Milestone NCIS Episode Postponed by Pandemic — When Will It Now Air?

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CBS’ NCIS will have to hold off a little while on marking a major milestone.

This season’s 22nd episode would have been the well-watched procedural’s 400th overall. But because of the coronavirus pandemic-related production shutdown, Season 17 will instead end with Episode 20, which airs this Tuesday, April 14, at 8/7c.

At the time Hollywood came to a halt in March, “Episode No. 399 was just two days away from the start of production,” co-showrunner Frank Cardea tells TVLine. “All of the prep work was completed, sets were built, the guest cast was set as were locations.” As such, “No. 400 was set to shoot next, and we will probably still shoot it as 400 and air as 400.”

When the milestone hour was scheduled to air this spring, “We had special things planned for it, CBS was throwing a big party for us…,” Cardea notes. “But it will happen.”

Now poised to be the second episode of Season 18 — assuming (wink-wink) that CBS’s most watched program and top-rated scripted series somehow ekes out a renewal (nudge-nudge) — Episode 400 boasts “a very interesting script” by co-showrunner Steven D. Binder “about how Gibbs and Ducky met,” Cardea shares.

As noted above, NCIS will air its last original of Season 17 this Tuesday. In an episode penned by co-EP Gina Monreal, Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) delivers a powerhouse performance as a 95-year-old man who claims to have served on the USS Arizona when it was attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941, and as such is determined to have his ashes laid to rest with his fellow sailors when he dies. But can Gibbs trust his gut when evaluating the old man’s story?

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