NCIS Season 14

NCIS Recap: Season 14 Premiere Fills Team Vacancy, Teases JAG Update

If NCIS had spent any sizable chunk of its Season 14 premiere lamenting the departure of longtime team member Tony DiNozzo, that would have been a dreary affair. Instead, the series smartly focused on his irreplaceable nature, literally, by picking up months later with Gibbs dismissing the eighth probie sent his way to fill the vacancy.

By coming at “the elephant in the room” from a different, bigger-picture angle, it lent that much more weight to the moment that eventually did arrive, where McGee, with a nudge from Bishop, acknowledged that his trouble settling in at Tony’s old desk has little to do with the computer monitors’ “bizarro” orientation, but because he is filling his friend’s shoes, as the new Senior Field Agent.

The season openerNCIS Season 14 kicked off in slightly unusual form, with a protracted cold open that featured no familiar faces. Instead, we saw long-undercover Special Agent Nick Torres (new series regular Wilmer Valderrama) wooing his lady down in Buenos Aires, when it becomes clear that his cover has been blown, an unfortunate fact that he silences with a quick blade to his accuser’s belly. Prior to offing his adversary, Nick had been warned that his betrayal would cost his sister her life — and indeed, he arrives in the States too late to save her from a (near-)fatal car bombing.

Meanwhile, Gibbs was confronted in person by Special Agent Alex Quinn (new series regular Jennifer Esposito), the FLETC instructor who cannot fathom why “the Goldilocks of NCIS” keeps rejecting the probies she sends his way. Gibbs invites Quinn to shadow his team for a bit, to see what exactly it is he likes/needs in an agent.NCIS Season 14 Along the way, Quinn has some fun with Bishop (pretending not to remember her tightly wound former student) and plays some poker with Fornell (who has been convalescing at Gibbs’ place, specifically within the cozy clutches of his “microfiber cloud” while consuming copious amounts of cereal).

Elsewhere during the premiere, we learn that Bishop spent her summer in Scotland, where she hooked up with (but didnt hook up with, Tim!) MI-6 officer Clayton Reeves, while Ducky has begun chronicling his life’s work (which got me thinking: prequel spinoff?). Oh, and in the course of working the case, McGee is about to get a “very interesting” update on Mac and Harm from JAG‘s Captain Bud J. Roberts Jr. (played by Patrick Labyorteaux), before they are interrupted. Argh!

In the end, after putting behind bars his girlfriend’s mercenary-recruiting father, Torres is offered an NCIS badge, though he has reservations about being able to be a part of a “team” after eight years undercover. McGee and Bishop, though, says he wont find out unless he gives it a try. Quinn meanwhile commends Gibbs on his “secret” plan to deftly recruit Torres — that it’s not about “finding the agent the team needs, but the agent who needs the team.” But, a-ha, Gibbs says he came away from the experience with two new hires — if Quinn herself is interested.

What do you think of your first look at NCIS… what, 4.0? 5.0?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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127 Comments
  1. chuckiechk says:

    not going to lie, I went into tonight’s season premiere of NCIS a little nervous, but I ended up liking both Quinn and even Wilmer Valderrama’s character Nick Torres.

    • chuckiechk says:

      OH AND WE GOT A CAMEO FROM BUD FROM JAG!

      • Lyn6 says:

        That was a great treat for longtime fans!

        • Danyelle says:

          I want to know what Bud was going to say lol

          • I want to know a) what Bud was going to say, and b) when did Tim meet Bud, Harm and Mac, cos I’m pretty sure they didn’t meet on screen?!

          • Jennifer says:

            I would think that it’s implied. Gibbs and team had other cases than the ones we see. NCIS & Jag work closely together. They had to interact at some point. Just because we didn’t see it (so sad), doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And JAG & NCIS did overlap.

