'NCIS' Cast Talks 200th Episode And 'Hawaii Five-0' Crossover
(WARNING! This article contains potential spoilers from the 200th episode of "NCIS." If you're down with that part being a complete surprise, TURN BACK NOW!)
By franchise star Mark Harmon's own admission, "NCIS" has come a long way over nine seasons.
What Harmon recently described as once a very middle-of-the-road show hasn't only recently wrapped its milestone 200th episode; since its debut, it became a stellar enough drama that it spawned an equally successful spin-off, "NCIS: Los Angeles," that will soon be crossing over with fellow CBS hit "Hawaii Five-0."
The "Hawaii Five-0" crossover feels fitting: it's a spin-off of a spin-off crossing continuities with yet another procedural drama, and extending a lineage that extends back to the Naval-court procedural "JAG," which begat the original "NCIS" as it ended a decade ago, which eventually of course begat the Los Angeles iteration.
According to what Entertainment Weekly reports, the crossover event will launch with the Jan. 16 "Five-0" arc regarding a virus potentially released as a murder weapon. It then wraps up with the Jan. 17 "NCIS: Los Angeles" continuing the story. It's worth noting, of course, that "NCIS: Los Angeles" player Daniela Ruah has appeared previously on "Five-0."
(For the trivia-inclined, were NBC and CBS to ever merge a couple law-enforcement procedurals, the two networks could build upon a television precedent that a certain longtime NBC brand has set for bridging continuities. Richard Belzer's Det. John Munch of "Law & Order: SVU" currently holds a distinction of being the only character to have appeared on 10 separate programs. The character, which originated on NBC's "Homicide: Life On The Street" in 1993, has since appeared on "SVU," the flagship "Law & Order," fellow spin-off "Law & Order: Trial By Jury," "Arrested Development," "Sesame Street" (in Muppet form...), "The X-Files," "The Beat," "The Wire," "30 Rock" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Yes, these are things that actually cross my mind while writing this stuff.)
Harmon himself comes across a little taken aback, in a good way, at just what the show has achieved. The way he sees it, "NCIS" started off nine years ago like the employee that works head-down and does just enough that one can't justify termination. Then as the years wore on, pieces unexpectedly came together and it's sometimes tough imagining the show any way except how it now exists.
"We had a lot of time just to get to know each other and just to do this show and just to work on the foundation," Harmon said. "And we've had changes along the way that have, in my opinion, greatly influenced us. I think Cote de Pablo [who plays former Mossad agent Ziva David] was a big change for us. I think Rocky Carroll [who portrays NCIS Director Leon Vance] coming to the show was a big change. I think Sean Murray's addition [as agent Timothy McGee] to the show was a big change.
"it doesn't feel like nine years," Harmon added. "There are other thigns on this show more important than the size of your trailer, and it's always been about the work. In the beginning we had control over nothing except what we did each day in the work, and I believe that remainds the same. These writers continue to challenge us, and there's new things in these characters all the time . . . [The 200th episode] was as challenging as any episode we've done."
(WARNING! The spoilers start here. Last chance to turn back . . . still with us? OK? OK.)
The 200th episode will once more find Harmon's Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs' life hanging in the balance. Upon entering a diner at one point, Gibbs finds a patron with his face covered. The pair spot one another, both draw their guns, but Gibbs ends up taking a bullet.
Executive producer Gary Glasberg gave some explanation regarding the episode's retrospective theme, taking stock of the last nine years.
"There's a certain element to the season that's been about decisions that our characters have faced and decisions moving forward and decisions looking back," Glasberg said of the bearing down of past and present's combined weights on the future. "And as far back as last summer, I sort of had a sense of what I wanted the episode to be. And it very much is about a pivotal moment - it starts with a pivotal moment for Gibbs that he faces. The episode is called 'Life Before His Eyes' and it literally looks back at key moments throughout nine years of 'NCIS' where decisions have had to be made and, had people gone on direction instead of another, that . . . how the world would have ended up. And it brings back familiar faces, old faces, faces fans aren't going to think they'd see again. It was a lot of fun."