NCIS (season 18)

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Season 18
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes16
Original networkCBS
Original releaseNovember 17, 2020 (2020-11-17) –
present (present)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 17
List of NCIS episodes

The eighteenth season of NCIS, an American police procedural drama television series, premiered on November 17, 2020, on CBS,[1] and is set to contain 16 episodes,[2] making it the shortest in the series, and also including the series' 400th episode. The season is set to be produced by Belisarius Productions and CBS Studios.[3]

NCIS revolves around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts criminal investigations involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The series stars Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, Maria Bello, Brian Dietzen, Diona Reasonover, Rocky Carroll, and David McCallum. The season is Bello's last season as a series regular, as she left after eight episodes.[4] Several of the season end episodes also features Pam Dawber, the real life spouse of Mark Harmon.

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) of Major Case Response Team (MCRT) assigned to Washington's Navy Yard
  • Sean Murray as Timothy McGee, NCIS Senior Special Agent, second in command of MCRT
  • Wilmer Valderrama as Nicholas "Nick" Torres, NCIS Special Agent and former Undercover Agent
  • Emily Wickersham as Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop, NCIS Special Agent and former NSA-Analyst
  • Maria Bello as Dr. Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane, NCIS Senior Resident Agent and operational psychologist (episodes 1–8)
  • Brian Dietzen as Dr. Jimmy Palmer, Chief Medical Examiner for NCIS
  • Diona Reasonover as Kasie Hines, Forensic Scientist for NCIS
  • Rocky Carroll as Leon Vance, NCIS Director
  • David McCallum as Dr. Donald Mallard, NCIS Historian and former Chief Medical Examiner (3 episodes only)


Guest stars[edit]


