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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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I was so addicted to this show for so many years, but didn't even make it to mid-season last year and I really hate that. I MISS loving this show, but it is not the same for me. Yes, I was a fan of Ziva, but it isn't just that she left. I tried to watch it, but the whole dynamic is skewed. The new character does not fit in. It was (IMO) better when the boys worked alone or with the occasional guest star, but of course, that may have gotten stale too (no way to know since the new girl was added so soon). I was HOPING that I would click on this article & feel some sort of renewed interest, but nope, just disappointment. As far as Tony's new love interest goes, I think that is a big mistake. You have a large group of fans who either A. don't want romance in their "procedural" or B. are Tiva fans still holding out for the end of the story that was teased for so many years then not followed through on, but if you like the ratings from Season 4, go for it. The numbers are likely headed south anyway.

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@ Disappointed

C: Fans who love the show and never wanted 'tiva' in the first place.

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@ Disappointed

Season 10 was a hot mess. Only a couple of the episodes are really watchable. What they did to the entire team that season was deplorable. I am so glad they handwaved much of that season away this past season and will start fresh again this upcoming season!

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@ Disappointed

The last year has proven that the Tiva fans are far from the majority of viewers, that they are merely a tiny minority.
As for those that don't want "romance in their procedural", there is a very big difference between a romance between members of the main cast and a side romance with a character that gets mentioned occasionally and seen even less - even the Abby/McGee relationship was done like that in season 2, just hints that there was something going on rather than it being overtly portrayed.
The relationship between Tony & Ziva was allowed to dominate the show at times, even without them apparently getting together. That was the big mistake - especially as there was never any affection portrayed between them. Predict what you like about the viewing figures, but after last year's predictions that the figures would nose-dive in Ziva's absence, or because of the competition from Agents of Shield, the figures held up remarkably well.
Will they go down in future? Well, all things considered, I'd be surprised if they didn't. But I'd hate to predict anything more than that. There are many people quietly commenting that they are really looking forward to season 12.

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@ Lee

Agree about the diff between romance within the team vs. outside of the team. I like seeing them as a family of sorts and I don't want them dating within 'the family'. Plus a side romance doesn't have to take up the entire plot.

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Mary kleinsmith

Glassberg screws the McAbby fans, although he promised he wouldn't. Nice guy.... NOT!

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@ Mary Kleinsmith

What did you expect? He screwed the Tiva fans, that was your sign.

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Mary kleinsmith
@ Sandra Miller

True, but I don't remember him saying he wouldn't screw over the Tiva fans. He did, but he didn't promise not to that I recall.

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Cliff hangers are always disrespectful to the audience. I am glad you didn't have one this year, but you should never have one. Your fans will come back. No need to play dirty tricks to get them back.

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Violet quinn
@ zante

cliffhangers are fun!

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@ zante

I too liked that there was no cliffhanger. I like everything feeling nicely wrapped up and going into the hiatus with a satisfied feeling. I find being left with a cliffhanger to be frustrating. I wouldn't think tptb would want that negative emotion carried for months. And with no cliffhanger, everything is fresh for the new season. It's not a big deal deal breaker either way for me though. I'll watch regardless.

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@ zante

I love cliffhanger they are smart and make you want to come back. I just wish romantic would go away

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@ Michael

Were you not hugged enough as a child?

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@ Sandra Miller

I was rise that if you need sex to have fun then you are a dull person

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Violet quinn
@ Mike

why do you think relationships equal casual sex?

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@ VBQ

Because this guy is on an anti-Ziva crusade and is trying to use sex as a way to back him up.

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I stopped watch the new episodes when Ziva left I liked Kate but I liked Ziva more and I don't like Bishop at all ....REPLACE HER SHE STINKS ...

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Technomistress
@ Anne Miller

If, as you say, you "stopped watch [sic] the new episodes when Ziva left" how would you know what Ellie is like? She didn't start until episode 8 and Ziva left after episode 2. So either you didn't stop watching, or you have made a decision without knowing anything about the character.

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@ Lisa Liscoumb

I watched it all and I do know what she's like. She sucks.

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Technomistress
@ TullaT

And that's fine - I can respect your opinion, even if I don't agree with it, because you are basing your opinion on your own knowledge of the show and the character. My question to Anne was to say "how can I respect your opinion on a character you've never even seen?"

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Violet quinn
@ Anne Miller

Bishop is god awful. I feel bad for the actress. She is in way over her head and can't possibly deliver.

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@ VBQ

Translation 'Hail Cote, kill a baby to warrant her return we can do no wrong for we are Cote Depablo fans.'