          • nunya bizness says:

            If I remember correctly, Sean Murray played the part of an obnoxious kid that was the son of a woman that the Admiral was dating at the time. So “McAgee’ did not meet them but the actor did – just in another part. I know – it’s a stretch…

      • Steve says:

        The dialogue where McGee asked about Harm and Mac and got cut off by Quinn was a cool little addition.

      • Robin says:

        I was so excited to see Bud!! They need to bring him and Harm back for for an episode or two.

        I like Torres and Quinn!

        • Jennifer says:

          Yes yes and more yes! Harm & Mac!

          • MMD says:

            Yes, yes, yes and more yes. I sooooooooooooooo wanted to hear about Harm and Mac too!!!!! I’m going on the assumption that they are living happily ever after but it would be nice if they made a couple of appearances. I loved that show!!! It was so nice to see Bud.

      • Writerpatrick says:

        Excluding the backdoor pilot, I think that’s the second JAG cameo. They had the Admiral on previously.

        • Steve says:

          Labyorteaux as Roberts was also in the 2nd episode of Season 1 of NCIS. Alicia Coppola was in the backdoor pilot episodes as JAG lawyer Faith Coleman and later reoccurred on NCIS several times and yes John M Jackson played Gibb’s attorney in 2013 in the same role as Chegwidden.

      • Jennifer says:

        When did that happen?!?!? How did I miss it?

      • drhenning says:

        Patrick was the lead guest star but only had a short cameo… Wish it was a little more than they had and damn didn’t they tease everyone though it appears that Harm and Mac are still together… Probably only one child since Mac was getting up there as the show ended.. Maybe they’ll revisit Bud Roberts some more down the road.. I guess McGee got introduced off screen to the Jag team since Tim arrived in season 2 of NCIS which was the final season of JAG….

      • Jerri says:

        I’m not sure if Bud aged well, but glad to see a cameo from him on NCIS. Wish it were longer. And dammit, what was he gonna say about Harm and Mac before Quinn interrupted?!

        • mary says:

          I still remember him as a peewee on Little House. Those eyes still stand out though.

        • Jen says:

          I totally agree! I guess we will have to speculate that he was going to say that the writers/producers finally decided to give us our reunion movie explaining what happened after the coin toss….

      • Kat says:

        The cameo was the best part of the episode. Still waiting for Bud to finish that sentence!!!! Note to CBS: We REALLY miss JAG

        • Chloe says:

          Agreed! I loved seeing Bud again. I also wish they had mentioned Harriet. They were adorable together!

          I’m not sold on either Torres or Quinn. I don’t know why they felt the need to add 3 people to replace Tony. In real life, yes, offices expand. But to add 3 new people to the cast just diminishes the time each of the ‘oldtimers’ get.

  2. Laurie says:

    Young Ducky is my favorite character on tv. That would be a spinoff worth having!

  3. Cece says:

    So who won the coin toss, Harm or Mac? Bring back Bud so we can find out! I went in to this as a pessimist with all the new additions but was quite surprised. I like them both. Torres kind of reminds me of season three Ziva, needing to be tamed, and Quinn seems like she will be nice comic relief. Loved her messing with Bishop.

  4. Peter Allan Ker says:

    Tonight’s Episode was very refreshing and has rebooted the Series.

    • Kevin K says:

      Couldn’t agree more. How will the rest of the season be like without DiNozzo?

    • Paige says:

      Agree with you 100%. I was thrilled to see the writers step it up and not waste this opportunity to re-energize the series. Great chemistry among the characters, interesting story line and looks to be a great season.

  5. D says:

    Glad they dropped the British, he felt like they were trying to st a new Tony instead of a new person, he didn’t fit

    • Alyse says:

      They didn’t drop him, he’s a series regular starting in episode 5 I believe.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        You would be correct.

      • BM says:

        He is? That means one person leaves and three join the show? Interesting math. If it gets too crowded, I know who I’d kick of them team but anyway. It’ll be interesting to see how they juggle so many people. Enjoyed the premiere, only thing I would have liked is if either McGee or Abby had mentioned that they just heard from Tony and he and Tali are currently wherever in the world and doing fine. I still care about Tony and wouldn’t mind the sporadic update. Hoping there’ll be an update down the road.

