‘NCIS’ Executive Producer Promises a ‘Genuine Cliffhanger’ of a Finale

by | May 7, 2012 at 9:33 AM | Finales 2012, Interviews, NCIS

Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray and Michael Weatherly in the season finale of NCIS (Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS)

The ninth season of “NCIS” was celebrated with a special 200th episode that revisited major events in the life and career of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) but with a twist — we had the opportunity to see what would have happened if he had made different choices.

“It was our looking back as a show — the writers, the producers, the actors — looking back and wanting to touch on specific moments as much as it was reaching out to the fans and giving them something fun to watch,” Executive Producer Gary Glasberg told XfinityTV.com when the episode aired.

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For diehard fans, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the show to resurrect the dead — and for some to give them different outcomes, including Kate (Sasha Alexander) and the man who murdered her Ari (Rudolf Martin), Gibbs’ mentor Mike Franks (Muse Watson), as well as Gibbs’ late wife Shannon (Darby Stanchfield) and, for the first time, we met Gibbs’ mother (Clare Carey), who turned out to be a redhead, like his ex-wives.

But season nine offered way more than that. In addition to all the twisty, turn-y, wonderful cases, we really got to see the personal side of our special agents. Gibbs began dating Dr. Samantha Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis), Ducky (David McCallum) fell in love with a woman who turned out to be psycho (Cheryl Ladd), we met Tony’s (Michael Weatherly) ex-fiancée Wendy (Perrey Reeves), Ziva (Cote de Pablo) broke up with Ray (Enrique Murciano), and Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) got engaged.

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So, before the “NCIS” season finale airs Tuesday, May 15, we checked back with Glasberg to get his highlights and lowlights — if any — of the ninth season of TV’s No. 1 drama.

Take us inside your approach to the finale, and what you wanted to accomplish.
This finale is a genuine cliffhanger. In going into the storyline, the arc that we set up for the end of the season, we wanted to tell a story of a terrorist act against the Navy. We wanted to set up a genuinely frightening threat against our military personnel and really leave people wondering how we are going to pick up at the beginning of season 10. I think and hope that we have accomplished that.

Aren’t you throwing in a wedding also?
Yes. It is a fascinating juxtaposition of storylines. The Palmer wedding absolutely comes into play and definitely leaves people in an awkward situation.

Did anything disappoint you about this season? Anything you wish you could have done, but didn’t have the time, forethought or resources?
I am tremendously pleased with what we accomplished this season. We tried some different things. For season nine of a television series, our ratings have been fantastic. We had some wonderful guests. We did some really wonderful military stories. I feel like we really touched on a lot of different arenas and different elements of the characters and I am very pleased with it.

What should fans look forward to next season? And if you haven’t gotten that far yet…what would your dream season be?
We are starting to put together our stories. I want to focus more on the Navy and the military stories for us and dig even deeper into who are characters are and how they interact with each other and as a team. I know that it is really important to the fans that they see this team working together. That is important to us, as well, and I want to make sure that we do that for them.

Maybe a little bit more romance?
As we get deeper into where our characters are and what they want in their personal lives, it is always possible.

What were the high points of the season?
For me, episode 200 was very special. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Working with our cast has just been phenomenal. They really brought their A-game to season nine. I think we have done some really strong episodes. We had some really strong guest stars who were enthusiastic and interested and wanted to come and play with us — from Jamie Lee Curtis to Robert Wagner to Richard Schiff. It has been great. I just want to keep it going as long as we can.

Do you have a favorite episode, line, or scene from this season? If so, what?
I honestly don’t. I am so involved in all of them. I just feel that we really did some terrific work. I can’t single out one more than the others.

Don’t miss the “NCIS” finale on Tuesday, May 15 at 8/7c on CBS.