There’s much more to CBS’ NCIS this November sweeps than just the introduction of a new team member. Showrunner Gary Glasberg gave TVLine a preview of what’s on tap this month (starting tonight at 8/7c) as well as peek at some of the gifts TV’s most watched drama will unwrap during the holiday season.
WHO’S THE BOSS? | In this week’s episode, “Better Angels,” Gibbs will break away from HQ to help his father (returning guest star Ralph Waite) reconnect with a former war pilot. “It’s really emotional and based on some real historical storytelling that we came across, and it has some terrific flashbacks to young Jackson Gibbs (played by Andrew Lander),” Glasberg shares. “Ralph Waite did an amazing job — he brings it every single time and continues to blow me away.” With the boss preoccupied, DiNozzo and McGee will wrestle for leadership of the team as they investigate a Marine sergeant’s murder. “The Tony/McGee stuff is fun, with the two of them bickering like brothers,” says Glasberg.
WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE…. | The Nov. 12 episode, “Alibi,” guest-stars Eureka‘s Salli Richardson-Whitfield as an FBI agent-turned-attorney who prompts Gibbs & Co. to revisit a hit-and-run murder. (“Salli is dynamite, and I look forward to working with her again,” Glasberg raves.) McGee meanwhile notices some strange behavior exhibited by Tony — a logline point that has some fans quite curious, as well. “It’s more of the arc of Tony working through what’s happened this season — Ziva’s departure, finding what’s next for him…. It’s Tony being Tony, and McGee reacting to that,” Glasberg elaborates. (As for the fact that this episode airs on the date of Ziva’s birthday: Contrary to Rule 39, it’s pure coincidence.)
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NEW GIRL | Emily Wickersham makes her debut as NSA analyst Ellie Bishop in the Nov. 19 episode “Gut Check” — and as reported earlier this week, she promptly earned herself a promotion to series regular. Explaining why, to “keep things moving,” a show can’t always wait to reveal a character and then gauge fan reaction, Glasberg says, “We were seeing, and the network was seeing, moments and scenes and a connection with our characters that we all really responded to. Emotional moments, fun moments, funny moments that were all there. And the minute that enthusiasm skyrocketed, everyone agreed that we needed to act on it.” With Bishop first advising Gibbs’ team and then eventually joining it, Glasberg says the dynamic is “new — there’s no doubt about it — but it’s very much NCIS. Nothing has changed in terms of that.”
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS | Looking beyond sweeps, the Dec. 10th episode, “Devils Triad,” presents “the third incarnation of the relationship between Gibbs and Fornell and their ex-wife (played again by Melinda McGraw). “The humor that exists when these characters get together is just a blast.” Then on Dec. 17, the Christmas episode “Homesick” revolves around people stricken by virus connected to the military. “It involves Abby, and she brings in the help of her lab tech friend Carol Wilson (played by Pauley Perrette’s real-life BFF Meredith Eaton. “They along with Palmer end up spending a bunch of time trying to get to the root of what’s happening.” And while Tony DiNozzo Sr. won’t be home for the holidays this time around, Robert Wagner will pop back up as the patriarch in Episode 250, a milestone hour “which is a big deal for us,” Glasberg attests.