'NCIS' Season 8 Preview: What Happened to Papa Gibbs?
by Kim Potts, posted Sep 20th 2010 4:00PM
The seventh season of 'NCIS' ended last May with cliffhangers on and off-screen.
In the final moments of the season finale, 'Rule Fifty-One,' Paloma Reynosa (Jacqueline Obradors) -- seeking revenge on Gibbs (Mark Harmon) for killing her father, who had murdered Gibbs' first wife and daughter -- showed up at the Pennsylvania general store owned by Gibbs' dad, Jackson ('The Waltons' Ralph Waite) ... would Papa Gibbs pay for his son's own vengeful actions?
And off-camera, the contracts of three of the show's cast members -- for Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and Sean Murray -- expired ... would the entire cast remain intact for season eight?
It took most of the month of June to get new deals in place, but all three actors ultimately signed multi-year contracts to continue playing Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto and Tim McGee.
As for the storyline cliffhanger -- SPOILERS AHEAD! -- 'NCIS' producer Shane Brennan has already spilled the beans that Jackson Gibbs will prove to be as tough as his son, meaning the younger Gibbs is not going to have another family member's death to avenge.
"I'm from Australia. If I killed off Pa Walton, I'd want to be on a plane out of here really quickly," Brennan told TV Guide about the season 8 premiere. "That doesn't mean there isn't danger and a lot of consequence out of what happens. But you quickly understand where Gibbs Jr. gets his fight from."
The whole NCIS squad is in danger in the premiere, in fact, as Gibbs and company investigate the murder of a helicopter pilot, and it's tied to -- who else? -- Paloma Reynosa.
"We pick up the show right where we left off (in season 7), and I advise every fan of the show to sit down and watch that first minute. It's explosive," Brennan says.
The Sept. 21 premiere (8PM ET, CBS), titled 'Spider and the Fly,' will serve as the wrap-up of the Gibbs/Reynosa storyline, which should please the fans who weren't happy that the plot took up so much season seven real estate.
Season 8, Brennan has confirmed, will see the series return to the format of featuring more standalone stories and episodes, and, in what will surely be a viewer-pleasing installment, at least one episode will flashback to when the 'NCIS' gang met each other, which means, yes, old school Ducky (David McCallum)!
In other season 8 action, as 'NCIS' tries to remain a top 10 Nielsen show for a fourth consecutive season:
- Robert Wagner, who was introduced last season as Tony's father (Tony Sr.), will return in season eight and continue his flirtatious ways.
- Michael Nouri will also return, as Ziva's (Cote de Pablo) dad, Mossad director Eli David.
- 'Lost' star Sam Anderson (who played beloved castaway Bernard, husband of Rose), will guest star in 'Worst Nightmare,' the Sept. 28 episode of 'NCIS.' He'll play Walter Carmichael, a middle school teacher who sees one of his students kidnapped from his classroom. In the same episode, 'Knots Landing' star, and recent 'Psych' guest star, William Devane plays the kidnapped girl's grandpa, whose attempts to help save his granddaughter hamper the NCIS team's efforts to do the same.
- Now that the truth about Gibbs and the murder of Pedro Hernandez is out in the open, expect some surprising reactions from his co-workers, particularly NCIS director Vance (Rocky Carroll). Vance and Gibbs have continually clashed, but Brennan hints that the fact that Vance has secrets of his own will prompt him to be understanding about Gibbs and the Hernandez situation.
- And about those Vance secrets ... remember that document he shredded when he took the NCIS director position? We're going to get the backstory connected to it in season eight.