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
3991"Sturgeon Season"Michael ZinbergScott WilliamsNovember 17, 2020 (2020-11-17)180210.35[5]
While the team tries to figure out the whereabouts of a missing body, Gibbs assists Fornell in tracking down the leader of the drug ring that supplied opioids to Fornell's daughter Emily.
4002"Everything Starts Somewhere"Terrence O'HaraSteven D. BinderNovember 24, 2020 (2020-11-24)180110.15[6]
The discovery of a dead body in the basement of NCIS headquarters is linked to a group Gibbs investigated in his past. Flashbacks reveal how Gibbs was introduced to Ducky and the agency. The episode ends with Gibbs accepting invitations from the team to go out for drinks.
4013"Blood and Treasure"Diana ValentineChristopher J. WaildDecember 8, 2020 (2020-12-08)18038.53[7]
A murder investigation is linked to a years-long treasure hunt. The team investigates while recovering from their night of drinking. Also, Gibbs and Fornell continue their secret investigation into the drug ring, with Fornell going undercover as a fast food restaurant employee.
4024"Sunburn"Rocky CarrollMarco SchnabelJanuary 19, 2021 (2021-01-19)18049.63[8]
McGee and Delilah's vacation in the Bahamas turns into a high-risk mission when a case NCIS is tracking from a dead escape room manager has ties to the island. Gibbs fears the worst when his search for Fornell leads to blood.
4035"Head of the Snake"Tawnia McKiernanBrendan Fehily & David J. NorthJanuary 19, 2021 (2021-01-19)18058.74[8]
Gibbs and Fornell's crusade to find the head of the drug gang responsible for Fornell's daughter Emily's overdose, climaxes. In addition, Gibbs and Vance finally inform the team about a case that has dangerous implications.
4046"1mm"Diana ValentineGina Lucita MonrealJanuary 26, 2021 (2021-01-26)180610.02[9]
Following a lead on arms smuggling, Bishop and Torres engage in a shootout at the home of a former sheriff which is now a historic site, only to find themselves locked in abandoned cells there.
4057"The First Day"James Whitmore Jr.Margaret Rose LesterFebruary 9, 2021 (2021-02-09)18079.74[10]
While the team investigates the murder of a Navy officer who was killed while driving home a recently released inmate, Palmer grieves the loss of his wife Breena from COVID-19. In addition, Sloane confides in Gibbs that she is "ready for a change", hinting she may leave the team.
4068"True Believer"Terrence O'HaraJill WeinbergerMarch 2, 2021 (2021-03-02)18089.60[11]
"Sloane NCIS" is written on an abandoned school bus in Afghanistan that contained girls thought to have been kidnapped by the Taliban. At NCIS, Sloane admits to Gibbs that she wants to put an offer down on a house in Costa Rica. Their conversation is interrupted by Vance, who gives them the green light to search for the missing girls in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the rest of the team tries to determine who killed a "hacktivist" suspected of providing GPS coordinates of the bus to the Taliban. In Afghanistan, Sloane is reacquainted with Darya, a woman who helped Sloane during her torturous time there. Darya’s death at the hands of terrorists is the last straw for an emotionally exhausted Sloane, the stress of one bad guy taking the place of another having built up over time. After rescuing the girls, Sloane voices her intention to stay in Afghanistan to help other young girls in similar predicaments and shares a goodbye kiss with Gibbs.
4079"Winter Chill"Michael ZinbergScott WilliamsMarch 9, 2021 (2021-03-09)18099.77[12]
When a Navy Officer is found dead in a freezer truck, the team get stuck in the middle of a battle between two competing food trucks. Meanwhile, after Sloane's departure from NCIS, Gibbs comforts Fornell when his daughter Emily unexpectedly dies from a drug relapse.
40810"Watchdog"Diana ValentineBrendan Fehily & David J. NorthMarch 16, 2021 (2021-03-16)18109.98[13]
When a stray pitbull accidentally tumbles a navy convoy with a missile carried on, the team discovers the dog was abused. Gibbs confronts the abuser, Luke Stana, with force, which has him arrested. The rest of the team tries to prove Gibbs’ innocence and arrest Stana, but although they are successful, Gibbs confesses his role in the attack to the Inspector General. As such, Vance is forced to suspend Gibbs indefinitely. Additionally, Gibbs takes the abused dog, Lucy, home with him.
40911"Gut Punch"Rocky CarrollChristopher J. WaildApril 6, 2021 (2021-04-06)181110.26[14]
As punishment for their actions in the case against Gibbs, the team is assigned to be COVID officers for an event the Secretary of Defense is hosting with the Yemeni Government, while night shift agents spearhead a murder investigation. McGee, Bishop, and Torres discover a link between that case and the SecDef's event, and later have to intervene when they find out that the SecDef has been targeted by a hitman. Meanwhile, Gibbs is met at the diner by investigative reporter Marcie Warren (Pam Dawber, Harmon's real life spouse) and reluctantly tells her the truth about his confrontation with Stana. With the story out there for the public, Vance visits Gibbs and tells him he cannot save him from the fallout this time.
41012"Sangre"James Whitmore Jr.Marco SchnabelApril 27, 2021 (2021-04-27)18128.56[15]
The lead suspect in the death of a Marine sergeant in an open house is Nick's father, who walked out on Nick when he was young. Meanwhile, Gibbs takes the opportunity to get caught up on household chores while suspended from the agency.
41113"Misconduct"Tawnia McKiernanBrendan Fehily & Margaret Rose Lester & David J. NorthMay 4, 2021 (2021-05-04)18139.70[16]
While biking with a friend, a petty officer is killed in a hit-and-run. The team comes to realize the friend was the intended target, as he was an accountant set to testify against Parker James, accused of a Ponzi scheme against sailors. The team later finds the witness dead, and though Gibbs testifies against James, the prosecutor is reluctant to put him on the stand due to his suspension from NCIS. James' lawyer attacks Gibbs' credibility, and the jury finds the defendant not guilty. However, NCIS is able to arrest him and his estranged wife for ordering the hit on his accountant.
41214"Unseen Improvements"Diana ValentineSteven D. Binder & Scott WilliamsMay 11, 2021 (2021-05-11)18148.94[17]
NCIS's investigation into the murder of a captain in the National Military Command Center leads them to Hassan Sayegh, the biological uncle of Gibbs's former neighbor Phineas (Jack Fisher). Hassan was after the captain's laptop to hack into NCIS case history so he can get to Phineas after causing his foster parents' car to crash. Phineas runs to Gibbs's house and bonds with Lucy. The team arrests Hassan, but not before he reveals his own son needs a bone marrow transplant, which Phineas agrees to donate, and Gibbs allows Phineas to take Lucy home. Elsewhere, Torres and Bishop agree to discuss their apparent feelings for each other after questioning by Palmer and Kasie.
41315"Blown Away"[18]Michael ZinbergMarco Schnabel & Christopher J. WaildMay 18, 2021 (2021-05-18)1815TBD
41416"Rule 91"[19]Diana ValentineDavid J. North & Brendan FehilyMay 25, 2021 (2021-05-25)1816TBD