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@ Dean

OK ... I keep seeing it but I don't get it. What is with all the 'kill a baby' rhetoric? What does it mean and how does it tie in with Ziva? What am I missing?

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@ Charley

Given all the awful stuff the ziva and Cote fanatics have been saying for months. From 'CBS should have paid her to stay' to 'The new girl isn't doing a good job' to 'Gary Glasberg should be kicked off' to 'the cast should have fought to keep her' just to name a few. If killing a baby was what was required to bring Cote back these 'fans' wouldnt hesitate to do so.

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@ Dean

GIven the nasty stuff Ziva haters have said for nine years, don't even bother.

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@ TullaT

But we never attack the actress the NCIS haters/Tiva shipper have made personal attack towards the actor and actress on the show to the point that they had to hire cops

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Dido twite
@ Michael

Ziva haters attacked the actress for over 8 years. And hiring cops is something you just pulled out of your ass right now.

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@ Dido Twite

No I didn't Michael Weatherly had to hire police to watch it house because a crazy female try to kill his wife and kid when they were at the beach

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@ TullaT

Right cuz you and the others are just misunderstood victims who can't get it through your thick skulls that an actress chose to leave and so you and others make these accusations to every one associated with NCIS and to those who don't share your Cote is the show outlook on life. If killing a newborn child were the only requirement to get her back all of you would do it in a second. And being a cote or ziva fan would just be your reason.

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@ Charley

When Cote didn't sign back up a female Tiva fan said she would kill her new born child if it made cote come back to NCIS

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Agentscully514
@ Mike

And I'm sure you have proof of this.

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@ agentscully514

Don't expect him to show it.

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@ Charley

You're not missing anything. Dean's a psycho.

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I guess they can't have Tony be single for a while. Good luck to whoever they hire to play this 'new woman'. Meanwhile, not once has Ziva's name been mentioned since she left, only alluded to. I've never heard a TV show that literally tried to wipe the existence of one character like NCIS has done. Excited to hear we'll get to see Delilah again though. She was definitely a breath of fresh air last season. And I really enjoyed seeing McGee a and Delilah together. Good to hear Gibbs is gonna take McGee with him. Now if Gibbs would take his SFA that would be awesome. I hope we hear more Palmer news, like when is Breena gonna have the baby, etc.

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@ Marla

Can you name a TV show where an actor QUIT three days before production was to begin leaving the producers who made them a household name in the sitution that Cote de Quitter did. It is shocking that the producers did not just kill her off with an execution. There was definity grounds - Mass murder and treason to start.

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Dido twite
@ Michael Johnson

Ha, I remember you. You're the guy who kept insisting she would never work again in Hollywood, let alone on CBS. How does it feel to be wrong?

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@ Michael Johnson

That red head actor who quit NYPD blue to do movie

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Dido twite
@ Michael

Then the joined CSI Miami and it was a huge worldwide hit. Sucks to be him.

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@ Dido Twite

Considering CSI Miami was canceled and the actor had to foreclose on his house

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Technomistress
@ Marla

It doesn't make sense for Gibbs to take his SFA with him if the whole team is not going. Tony has to stay to run the investigation from the DC end - that's what a second-in-command does, runs things while the boss is away. Hence the reason he didn't go with Gibbs to NOLA instead of Ellie.

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@ Lisa Liscoumb

Ellie was useless in NOLA. he should have taken McGee.

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@ TullaT

Mcgee would be useless what would he do

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@ Michael

McGee is going with Gibbs to Russia. He seems to alternate between taking McGee and Bishop now. Tony doesn't get to go anywhere or do much of anything when super Gibbs and co go abroad. Even though Gibbs passed Tony over to take the lead in his absence as recently as last season, they suddenly pretend that Tony is needed to hold down the fort when the there will be excitement for the agents abroad. I guess we wouldn't want to flatter Tony by letting him do anything brave, bad ass, or heroic. Those scenes ALL go to Gibbs now. It's the law!

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@ Pat

You clearly do not understand how law enforcement works

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Dido twite
@ Michael

He'd be the experience NCIS agent he has been for a decade. What would Bishop do, bore them to death?

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@ Marla

Tony was single for all of season 11. ...and in reality, since he was never actually dating Ziva, he's been single for most of the series. They barely mentioned Kate for years. Have they mentioned Jenny more than in the 200th episode since she died? Director Morrow has barely had a mention and he was the original director. What are you expecting?
I'm glad that Tim and Delilah are still together. I really like their relationship. I'm glad that Tim gets to go somewhere and I hope that the writers don't pull the rug out from under Jimmy yet again.

