“NCIS” celebrates its 200th birthday by breaking away from the formula that has made it the No. 1 drama in prime time television and showing viewers in a “It’s a Wonderful Life”-type episode what life could have been like if only…
The episode, which airs Tuesday, February 7 at 8 p.m. on CBS, is called ‘Life Before His Eyes’ and it begins with a pivotal moment for Mark Harmon’s character Leroy Jethro Gibbs in which his life is put in jeopardy. In that split moment, it sounds as if Gibbs’ life flashes by.
“It literally looks back at key moments throughout nine years of ‘NCIS’ where decisions have had to be made and, had people gone one direction instead of another, how the world would have ended up,” says executive producer Gary Glasberg.
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This sliding doors episode will bring back familiar faces — some from the very beginning of the series — and some who are dead on the current version of “NCIS” but may not be in an alternate universe.
And it isn’t just the good guys coming back. Some villains may be returning as well, including Ziva’s (Cote de Pablo) half brother Ari Hawari (Rudolf Martin), the man who killed Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander).
And while Glasberg would not confirm the return of either Ari or Kate, he did confirm that Lauren Holly would not be back.
The best hope for someone back from the dead is Muse Watson, who played Mike Franks. “There’s a heart and a soul to Muse Watson that really connects to the Gibbs character,” Glasberg says. “It explains what drives Leroy Jethro Gibbs.”
One bit of the story revealed by Cote de Pablo is that in the “Life Before His Eyes” episode, she never joined NCIS. She says, “The best part of it for me is the possibility that Ziva wasn’t there all these years, so I come back and meet Tony DiNozzo [Michael Weatherly] for the first time in an interrogation scene.”
With so much going on, Glasberg recommends viewers record the episode. “People should watch this episode multiple times because there is so much crossing and appearances that happen. I highly recommend the DVR to be turned on. It is a different episode but I think it is going to satisfy die-hard fans and the newer fans as well.”
In other “NCIS” news, Jamie Lee Curtis will be joining the cast for two episodes. She will be coming into Gibbs’ world from a very unique government perspective and she will spar with him in ways that people aren’t used to.
Also, now that Ziva and Ray (Enrique Murciano) are no longer an item, it gives her and Tony a chance to follow up on that very steamy look that passed between them before Ray returned. But will they? After all, it would break Gibbs’ rule No. 12: Never date a coworker.
“I think they are both going through some moments of realization and decision making on their own. We will have to see how it effects them,” is all that Glasberg would say.
The 200th episode of “NCIS” airs Tuesday, February 7 at 8 p.m. on CBS.