    • JenE says:

      Loved him. That’s who I was hoping would join the team instead of Fez!

  6. msstargate says:

    Well until she ruined the update on Mac and Harm, I was prepared to like Quinn! Ruining that moment was just WRONG! But seriously after all this time and never mentioned, are they planning on bringing them back for a guest appearance?

  7. auntiemm says:

    I went in not expecting much but dang was I pleasantly surprised!!! Tony who? Not sure yet about Quinn but Torres fits just fine. And a Bud cameo to boot!!

  8. TvPeong says:

    Mark Harmon, tho!! :) :)

    • BWine says:

      Right!! I was just catching up on last season’s episodes on Netflix, and I was thinking he was starting to look a little worn around the edges, but last night, Gibbs was looking good!!

  9. Amy says:

    I am realistic to know we are highly unlikely to ever get an update on Mac and Harm, it was a fun bit.

    It did feel odd that McGhee was the one asking because to my knowledge he has never interacted with any of them. Only Gibbs, Tony, and Ducky.

  10. Murphys_Mom95 says:

    I too was very pleasantly surprised. Miss Tony, but love the new vibe, and happy the show didn’t try to make the first episode an “oh we miss Tony” episode. Gibbs looks refreshed, loved the action. My favorite part was Gibbs getting such a kick out of Torres sitting on the bomb…

  11. Charlotte Hayworth says:

    Jennifer Esposito was awesome!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I had doubts about Wilmer. But it seems to work. I still love the show!

  13. John Mosby says:

    On top of all the other fun stuff – a nice cameo for John Connolly’s novel The Burning Soul… a great book in his Charlie Parker series.

  14. JC1 says:

    I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about the two new people but I liked both of them a lot. Alex Quinn works soooooooo much better than Tess Monroe did. It was the right call not keeping her. And I’m looking forward to Clayton Reeves coming back – I liked him too. I wonder how he and Nick will get along. I’m still kind of wondering how they’re going to handle the larger team, but I’m on board.
    .
    And Bud! I may possibly have screamed when he turned around! :) That was a great surprise for JAG fans. Although a little cruel to tease us like that about Harm and Mac. Lol.

  15. Erica says:

    I stopped watching/DVRing NCIS 3 or 4 seasons ago, nothing seem to happening or changing. And they did not miss my viewership. But I was intrigued by the new line up, I’m likely to stick around to watch more.

  16. Knox says:

    Loved the JAG connection! More! More! More!

  17. Mike D says:

    Perfect fit with jennifer esposito. I am an old fan and a new one. She is a very good actress and will be what the show needs.

  18. dlraetz says:

    Wilmer was awesome. He’s dangerous like Ziva was. Excited

  19. Jimmy says:

    The callback to JAG was a fun surprise. It would be so great to get David James Elloitt and Catherine Bell back for a guest appearance. Wilder Valderama was meh, but Jennifer Esposito was a pleasant surprise.

  20. Lame says:

    Breath of fresh air, new dynamic , new direction, good clever writing and will continue to top everything else on TV as it has for fourteen years .

  21. JoAnn Moss says:

    I give the season opener two thumbs up. I knew Gibbs would be there and looking good and that’s all I really need, but then I found that I really liked the new characters, especially Jennifer. I liked her interaction — chemistry — with Gibbs, even down to playing poker.

  22. Jason says:

    I think that they are going to give ducky Alzheimer’s.

  23. Kathleen. Deaver says:

    This was so good! It was a lot better than I expected. Hardly missed Tony.
    I really like the 2 new characters too. I love both of them from other programs. Glad they joined the cast.

  24. Steveo says:

    Bad choice using Esp

  25. Steveo says:

    Bad choice using

  26. JP MD says:

    Most entertaining and best written episode in years . . . the addition of Esposito a huge plus .

