How NCIS Will Handle Romance In Season 18

NCIS fans who have wanted to see relationships take on a more prominent focus in Season 18 may get their wish. The show’s executive producers have teased the upcoming storylines that are going to take center stage when the long-running procedural returns. As you might have hoped, romance will play a role, but for whom? Well, two couples are at the forefront of the romantic turns.

For one maybe-couple, any potential romance would be a bittersweet highlight. Maria Bello will be leaving NCIS in Season 18. Her exit was announced a few months ago, which put a significant kibosh on any long-term romance between Bello’s Jacqueline “Jack” Sloane and Mark Harmon’s Gibbs. A steady romantic angle between them has been taking shape for a while now. On that note, NCIS executive producer Steven Binder told TVLine:

Sloane is of course leaving, so there’s been an ongoing wonderment of what’s going on between her and Gibbs — and I think we’re going to find that out. If it’s not now, then never, so I think it’s going to be now.

It may be now, but will whatever happens between Jack and Gibbs when NCIS returns spell “never” for the potential couple? Jack and Gibbs have been circling each other for a while without any definitive progress. At least not enough to substantially move the needle on their status. NCIS has vowed that Jack will get a “worthy” ending in Season 18. Whether that includes a romantic interlude for her is anyone’s guess.

Of course, Jack and Gibbs are not the only ones who have had their romantic flame stoked through the years. NCIS has also teased Bishop and Torres’ ever-simmering chemistry. As fans have eagerly awaited Season 18’s delayed debut, Wilmer Valderrama has hinted that NCIS will be doing “something different” with Bishop and Torres in Season 18. What could those differences include? NCIS executive producer Frank Cardea teased:

We also always toy with the Bishop/Torres relationship, and there’s an episode that they’re featured prominently in.

You read that correctly, NCIS fans. A big Bishop/Torres episode is happening in Season 18, and it sounds like the CBS procedural will continue teasing viewers. Bishop/Torres shippers have been here before, though, so hopefully, something changes for them. A hint that things are only going to continue heating up between them is a step in the right direction.

NCIS executive producer Frank Cardea has drawn comparisons between Bishop and Torres’ relationship and Tony and Ziva’s. If that is not a hopeful endorsement, I do not know what is, even if it took “Tiva” a long time to get their much-anticipated ending. Will fans of Bishop and Torres’ romance really have to wait that long? Stay tuned.

Between Bishop/Torres and Jack/Gibbs, NCIS could get romantic well-ahead of Valentine’s Day. I would say Bishop and Torres have more of a reason to be hopeful considering Jack’s pending exit. NCIS romance fans will have to stay tuned. Season 18 of NCIS premieres Tuesday, November 17 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The series will begin its post-COVID era episodes during 2021’s winter/spring schedule.