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Why NCIS Is Bringing Back A Familiar Face To Save The Day In Season 19

NCIS said goodbye to Mark Harmon on a weekly basis early in Season 19, but certainly found ways to fill the void he left behind. With Parker taking over as leader of the team, the agents got back to business as usual, and now a familiar face is on the way to try and save the day. No, it’s not Gibbs coming back, nor is it Michael Weatherly using the upcoming end of Bull to reprise his role as DiNozzo, but fans can still be excited to see Meredith Eaton back in the mix, and won’t have to wait too much longer. 

Meredith Eaton has appeared in three episodes of NCIS to date, starting with an appearance in Season 7 as immunologist Carol Wilson, followed by an episode of Season 9 and then finally Season 11 in 2013. Although that was her last appearance on NCIS until she returns in Season 19, she did reprise her role as Carol in a Season 1 episode of NCIS: New Orleans, which just came to an end at the close of last season. Executive producer Steven D. Binder confirmed Eaton’s return and explained why the show (and team) is bringing her back, telling TV Insider

We’re beyond excited to be able to work with Meredith Eaton again. She’s an amazing actor, who brings a wonderful energy to our show. Since her last guest appearance in Season 11, we’ve been chomping at the bit to have her back whenever her schedule allowed. And now, with the team desperately needing the help of an expert immunologist, who better than Meredith’s beloved ‘Carol Wilson’ to come and save the day? The only real question is, will she be in time?

NCIS Carol Wilson

(Image credit: CBS)

The team being in desperate need of an immunologist isn’t really great news for them or the in-universe general public, but fans can celebrate whatever the catastrophe is that means that the agents need Carol back. Whether or not she’ll be in time to save the day remains to be seen; it’s clear that bringing her back has been a desire of the production team for some time now. And what better time to bring back a familiar face than in the same season that said goodbye to Gibbs, not so long after losing Bishop?

Fortunately, the wait to see Carol back in action isn’t too much longer. Brian Dietzen, who has been on board the show as Palmer from the first season, confirmed via Twitter that Meredith Eaton will be in the very next episode. NCIS is heading into a mini hiatus until after the Olympics (which are already affecting the majority of NBC’s primetime hits), and isn’t expected back until late February, which presumably means Monday, February 28. While the episode isn’t exactly airing in a matter of days, her return will be in the next episode. 

Although Meredith Eaton reprising her role as Carol Wilson for Season 19 is her big return to NCIS, she has remained a familiar face on CBS over the years. Starting in 2017, she began playing Matty Webber on MacGyver, even though that show went through some casting turmoil with George Eads. She remained part of the show until its abrupt cancellation, which was announced only after the Season 5 finale had finished filming and became the series finale. Her return to NCIS won’t mark an arrival as a series regular, but she has certainly remained part of the CBS family for years. 

For now, NCIS fans will have to wait to see what happens next, but the show will return to its Monday night time slot at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, ahead of NCIS: Hawai’i. The two shows will be crossing over before the end of the season, and the latest installment of the Hawai’i-set series actually established a fun connection to Gibbs, so the relationship between the shows is growing even before they start sharing characters on screen. For some viewing options during the wait for NCIS to return and bring back Meredith Eaton as Carol to potentially save the day with our 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.