  27. Steveo says:

    Bad choice using Esposito don’t like the attitude they have given her. I’ll skip NCIS and continue watching NCIS LA and NO the best ,now.

  28. Paloma says:

    I’ve been hoping for years that they would bring back either Harm or Mac as the Judge Advocate General to tangle with the Gibbs’ team from time to time, with a preference for Harm. Or perhaps make one of the Secretary of the Navy. Or as a one-off or short arc, bring back Hallee Hirsch as Mattie Grace, who was Harm’s ward, as a Navy pilot in some trouble with NCIS and both Harm and Mac show up to defend her and we’d get to catch up with them.

    Not a huge fan of Jennifer Esposito. I hope she doesn’t ruin one of my favorite shows.

  29. Good episode. Quinn messing with Bishop was a nice side bit. And the reference to Mac and Harm was over the top.

  30. David sartison says:

    Wondering if scottie Thompson will ever guest star again as Dr. Woods.

  31. brj319 says:

    Jennifer Esposito is hotter than ever!!! I like the new mix and personalities. Looking forward to the new season!

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Did we, finally, get someone for Gibbs? Can’t you just see it?

      • JC1 says:

        I did wonder a moment or two whether they were hinting at something like that, but personally I really really really hope not. I like Quinn, so far, but….no. I’m not opposed to them bringing someone in for Gibbs, but I do not want her, whoever she might be, on the team. The idea of Gibbs dating someone on his team just really bothers me for some reason.

        • MMD says:

          I think that is one of Gibbs’ rules about not becoming involved with anyone on the team BUT I did get some kind of vibe. Maybe it’s just that they know each other so well.

    • JE has always been a favorite. Was a bad move to get rid of her on Blue Bloods. A couple three years later, still looking good.

  32. So far it lose Tony add two people to replace him and oh use bombs. Two bombs in this one and a another in the promo. Guess they are lost for things to do.

  33. PatriciaLee says:

    The husband was blown away, “That’s how they should bring someone into the team!” He’s excited over the new team member. “DiNozzo never fought, so this will even be better.” I like the dynamics, and this format seems to fit in Bishop, smoothly.

  34. Teresa Warrick says:

    I’m not watching NCIS this year. When Michael left I decided I was done with the show but I am happy that it continues for those who are committed to the franchise. I wish it well.

  35. Pat says:

    NCIS, never fails me, it was great! I really like Jennifer Esposito and I am so happy that they brought her onboard. I have not seen Wilmer since that 70’s show,so this was a welcome treat to see him and now he also, is staying. My happiest moment was seeing JAG’s Bud Roberts. JAG was the show, that started me down the road watching, the law part of the Navy and then the criminal investigation part, with NCIS. So I gave this season opener a big awesome!

  36. Bark Star says:

    What I would really like to know is what factored into the decision regarding the order of actors in the opening credits.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Interesting, right?

      • Andrea says:

        Mark and Pauley were always regulars. Sean started a year after them, so he’s third. The order of Torres, Quinn, Bishop, and Palmer came from character “status,” I thought: Torres is an undercover field agent, Quinn is an instructor, Bishop’s still a fairly young agent, and Parlmer’s not a major character. Plus, Wilmer and Jennifer probably both have more name recognition than Emily. Rocky and David are where they’ve always been since David gets the honor of the “and” at the end. That’s my guess. I smell an article (or at least an interview question for Glasberg, Matt.

        • Bryan Caron says:

          There also may be contractual stuff that goes into the placement. But you’re right, With Michael Wetherley gone, Pauley and Sean slid up a spot and Jennifer Esposito has more name recognition than Emily Wickersham.

  37. Kevin In CT says:

    It’s great to see Jennifer Esposito back again. She got short shrift on Blue Bloods and I can see her being the new “Tony” with the wisecracks and humour.

