Why NCIS Has Two Spinoffs Coming Now For Tony, Ziva And Gibbs Fans, According To One Head Honcho

Cote de Pablo, Michael Weatherly and Mark Harmon in NCIS

(Image credit: CBS)

There’s been a lot for fans of the NCIS franchise to enjoy these past several months, as NCIS and NCIS: Hawai’i are both currently airing on the 2024 TV schedule, and NCIS: Sydney debuted late last year. In addition to Sydney being renewed for Season 2 and the two other shows likely to return as well, two more NCIS spinoffs are on the way: NCIS: Origins, which follows a young Leroy Jethro Gibbs, and an untitled series focused on Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David. So how did these two upcoming shows come to be? CBS Studios President David Stapf has opened up on the subject.

Starting off, NCIS: Origins’ existence was revealed to the world back in January, with the forthcoming CBS show set to follow Gibbs, originally played by Mark Harmon on NCIS, joining the law enforcement agency in 1991, specifically a few months after his first wife and daughter were murdered. In an interview with Deadline alongside CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach, Stapf explained how Harmon, his son Sean and a couple writers came to CBS with the idea for this prequel, saying:

In the case of Origins, Mark and Sean Harmon had this idea with [writers] David North and Gina Monreal, and they brought it to us. I was like, oh my gosh, this idea is great. Commissioned a script, the script was even better. So it’s like, okay, can this show exist within the framework of the franchise we have? And we do believe it can, particularly because it’s a prequel. And because NCIS has been on for so long and Mark’s been gone for a while, there’s genuine interest in, how did Gibbs become Gibbs, who was that guy? So again, there was an organic reason to do it vs. us just saying, let’s just throw on another NCIS.

Mark Harmon departed NCIS in Season 19’s fourth episode in 2021, and while it remains to be seen if he’ll ever return to the flagship show, evidently he still cared about Leroy Jethro Gibbs enough to want to have a hand in NCIS: Origins. Fortunately for him, Sean, North and Monreal, CBS was game to give the franchise’s first prequel a spin. In addition to his executive producing duties, Harmon will narrate the series, but Reisenbach expressed doubt that the actor will appear as Gibbs in flash-forwards. Austin Stowell will play the younger Gibbs in Origins, and he’ll be joined by Mariel Molino as Special Agent Lala Dominguez.

Then there’s this Tony and Ziva spinoff, which, rather than first airing on CBS like the other NCIS shows, will be streamed exclusively to Paramount+ subscribers. Although Cote de Pablo reprised Ziva David in the NCIS Season 16 finale and recurred in Season 17, and Michael Weatherly recently reprised Tony DiNozzo in the episode paying tribute to the late David McCallum’s Ducky Mallard, this series will mark the first time the actors have starred together onscreen since de Pablo left NCIS’ main cast in 2013. Stapf shared the following about why it was worth giving these characters their own show:

Tony and Ziva, it’s one of the most unrequited love stories for the audience, the audience loved Tony and Ziva. And in the audience’s mind, and in our mind, they left too soon. So, reuniting them with a global audience is the intent on that show. And because it’s going to be on Paramount+, it can exist within the universe without, in our minds, cannibalizing anything else.

Despite not having been seen together onscreen in over a decade, we know that Tony and Ziva are now together and raising their daughter Tali. This spinoff will follow the couple going on the run after Tony’s security company is attacked. Stapf said later on in the Deadline interview that Weatherly and de Pablo had been talking about his show for “years and years and years” after they’d both left NCIS, then “cooked up the rough edges of the idea” and went to writer John McNamara to help them flesh it out. Because Tiva is arguably one of TV’s most popular ships, fans kept asking the actors when they’d be paired back together again, so as Stapf sees it, “there was an organic reason for this show to exist, it was almost like a fan demand for it.”

Neither NCIS: Origins nor the Tony and Ziva spinoff have assigned premiere dates yet, but both will shoot later this year, and Origins is specifically expected to be part of the 2024-2025 TV season. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on their progress.

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