18x01 - Sturgeon Season - Gibbs and Fornell (Joe Spano) attempt to track down the leader of a drug ring who supplied drugs to Fornell’s daughter. Also, the team deals with the case of a missing cadaver from the NCIS autopsy room, on the 18th season premiere of NCIS
Tuesday, Nov. 17, (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT)

Posted by Admin on February 6th, 2012

Mark Harmon, star of CBS’ “NCIS,” says filming the 200th episode that will air Tuesday night wasn’t any big mile marker.

“There was a cake and there were speeches and we all went back to work,” said Harmon. “And then we’ll be [filming] 201 and next week we’ll start 202.”

The producers, however, say the 200th means a little more than that. They’re using the anniversary show to reflect on what’s happened over the past nine years.

And some of what didn’t happen.

Harmon himself is deliberately being a little blasé, considering that “NCIS” has a rare and pleasant distinction these days: It’s the No. 1 scripted drama on broadcast TV.

An early January episode drew 21 million viewers, 3 million more than recent episodes of “American Idol.”

In its ninth season, “NCIS” is gaining viewers, which is like a fresh cup of coffee tasting better on the ninth day than the first.

It simply isn’t supposed to happen.

So executive producer Gary Glasberg admits that for him, at least, the 200th episode is a cause for celebration and reflection. He says Tuesday night’s show will include both, and that furthermore, he’s given a lot of thought to exactly how he will do it.

“As far back as last summer,” says Glasberg, “I had sort of a sense what I wanted the episode to be.”

He’s not saying exactly what that is, but it will borrow at least one element from the Gwyneth Paltrow movie “Sliding Doors.”

That movie takes a single event in her life — one that seems completely minor and incidental — and shows how different her life would have been had it taken another direction.

The 200th “NCIS,” titled “Life Before His Eyes,” revolves around “a pivotal moment” for Harmon’s Jethro Gibbs, says Glasberg.

But it also goes beyond Gibbs.

“It looks back at key moments throughout nine years of ‘NCIS’ where decisions have had to be made,” says Glasberg, “and shows, had people gone one direction instead of another, how the world would have ended up.”

Yes, this could mean summoning some of the other characters involved in those decisions.

“It brings back familiar faces, old faces, faces fans didn’t think that they’d see again,” says Glasberg. “It was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun.’

As for why “NCIS” has lasted so long, no one on the show volunteers any magical secrets.

Like its ancestor “Law & Order,” it executes the basics. It never gets so complicated that a new viewer feels lost.

“From the beginning,” says Harmon, “we were a show that wasn’t good enough to get all that noticed and wasn’t bad enough to get canceled.

“So we had a lot of time just to get to know each other and just do this show and just work on the foundation.”

And yes, he admits, there’s some satisfaction in the show’s success.

“Certainly being No. 1,” he says, “beats being somewhere else.”


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