A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WASHINGTON FACES A CITY-WIDE INTERNET SHUTDOWN, WHICH LEAVES THE NCIS TEAM TO CONSULT WITH THREE IMPRISONED CYBER-TERRORISTS, ON “NCIS,” TUESDAY, DEC. 16
“House Rules” – The NCIS team consults with three cyber-terrorists they imprisoned after a city-wide Internet shutdown the week before Christmas. Also, McGee reflects on the case and Gibbs’ infamous rules as he pens a heartfelt letter to his father, on NCIS, Tuesday, Dec. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network.
CHEAT TWEET: McGee reflects on Gibbs’ rules as he pens a heartfelt letter to his father #NCIS #CBS 12/16 8pm
This Tuesday at 8/7c, a Thanksgiving-themed episode of CBS’ NCIS will serve a side dish of Bishop insight alongside a main course of terrorist drama, when the probie agent, her husband Jake and Agent Tony DiNozzo spend their time stranded at the airport investigating a threat to holiday travelers.
Coming on the heels of an episode which shed much-needed light on Gibbs’ kid-gloves treatment of Bishop, TVLine thought it time to check in with Emily Wickersham on that emotional reveal, Battlestar Galactica alum Jamie Bamber‘s debut as her TV husband and more.
TVLINE | Looking at the pictures from this week’s episode, it would appear that before we get to the high drama of it all, the whole team gets to meet Bishop’s husband. Does anyone offer immediate feedback?
Initially, when he first comes in, Abby (played by Pauley Perrette) is like, “Aww, Ellie, he’s adorable!” – in her Abby way. And then he meets the whole gang, with the exception of Tony. We meet Tony a bit later on.
TVLINE | That’s during the main thrust of the episode, when the three of you find yourselves stranded at the airport?
D.C. is having a very cold, snowy Thanksgiving, and Jake and I are off to Turks and Caicos for a much-needed vacation when we find out that all these delays are happening. Then, after we run into Tony (Michael Weatherly) at the airport and the guys get to meet, we find out that there is some chatter about a possible situation involving a terrorist, so we kind of spend the entire episode in the airport.
TVLINE | Is there the faintest whiff of Die Hard 2 amidst it all?
[Laughs] Uh, I guessssss you could say that, maybe….
TVLINE | Tony’s not charging across a snow-covered tarmac waving a pistol at a jumbo jet?
No. That would be awesome, but no.
TVLINE | What assistance is Jake able to offer, as an NSA attorney?
Well, he doesn’t really know what he has gotten himself into at first. He kind of lets Ellie take the lead and is in a lot of ways is in awe of her. He’d seen her do her thing when they worked together at the NSA, but he hasn’t really seen her in action at NCIS, so this is the first moment that he sees what she does every day. But Jake actually helps out with his NSA skills, which is pretty cool. What was interesting to play, and was an interesting thing to read on the page,Grounded is that there’s this whole new dynamic in their relationship, because at the NSA they were able to talk about their days. But now with just him being in NSA, they can’t do that.
TVLINE | But would you still call them a “happy “couple?
Yeah! Definitely. I think everyone is going to absolutely love Jake.
TVLINE | How was Mr. Bamber as a husband? Did you join his fangirls in lamenting him not using his native accent?
I know! Jamie has a lot of great, great fans out there, and he has a wonderful accent. I’m sure many were disappointed that it wouldn’t be in the NCIS episode.
TVLINE | So, the last episode had a really important moment where Gibbs (Mark Harmon) called Bishop on the carpet, and they kind of worked through some stuff that neither of them quite knew had been in the air there for over a year now. Do you think that was always the plan, for it to be this deep-seated thing with Gibbs, where he was purposely allowing her to skate? Or could it have been written in in response to viewer reaction?The Searchers
That’s a good question…. I think he did that because of the two agents that he had lost before. He was just trying a different approach….
TVLINE | But you don’t know for certain if that was [showrunner] Gary [Glasberg]‘s plan from the get go? “We’re going to have Gibbs treat Bishop differently and not say why, but ultimately…”?
