NCIS 400th episode: How CBS, producers can make it feel special

NCISDid you know that the NCIS 400th episode is coming during season 17? Sure, it’s easy to get lost in the Ziva glow right now we wouldn’t blame you! This is the most excited we’ve been for a season premiere in years.

Yet, there’s more exciting stuff to anticipate on the other side of the season 17 premiere. Hitting 400 episodes is the equivalent of a TV show walking on the moon — so few have done it. As a matter of fact, here’s the list: The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, Lassie, Kraft Television Theatre, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and Bonanza. At 378 episodes currently, NCIS is already the tenth longest-running primetime US show ever in terms of episodes. It will pass My Three Sons during season 17 to become #9. The two Law & Order shows are the only other live-action drama series of the modern era to do what NCIS has – this is a huge achievement!

This is kind of a big deal, and we feel that CBS is going to recognize that in a big way. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to create a special episode with pomp, drama, returning characters, or some other sort of dramatic twist. There are a few different things that they could try, depending on how eager they are to take a few risks. This article is a few possibilities rolling around in our heads.

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When will the 400th episode air?

Let’s start with that — it’s going to be the 22th episode of the season and, depending on scheduling, will probably air in either late April or early May. The latter seems more likely; this is a way to welcome May sweeps with open arms when ratings are most important.

How should NCIS celebrate it?

Returning characters – We haven’t forgotten what Pauley Perrette said from this past week, so go ahead and rule her out (you can read more about that over here if you missed it). However, couldn’t Cote de Pablo come back after returning for the season 17 premiere? What about a Joe Spano cameo? This is a chance to honor your show past and present, so having a couple notable returnees would make this party all the wilder. (We’re not counting on Tony since Bull will still be going on and filming across the country.)

Making it about a major story – Maybe Gibbs and some other agents are honored by a higher authority and this episode feels like a tribute to all the work they’ve done. (No, we’re not advocating for a clip show — don’t put that evil on us.) Maybe someone’s getting a promotion of some sort (we are looking at you McGee!). Or, maybe the entire team must work together to take out the most dangerous threat that they’ve ever seen. We don’t want the 400th episode to kill someone off, but there’s nothing wrong with a heart-pounding thrill ride that makes people worried! We also just think that we’re not past the moratorium on killing characters off near the end of the season — the ghost of Clayton Reeves tells us to take it easy.

Take a big risk – Could you do a live episode? It sounds a little ridiculous, but if you set most of it at the office, the interrogation room, or some other reusable locations, it’s not impossible. 30 Rock did it! Maybe you do a stylized mystery-caper that you turn into a noir, maybe you do an episode that has the entire team away from the office, or maybe you make the bulk of the episode deep, personal conversations and it’s about the agents’ lives more than some looming threat. Note that we did not utter the words “musical episode” — next to a clip show, this is the worst-case scenario. Gibbs would more likely endure hours of torture than belt out a song.

This is just a sample of some of the different darts the writers could throw for what should be a wonderful occasion. What ever they decide to do we just want it to be memorable – something that really sticks with us.

For some other NCIS news…

Check out the link here to read our full character spotlight about Mark Harmon’s Gibbs! Our latest spotlight is coming your way tomorrow.

What do you think NCIS should do for their 400th episode? Share below. (Photo: CBS.)

This article was written by Jessica Carter and you can follow her on Twitter here.

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