‘NCIS’ Fans Pitch an Interesting Concept for a New Spinoff

by Suzanne Halliburton
Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2016

NCIS fans were just spit-balling on message boards as they exchanged ideas on potential spinoffs.

And one fan shared a good idea, especially given TV trends. Rather than focus spinoffs around specific cities (think NCIS: Los Angeles or the bygone NCIS: New Orleans), maybe do it as a prequel?

There’s a Reddit thread discussing an idea for a prequel. Here’s the initial post:

“Okay, so I don’t normally think a new spinoff would be a good idea, especially considering how many they’ve already done with NCIS,” wrote agentdb22. “But I think that a spin-off series about young Gibbs and Ducky (a la S18E2) would be awesome. The flashback episodes are some of the best written (so far at least), so I think it might be a good idea.”

The NCIS episode in question is Everything Starts Somewhere. It ran Nov. 24, 2020. The plot summary: “Flashbacks reveal the murder case that first introduced young Gibbs (Sean Harmon) to NCIS and his introduction to young, new-to-America Ducky (Adam Campbell).” Note that Sean Harmon is Mark Harmon’s son. So a Gibbs is playing a Gibbs.

There were lots of bits of trivia scattered throughout the episode. The wedding suit in a flashback is a replica of the one young Mark Harmon wore in 1973 at an awards ceremony in New York while he played football at UCLA. This episode also was the seventh time Harmon’s son played Gibbs’ younger self. Adam Campbell, who played Ducky, had been on the show four times for flashbacks.

Michael Desmond/CBS ©2008

Would You Watch a Ducky-Gibbs NCIS Prequel?

So what did the NCIS group on Reddit think about the idea?

One fan wrote: “That would be entertaining from a storyline perspective but I fear it would have limited scope.”

Another replied: “I think Gibbs and Ducky’s time both working at NCIS would have a very similar plotline to the main show except with the added chaos of Mike Franks. I would almost prefer Ducky’s adventures in the ramc, explaining all those stories, looking for Nicholas and such, with some flashbacks on where he is currently.”

David McCallum portrays Ducky Mallard, the now-retired medical examiner for NCIS. The show still lists him in the recurring cast. The last time he appeared on screen was during the opening four-arc segment of season 19 that led to Harmon’s departure as Gibbs. McCallum, now 88, remains a fan favorite. When Brian Dietzen, who plays Dr. Jimmy Palmer, was tweeting about season 19 details last week, fans quizzed him about whether Ducky will make an appearance again this season. Without saying when, Dietzen confirmed there will be another Ducky spotting.

In NCIS lore, Ducky and Gibbs met in the early 1980s. Ducky was in a car wreck, with the incident accidentally saving Gibbs, who then was a Marine. So that would be the time frame for an NCIS prequel. We’re trying to imagine Ducky and Gibbs together in the gaudy 80s, traveling the world to solve cases.

Both characters were in the NCIS backdoor pilot on JAG, so why not go with vintage when creating a prequel?