That’s a question for Gary; to be honest, I don’t really know. My take on it is Gibbs was just trying things differently. A lot has happened and come from that desk [where Kate Todd and Ziva David previously sat], and he didn’t want to tilt things one way or the other. He wanted to keep things pretty stable and forge ahead.
TVLINE | Did you ever wonder why the mighty Gibbs was so tolerant of your character’s quirks?
I like to think that he trusted Bishop all along and felt like, “She’s really smart, she’s super-capable. Although she has these weird quirks, she’s going to get the job done at the day.” It was a really fun episode to shoot, playing that sort of conflict. It shows a huge growth in their relationship and also for Bishop personally. It exposes this whole new side of her to fans.
TVLINE | Do you think she feels more a part of team as a result?
Yeah! To me she is more a part of the team than ever, but also she’s real. She’s flawed. She’s not perfect. She doesn’t get 100 percent on every test, she’s not as perfect as she, I think, first was written, which I loved.
TVLINE | As an actress, are you glad to no longer be sitting on floors and desks? Was it uncomfortable? Was your butt falling asleep?
Sometimes! [Laughs] On certain takes it was.
TVLINE | Looking back on your first year-and-change with the show, have you seen why TV’s most watched drama is TV’s most watched drama?
It’s interesting – when I first joined, I was kind of nervous all the time, especially at the very beginning. The No. 1 show in the world, these people had been working for so long….
TVLINE | You were filling a void of sorts…
Yeah. And I didn’t know what to expect. I knew how much this show impacts people around the world, but I’ve now seen, by working with them, that it’s about the chemistry between the cast and between the characters. All the hard work that everyone puts in every day shows on-screen, and that connects with people.
TVLINE | In today’s TV climate, it’s really something else to be drawing 20 million viewers a week [in Live+7], in Year 12.
It’s insane. Its pretty crazy when you think about it.
TVLINE | And they’re not doing it with aliens or sci-fi.It doesn’t have any big “trick,” just good stories.
It’s good stories, well-written. And again, the characters are like real people in the way that they’re quirky and not just one-sided. They’re weird, they’re smart, they’re very dynamic, which is what we are. It’s not like your regular procedural television show.
NCIS — Airdate: Tuesday, Dec. 16 (CBS, 8/7c)
Why You Need to Watch: Because it’s an “entire episode about Gibbs’ Rules,” previews showrunner Gary Glasberg. “The rules have become a big part of the show’s moral and professional compass, and who better than Tim McGee to guide us through the list.”
What have you got about my sexy man Tony on NCIS? — Marla, via Twitter
You definitely haven’t seen the last of Keats, Tony’s former partner with whom some sparks flew recently. “That connection…will come up again at some point,” executive producer Gary Glasberg tells us. “It was a tough year for Tony DiNozzo last year. We’re going to continue down the road of getting back to what we call the old Tony DiNozzo — [seeing him] spreading his wings a little bit and enjoying himself.” But not all the character’s exploration will come through love interests. Glasberg teases that Robert Wagner will return as Tony Sr. in a winter episode that offers “more insight into Tony DiNozzo when he was younger.”
Question: Any intel on NCIS? —Marsha
Ausiello: The Dec. 16 holiday episode (which also doubles as the fall finale) marks the return of three notorious cyber terrorists: Former Systems Administrator Kevin Hussein (played by Ethan Rains), Heidi Partridge (Erin Allin O’Reilly) and Lester Patel Ajay Khan (Vik Sahay). In the wake of a city-wide Internet blackout the week before Christmas, the NCIS team pulls the trio out of prison to help with the case, and, whaddaya know, I’ve got an exclusive first look at their comeback below!
On Tuesday’s episode of NCIS (8/7c, CBS), Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the rest of the team are trying to exonerate a former Navy Hospital Corpsman (guest star Laura Seay) who’s indicted after illegally providing medical aid to the victims of a car crash.
