NCIS Boss Teases a New Gibbs, A Test for Bishop, A Decision for Tony

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Remember those two gunshots heard in the season finale of NCIS Season 12?

Well, they're going to resonate in a big way when NCIS Season 13 kicks off later this month.

As Michael Weatherly told me recently, big changes are coming to the new season... and not just for an episode or two.

In fact, with the life of Gibbs hanging in the balance in NCIS Season 13 Episode 1, everyone on the NCIS team will be jarred in a major way.

Moreover, showrunner Gary Glasberg added, Gibbs is going to be a changed man once he inevitably recovers from his wounds.

First, he'll have an interesting relationship with guest star Jon Cryer, who is playing his doctor. But, beyond that, Glasberg explained that Gibbs is going to be looking at things differently and putting pressure on Tony DiNozzo.

Let's see what else Glasberg had to say about this new Gibbs, how the entire team handles it and whether Mr. DiNozzo might finally find a true love this season...

TV Fanatic: How do you creatively build that tension when we know Gibbs aren’t really going anywhere?

Gary Glasberg: We ended with a scenario where he was getting shot and really injured. We pick up right where we left off and dealing with an injury like that is significant for anyone. And recovering from it and rehabilitating from it and there’s psychological trauma and physical trauma that goes along with that.

That’s what we’re going to see as the season progresses is you’re going to see a change in Gibbs. You’re going to see a physical change and an emotional change and Mark Harmon is really diving into that and making it unique. It’s been exciting to watch and we’ve got some really emotional stuff coming up from him.

The chemistry between Gibbs and his doctor, played by Jon Cryer, is a unique relationship and it’s been fun to watch them connect and rely on each other. I’m excited to have Jon as part of the show this season.

TVF: Is Gibbs going to be more challenged in the physical or emotional sense?

GG: It’s a little bit of both. He’s shot in the chest, he has his knee replaced…it’s an eye opener for him because the Gibbs character literally has to step back and say ‘how many more lives does this cat have?’ How much more can he live through and if he isn’t around to take care of his family, then what happens to his family?

It raises all kinds of questions and people are going to see some different and interesting shifts in Gibbs and he’s going to open up a little more to people more, as well. It’s a slightly different Leroy Jethro Gibbs this season and I will tell you that that carries through to how he dresses, how he presents himself and interesting little quirks that longtime fans are going to pick up on right away.

TVF: Is it safe to say that Tony will have to step up as leader? How does this affect the entire team?

GG: That’s one of the big character arcs that we’re going to get into this season. Gibbs and Tony are really going to feel some tension between the two of them. Gibbs is putting tremendous pressure on Tony. Having survived this, Gibbs really wants to know if this is what Tony wants. Does he want to be the leader? Does he want to be, in essence, to become Gibbs? And that’s a lot to take on and some big decisions for Tony DiNozzo and at the end of the day, Tony has to really step back and evaluate and think about what he wants from his life and his career.

TVF: When I saw Weatherly recently, he said all this would make fans very uncomfortable but in a way that they’re ready to be uncomfortable about. Would you agree with that?

GG: I certainly hope so. Michael Weatherly and Mark Harmon are fantastic actors and they want, and we all wanted, to dive deeper into who all these people are. You can’t have this job and be a part of this team and not constantly take risks and constantly feel loss. And it takes its toll after awhile so it got them thinking about things in a way that they didn’t see coming.

TVF: How’s the rest of the team taking this change?

GG: They’re all handling it in different ways. We’ve seen McGee really rise to the occasion in the last couple of years and mature to full on special agent and that maturity will continue and his relationship with Delilah will continue. He will be challenged as Tony and Gibbs continue to be challenged.

As for Bishop, she has a tremendous arc coming up where her marriage continues to be tested and challenged in ways as her husband remains with the NSA and she’s with NCIS so that’s going to take a huge toll on her and will manifest itself in a bunch of ways that will be significant all the way through the holidays and beyond.

Abby, she never wants to see any of her family struggling so she emotionally takes on a tremendous amount of the weight of watching what’s happening. We have some significant Abby episodes coming up. One, which is a little bit lighter that Steve Miner is writing that I call ‘Die Hard Abby’ where she gets herself into a situation and has to work herself out of it so she has some really big stuff to deal with this season.

Vance, in the role of Director, sees what Gibbs is going through and Vance ends up having to step back into the field and rediscovers his roots as a field agent in a kind of buddy cop scenario with Gibbs that was a lot of fun for us to do. [That episode is scheduled for mid-October.]

But, really, one by one, everyone is affected by those two gun shots at the end of last season and it’s a matter of how they internalize what’s happened, how they take on what’s happened and how it’s changed everyone.

TVF: From what I hear on Twitter, everyone wants Tony to have a good, healthy relationship. What’s in store for Tony this season in the romance department?

GG: I think there is something coming up later in the season and I will say that I think it will really surprise people. It comes with all kinds of twists and turns and complexity. I would love to say it’s just going to be all about happiness and roses for Tony but that will not be the case. There is something significant coming later in the year. 

NCIS Season 13 kicks off September 22 at 8/7c on CBS. 

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 Season 13 Episode 1 Quotes

Franks: All the sawbones in the world...and you get Chuckles the Clown. I'll be this guy's a hoot at parties.
Gibbs: Shut up, Mike.

McGee: Gibbs was shot.
Ducky: Shot?
McGee: Twice. Point blank range. Luke Harris.