When Does ‘NCIS’ Return With New Episodes?

NCIS left fans with a major cliffhanger in the most recent episode “Watchdog.” The tenth episode of season 18 saw Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) taken away in handcuffs and suspended “indefinitely.”

How long will fans have to wait to see what happens next?/

Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs in March 2020
Mark Harmon as Special Agent Leroy Gibbs on the set of ‘NCIS’ | Monty Brinton /CBS via Getty Images

Why did Gibbs get suspended ‘indefinitely’ in the most recent episode of ‘NCIS’?

The March 16 episode of NCIS began with the story of an abused dog, which led the team to stumble upon a dogfighting ring. Gibbs ended up confronting the dog’s owner and using force during the interrogation. This left his team with the task of clearing their boss’ name.

Ultimately, they were able to prove the dog owner was guilty of animal abuse. But Gibbs still had to answer for his behavior. Instead offering an apology for his use of force to the Inspector General, Gibbs said he was sorry he didn’t kill the guy. As a result, NCIS director Vance (Rocky Carroll) suspended him.

Will Mark Harmon leave after season 18?

Now that Gibbs’ isn’t leading the team, everything has been left up in the air. Not only are there questions about Harmon’s future, there’s also questions about the future of the series itself.

Rumors have swirled for weeks that Harmon is ready to call it quits when season 18 ends. According to The Hollywood Reporter, insiders say that CBS isn’t committed to continuing the procedural without the 69-year-old actor.

This caused Harmon to reportedly discuss appearing in a handful of episodes in order to get a renewal for season 19. His current contract is up after this season.

‘NCIS’ season 18 is shorter than most

Because the pandemic slowed down production, fans will only get 16 episodes this season compared to the usual 24. Sean Murray (Timothy McGee) revealed on Instagram that they are currently shooting the season finale. If Harmon is getting ready to say goodbye, they are running out of time to set up that epic storyline.

Even though everyone involved has stayed tight-lipped about the future of Harmon and NCIS, it’s most likely those decisions have been made but not yet revealed. It’s hard to believe they would make the season 18 finale without knowing about a renewal for season 19. Much less not knowing if Harmon is done as a full-time cast member.

RELATED: ‘NCIS’ Star Sean Murray Teases the End of Season 18, But Is It Also the End of the Series?

Mark Harmon’s wife is finally making her first appearance

When NCIS does return with an all-new episode, it will feature an appearance by Harmon’s wife of 35 years, Pam Dawber. According to Entertainment Weekly, Dawber will play the role of Marcie Warren in a four-episode arc.

The series describes her character as “a seasoned investigative journalist who uses her savvy wit and down-to-earth people skills to aid in her tireless pursuit of truth.”  This role will mark the first time the Mork & Mindy star has appeared in her husband’s TV series during its 18-season run.

When will the next new episode of ‘NCIS’ air?

Season 18 has featured numerous hiatuses due to slowed-down production and the reduced series order from the network. There have been multiple breaks from new episodes that have lasted for weeks. And fans are currently in the middle of another one.

The most recent episode aired on March 16. But the next one — Season 18, Episode 10 “Gut Punch” — won’t air until April 6.

Since Gibbs turned in his badge and gun in the last episode, does that set his character up for just a handful of episodes in season 19? If there even is a season 19? Fans will just have to wait and see.

NCIS airs Tuesdays on CBS.