While Good Samaritan laws are in place to protect bystanders who offer aid at the scene of an accident, the legalities become blurry when military personnel are involved. “The idea that you can have this extraordinary training in the field, and yet for whatever reason, that training doesn’t legally and officially transfer back to working in the public in the United States, was interesting to us,” NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg told TVGuide.com. “I don’t entirely understand the reasoning behind it. But at the end of the day, we all agreed that it’s worth bringing up, and it was the kind of thing that Gibbs would question and … want to do everything he could to help her.”
Adds Seay: “The way that the laws are written, it doesn’t seem to make room for this particular type scenario and even more specifically, people coming from a military medical background. It seems like when you’re in the military, you’re also sort of agreeing to adhere to a whole separate set of legislative things, almost as if you’re going to another country. And when you come out of that country, it’s interesting the way that our judicial system doesn’t really line up or make way for those unusual circumstances and training.”
Producers paired Seay up with a real corpsman to advise on how to approach her character, Anna Dillon, and the issue at large. “Marines, period, but especially corpsmen — because they’re the medics that work with the Marines on the frontlines —hold themselves to a really, really, really high standard. Excellence is key,” Seay says. “After this travesty has happened, even though [Anna] saved two lives, she can’t really get the third one out of her head. … I think that’s actually more what she’s haggling with, at least in the first part of the episode, than any sort of legal aspect of it. And I think Gibbs can see that, and he’s trying to help her contend with both parts — one that’s dealing with it ethically, and the other that, oh yeah, there’s this legal thing too that I guess I’m a part of.”
Of course, the accident isn’t entirely what it seems to be at first, and the team also finds itself immersed in a murder investigation before the episode concludes. But for Glasberg, it was important to shed light on an issue that many are unaware of.
“Coming off the heels of Veterans Day, it’s an important episode for people to watch, and some really lovely performances on everyone’s part, including Laura,” he says. “I hope it opens some eyes and people enjoy it.”
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
You’re trained to save lives in war, but when you try to do the same outside the battle ground, you’re persecuted.
That’s essentially the story of NCIS Season 12 Episode 8, which will find Anna Dillon being brought to the attention of our team as she’s detained after helping save the lives of some car crash victims.
However, while Anna is trained in service, she is not licensed to do the same in the real world. Leroy Gibbs to the rescue!
Tonight’s episode is sure to get people talking about what is right and wrong in the laws – but it also features some fine performances by Mark Harmon and guest star Laura Seay. Fans will also be treated to a lighter story involving Abby’s dating life, as the team is concerned about her pattern of dating men.
To get more insight into the installment, I talked with Seay and showrunner Gary Glasberg. Read on for excerpts from our exclusive Q&A…
TV Fanatic: Where did the story come from for this episode?
Gary Glasberg: This was a storyline that came up and was actually written by two of my writers assistants. Scott and Matt Jarrett. It’s their writing television debut and they came to us with a terrific idea, something that we weren’t even aware of. The fact that you can train to be a Navy corpsman but that training doesn’t legally transfer back into the public world back on US soil was of interest to us. We thought that it was the kind of thing that Gibbs would connect with.
TVF: Why was this something that Gibbs responded to so strongly?
GG: I think at the end of the day Gibbs recognizes that there’s a loop hole in the system and this is a woman who dedicated her life to helping people and threw herself into some very dangerous situations and is very qualified at what she does yet she’s persecuted for trying to save lives. We lucked out in finding Laura. Once in a while you open up your casting and people come in and audition. I hadn’t heard of Laura before but there’s a comfort level, there’s a natural ease to how she acts and who she is and she and Harmon hit it off. It just worked. To us, it just felt natural, organic and real.
TVF: I felt the same way and I was waiting for them to say ‘come join the team!’
GG: [laughs] When you find someone like that and everyone gets along as well as they do no set, it wouldn’t surprise me down the road if we find a reason to have her back or maybe we’ll arrive at a crime scene and there’s an EMT and it’s her! We’ll have to see…
TVF: We get a piece of Abby’s personal life with her dating Burt and we also touch on her past dating McGee but why was this the right time to have that be a part of this episode?
