Fans of CBS' NCIS got some great news earlier this year when the show was renewed for two seasons at once. The word came only a few months after longtime cast member Michael Weatherly had announced that he was leaving after Season 13, so the time was right for some reassurance about the future. According to star and producer Mark Harmon, the two-season renewal could mean great things about what's to come. Harmon had this to say about how the renewal for two more years will shape what happens next:
Having a two-year pick-up makes it more exciting. We know we have a two-year arc here and we can play that out, we can hire directors for two years. We can get an advance on scripts for two years. The writers have an opportunity to see two years ahead and project a realm for the direction where they want to head. It doesn't happen--it hasn't happened here before, and it's a nice place to be in.
NCIS has the potential to be better than ever when it returns to CBS this fall thanks to the two-season renewal. Assuming that CBS gives NCIS its regular order of 24 episodes for Seasons 14 and 15, Mark Harmon and the other producers will be able to plan nearly fifty hours of television ahead of time. It's an edge that most shows don't get on network television. Of course, NCIS won't be able to plan every little thing ahead of time; variables will inevitably pop up and require tweaks. Still, an overall framework could result in two of the most cohesive seasons to date.
The supersized renewal could be especially handy in the wake of Michael Weatherly's departure. Fans who spent thirteen years watching Weatherly as Tony DiNozzo might be resistant to his replacements if NCIS doesn't take the time to really demonstrate what they can bring to the series. Wilmer Valderrama and Jennifer Esposito are capable actors who could be great additions to NCIS, but they may have an uphill battle with fans who miss DiNozzo. Carefully-planned arcs could be the best way to incorporate them into the existing crew of NCIS without ruffling too many feathers. The show already had a sizable cast of fan favorites before the new faces signed on. The last thing anybody needs is for NCIS to rush through expanding the team.
Mark Harmon shared his enthusiasm about the two-season renewal in a featurette called "Inside Season 13" on the six-disc NCIS: The Thirteenth Season DVD set (which you can buy here), and it's a good reason to get excited about NCIS' return to the airwaves in the not-too-distant future. Season 14 of NCIS debuts on Tuesday, September 20 at 8 p.m. ET. Check out our TV premiere schedule to see what else you'll be able to catch on the small screen this fall.