NCIS Season 12: A New Villain, A New Romance, A Trip to New Orleans

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Big things are coming on NCIS Season 12.

During the NCIS: New Orleans panel discussion at the TCA Summer Press Tour yesterday, executive producers Gary Glasberg, Jeffrey Lieber and Mark Harmon held court and spilled information.

To wit: there are already plans crossover the world of "the mothership" with the upcoming Big Easy-based spinoff.

“We’re currently planning an episode that’s coming out where Gibbs will make an appearance. There will be crossover between the two shows,” Glasberg confirmed. “We have a storyline where Michael Weatherly is involved, where Pauley Perrette is involved, David McCallum. That’s the fun of what we have here is having that interaction.”

Later that day at a CBS party in West Hollywood, I asked Glasberg about specifics regarding new episodes of NCIS. Consider yourself SPOILER WARNED and scroll down for interview excerpts...

Mark Harmon at TCAs

TV Fanatic: Where are we finding our gang at the start of the season?

Gary Glasberg: It’s really interesting. Last season was so tumultuous. To have Ziva exit, Bishop arrive, the introduction of the New Orleans episodes and then Ralph Waite’s passing, it was a lot. I couldn’t do a cliffhanger. It was just disrespectful. So I think by doing it the way we did, by sort of resetting over the hiatus and then coming out of the gate with a big story, which is what we’re doing, we’re exciting about it.

It’s really about focusing on the team and the family because I know that the fans really respond to that and then, of course, really peppering it with all kinds of great little tidbits along the way.

The first episode starts in Russia and brings Gibbs and McGee to Russia and then a crisis happens and we’re off and running. It sets up an adversary for them that will track through the whole season.

TVF: So we’ll have a big bad for the whole season?

GG: On and off a big bad!  An actor named Alex Veadov. He’s a lovely man and he plays a Russian mercenary named Sergei Michnev. Very excited about that. He’s a terrific actor and excited about the potential of where he can go and the potential to cross over into the New Orleans show, as well.

TVF: That sounds great. What else is coming?

GG: Episode 3 is a Ducky origins story, which we‘re going to find a young David McCallum and I’m very excited about that. Steve Binder is writing that and we’re going to learn things like why the bow tie and all kinds of stuff. It will be a lot of fun.

TVF: Will it be a light, fun episode? Or will there still be a darker case along with it?

GG: There will be a case that goes along through it, but it brings Ducky and Bishop back to England. So we’re very excited about that.

TVF: Any old faces from the past either villains or other people we haven’t seen in awhile?

GG: We’re talking about different people. We’ll have to see who gets cast and who we ultimately bring in. But everything from trying to cast the elusive, unknown ex-wife, the one we haven’t met. We’ll also keep the Delilah story alive with McGee. And Tony, in episode 4, is going to meet a woman. So we’ll start to layer that in.

TVF: With both shows going, are you going to sleep ever again?

GG: I tend to stay up late so I go to bed around 2 and [exec producer Jeffrey Lieber] gets up around 4 so there’s only about 2 hours of time where we need to hire someone from 2-4 [am].

NCIS Season 12 premieres at 8/7c on Tuesday, September 23, with NCIS: New Orleans debuting immediately afterward.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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NCIS Quotes

Tony: One other question, I know you're an expert in English history. And I was just wondering, have you ever heard of Archibald Drummond, the 17th Earl of Trent?
Ducky: The Earl of Trent. No, I can't say I have. Why?
Tony: I was just wondering. Thanks.

McGee: Rule number 70 - keep digging till you hit bottom.
Abby: McGee! There is no rule 70.
McGee: Well, I--
Abby: You just made up a rule. This McGibbs thing has really gone to your head. I don't even recognize you right now.