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Gibbs' Past Takes Center Stage as NCIS Returns

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NCIS returns for its eighth season tonight, with skeletons from Leroy Jethro Gibbs' past leaving his father - and potentially the rest of the team - with huge targets on their backs.

How will he get out of this one?

Executive producer Shane Brennan says Jackson Gibbs (Ralph Waite) will be front and center, and it will be clear where our man gets his fighting spirit and independent streak.

Gibbs Packing

"It's a big opening," Brennan tells TV Guide of the season premiere. "I advise every fan of the show to sit down and watch that first minute. It's explosive. We finish up that story, and we'll quickly get back into showing NCIS as the team it's always been."

The first minute? As if we weren't intrigued enough!

The bad news, however, is that Gibbs' team members feel threatened when their investigation of a helicopter pilot's murder leads Gibbs & Co. back to the vengeful Paloma Reynosa (Jacqueline Obradors), whose father, Pedro Hernandez, was killed Gibbs decades ago.

Moreover, not every team member takes the news of Gibbs' murderous past with a wink and a nod, or a smile. We saw Abby's reaction last season. Tonight could be worse.

"I think that DiNozzo is squarely confronting personal demons this year," Michael Weatherly says of his character, who has worshipped his boss despite his prankster ways.

"You see a man who is a maybe a little less silly," the actor continues. "This is not to say he's totally lost his sense of humor, but I think there are some changes going on with that character that are kind of a subsequent result of seeing Gibbs in a new light."

Expect deeper insights into several characters this season, as Brennan promises origin episodes for at least a couple characters. Plus, look for the return of Ziva's father (Michael Nouri) to lead to what Brennan calls this season's first big Tony-Ziva (Cote de Pablo) moment.

"For Tiva fans, there is a moment in the first half of the season," Brennan says. "There will be some ghosts from the past, though maybe some of them are not ghosts. It probably won't go as far as [the fans] want it to, but have we ever gone far enough for them?"

Gibbs' relationship with Abby (Pauley Perrette), meanwhile, should settle down, even though she was the first to uncover Gibbs dark secret in last May's "Borderland."

"It's a complex relationship and we've just added another layer of complexity," Brennan says. "But we would not jeopardize the relationship that the audience has come to love. It does bring a different perspective to it, but it's not like they're going to be busted up."

"Gibbs and Abby are going back to being Gibbs and Abby."

But Brennan, who's known for meticulously plotting out his seasons far in advance, is already thinking about the season's end, and it looks like he has a big one in store.

"Toward the end of the season, there will be a big, big, enormous question mark over one of the characters," Brennan teases. Any thoughts on what that might be?

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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    When Tonys father comes back, I hope he tells Tony that he has a sibling. I just read that Thad Luckinbill (J.T.) from The Young and the Restless is not renewing his contact with the show. It would be great if he played a sibling of Tonys. Who says that Tonys a only child. He father did remarry several times. It would be interesting to see how Tony deals with another DiNozzo just as obnoxious and as charming like him.

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    It will probably depend on if, and when Mark and Cote renew their contracts. I hope they both do.

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    All depending on if, and when Mark and Cote renew their contracts?

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    When will Season 8 be seen in the UK? I'm watching repeats but am getting withdrawal symptoms waiting for the new season to start.

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    CAN'T WAIT!! I live in denmark so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to watch it but I'm DYING HERE! The spoilers sounds great, I think season 8 will be awesome because I love all the characthers and it's awesome they're using background stories. I think it's Abby they're talking about in the end! We've had Tiva, Gibbs, I'm guessing we're going for Abby this time! Maybe McGee in season 9? or this one, am I the only one thinking he's been "missing"? I mean, I love McGee and I to see that he's just not some computer geek! I WANNA SEE HIM IN ACTION! :D
    "You might be smart, but my geek carries a gun!" - Abby (lol)




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