‘NCIS: Origins’ Season 1: Everything To Know So Far About The ‘Mysterious And Complex’ Backstory (Update For May 2024)

CBS has made some bold decisions with a juggernaut that has served them well for (almost) decades. NCIS has been running since 1995 and has almost completely experienced a cast overhaul (including Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs) since the original crowd. Some of those actors, however, will soon be back. This does not include Pauley Perrette, who had beef with Mark Harmon and recently clarified that she will never return as Abby Sciuto. However, two new spin offs will surface in the near future. That includes NCIS: Tony And Ziva, starring original actors Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo as Anthony DiNozzo and Ziva David.

Then there’s NCIS: Origins, which will (as its name suggests) travel back in time to when Gibbs was getting his feet wet in the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service. This series was nearly guaranteed to be a home run — after all, this franchise has already proven itself with spin offs because NCIS began as a spin off of JAG — although a few complicating factors have developed. Let’s discuss what to expect from this prequel series.


The official description gets the ball rolling: “Gibbs starts his career as a newly minted special agent at the fledgling NIS Camp Pendleton office where he forges his place on a gritty, ragtag team led by NCIS legend Mike Franks.” The prequel will launch in 1991, about 12 years before the initial events of NCIS‘ first season. Franks was originally portrayed by Muse Watson in the original show, and expect casting to be of great interest for that character. We will talk in a moment about who will be portraying young Gibbs, although we must also note a continuity error within the timeline. Has Gibbs has been on the NCIS career path since 1984 or 1991?

And will that discrepancy be addressed? We shall see. Also, here’s a promise from CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach, who suggests that we will learn new tidbits about the experiences that molded Gibbs’ personality:

“Viewers can look forward to Mark Harmon returning to CBS to narrate the complex and mysterious backstory of Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ early years in NCIS: Origins, which will build on the rich legacy of this character while reintroducing fan-favorite characters and meeting new ones.”

Mark Harmon is not only narrating but also executive producing along with his son, Sean Harmon, who portrayed younger Gibbs on NCIS but opted not to star in this series. Will we see the younger Donald “Ducky” Mallard (the late David MacCallum), who also appeared in JAG before NCIS debuted? This seems likely, although casting has not revealed a young Ducky yet. Give them time. As well, NCIS has spent time delving into Gibbs’ complicated inner world, which included a not-so-warm relationship with his dad, Jackson (a character who has been confirmed for this prequel series). Gibbs also survived his wife and daughter, so we might eventually see those relationships develop as well.

A current controversy for this spin off comes in from an unexpected direction. That would be the recent cancellation of NCIS: Hawai’i. Viewers were left with a bad taste in their mouth after a cliffhanger finale ended the series due to “financials,” and some fans wondered aloud if this was a move to clear the runway for Origins and Tony And Ziva. The timing is awkward, for sure, and now, we might never know what happened to LL Cool J’s character (Sam from NCIS: LA, which ended in 2023). Some of those same upset fans vowed not to watch Origins, so we will see if the franchise has lost goodwill and can still continue prospering with new chapters.


As noted, Mark Harmon will narrate his character’s previous investigations, and Sean Harmon will not return to the screen as younger Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Instead, he will be portrayed by Austin Stowell. If you squint hard, this seems believable, but perhaps the resemblance will be stronger in motion.


According to Deadline, other cast members include Robert Taylor (as Leroy’s dad, Jackson Gibbs, long after Ralph Waite portrayed the character on NCIS), Daniel Bellamy (as ambitious Special Agent Granville “Granny” Dawson), and Caleb Martin Foote (as golden-boy Special Agent Benjamin “Randy” Randolf)

Release Date

This spin off should arrive sooner rather than later. NCIS: Origins is slated for CBS’ 2024-24 schedule, so they want this puppy out there with a full season and ideally more to come.


Zero new footage exists here, but consider yourself teased: