‘NCIS’ Finally Set to Start Production on Season 18, Will Fans See New Episodes in 2020?

The cast and crew of NCIS have not been on set since March when production was abruptly shut down early due to the pandemic. For months, they have been patiently waiting for the go-ahead from CBS to get back to work. Now, a new report claims that the network has finally assigned the drama a specific date to start production on season 18.

NCIS season 18
‘NCIS’ star Mark Harmon | Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images

‘NCIS’ has made some big changes behind-the-scenes during the shutdown

According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS TV Studios has contracted with a law enforcement advisory group. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, 21CP Solutions will be consulting with NCIS writers. They will also be working with the other series on the network that focus on law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

The goal is to help each series focus on how they depict law enforcement and their relationship with the public. The advisory group consists of civil rights scholars, lawyers, and former law enforcement officials.

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“I applaud CBS Studios for recognizing the impact its police and legal series have on the relationship between police and the communities they serve and on public perceptions on law enforcement, crime, and race,” Ronald Davis, the leader of the advisory group said.

ViacomCBS exec Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i hopes this collaboration will allow “deeper and richer narratives” that will be “more authentic to the communities they depict.”

Wilmer Valderrama is ready to get back to work

Wilmer Valderrama (Nick Torres) and the rest of the cast were forced to shut down filming early. They had two episodes left to shoot for season 17 when the pandemic hit.

On March 15, Sean Murray tweeted the news that they had put production on hold “for the time being.” Even though they wrapped season 17 at only 20 episodes, Murray said the plan was to “pick up where we left off when we begin season 18.”

On August 14, Valderrama confirmed that they officially received an official start date for the production of season 18.

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“We have a start date.. this is not a drill,” wrote Valderrama. “ladies and caballeros.. season 18.”

“#NCIS and your boy #NickTorres back on your TVs soon! More to come.”

As CarterMatt points out, if the show really does start shooting soon, fans could see new episodes in 2020. A premiere could possibly hit CBS as early as November.

CBS schedules ‘NCIS’ season 18 production to begin in early September

Valderrama didn’t tell fans the specific date that he was going back to work. However, Deadline is reporting that NCIS and the spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles both have tentative production start dates.

NCIS is scheduled to begin production on September 9, while NCIS: Los Angeles is scheduled to start on September 3. Both series are produced by CBS TV Studios, and they film in Los Angeles.

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The pandemic still presents plenty of uncertainty. These dates are not set in stone and could easily change. When they do go back to work, the studio has put new COVID-19 protocols in place for production.

The network has also given the green light to Bull and Magnum P.I., and S.W.A.T. has already started shooting. The new season of The Amazing Race is also in the can, and Big Brother is already under way.

NCIS – and the rest of the fall lineup – will hopefully return to CBS with new episodes by November.