Emily Wickersham opens our interview with a playful, clandestine whisper: “Jake and Gibbs are having a secret relationship.”
Jake (played by guest star Jamie Bamber), of course, is the husband of Wickersham’s NCIS character, probationary Special Agent Ellie Bishop. Gibbs, her boss. And Wickersham is teasing the “light runner,” as they say, in this Tuesday’s episode (CBS, 8/7c), which launches a three-part season-ending salvo.
Regarding the aforementioned bromance of sorts, which comes to light this week, the actress says, “I don’t know if Ellie knows the extent of it, but the team is very surprised, because it’s an unlikely duo.” And while mum on the exact nature of the connection, she dismisses our suggestion that they’re meeting up for mini-golf and brewskis. “I think they’re talking about more important things that no one is allowed to know about,” she teases. “It’s all very interesting….”
That mini-mystery, fascinating DiNozzo and the others as it does, is perhaps a rare bit of lightness amidst Season 12’s intense final three hours. Here, Wickersham previews the high-stakes case the NCIS team is about to tackle, the casualty it will claim, and more.
TVLINE | This week’s episode, “Troll,” kicks off a big season-ending storyline….
Yeah. Ned Dorneget — played by the wonderful Matt Jones, who I worked with for the first time — is assisting the team when an ensign who worked in Naval Intelligence is murdered. We find out that the murder is connected to an international terrorist group that is recruiting children through the Internet. So basically, through the last three episodes, we’re trying to figure out what the hell is going on.NCIS Finale Death Spoilers
TVLINE | Is there ultimately some sort of terrorist event NCIS is scrambling to thwart?
Oh yeah, a big event that I obviously can’t talk about. But these episodes bring up important things about the Internet and how accessible it is to everyone, children in particular. The Internet is a wonderful place but it has the potential to be a very scary place as well. You don’t know who your kids are talking to….
TVLINE | No, one of my 12-year-olds has an Instagram account with 17,000 followers, so I make sure to keep an eye on things.
It’s crazy, yeah. I just feel like you never know who’s behind the accounts or whatever. It’s scary. It’s scary.
TVLINE | What can you reveal about the “significant loss” that [showrunner] Gary Glasberg told me about?
Ohh, I know…. The significant loss is someone who everyone loves, I think, and it will be a very sad, shocking thing — but, at the same time, it becomes a motivator for the team, to kind of figure things out….
Question: Are we going to see ATF Agent Zoe Keates again on NCIS? I really like her and actress Marisol Nichols! —Lori
Ausiello: As a matter of fact… yes, I can confirm that 24 alum Nichols will again reprise her role as DiNozzo’s former colleague, in an episode airing this spring.
Ask AusielloQuestion: Any new scoop on NCIS? —Marsha
Ausiello: How about another casting tidbit — and this one’s near and dear to my heart. A Martinez, former star of Santa Barbara, TV’s greatest soap ever and one of my favorite shows ever, will guest-star in a late March episode titled “Patience.” Says EP Gary Glasberg of the ep: “It deals with the mystery surrounding a decades-old airport bombing. When new evidence surfaces, the NCIS team follows a cold clue trail that turns red hot. We were thrilled when A took the role of Orlando. His South American-based character is full of surprises and brings some real twists and turns to the investigation.” Eden and Cruz, forevah!
NCIS’ Gibbs (Mark Harmon) won’t have to wait much longer for his final showdown with the man who killed his ex-wife Diane (Melinda McGraw). In fact, the conflict between Gibbs and Sergei Mishnev (Alex Veadov) “comes to a head” on Tuesday’s episode.
“It’s kind of been percolating under the surface for Gibbs, and clearly his wheels are turning and he’s brooding,” executive producer Gary Glasberg tells TVGuide.com. “He’s thinking and he’s plotting and he’s planning. … As we all know, Gibbs isn’t one to just sit back and let things happen.”
But even if Gibbs is able to get his revenge, it won’t bring Diane back to life. And unfortunately for Gibbs, the repercussions of her murder will play out for a long time to come, for both Gibbs and Fornell (Joe Spano).
“At the end of the day, Gibbs feels a certain responsibility for what happened,” Glasberg says. “Whether that’s accurate or not, he’s carrying that around with him, and Fornell is carrying that around with him. … There are really some brilliant moments between Gibbs and Fornell. I couldn’t be happier with the performances that they gave. It’s a touching, really strong episode.”
