they like the characters. They like them enough to invite them into their home every week, almost like a visit from a friend.

        And I hope you’ve managed to get something else accomplished during the 9 years you’ve been waiting for the writers to change their formula, otherwise you’ve wasted a lot of time. With the show being rated in the top 10 for almost a decade straight, the show pretty much is what it is.

        • Pepper says:

          I watch NCIS, SVU, Criminal Minds for the thrill and I watch shows like HIMYM, Modern Family or Parenthood for the characters.
          (Basically, when the show is about someone’s job, it’s supposed to be interesting and when it’s about their life, it’s supposed to be more filled with emotions.)

          If people want this Tony-Ziva thing, fine, let’s move those two in to Wisteria Lane and they can live happily ever after. And I’ll have to new agents who, for once in a show, won’t fall in love.

          When I hear “police procedural”, I think of “exciting”, not “cheesy”.

          • Fred says:

            I have to say Pepper that it is odd for you to put such rules on television shows, and what they are “supposed” to be. Personally if you are looking at television show that won’t insult your intelligence either learn not to be so easily insulted or watch television shows like Jeopardy and stuff on the learning channel. A show about a job is not going to be interesting if it is just about the job. The plot of scripted television is about the characters. There needs to be a healthy balance of character development and the job they do. Getting bogged down with the details of the job can be boring if you don’t remember these characters are actual “people” and not drones.

          • Richard says:

            Pepper,

            The great movies and TV shows of all time are just that because of the characters, not the procedurals of whatever jobs the actors have. I know police officers, judges and district attorneys, and most of the time their jobs are quite boring and mundane. But people make stories interesting. The classic TV shows, movies and even books live on and on because of the characters.

  3. Cindy says:

    “For example, viewers will see Tony and Ziva meet first the first time under very, very different circumstances, in a timeline where Kate’s NCIS desk was never freed up.”

    *dead* I want to see that right now. So happy, so excited.

    • Nubie says:

      Hey Cindy….speaking of the diner – NOW we know where “Elaine” fits in! lol. I truly cannot wait to see this one. What a fantastic ep it already seems turning out to be. :)

    • Svenja says:

      I imagine mustache-Tony and cold-hearted Ziva … oh boy LOL.
      Would be interesting if Ziva were a mother or pregnant.
      *too many options*

    • Svenja says:

      I kinda hope that McGee will be a cool guy. Maybe even a player, it would be so awesome

      • Jenni says:

        Oh, I have a feeling that McGee may be more like Dinozzo and Tony could be the serious guy. And Abby will be “Career Barbie” normal. I would love to see the characters out of their comfort zones.

        • Svenja says:

          Oh yes. Me, too.
          I could see Tony being miserable and serious, McGee being a player and ladies man, Abby a as a “career barbie” and Gibbs as a happy and loving husband? I think Shannon will be alive. Maybe we will get to see grown-up Kelly…. oh god, too many possibilities. That’s why I love AU episodes. You never know what you’re gonna get

  4. Saint Alicia says:

    So fricken amped for this! But here’s hoping there is more than one special guest, I think I’ve kinda ruined that surprise for myself…
    Also, if this “alt-reality” is just in Gibbs’ mind then it doesn’t really change anything or have an impact on any of the characters in real life, right? Sounds like the diner shooting is the only part that isn’t in his imagination. Can’t wait! :)

  5. lizzie says:

    I’m really getting excited for this now. Can’t wait to see the alt-reality. And Tony with a Magnum ‘stache would be…well, no one can really rock that ‘stache besides Selleck. Sorry, Tony. Looking forward to the alt Tony-Ziva meet.

  6. Petra says:

    Tony and Ziva meet *for the first time

    omg though I am so stoked for this. Sliding Doors style. Can’t wait. Too perfect for a milestone like this.

  7. Mcat says:

    I will die of joy if Sasha Alexander is in this episode.

  8. JJ says:

    Just, please, don’t bring back Lauren Holly.

    • eye4golf says:

      C’mon,…I’d say that there’s a good chance that the bullet that saves Gibbs in this diner scene will come from either Director Shepard (Holly) or Mike Franks,…kind of a flashback to the Judgement Day episodes from Season 5.

  9. AngelMoonGirl says:

    Oh gosh! This is REALLY exciting! I’m particularly eager to see the Tony/Ziva stuff and how that would have been different if Kate were still around.

  10. Andrea says:

    I will join Mcat in dying of joy if we get to see Sasha Alexander in this episode.

    I’d also like to see Jessica Steen’s Paula Cassidy and Susanna Thompson’s Hollis Mann again.

  11. Lexie says:

    I cannot wait for this XD I’m curious to see if they show us what happens if Kelly and Shannon lived. And Kate and Ziva together? Awesome. Just awesome.

    • Svenja says:

      Exactly!!!
      I can’t wait for it

    • Brenda says:

      If Kelly and Shannon had lived Gibbs wouldn’t have joined NCIS. He would have remained in the service. He only had 4 years left before retiring. Now of course, he has his 30 in almost 40 as a fed…..great retirement…sure hope they don’t go that route.

  12. as says:

    Honestlly….here we go with the call for T & Z yet again…I’m way more excited to see the other things & surprises GG has in store & completely stoked to see the depth that MH will bring as this rather unusual Gibbs.
    (of course a little bit of Ari, Kate, Fornell & maybe Paula wouldn’t hurt either)

    • wendy says:

      i agree-no more tony ziva. never gonna happen. Her character has been made to come across as conceited and smug as does McGee…Tony on the other hand is made to look completely incompetant at times and nobody seems to rate him as the cool streetwise agent he portrayed back in seasons1-4 even Gibbs at times…BRING HIM BACK. Quit with the Tiva thing..move away…Tony deserves soooo much more!!!

  13. Michael says:

    So basic its to piss off the fans of Sasha Alexander character and the NCIS fanbase by rewriting the whole show

    • Steph says:

      Sweet mother of god really? Do you actually think they wouldn’t include Kate in the 200th episode? Did they not just have an entire episode last season with Kate’s sister? How do you know SA won’t make an appearance in the episode? who knows. Anything is possible.

  14. DramaMom says:

    How I would love to see a flash of Harmon Rabb Jr. and Bud Roberts. I can’t be the only one that would love to see this.

  15. Renee says:

    I can’t wait to see this! Gibbs with his daughter! Can’t wait! Oh I wonder if Abby will not be goth? This could be really really good!

  16. Michael Weatherly confirmed via twitter that Mike Franks would, in fact, return for the 200th episode. I hope what Michael Ausiello meant by Kate’s desk never been freed up is that she wasn’t killed by Ari. It also could mean that an NCIS agent took her place instead of Ziva.

    • jules says:

      I’m going to go with your #2 – that Kate’s still gone but an NCIS agent took her place. Or it could mean that Kate’s still alive but I doubt we’re going to actually see her. Unless this is a very good kept secret, there has been no mention anywhere of Sasha Alexander returning to the set of NCIS.

    • Nina says:

      I think it will be your idea number 2, too.
      Because it sounds like Gibbs contemplates his decisions in life.
      Losing Kate was not his decision, but having Ziva in the team was.
      As much as I would like it too, I don’t think Sasha Alexander will be in the ep.

    • Richard says:

      Here is a direct quote from tvguide.com concerning the Kate thing, they interviewed Cote de Pablo:

      “As for “Tiva”? “In my particular reality of the 200th episode,” says Cote de Pablo, who plays Ziva, “I never became an NCIS agent.” That’s because her predecessor (Agent Kate Todd) never got gunned down — so no need for an Israeli-import replacement.

      I think we’ll see Kate for sure.

  17. gitte says:

    Can’t wait for this episode.
    But I’m getting tired of Gibbs, Tony and Ziva getting all the good storylines. I wan’t more McGee and Abby!
    And there are more than one special guest. We already know both Mike Franks and Ari Haswari will be back.

  18. Jenni says:

    Can’t wait to see Alt-Tony. And I have a feeling Abby will be so un-Abby and so normal. Of course, to see Kate again would be great. Love this “different reality” of NCIS idea.

    • John says:

      Pauley Perrette “normal” will be a terrific acting job. I’ll watch for the Chuck’s. lol

      Love her Twitter feed, and Donna Bell’s is great find (Manhattan bakery named for her mom).

  19. Lyndsi says:

    So excited to see this episode. I do have a question though, is the shooting in the diner give us the answer to the blind item where someone in a hit tv show dies??? Can’t wait.

    • Saint Alicia says:

      Hmm, good question; though isn’t the BI death a permanent one? I can’t imagine a major character being killed off in the 200th ep and it sticking. Maybe if it’s part of the alt-reality and doesn’t “last” though… OMG! Just had a thought, what if–SPECULATION / SPOILER / SPECULATION / SPOILER
      .
      .
      The mystery assailant in the diner who shoots at Gibbs is none other than Ari?! What if instead of killing Kate, shooting at Abby and then coming after Gibbs, Ari just goes to take out Gibbs directly?? I could see that as an alternate reality Gibbs would imagine; he surely blames himself for Kate’s death (Ari killed her to mess with Gibbs) and probably wishes he had taken that bullet instead to spare her. So if Gibbs had it his way, he’d be the one who died! ⊙▃⊙

  20. Erik says:

    NCIS is simple-minded garbage for simple-minded people. The success of this show and the other paint-by-numbers junk on CBS is depressing.

    • DramaMom says:

      Tool!

