In the aftermath of a surprising Season 10 finale, which ended with Gibbs' black ops mission and three agents resigning, we look ahead to NCIS Season 11 and what lies ahead for a team in turmoil.
Executive Producer Gary Glasberg spoke with Entertainment Weekly about a season in which he did a lot of unorthodox things, especially for a show largely considered procedural in nature.
After three episodes that felt like season-enders - Eli and Jackie's death, Tiva's car crash, Bodnar's demise - we were left with a surprising finale Tuesday and many questions for NCIS Season 11.
Excerpts from Glasberg's chat with EW below ...
On how he conceptualized this story arc: "[For 10 years], Gibbs has handled things but maybe crossed some lines in the way that he handled them. And someone had to have noticed that somewhere along the way."
"There are people paying attention and what if someone - an investigator who, for his own reasons, decided that this was his opportunity, the moment to go after him and basically say, ‘You can’t keep doing this.'"
"Ziva going after Bodnar was just sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back... and, ultimately, a case linked to that head of the Navy SEAL that we were dealing with. All those threads will tie up."
"Gibbs' team resigns and puts their badges down on Vance’s desk and Morrow, along with Vance and others, come to him and say, "We can make all of this go away if you help us with this case.'"
"And, ultimately, jumping ahead four months, we don’t see who’s in that town car but we know it’s someone Fornell is protecting, and we’re left with Fornell in Gibbs’ sights."
"It was definitely a different season-ender but it’s been a very different season and in doing that, I wanted to come through with something that wasn’t what people normally would have expected."
On how we pick up next season: "In the season opener, we will see the progression of time leading up to that moment that everyone just experienced."
"In that progression, we’ll see the case that Gibbs is assigned to, the specifics of the case, how it is unfolded, who the players are, and then we get to the exact moment. It will all make sense."
On whether he knows what Tony, Ziva and Tim have been up to: "I’m starting to. There are a bunch of pieces that are floating around in my head and at some point ... I’ll figure it all out."
On McGee's girlfriend and Palmer's baby: "The lovely Delilah. That will likely pay off at some point as well. We may even meet Delilah. It depends on how much I can handle in the opening episode."
"But, yeah, there are some threads and nuggets - there’s Delilah, there’s the Palmer baby. There are all kinds of little cookies in there that hopefully people will pick up on.
On whether Ziva "friend zoned" Tony: "I don’t think so. I think there’s a little more to it than that. I think they’re sort of dancing around each other and trying to get a sense of how to move forward."
"Based on everything that’s happened in the last year ... we’re letting it slowly percolate and build and hopefully get it to a place that’s going to be satisfying for everybody."
"[The forehead kiss] might not satisfy everyone out there, but I think we’re getting there, She even reaches up with her hand and puts it very gently, and in a lovely way, on his shoulder before that."
"I think [we have] definitely advanced from where we were a year ago."
On his final word on NCIS Season 10: "This has been a really fantastic season for us. Best numbers we’ve ever had ... more viewers than we’ve ever had. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the show."
"We’ve hired a couple of new writers; we’re already working on five or six stories for next season. Everybody is energized and ready to go. We’re going to take a few days off, come back and keep going."
"The show’s in a really fantastic place and we’re constantly surprising each other about where we want to go. And as long as we keep feeling that, I don’t really see an end in sight for NCIS."