NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg died suddenly on Wednesday morning, passing away in his sleep. He was 50.
A statement from the NCIS cast and crew reads: “Gary was our rock, our cheerleader, our team captain. He inspired us with his leadership, his creative instincts and keen insight. NCIS will not be the same without him, and each of us will miss his smiling face and unwavering humor, which lifted us every day.”
CBS Entertainment president Glen Geller added, “Today is an overwhelmingly sad day for NCIS, CBS and anyone who was blessed to spend time with Gary Glasberg. We have lost a cherished friend, gifted creative voice, respected leader and, most memorably, someone whose warmth and kindness was felt by all around him.” CBS Television Studios boss David Stapf in turn remembers Glasberg as someone who “epitomized the word mensch and brought kindness, integrity and class to everything he did. His remarkable talent as a writer and producer was only matched by his ability to connect with people
Glasberg started his TV career in 1993, writing episodes of Rugrats and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In 2001, he wrote what would be the first of several scripts for NBC’s Crossing Jordan, where he eventually was named a co-producer. He then went on to serve as a co-EP on CBS’ The Mentalist and Shark, and Fox’s Bones.
Glasberg first joined NCIS in Season 7, as a co-executive producer, and was promoted to EP later that season. Come Season 9, he was handed the showrunner reins by Shane Brennan, who was off to launch NCIS: Los Angeles. Over the course of his run on TV’s most-watched drama, he wrote 29 episodes.
In September 2013, Glasberg and NCIS frontman Mark Harmon shepherded the New Orleans spinoff, which is currently in its third season. In recent years, Glasberg orchestrated longtime series regular Cote de Pablo and original cast member Michael Weatherly’s transitions off of NCIS, and this season oversaw the introduction of multiple new characters.
Glasberg is survived by his wife of 20 years, Mimi Schmir, who has written for/produced Party of Five, Shark and Grey’s Anatomy, and their two sons, Dash and Eli; his father, Edwin; and his sister, Mindy.
On a personal note: Having interviewed Glasberg dozens of times over the years, I need to express that as showrunners go, he was among the upper echelon of humans, a man who spoke of his product with a genuine zeal and pride, as TV’s most-watched drama kept putting up big numbers year after year after, weathering many changes. He would always thank you for reporting on the show, but he also took criticism well. “He gave good quote,” as I say, and he will be missed.