GG: The Burt storyline is something that people seem to like and he’s fun to have around and we’ll keep that runner going. But realistically and understandably we couldn’t do it without McGree look out for Abby in a big brother kind of way. It was fun to write those scenes and to have Bishop be the outsider who wasn’t aware of the fact that Abby and McGee had a relationship years ago. It’s a recap for people and reestablish but I was pleased with it. I thought it turned out nicely.
TVF: What’s coming up? I know Jamie Bamber is showing up soon.
GG: We’ve been waiting a long time to meet Bishop’s husband and the Thanksgiving episode is just about finished and we’re polishing it up and we have this terrific mystery at a snowed in airport that has Tony and Bishop and her husband working with the rest of the team back in the office. It’s a fun, light holiday episode. Jamie and Emily have great chemistry together and we look forward to having him back and getting deeper into who they are as a couple and how being an NCIS agent as affected their relationship.
TVF: There’s a mention of Gibb’s father passing in tonight’s episode. Will we get more of that in the holiday episodes?
GG: I don’t think so. It’s the kind of thing that continues to come up but we want to make sure it’s always there, always present and his passing is still a part of what Gibbs is thinking about and dealing with. In classic NCIS fashion, you can touch on the subject and keep him around and understand that he was an important part of Gibbs’ life.
NCIS Season 12 Episode 8 Promo
Next, Laura Seay provided some insight into her character as well as working with Mark Harmon.
TV Fanatic: How did you approach stepping into this role of Anna Dillon?
Laura Shey: There were a lot of things about her that I related to personality wise so that felt like a good way in. She seems very rigid in her physicality because she’s had that training. I’m not going to compare growing up doing sports and being in the military but I was excited about this aspect of her having that as part of her personality and being very rooted physically.
I really related to her on an intellectual and a physical level and the fact that she was also very driven, I really admired that but when it got down to the moral aspect of it and how she’s contending with these really ethical issues…I can’t say that I’ve been in the such a heightened position as she was in this particular episode but personality wise, I did relate to her in a couple ways but in terms of her experiences that was something that took a little extra work.
Honestly, being paired with a real life corpsman that worked with the Marines, Mark Horowitz, one of the producers on the show, was able to facilitate that and that really helped me get in the experience of the character and hear his stories and hear what he’s been through.
TVF: The show says a lot about doing what’s right and what’s wrong with the laws. Did it make you think about that in the context of the show or in general?
LS: Yeah. As far as the issues, I was aware of it in more of a vague way and I knew there were certain laws about if you don’t have the training you shouldn’t attempt to move somebody for fear of paralization and there would be consequences in that way but in terms of the military and the laws of the military someone coming out of service who has a lot of training but it’s not held at the same standards as what the University programs for studying medicine.
I didn’t know how nuanced the issue actually is and how unnuanced the law for the issue actually is. The law doesn’t seem to be written for people in Anna’s situation. She has extensive medical training in the military but for whatever reason she’s not licensed as an EMT to practice in the US. So it’s a very unnuanced law for a very nuanced issue. That’s what I came away with.
TVF: How was working with Mark Harmon? Anna has a really nice connection with Gibbs.
LS: Yeah, he made that real easy. He’s incredibly friendly and he’s also very authentic and sincere. From day one of shooting he made me feel like I’d been on the show a lot longer. It’s hard to be going on as a guest star to a show with people who have been working together for twelve seasons. It’s like where do I sit at the lunch table kind of feeling! He really alleviates that immediately and right away he was taking me under his wing and wanted to get to know me and where I was from. The majority of my scenes are with him just talking so that helped make it a lot easier. It was like there was a shorthand between us, which was great.
TVF: Let’s say they ask you to come back for another episode. Is that something you’re open to?
LS: Yeah! I would absolutely love that. Besides Mark, everyone in the cast was really exceptional and lovely even just the eight days I was shooting and that goes for everyone on the production crew. It was a really fun experience.
NCIS Season 12 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.