  38. btm says:

    Great new cast additions. I agree with the consensus that it looks like they’ve taken to rebooting the show very smoothly. I already liked Wilmer Valderrama a lot, but had not seen Jennifer Esposito much before. Both characters are excellent so far. I like Weatherly, but I’m a big fan of the changes. The Gibbs-Tony-McGee axis had been getting a little stale to me. I also really liked Duane Henry (Clayton) in his brief stint last season, and I’m glad they are bringing him back. I think the biggest beneficiary of the cast changes might be Emily Wickersham’s character. Multiple newbies is better for her, and it should be fun watching her no longer play the team’s probationary agent.
    .
    Like others, I also had the sense that the show runners were clearly telegraphing David McCallum’s exit, complete with a passing of the torch to his protege this year. Rather than a prequel spinoff vibe, I also felt while watching that they were planning to give Ducky Alzheimer’s, given the focus on his cracker jack memory and his mother’s medical history. It would be a particularly poignant sendoff, with lots of grist for meaty scenes with Gibbs. It would also resonate well with the show’s core fan base.

  39. Jim says:

    They passed up the chance to end the show on a high note. It should have ended when Tony left at the end of last season. It would not have been out of the realm of possibility to assume Gibbs finally retired after being shot so many times. One new character to replace Tony is expected but two with a possible third is too many. I assume they are grooming Quinn, who has a Gibbs-like personality, to replace Gibbs who is looking more and more like a man who should have retired two seasons ago.

    • Mad Hobbit says:

      my tin foil hat thought is Zeva is NOT dead, she survived the rocket attack. but is very very deep undercover. pretending to be dead to find some deep secret organization. by giving her daughter to Tony, all will think she is dead. I bet the last two episodes of the series Tony comes back, with info that Zeva is alive, and they go rescue her. like they did when she was captured at sea. it would be a way to end the series on a high note, if you look at the characters their social life’s and relationships with others is terrible, director wife killed , Gibbs wife and daughter (before he became NCIS) multiple failed marriages, girlfriends who are killers, agents killed. all in all they are cursed.

  40. JC1 says:

    For everyone saying this might be David McCallum’s last season, I caught the Alzheimer’s hint too, but didn’t he re-sign for two more seasons back in June?

  41. Larry Hester says:

    They did a great job. Seeing Bud from JAG was great. We need a JAG movie for a update on Mac and Harm.

  42. Ron L. says:

    Is it just me or did anyone else sense a change in Jethro’s personality? It seems to me that he smiled and joked more and was generally more light-hearted in this episopde than he was in all the previous 13 years of episodes combined. I didn’t like it.

    • Paige says:

      The show has been building that change as part of Gibb’s recovery from being shot. Gibbs interactions and therapy with Dr. Taft and official therapy with Dr. Grace. The ending of the 300th episode with Taye Diggs spoke volumes when Gibbs went to sleep in the master bedroom; I think the first time in the history of the show. I like the change and was tired of surly Gibbs.

  43. kryds says:

    Loved the Season 14 premiere. Especially Jennifer Esposito as Quinn. Blue Bloods took a turn downhill when they fired her. Wilmer Valderrama also won me over. I knew nothing about him other than That 70’s Show, which I never liked. I must say I have always like Bishop, too. I think Gibbs has a soft spot for her, because he treats her like his daughter. I do wish they would play up her quirkiness in a way that really adds to the show. It would also be nice if they developed Abby and McGee into more three dimensional characters, too.

    It will be crowded on set this year, but if Mark Harmon retires and takes on a Mike Franks type relationship to the show, this would be a great team: Quinn becomes the team leader for McGee, Bishop, Torres, and Reeves. Quinn/Gibbs would have a relationship similar to Gibbs/Franks.

    I could also see Dr. Taft (Jon Cryer) taking over for Ducky, since Jimmy is not an MD. I enjoyed his previous appearances.

    I also would watch a “prequel” series starring a young Ducky. That episode was one of my favorites. Placing it in period would be expensive, but that series could be as good as Foyle’s War done correctly.

