NCIS is still going strong after 20 years! The franchise is stronger than ever thanks to a recent oral history by The Hollywood Reporter, a designated “NCIS Day” by CBS, and the streaming success of its latest spin-off, NCIS: Sydney. It’s a good time to be a fan of the procedural team, especially with the main show slated to return in February 2024.
We’ve had a long time to sit with the events of the season 20 finale, and contemplate what we want to see in season 21, so we thought now would be the perfect time to list them out, as well as the things we DON’T want to see (sometimes that’s even more important). Here goes!
We want to find out if Nick Torres committed murder
Season 20 ended on quite the cliffhanger, as it was unclear whether team member Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) would kill a man during his undercover prison stint. The character alluded to the fact that the man did something to him and his mother in the past, so there’s obviously a layer of depth here that we don’t yet understand.
Torres hasn’t always had the most consistent writing, but he’s a likable character who would very much be crossing a line if he were to commit cold-blooded murder in the season 21 premiere. We doubt it will happen, but either way, we NEED a resolution to this tense storyline.
We DON’T want to see Jethro Gibbs return to the team
Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is great. We all know that. The thing is, his season 19 was so well done that bringing him back for a one-off case would undermine it. The character seems to be doing just fine in Alaska, fishing and enjoying the peace and quiet after decades of crime fighting. It would be nice to see him, of course, but it’s not worth the long-term ramifications.
Plus, bringing Gibbs back would hurt the momentum that the new boss, Alden Parker (Gary Cole), has been able to build up. The show has made sure that Parker is very different than Gibbs, which has paid off and effectively guaranteed that it will survive without the latter. Best to keep moving forward.
We want to see a crossover episode with NCIS: Sydney
NCIS always delivers when it comes to crossovers with its spin-off properties. NCIS: Los Angeles ended in 2023, but NCIS: Sydney has stepped in and proven to be a surprise hit with audiences. It was the most-streamed CBS show in the history of Paramount Plus, and it proves that there’s still lots of possibilities within the NCIS franchise.
Given how popular Sydney has become in such a short period of time, we’d love to see a crossover in which the two teams collaborated to solve an international case. It would help to legitimate the spin-off in the eyes of longtime viewers, and it will add a fun new flavor to the original: a win win!
We DON’T want relationship problems for Knight and Palmer
Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) and Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) comprise the best relationship on NCIS heading into season 21. It’s been rewarding to watch their friendship blossom into romance over the years, and the season 20 finale saw the use of the “L” word for the first time, and frankly, we just want things to keep going smoothly for them.
There’s always going to be issues in a relationship, especially when it leads to drama on a weekly basis, but we really, truly hope that Palmer and Knight continue to grow together the way they have been, and that the show doesn’t stick them with out-of-character setbacks that make the duo less fun to watch.
We want a tasteful tribute to Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard
The death of David McCallum was a devastating blow to NCIS fans, especially since it coincided with the show’s 20th anniversary. The actor had played fan favorite Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard since the show’s inception, and was slated to return for a handful of episodes in season 21, but he died before production could resume. As such, Ducky’s absence will have to be explained in-world.
The most logical way to explain it would be to have Ducky pass away as well, but as with all things on television, the execution is the most important part. We hope the character, and the actor, to a large extent, gets the tasteful tribute that he deserves.
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