An NCIS prequel focused on the early years of Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) was not on our bingo board. We have to admit we were taken aback by the news, which was confirmed by CBS in the last week, but the notion of learning more about the most popular NCIS character makes sense.
As is the case with most prequels, the main character predates a lot of the beloved characters that were introduced during the original show, so it's impossible to bring them back in ways that align with the continuity of the franchise. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to the rule.
NCIS: Origins will bring back Agent Vera Strickland
One of these characters was confirmed when the show was announced, and the other has recently been unveiled. The former is Mike Franks (Muse Watson), who died in NCIS season 9, and the latter is Vera Strickland, who has made only one appearance in the franchise's long history!
For those who don't remember, which is most of us, Vera Strickland is a special agent who appeared in the season NCIS season 11 episode "Under the Radar." During her brief time onscreen, Strickland, played by Roma Maffia, revealed that she once served Franks' partner.
This brief bit of backstory will end up being a huge part of NCIS: Origins. The prequel will be set in 1991, and follow Gibbs' rise to prominence, as well as his burgeoning friendship with Franks, and to a lesser extent, Strickland. Naturally, given that the characters will be decades younger, they will be played by different actors.
Strickland made a single appearance in NCIS season 11
There has been no casting news for NCIS: Origins, but executive producer Sean Harmon (son of Mark) has made it clear that the utmost care is being taken with regards to preserving the continuity and the legacy of the Gibbs character. He told Deadline:
""The character of Gibbs has been an important part of my life for 20 years, both in watching my father craft the role and previously having the honor to play young Gibbs myself. I always felt there was a tale worth telling about his earlier years, so I am thrilled to be stepping into a producing role alongside Gina, David and my dad as we tell this story and reveal a new side of this beloved character.""
This passion makes sense, given that Sean Harmon played Gibbs during a handful of flashbacks episodes on NCIS. We're also thrilled by the notion of Mark Harmon returning as the narrator of the series, so consider us bought in!