      • sandi says:

        I love NCIS. TO say its a show for simple minded people is a little insulting. I have 4 degrees including an honours in LAw and Finance. I love this show because it simply makes me smile after a hard day’s work of dealing with a heavy workload. MOre Mindless TV please.

        • estefania says:

          you are so right sandi …I have studied and reading a lot things…NCIS is the perfect mix, between drama, action humor, fun, etc… maybe he is bitter person.

    • Lynn says:

      What’s depressing is that there are people like you that feel it necessary to insult others that like something you don’t. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you are a rocket scientist – just rude. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. And why are you bothering to comment on a show that is supposedly too simple-minded for you to watch? At least I have a lot of company in being “simple-minded” since it is one of the most watched shows in the country.

    • Kyle says:

      Actually, I think it has to do with likeable characters. It’s as good as anything else the major networks are putting out nowadays.

    • Mar says:

      But yet, here you are commenting. If you did not like it you would not be in here. Go complain where someone really gives a flying feather. NCIS has and always will be a successful TV show because of all of their umpteen million fans that love them. Way to go NCIS! I can’t wait to see your 200th episode. Congratulations on your success!

    • Maria says:

      Name-calling and stereotyping is pretty simple-minded too.

    • Cindy says:

      Then don’t watch it or waste your time writing about it!

  21. Bartosz Konrad Martin Malarski says:

    When you have NCIS and alt-reality in one article you know to expect the unexpected! :D

  22. Kyle says:

    Sounds basically the same as JAG’s 200th episode. Hopefully it’s better than that one.

  23. nas says:

    I really hope they capture old Ziva in this episode. I miss her. Fierce, provocative, funny. I get they had to evolve the character but I hope she gets some of her spark back now that they finished the Ray stuff (horribly, I might add). I don’t like desperate Ziva.

  24. Mikayla says:

    Thanks for this scoop, Matt. This sounds like it’s going to be a great episode. Loved what Michael and Cote had to say. The concept sounds cool. Gary G., you do not disappoint.

    • Svenja says:

      I love AU concepts. I know it isn’t for everyone, but I enjoy it.
      What puzzles me is that NCIS and 2 other show will be doing AU stuff around the same time.
      Weird coincidence.
      But I am still very happy.

      I hope Kate will appear. A Kate/Ziva scene would be incredibly awesome.

  25. Linda Parrish says:

    I think that NCIS is watched by people everywhere. The team works together fantastically. NCIS and the members of the team are great.
    I watch every episode old and new…It is one a my favorite…the top of my list..Keep up the great programing.
    Linda from Georgia..

  26. Victoria says:

    Uh! The Tony and Ziva meet !! Omg dead! And if they bring back Sasha Alexander.. I will die of happiness! Imagine a scene with Tony, Ziva and Kate!

  27. PeppermintGirl says:

    Love the concept for this episode. Can barely wait to watch it!!
    I really home they bring back Sasha Alexander! It would be great for Kate’s fans to get her back just for one episode. The season 2 finale left so many what ifs up in the air and I would love to see at least a little resolution – yeah, last year episode still wasn’t enough!

  28. Svenja says:

    OMG great news.
    I wonder what’s gonna happen. Now speculation is kinda hard because in such an episode everything can happen.

  29. cher says:

    Wow this sounds like it’ll be an amazing 200th episode. I hope to see Kate, Paula, and Mike Franks again. They were all great characters and are missed.. even if only for an alt universe ‘what if’ scenario, it pays great homage to NCIS past. Can’t wait!

  30. Yawn says:

    So GIbbs goes through all of this trauma and drama, only to realize that, in the end, his (Its A Wonderful) Life turned out the way it was supposed to? Does an angel get his wings every time he bitch slaps someone? Does the experience offer him any insight or does the Mighty Gibbs remain his dour, constipated self?

    • Donem says:

      Right on! Why don’t we just have 5 NCISs. one for each different scenario. life is like that right? This show was a waste of my time. I walked away at Kate and Tony’s kid. What crap.

  31. cassey says:

    Remember when JAG did an episode called “What If” for the 200th episode? Kind of odd to have the spin off basically re-use the original’s idea and then expect people to be all psyched, no?

  32. Michael says:

    OMG what if PAULA CASSIDY is the female agent at Kate desk I always felt it was a mistake to kill her off and not have her be the one to take kate spot it made more sense then the woman who helped killed kate

  33. Kerri says:

    “Kate’s desk was never freed up” – I sooo hope that this means Kate is still there!! Would love to see a scene with Kate, Ziva and Tony in!

  34. Lucia says:

    Wow! That sounds awesome!!! I wonder how Abby and Ducky will be!!!

  35. lil says:

    one episode won’t be enough. i want a two-parter! maybe more:)) but then again, if that happens it won’t be the 200th ep anymore. haha. oh, well… can’t wait!

