‘NCIS’ Just Confirmed the Return of 1 Character That Fans Have Not Seen Since Season 16

The long wait for new episodes of NCIS is almost over. After months of shutdowns and delays due to the pandemic, the cast and crew are back to work. CBS has finally revealed when season 18 will premiere, and they just released new pics and a synopsis for the first episode. Surprisingly, the episode synopsis confirms the return of one character who fans haven’t seen since season 16.

NCIS season 18
‘NCIS’ star Mark Harmon | Eddy Chen/CBS via Getty Images

‘NCIS’ season 18 will jump back in time for the first few episodes

The pandemic forced NCIS to end season 17 four episodes early which prevented fans from seeing a true season finale. Instead, the story left off with Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) traveling to Hawaii for Pearl Harbor survivor Joe Smith’s (Christopher Lloyd) funeral.

According to TVLine, season 18 will begin with a “big and intense” cold open. But then, the story will jump back in time to Season 17, Episode 8 “Musical Chairs.” This will put the NCIS team in November 2019, where they will reportedly stay for a while.

Fans will remember that season 17 episode featured Gibbs’ disappearing to go on a mission. He later returned at the end of the episode with a black eye.

“We are going to pick up season 18 with that mission that Gibbs was on, back in time,” co-showrunner Steve Binder explained. “We’re in a pre-COVID world for a little while.”

Once that multi-episode arc is complete, the story will return to Washington D.C in the present day. As Binder explains, they will “be in a COVID world at that point.”

Did a set photo give fans a glimpse of a new recurring character?

Earlier this month, CBS released the new NCIS key art for season 18, along with a photo from an upcoming episode. As CarterMatt notes, there is a lot for fans to unpack in those images.

In the photo from the episode, Gibbs is standing in the middle of the street while talking on his phone. On the ground is Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and a brand new NCIS character trying to save someone who appears to have been left for dead.

That new character is Veronica Tyler, played by Days of Our Lives and Guiding Light alum Victoria Platt. It’s not clear when in time this episode is set, and that is a vital piece of information.

If the episode is from the past, then fans are asking why Veronica is in the pic. Could she possibly be a one-off character that Torres was working with for a day? If the pic is from the present, could it mean that NCIS has a new recurring character? The image also has fans wondering – where in the world is Bishop (Emily Wickersham)?

‘NCIS’ just confirmed the return of FBI special agent Tobias Fornell

When the story jumps back to the “Musical Chairs” episode, fans will discover the truth behind Gibbs’ impromptu “fishing trip.” As it turns out, Gibbs’ trip was really a secret mission with FBI special agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano).

According to Express, CBS just revealed this surprise info in the season 18 premiere synopsis. The mission involves one of the drug rings established at the end of season 16.

“Gibbs and Fornell attempt to track down the leader of a drug ring who supplied drugs to Fornell’s daughter,” the official synopsis reads. “Also, the team deals with the case of a missing cadaver from the NCIS autopsy room.”

It appears that the new episodes will resolve the storyline that NCIS started in the season 16 finale. Fans will remember that episode featured Fornell’s daughter Emily (Juliette Angelo) overdosing on drugs.

“Gibbs has a bug up his butt about breaking the law and causing all sorts of chaos in communities with the drug situation,” Binder explains. “Fornell’s daughter has been hurt by this epidemic, so he’s a little more fiery.”

Over five episodes, Gibbs will be on his mission and the NCIS team will deal with other cases. Both storylines will then collide in episode 5.

NCIS season 18 will premiere on CBS on November 17, 2020.