The season was ordered on May 6, 2020.[3] On June 3, 2020, Steven D. Binder announced that the writers had begun working on the season.[20] On August 12, 2020, it was announced that CBS Television Studios had signed a deal with the law enforcement advisory group 21CP Solutions, to consult on its crime and legal dramas, which includes NCIS. 21CP Solutions will help the series' to more accurately portray law enforcement; this comes after the George Floyd Protests, which caused the television industry to rethink their portrayal of law enforcement.[21] On September 21, 2020, it was announced that the season would start by exploring where Gibbs, played by series star Mark Harmon, disappeared to during the episode "Musical Chairs" from the previous season, before returning to the present day.[22] On October 27, 2020, it was announced that season would contain sixteen episodes.[2]


The planned twenty-first episode of the seventeenth season, which was postponed due to production on the season being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to be the first episode filmed of season eighteen. The planned twenty-second episode of season seventeen, which would have been the 400th episode of the series, is set to be filmed and aired second, which will keep it as the 400th episode.[23] Production on the eighteenth season began on September 9, 2020, and the series will continue to be filmed in Los Angeles.[24]


On May 6, 2020, it was announced that Harmon had closed a new deal with CBS Television Studios.[25] On July 24, 2020, it was announced that series regular Maria Bello is set to leave the show during the season, and will appear in eight episodes to wrap up her character's storyline.[4] On September 9, 2020, it was announced that Harmon's son Sean, would return in episode two as a younger version of his father's character.[26] On October 21, 2020, it was announced that Adam Campbell would also return in episode two, as a younger version of Ducky.[27] In March 2021, Katrina Law was cast in the role of Jessica Knight.[28] Law will appear in the final two episodes of the season with the potential to become a series regular if the series is renewed for a nineteenth season.[29]


The season is set to premiere during the 2020–21 television season as part of CBS's Tuesday lineup with FBI and FBI: Most Wanted.[30] On August 26, 2020, it was announced that CBS hoped to begin airing the season in November 2020.[31] On October 13, 2020, it was announced that the season would premiere on November 17, 2020.[1]


Viewership and ratings per episode of NCIS
No. Title Air date Rating/share
DVR viewers
Total viewers
1 "Sturgeon Season" November 17, 2020 0.9/6[5] 10.35[5] 0.4 2.97 1.4 13.37[32]
2 "Everything Starts Somewhere" November 24, 2020 0.9/6[6] 10.15[6] N/A N/A N/A N/A
3 "Blood and Treasure" December 8, 2020 0.7/4[7] 8.53[7] 0.5 3.21 1.2 11.74[33]
4 "Sunburn" January 19, 2021 0.8/5[8] 9.63[8] N/A N/A N/A N/A
5 "Head of the Snake" January 19, 2021 0.8/5[8] 8.74[8] N/A N/A N/A N/A
6 "1mm" January 26, 2021 1.0/6[9] 10.02[9] N/A N/A N/A N/A
7 "The First Day" February 9, 2021 0.9/6[10] 9.74[10] 0.5 3.37 1.4 13.12[34]
8 "True Believer" March 2, 2021 0.8/5[11] 9.60[11] 0.5 3.18 1.3 12.78
9 "Winter Chill" March 9, 2021 0.8/6[12] 9.77[12] 0.5[35] 3.27[35] 1.3[35] 13.14[35]
10 "Watchdog" March 16, 2021 0.9/6[13] 9.98[13] TBD TBD TBD TBD
11 "Gut Punch" April 6, 2021 1.0/7[14] 10.26[14] TBD TBD TBD TBD
12 "Sangre" April 27, 2021 0.6/4[15] 8.56[15] TBD TBD TBD TBD
13 "Misconduct" May 4, 2021 0.8/6[16] 9.70[16] TBD TBD TBD TBD
14 "Unseen Improvements" May 11, 2021 0.7/5[17] 8.94[17] TBD TBD TBD TBD


