How NCIS Will Pick Up After The Explosive Gibbs Cliffhanger In The Season 19 Premiere


Season 18 of NCIS came to an explosive ending courtesy of a clear attempt on Gibbs' life, when all Gibbs was trying to do was take his recently completed boat out for a maiden voyage. The season ended without giving any answers as to what happened beyond confirmation that Gibbs at least survived the blast intact enough to swim away from the wreck, but it seemed that nobody knew where he was, and nobody at NCIS had any reason to expect him to show up for work. Now, the episode description for the Season 19 premiere reveals how NCIS will pick up from the big Gibbs cliffhanger.

The Season 19 premiere of NCIS is fittingly (and forebodingly) titled "Blood in the Water." The NCIS team (which is now missing Emily Wickersham's Ellie Bishop) will begin a search for Gibbs once wreckage from his destroyed boat turns up. They'll learn that he was tracking a serial killer along with investigative journalist Marcie Warren, played by Pam Dawber, who of course wrote the exposé on him. Dawber, whose real-life husband is NCIS star Mark Harmon, appeared in several episode of Season 18 that set up the plot with the serial killer, and she will appear in the first episode of Season 19.

Interestingly, there is actually no confirmation courtesy of the episode description that Gibbs himself will appear in the episode. Mark Harmon's decision to return for Season 19 reportedly came with an agreement that he'll appear in far fewer episodes. Harmon still headlines the flagship series of the NCIS franchise, but there will likely be more focus on the NCIS team in Season 19, which added Katrina Law's Jessica Knight after her introduction toward the end of last season.

So, will the team be able to find Gibbs and help him? Well, NCIS showrunner Steven Binder recently previewed Gibbs' situation in Season 19 to say that Gibbs will be hunting down the serial killer alone and cut off from the team... at first. According to the showrunner, that is going to change in the beginning episodes. It's possible that this hunt of a serial killer will be an ongoing plot throughout the season, forcing Gibbs to investigate off the grid, which would be an intriguing story and a convenient way to explain away why Mark Harmon is around less than usual.

NCIS is clearly in for some changes for Season 19. On top of the departure of Bishop, the attempt on Gibbs' life, the addition of Jessica Knight, new castings, and even NCIS switching nights from Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET to Mondays at 9 p.m. ET, fans may have a lot to get used to when the show returns to CBS in a few weeks. It also won't be the only NCIS series airing on Monday nights, as it will be immediately followed by new episodes of NCIS: Hawai'i at 10 p.m. ET. You can find both shows on CBS starting Monday, September 20.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).