‘NCIS’ Producer on Why Show Had So Many Sad Episodes Back to Back

by Jacklyn Krol

Why are there so many sad back-to-back storylines in NCIS? There’s a good reason for that. 

Warning: Spoilers ahead! 

NCIS is currently in its typical winter hiatus. The second half of Season 19 is set to air in early 2022. This first half of the season was one of the most emotional yet with all of the tragedies. Saying goodbye to so many characters was gutwrenching for fans.

During Season 18 Episode 7, “The First Day” the first of several tragedies took place. Fans were shocked by the death of Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen)’s wife Breena (Michelle Pierce). Who could forget when she died from COVID-19? The series paid tribute to her with a poem entitled Epitaph by Merrit Malloy. Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) read it out loud at NCIS headquarters. 

The next episode entitled “True Believer” had Jack Sloane (Maria Bello) depart NCIS for good. She decided to stay in Afghanistan to help local villagers to see the impact her work does. She left but not before she and Gibbs (Mark Harmon) shared a kiss. In real life, Bello’s contract expired and she had other projects lined up. 

Then Episode 9 called “Winter Chill” featured Tobias Fornell’s (Joe Spano) daughter Emily Fornell (Juliette Angelo) had to be hospitalized for a drug overdose and was told she died.

Executive producer Scott Williams explained to Express why exactly so many sad storylines happen all at once. Typically, NCIS seasons are approximately 24 episodes long. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this was shortened to sixteen for Season 18. Williams explained that if it was a normal length season, the tough episodes would have been spaced out more. Which way would you have liked to see the season progress?

Mark Harmon and a Potential ‘NCIS’ Return?

NCIS fans may have spotted a clue to Harmon’s future in the hit CBS series. Harmon’s name still appears in the opening credits of the drama.

“Every single actor who left was taken out immediately,” the Redditor notes of the NCIS opening credit.

“Does this signal a potential return,” they questioned. “Or his story isn’t done?”

So what is it like to work with Harmon?

Former NCIS [Naval Criminal Investigative Service] agent Richard Warmack praised the actor. In a new interview with TV Insider, Warmack said that they first met at his house. Warmack had to arrive late due to a work emergency but Harmon understood completely. He said that Harmon was diligent about researching the role and seemed to really care.