  1. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (October 13, 2020). "CBS Sets Premiere Dates For 10 Scripted Series Including 'NCIS' Trio, 'Young Sheldon' & 'S.W.A.T'". Deadline. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (October 27, 2020). "CBS Trims Episode Orders As Broadcast Series On All Nets Face Abbreviated Runs In COVID Impacted 2020-21 Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b White, Peter; Andreeva, Nellie (May 6, 2020). "CBS Renews 18 Series, Including Freshmen 'FBI: Most Wanted', 'Bob ♥ Abishola', 'All Rise' & 'The Unicorn'". Deadline. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (July 24, 2020). "Maria Bello Signs With Gersh As She Nears Exit From 'NCIS'". Deadline. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (November 18, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.17.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (November 25, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.24.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (December 9, 2020). "Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.8.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Metcalf, Mitch (January 21, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 1.19.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (January 27, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 1.26.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (February 10, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 2.9.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (March 3, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.2.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (March 10, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.9.2021". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (March 17, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.16.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (April 7, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 4.6.2021". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (April 28, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 4.27.2021". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  16. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (May 5, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.4.2021". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c Metcalf, Mitch (May 12, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.11.2021". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  18. ^ "(#417) "Blown Away"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  19. ^ "(#418) "Rule 91"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  20. ^ @stevebinder (June 3, 2020). "Stay turned. We are in the (z)room working on the next season as we speak" (Tweet). Retrieved August 14, 2020 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ Porter, Rick (August 12, 2020). "CBS TV Studios Brings on Advisory Group for Crime and Legal Shows". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  22. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (September 21, 2020). "NCIS Will Start Season 18 With a Backwards Time Jump — Find Out Why". TV Line. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (July 24, 2020). "Maria Bello Exiting NCIS in Season 18". TVLine. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 13, 2020). "'NCIS' & 'NCIS: Los Angeles' Set Tentative Start Dates; 2 More CBS TV Studios Dramas Get Go-Ahead To Resume Filming As CBS' Fall Lineup Begins To Take Shape". Deadline. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 6, 2020). "'NCIS' Franchise Stars Mark Harmon, Scott Bakula, LL Cool J & Chris O'Donnell Close New Deals To Return As All 3 Series Are Renewed By CBS". Deadline. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  26. ^ TV Insider Staff (September 9, 2020). "Inside Scoop on What's Ahead for 'NCIS,' 'Supernatural' & 'Outlander'". TVInsider. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  27. ^ Hahn, Kate (October 21, 2020). "Inside 'NCIS' Episode 400: Gibbs & Ducky's Meet-Cute, Personal Choices & More". TV Insider. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  28. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (March 10, 2021). "Katrina Law Joins NCIS as Potential Series Regular for Season 19". TV Line. Retrieved March 11, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  29. ^ Petski, Denise (March 10, 2021). "'NCIS': Katrina Law Joins CBS Series As Recurring". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  30. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 19, 2020). "CBS Plots Business as Usual Fall Schedule — For Now". The Hollywood Reporter.
  31. ^ White, Peter (August 26, 2020). "CBS Adds 'Star Trek: Discovery', 'One Day At A Time' & 'Manhunt: Deadly Games' To Fall Schedule As Net Eyes November Launch For Scripted Originals". Deadline. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  32. ^ Pucci, Douglas (November 19, 2020). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'Big Sky' Series Premiere on ABC Tops its Hour Among Adults 18-49 and 18-34". Programming Insider. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  33. ^ Pucci, Douglas (December 23, 2020). "Live+7 Weekly Ratings: ABC Murder Mystery 'Big Sky' Leads Delayed Viewing in Total Audience". Programming Insider. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  34. ^ Pucci, Douglas (March 1, 2021). "Live+7 Weekly Ratings: 'Clarice' Series Premiere More Than Doubles its Same-Day Adults 18-49". Programming Insider. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  35. ^ a b c d Pucci, Douglas (April 15, 2021). "Live+ 7 Weekly Ratings: ABC, NBC and Fox Each Have Three Programs Apiece in Top Nine Gainers Among Adults 18-49". Programming Insider. Retrieved April 16, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)