Episodes 18 and 19 of NCIS Season 11 are likely to be “pilot” episodes of NCIS: New Orleans, and Tony DiNozzo will be the focus of the season’s finale.
In “Crescent City,” a two-episode (Episode 18 and 19) special, Gibbs and Bishop head over to New Orleans to assist the team led by Agent Pride (Scott Bakula).
It is almost certain that “Crescent City” is the back door pilot for the proposed NCIS: New Orleans.
Executive Producer Gary Glasberg said in an interview last year that he was inspired to come up with the spin-off after realizing that there is an actual NCIS office in New Orleans.
“I went to Mark Harmon as I do every year and said, ‘I went through some stories and, hey, I came across this scenario. I’d love to try to do an episode,’” Glasberg said. “He turned to me and said, ‘Gary, that’s not a sweeps episode. That’s a new show.'”
NCIS has a successful spin off in NCIS: Los Angeles. Now in its fifth season, the show averaged more than 17 million viewers the season prior.
Glasberg has also hinted to TV Line that Tony DiNozzo will take center stage in the season finale on April 8.
“I’d really like to focus on and come up with something for the season finale that has a strong Tony element to it – in fact, we’re about to sit down and talk about that,” said Glasberg.
Tony was left devastated when Ziva quit the NCIS team and ended their relationship in Season 11’s premiere.
The passing of actor Ralph Waite will also be commemorated in the finale.
Waite, who plays Gibbs’s father, passed away February 13 at the age of 85.
“Gary Glasberg and the writers are working on something special to address the passing of Ralph Waite in the season finale,” said a CBS spokesperson, “to honor both the memory of Ralph, as well as the character of Jackson Gibbs.”
The first part of Episode 18 “Crescent City” will air Tuesday, March 25, 8:00 p.m. ET, on CBS.