Leroy Jethro Gibbs has not been a part of the NCIS franchise for a couple years, but he casts such a long shadow over the franchise that he always gets mentioned. The character’s return was talked about during a recent interview with Mark Harmon, and now, the showrunner for NCIS: Sydney is getting in on the speculation.
NCIS: Sydney is the newest NCIS installment, and the show’s success is proving that there’s still gas in the franchise’s tank. Showrunner Morgan O’Neill has been transparent about which parts have been borrowed from previous installments and which part are unique to Sydney, but it was the possibility of future storylines that really caught our attention.
How Is NCIS: Sydney connected to NCIS?
O’Neill told TV Insider that Michelle Mackey (Olivia Swann), the special agent who leads the NCIS: Sydney team, has a detailed backstory when it comes to how she got involved with the agency. A backstory is nothing new for NCIS, but the fact that Mackey used the expression “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” has fans theorizing that the legendary Gibbs may have played a part in her getting hired.
Gibbs was very fond of the expression, and while the correlation is admittedly thin, O’Neill leaned into the theory. “There’s a backstory that we’re going to be delving into as the show progresses about how Mackey came to be NCIS, and it’s a rough road, let me tell you that,” the showrunner noted. “It involves her formal career as a Marine Corps chopper pilot and how that didn’t end up great.”
Our eyes and ears really perked up with O’Neill name-dropped Gibbs. “As we’ll see, there was a certain former NCIS agent who reached out to her at her lowest moment and dragged her back into the organization,” he added. “And that agent may or may not be Jethro Gibbs, but certainly strap in and we’ll find out.”
This is a fascinating possibility, given that Gibbs has stepped away from law enforcement. The character was last seen settling down in Alaska, and while Harmon left the door open for return, he said the character is perfectly content fishing. If the former NCIS agent that O’Neill alludes to is actually Gibbs, then it’s much more likely that there’s a reference to the character rather than an actual appearance. A cool reference, if so.
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NCIS: Sydney is a streaming sensation, according to Deadline. It racked up 10 million streams in its first three days on Paramount +, which is the most-streamed CBS in the platform’s history. It’s a show that clearly has staying power, but if Gibbs is reluctant to return to his own NCIS show, we highly doubt he will take time out of his Alaskan fishing schedule to venture to Sydney.
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