NCIS Season 12 features the same cast as the show closed out Season 11 with, but with a new slate of possibilities – and that goes beyond the mere fact that most of the show’s ongoing plotlines were resolved before the season ended. A few months after changing out one of its core characters due to cast changes, the twelve year old veteran CBS military crime drama is now heading into Season 12 with a potentially even bigger spoiler wildcard: its pairing with new spinoff NCIS New Orleans, which will now directly after it on Tuesday nights.
The NCIS universe has already established the fact that Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs of the NCIS mothership is old friends with Agent Dwayne Cassius Pride of NCIS New Orleans. That alone doesn’t mean much, as the “old friends” backstory is frequently used to retroactively establish personal connections between popular existing characters and new spinoff characters, and not much necessarily comes of it. For instance, after the backdoor pilot established as much, the old friendship between Gibbs and Agent G Callen of NCIS Los Angeles was rarely touched upon during the subsequent five years in which the two shows aired back to back.
But this time it feels different. Mark Harmon and Scott Bakula are actors of similar age. Their characters are cut from similar cloth, both descending from the Mike Franks schools of NCIS agents. So now the biggest spoiler for NCIS Season 12 becomes not so much what happens with new eccentric character Ellie Bishop or her still-being-told backstory, but instead what all viewers can expect to come from the New Orleans angle.
To be clear, it’s not as if there will be weekly crossover appearances. But CBS made the decision to move NCIS LA to a different night and to put NCIS New Orleans on directly after the Agent Gibbs-and-company version of NCIS for a reason. And one has to think that we’ll see recurring intertwining plotlines and villains and perhaps some degree of character-sharing once the new season twelve gets underway.