Will the Season 9 finale of CBS’ NCIS (airing Tuesday at 8/7c) feature a wedding and a funeral? Or one or the other, or neither? With the hunt for the newest member of the NCIS Most Wanted Wall, CEO-turned-terrorist Harper Dearing, rolling to a boil, TVLine spoke with showrunner Gary Glasberg about what to expect.
TVLINE | I wanted to start off by saying I think it’s interesting what you’re doing with Richard Schiff (The West Wing) as the villain. He’s not some ex-Mossad extremist, he’s not some homegrown militia nutjob….
Thank you. The intention with the Harper Dearing character was to always go with sort of the opposite of what you would expect, someone more intellectual and mild-mannered, and yet have this really interesting complex backstory of what’s driving him. Having Richard do it was a real treat for us because he brings such complexity and nuance to his work. The subtlety and the twists and turns of who we wanted Harper Derring to be is something Richard handles beautifully.
TVLINE | Are his motivations for sabotaging the Navy compelling? Is this about financial gain, a misguided cause…? A bit of both?
That’s all revealed as the final episodes unfold. But there is a deep-seeded emotional and psychological drive to why he feels he has to do this.
TVLINE | Gibbs seemed to have a real fire in his belly about this case. Would you say that it is affecting him in some unique way, different than others have?
It definitely connects, and anytime that we’re talking about an aggressor attacking the Navy and innocent military personnel, he is going to respond in an aggressive way back. And as the storyline unfolds, people will learn a little more about Gibbs’ position on this.
TVLINE | What can you say about how Scott Wolf, returning as Jonathan Cole, fits into the finale?
Scott has had this really fun arc for us throughout the season — I know he has been pleased with it — and I think everyone is going to be really surprised by how he fits into this. His involvement is really going to run the gamut.
TVLINE | How would you describe the finale’s action quotient? Some fans feel that the NCIS mothership has been a little “quiet” as of late.
I think that people are going to be shocked at what they get at the end of this season. I personally don’t mind mixing it up and pulling back periodically and mixing in “quieter” episodes, as you said, and then opposing those with moments that really push everyone’s buttons and are more explosive.
TVLINE | Will the finale leave any of the team members injured, or perhaps even close to death?
We’re definitely giving everyone a true cliffhanger at the end of the season, and absolutely putting people in dangerous situations that will leave everyone wondering what has happened.
TVLINE | With all you have going on in the finale, will there be time for Jimmy Palmer’s wedding?
There are elements of the wedding that people will get to see. You will get to see Jimmy and Breena, and there is lots of discussion and some really sweet wonderful moments that happen. Larry Miller will not be returning (as Breena’s father); I know he has been ill and we certainly wish him all the best. But there are some great little moments you will be getting.
TVLINE | Speaking of little moments, you know I must ask: Anything “Tiva” fans can look forward to?
There a couple of exchanges in the finale. But I think the characters are so focused on the case and what’s going on, it’s more about that and it’s less about any specific relationship moment between [Tony and Ziva].
TVLINE | And where will things stand with Jethro and Dr. Ryan (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) at the end of the season?
That sort of reaches a climax in the finale, and they have some really wonderful scenes together. I’m going to leave you with a big question mark and let people see how she sort of fits in to the Harper Dearing Story, and how that affects their relationship.
TVLINE | Are you feeling good about having everybody back for next season? [Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette and Sean Murray have yet to ink deals for Season 10.]
The studio handles the contractual aspects of it, while I and the writers handle the creative side of things. But I have no doubt that it will all work out.
- Richard Schiff