Executive producer Gary Glasberg’s NCIS is the most‑watched show on television in its 11th season, a virtualy unprecedented circumstance that CBS chief Leslie Moonves attributes to “high-quality storytelling that generates passionate viewers and drives revenue on every conceivable platform.”
On Wednesday, Glasberg took part in a panel of CBS drama-series showrunners to discuss the methods of his success and what’s upcoming on the Thursday night hit.
On the writers-room decision to paralyze Delilah Fielding after a bomb blast at the gala in her honor:
Gary Glasberg: “I’m actually really proud of that decision. The intent is to show an individual, a really smart individual, take control of her life and rise up after what she’s been through — that’s all the stuff that’s coming down the road. So we’re very excited by the arc of what that character is going to face as someone in a wheelchair and how that’s going to be portrayed.”
On some viewers’ — and critics’ — frustration with the quirky relationship between Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and forensic specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette):
GG: “That relationship was formed very early on, long before me. The camaraderie and the connection that they have very often should feel — and is — paternal. I know that people react oddly to the peck on the cheek and the hugs and the kisses, and in a way, that’s just sort of who Abby is — and, in a lot of ways, who Pauley is. That relationship has developed and grown and sort of has a life of its own. And, you know, we never really touch on it or venture out of the lab with the two of them. It happens very infrequently. So what you’re seeing is the dynamic that they find in a scene very often in the rehearsal. I wish I could say there’s a lot more to it than that, but really it’s just about the chemistry between these two actors and ultimately what they like to play with.”
On introducing Emily Wickersham’s NSA analyst Ellie Bishop (for which, he says, the show deals with the real NSA) after Cote de Pablo left the show:
GG: “It was a challenge. You know, the way that this whole season unfolded was a bit of a surprise for many of us. To suddenly lose a character that has been a part of the show for nine seasons is significant. And when you replace that character, I wanted to do something that was different. I wanted it to feel incredibly different, but not change the chemistry and the mix of what makes NCIS work.
Bishop is different. She comes at things differently. She handles herself differently, and Emily Wickersham has brought all kinds of layers to the character. I’m really excited about what she brings to the table, how it changes things. The actors are excited. It just opened up all kind of doors for us, and we have a sense of where we’re going and where it’s headed and how she fits in. But it’s a process and it’s been fun for us as writers to figure out how to do this 11 seasons into a show.
Overall [fan reaction] been very positive. I know that people have a tremendous connection to the Ziva character — and we all did — but shows evolve and change and things move on. That’s where we are and I couldn’t be happier with our choice.”
NCIS airs Thursday nights at 9/8CT on CBS.