    I also liked the JAG references and Bud’s cameo.

    I didn’t miss Tony. I have to agree with those who said that over the last few seasons he regressed to frat boy and stopped growing.

    One other thing: I wish they hadn’t killed off Vance’s wife. She was one of my favorite supporting characters.

    • Hege says:

      When Ducky was out sick from the heartattack, Palmer did the autopsys alone.

      • kryds says:

        Good point. Perhaps they could develop Palmer’s character and he could take over for Ducky if David McCallum retires. But by definition, MEs are MDs or DOs, so they would have to write into the storyline that Palmer’s been going to medical school part time the past few years. That could be done and it could work, because Palmer is such a popular character.

        • Jen says:

          I don’t know. There was an episode of NCIS where Abby was watching / assisting Ducky and Palmer got upset. Ducky said that contrary to popular opinion, one does not have to be an MD to be a medical examiner.

          • kryds says:

            Thanks for updating me, I hadn’t remembered that scene. The CDC[dot]gov website says that all autopsies in DC, MD, VA must be performed by a pathologist [MD or DO]. But this is TV, so the writers could figure something out if they want to promote Jimmy!

    • grys03 says:

      Agreed, with reservations. I too liked Vance’s wife but it must be difficult to contract actors to be only do an occasional spot.
      .
      Would be a treat to see Dr Taft do a few more turns, more as a friend having a coffee break with Gibbs rather than playing shrink.
      .
      I am quite looking forward to a larger team, gives a lot more scope for stories.
      .
      The new team ‘feels’ good. We all miss Tony but the way that the new characters have been introduced has smoothed the process. Hoping Torres develops at least an occasional sense of humor.
      .
      Feeling it’s appropriate that a story line for Ducky meanders towards a retirement.
      .
      As someone else commented this felt like a reboot & a damn good one.

  44. TvLover says:

    I really like the addition of Jennifer Esposito’s character Quinn, still not sure about Wilmer Valderrama’s character Torres, though.
    Also, on a completely semi- unrelated note. I normally don’t like to comment about actors physical appearances but, am I the only one who was slightly concerned by how extreamly skinny Sean Murray looked in the premier.
    Anyway, I thought the episode was fine, decent mix of humor and drama.

  45. thomas ledbetter says:

    What is up with Tim’s smile? Has he lost weight, gotten new teeth or what. Something just looks different..

  46. R says:

    i gave it a B as the new characters are new and I have to get used to them being there just like when Bishop joined the team it took a good 3 episodes before I felt she was part of the team

  47. Philada says:

    Didn’t like Quinn teasing Bishop. It was mean spirited and went too far. And I don’t even like Bishop! I’ll wait and see tho. Looking forward to this season as always.

    • Chloe says:

      I thought it was nasty, too. If I were Bishop, I wouldn’t have continued to try to prod her into “remembering”. She looked needy & desperate for approval. Bishop should have just ignored her & silently told her to “go to Hell”.

  48. babyrotty says:

    Change is always difficult to accept and, admittedly, I went into the new season with my defenses up. I was actually quite surprised with how much I truly enjoyed this season’s first episode, and commend the writers and cast. I especially love the addition of “Quinn.” She lights up the stage wherever she goes, and I think compliments the rest of NCIS’s amazing cast.

  49. I love Jennifer Espisoto’s character. I loved her on Blue Bloods and am so glad she is on NCIS. The show does have a different feel now without Tony and I still miss Tony & Ziva. NCIS is still the best show!

  50. Mad Hobbit says:

    for those that do not remember NCIS came from a 2 part Jag where Harm was tried for murder. the first season or two did have bud showing up in 1 or two episodes. I wonder if there will be a trial of some sort, due to the fact palmer is looking into old cases, what if one of Duckies finding were wrong and he helped send a innocent person to jail. maybe the method he used at the time was ok ,but newer ones were better and give different results