Got any scoop you can share about Abby’s boyfriend on NCIS? How long might this relationship last? –Robert
Showrunner Gary Glasberg told me that with the Sergei Michnev story heating back up as well as other fish to fry, “We step away from [Abby’s romance with Burt] for a little while” — though not for forever. “Everybody really likes having [Johann Urb] around, so I’m sure you’ll see him again,” Glasberg shares, adding: “It’s been nice to have everybody kind of in pleasant relationships!”
THE NCIS TEAM SEARCHES FOR A HOME-GROWN TERRORIST AFTER EVIDENCE REVEALS HIS ROLE IN THE CAPTURE OF A SOCIAL WORKER IN SYRIA, ON “NCIS,” TUESDAY, JAN. 13
Joe Spano Guest Stars As Senior FBI Agent T.C. Fornell and Marisol Nichols Guest Stars as ATF Special Agent Zoë Keates
“The Enemy Within” – The NCIS team searches for a home-grown terrorist after a rescue mission in Syria reveals an American was involved in the capture of a social worker. Meanwhile, McGee and Bishop question DiNozzo’s unusual behavior, on NCIS, Tuesday, Jan. 13 (8:00-9:00, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. Joe Spano guest stars as Senior FBI Agent T.C. Fornell and Marisol Nichols guest stars as ATF Special Agent Zoë Keates.
CHEAT TWEET: The #NCIS team hunts for an American terrorist who has returned to the US #CBS 1/13 8pm
Rule No. 8: “Never take anything for granted.”
CBS’ NCIS takes that to heart tonight at 8/7c, with a Christmas episode that reflects on one of the long-running drama’s recurring themes: Gibbs’ Rules.
“I wanted for a while to do an episode about Gibbs’ rules,” showrunner Gary Glasberg tells TVLine, “and Chris Waild, one of my writer-producers, had the clever idea of incorporating it into our Christmas show.”
The framing device, per Glasberg: “McGee (played by Sean Murray) is writing a letter to his father, sitting at the great, old typewriter that he writes his books on, sort of narrating” his account of a case the team worked during the holidays, involving hackers.
“It’s a really timely case,” given the myriad Sony Hack documents continuously being released into the real world, Glasberg notes. “And it brings back a number of characters” — Former NCIS Systems Administrator Kevin Hussein (played by Ethan Rains), Heidi Partridge (Erin Allin O’Reilly) and Ajay Khan (Chuck‘s Vik Sahay) — “who are computer-focused villains of the past,” to help tackle the crisis.
As McGee shares with his father the assorted rules, many are punctuated by accompanying flashbacks of characters both present and past receiving or recounting Gibbs’ wisdom. “We used stuff all the way back to Season 2, I think,” Glasberg says. “It’s amazing to go back and collect all these different clips, of everybody from Sasha [Alexander, as Special Agent Kate Todd] to Cote [de Pablo, as Ziva] to Michael [Weatherly, who plays DiNozzo] referring to the rules.
Such blasts from the past coupled with McGee’s heartfelt missive to his father made for “a really emotional, terrific episode,” Glasberg adds. “It’s like a little Christmas present for everybody.”
On Tuesday’s holiday episode of NCIS, McGee (Sean Murray) takes a trip down memory lane as he pens a heartfelt letter to his father, whom he’s preparing to visit for the holidays.
“McGee is kind of reflecting on the past and on the rules that Gibbs has tried to instill in the team over the years, and questioning some of those rules and just thinking back,” Murray tells TVGuide.com. “He’s going to spend the holiday with … his dad, and that’s something that he doesn’t frequently do. They have a strained relationship. He’s sort of estranged from his father, and part of him writing that letter, I think, is him getting out a lot of stuff he can’t necessarily say.”
The episode also calls back to the season premiere, as McGee takes the lead on a cyber terrorism case, and the team recruits previously seen villains to help them solve the case in the week before Christmas.
As part of McGee’s nostalgia-fest, viewers will be treated to a host of flashbacks featuring current and former characters — including, yes, Ziva David (Cote de Pablo). “It’s an episode that really, I think, is kind of a reward to longtime fans,” Murray says.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.