Mark Harmon was shocked by the shorter than usual episode order for NCIS.
As previously reported, the veteran CBS drama will have a 16-episode season, rather than the usual 24.
The actor and executive producer opened up about the decision in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
"I know two shows ahead of where we are right now and that's it. I know there's been talk about different things but as far as where we're going from here, I don't know," Harmon shared.
"That was a shock to some people."
"We normally do 24 a year," he continued.
"My concerns get to be about a crew that is expecting to do more shows than they're going to do and that's a loss, so that loss is about taking the responsibility of that in some ways and... hopefully there will be a season beyond this that there's something to look forward to in the future where we're not going to be wearing the masks and maybe we're not going to be doing shortened seasons again."
"We'll get back to a full order."
NCIS celebrated its 400th episode this week, but the episode was filmed under strict COVID-19 protocols, but the actor maintained that he has always trusted the creatives behind the show.
"I've always trusted the writers here," he shared with ET.
"They’ve constantly been challenging here, the character continues to evolve, he's getting older, and some of this I'm dealing with as an actor as well as playing the character," Harmon added.
"It's been a ride here that personally I'm proud of as part of this crew. It's not easy and I don't know that there will be a show like this again that has this kind of impact over a period of time like this has had."
"But as long as it’s here, we still try to keep it about the work here every day. As long as this group is still grabbing onto that every morning when we get in, and certainly this time has made us focus more on that than maybe ever in the past, we're appreciative to have that opportunity and we know what it took to get there."
"We know what it's going to take to stay, so the effort here has been remarkable."
The series continues to be a success for CBS, and it continues Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.