  36. Andrea says:

    I missed the information where Ari returns. That’s great! Loved Rudolf Martin in that role. Wonder if he’ll still be a baddie and if he’ll still have the same undercurrent/vibe with Kate?

    Another question is if we see Ziva and Ari, will we see Eli, and will the three of them be related to each other?

    This has the potential to be a terrific episode, depending on what the writers do with it.

  37. Just me says:

    I am so excited for a renaissance of Mike Franks!

    This is going to be amazing.

    • Michael in the UK says:

      I agree Mike Franks was killed off way to early shame it couldn’t be that that really didn’t happen and the whole thing shows that as a non real event but alas I don’t think that will happen……..Mike still had a lot of life left in the character I think

  38. Michael says:

    I don’t know if Ari is coming back Rudolf Martin said it was hard to do the Voice

  39. JS says:

    The plot line at the moment is obviously copied from the last few seasons of JAG:

    – What If episode – check
    – Obvious sexual tension between male and female leads – check
    – Female lead just broke up with CIA boyfriend who had a habit of disappearing for extended periods – check
    – Female lead brought in fairly early in the show to replace previous female lead – check
    – Multiple dysfunctional love lives – check
    – Inexplicable foreign exchange/liaison positions – check

    On the plus side, probably means Ziva and Tony get hitched in the last ever episode.

    Also, would be nice for the JAG fans if the writers threw in a passing reference to where some of the JAG characters are now, given it’s the same universe. Something like a reference to the JAG being a female marine, or similar…

    • John says:

      The shows simply show their shared dna. One of the facets I always loved about JAG and now NCIS, was the repertory nature of the show. A character would appear and then quite a bit later reappear. Like seeing old friends. Such as Corbin Berenson as a presiding judge in JAG.

      • Amanda says:

        That’s something I really enjoy about the shows too. You’d get to know characters outside of just the main cast.

      • Yawn says:

        I wouldn’t call is “shared DNA.” I’d call it DB, GG (or whomever is in charge down there) and Co. all running out of fresh ideas and therefore recycling old material. Case in point: Just about every team member has shagged someone (or intended to shag someone) who turned out to the be bad guy at the end of the episode. Hell, that happened to Gibbs TWICE. Maybe its time for a new batch of writers who will help keep this show on top.

  40. Pat D. says:

    Kate had better be back for #200. Thats all I have to say!

    • john says:

      Perhaps with the “regime change” Sasha would feel OK about coming back from a show she’d run from due to the working conditions that later were changed, largely due, IIRC, to Mark Harmon’s efforts.

      It would be nice to see her character again.

  41. Dan says:

    All I want is Kate to be in the whole episode…

  42. Lynn says:

    I can’t wait to see it. Thanks forthe glimpse into the episode. This is my favorite show and this 200th episode is why.

  43. Gail says:

    Oh, I love this show. I have been waiting for episode #200 since last season. In true form of the history of this show, I knew this episode would be spectacular.

  44. well well says:

    AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait fro this! serious i hate when you read stuff as good as this and nearly die waiting for it! I really want Jenny back and can’t waut for Mike to return and of course the Tony and Ziva parts!!!!!!! Ahh it’s all so exciting and it would just be brilliant if there was a Tony/Ziva/Kate scene!!!!! Also can’t wait to see if Tony has his Tom Selleck moustache!

  45. KZ says:

    What if… Ziva is the one going rogue and not Ari!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  46. Maddie says:

    LAME. I;m sorry, I love this show, but seriously??? It’s a crime show not some soap-drama! I will admit, that it could be a really cool episode, but it doesn’t fit the show, and it seems more like a finale show than a middle of the year episode.

    • Michael says:

      I see your point and I agree I would also like to point out that these is not the first time NCIS has done these

    • JCC says:

      Nope not lame, the whole “what if” could be centered around a case, and Gibbs maybe rethinking things while going through the case.

    • Fred says:

      Well, it fits the character of Gibbs to reflect on his life, and what better time for him to reflect on what might have been than an episode that marks the 200th episode milestone for the show.

  47. Rach says:

    WHATTTT??? this episode is going to be awesome and completely out-of-the-box. can’t wait.

  48. well well says:

    WHAAAAAAAT??????????????????????????????????? It’s not on till the 7th of FEBRUARY??????? How am I gonna survive! It’s been horrible just waitin a few days! :( :/

  49. JCC says:

    I like the what if idea. I wonder sometimes what the characters would be like if they were in different fields or lead completely different lives.

  50. Alicia L. says:

    Please for the love of god bring back Sasha Alexander if you are going to bring back Ari! I think Director Shepard and Paula Cassidy Need to be in the episode too! If SA doesn’t return then her desk needs to be taken by Paula or even Kensi from LA just to see what the dynamic would be like. But, all I want is Sasha Alexander to be back for the episode. All the Tiva stuffs sound interesting, but if it’s going to be an AU episode you can not do it without KATE!

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