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So glad for a new season and one in which they've had time to formulate. Thank goodness no one pulled the rug out from under them this year just weeks before filming. Glad Gibbs is going back to NO. Really excited Tony gets a love interest. Hopefully this one won't demand he be removed from the team, point a gun at him, leave him out of a team dinner, call him dead weight, leave him without backup etc ... and ask him every ep if he is jealous. Hope it doesn't become a centerpiece though. Sometimes the plot suffers from the side stories. Glad Ducky is getting an ep. My wish for the year is that Bishop is replaced by anybody (would love Dorney but know it has to be a femaie) and that we learn why Gibbs knows sign language.

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Violet quinn
@ Easton

actors' contracts come up every single year, and normally there is a plan b. There was no plan b last year. The producers screwed up and threw the actress under the bus. Shame on them.

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@ VBQ

If she had given them any indication they would have been working on it. Their not having a plan in place was clearly an indication that Cote led them to believe she was coming back. You can tell from the cast tweets and media that week that she blindsided them. I've often wondered if she did it to sabotage the show. I hope not but if she cared about the show at all (a show which put her on the map) she should have shown more respect in the way she left. The cast went through hell after she quit with Ziva fans sending them death threats and harassing them as though they were accountable for Cote's decision. That's a sign of some pretty serious delusion there. And for the record, NCIS contracts are almost always 2 year contracts, not 1 year.

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@ Charley

I couldn't stand Ziva by the end. and am so glad she's gone. I hope she never comes back. I would skip that episode if she did. CdP left them in a most unprofessional and uncaring manner.

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Agentscully514
@ Charley

She gave them an indication, when she didn't sign the contract. It happens every year. In the past Jesse Stern had a plan B for Ziva in case she didn't sign her contract. They didn't do it. Then they blamed the whole shitty season and the shitty new character on Cote's departure. No one sent the cast death threats, that's a lie perpetuated by the little group of Ziva haters who have been trashing the actress online for over 8 years.

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@ agentscully514

Really so Only Tiva fan are right is what your saying

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@ VBQ

THEY threw COTE under the bus? Everyone has said that they expected her to re-sign. No one expected her to walk away. She did, for reasons of her own which she has not shared. SHE's the one who walked out on the people she'd been working with for 8 years.
I liked Ziva. Cote de Pablo seems like a nice person, but the only person who deserves to hear "shame on you" is her.

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@ E fish

Plus she refuse to talk to any of them

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Dido twite
@ Mike

Really, because they all said they still talk to her all the time.

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@ Easton

Gibbs knows sign language from the Marine Corps. they use it for obvious reasons. MH knows sign language from Reasonable Doubts.

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@ leia

I knew that about Harmon but I never connected why Gibbs would know. Thanks for that. Makes sense.

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Tony doesn't need a new romance. Let him be single for awhile. And please leave Bishop in the UK.

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Violet quinn
@ TullaT

Fire Bishop. she is a terrible character, she is dragging the whole show down.

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@ VBQ

like you and the other ziva worshipers can do better?

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@ TullaT

you and the other baby killing Cote fanatics are really getting your rocks off aren't you.

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when kate die the show move on when Puala die the show move on when Jenny die the show move on and Now that Ziva gone the show has move on and its time the HATERS move on too

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@ Michael

Considering you've hated Ziva since day one, and still talk about how much you hate her, you're not one to talk.

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@ PatrickC

And how is that different from you hated NCIS from day one

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@ Mike

First, Hi Michael. Second, you don't know anything about me. I do not hate NCIS. I'd try to reason with you, but you can't be reasoned with.

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@ Michael

Please move on, troll

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@ Alicia

do you even know what a troll is

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Oh gosh no ! Please no woman for tony.He already found his woman, Ziva.The teams needs her and especially tony needs her.The show has lost its Pah !

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Technomistress
@ Janina

Nope. Tony does not need someone who has dismissed him at every turn, insulted him, demanded his boss kick him off the team, assaulted him, etc., etc., etc. And Michael Weatherly has said in an interview that Tony has "put Ziva in a drawer and moved on with his life" since she rejected him in Israel. I just hope that whatever romance they do have for Tony it will be a) with someone who respects him, cares for him, and supports him while still challenging him, and b) be handled mostly off-screen.

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@ Janina

Tony doesn't need someone who rejected him. Tony's grown more in her absence than in all the years she was there. Her being gone is good for Tony.

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People it is time to stop complaining and calling names. If you haven't read, Cote is going to be in a CBS Mini Series in 2015. Also CBS left the door open for Cote to come if she wants to.

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NCIS Quotes

You know what Tony is spelled backwards? Y not? Think about it

Tony

McGee: Gibbs would never leave you out of the loop on something like this.
Tony: He didn't.
Bishop: You knew? So why bother fighting with her?
Tony: She fights back. I have a type.

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