Is NCIS Having Trouble Without Gibbs..? A Check-In During the Season


NCIS Season 20 is the show’s first full season without Gibbs. Find out if the long-running CBS show is suffering without its icon.

NCIS has staked its claim to being the best series of all time as one of the best and longest-running shows on television. The outstanding cast of NCIS has contributed to the show’s continued success. There will always be turnover in a series that lasts nearly 450 episodes. However, NCIS routinely replaced departing characters with new great characters, which benefited both the team and the series as a whole.

The most recent example was Agent Gibbs. Mark Harmon decided to retire from acting at the end of Season 18. So, four episodes into Season 19, he said goodbye to McGee and returned to Alaska after solving a case. The remainder of the season was devoted to acclimating former FBI Agent Alden Parker to his new role as team leader. After a while, it was clear that he was a perfect replacement for Gibbs, but the question was whether he could carry the series for the foreseeable future.

NCIS Season 20 viewership is slightly down.

Because Gibbs left in the middle of the season, Season 20 has been NCIS’ first true test without its star. To compensate, much of the season has been devoted to family. Parker’s ex-wife was shot in the opening scene, and Kasie, Knight, and her sister were kidnapped, along with Torres. Delilah McGee, McGee’s wife, was heavily involved in Season 20, Episode 9, “Higher Education.” She was teaching at a nearby university when one of her students was assassinated and later exposed as a spy. Delilah proved her worth by locating the student’s handler.


While some of the episodes have been quite good, the question has always been simple: Would fans tune in if Gibbs was not present? When the opening credits didn’t include Gibbs, there was a minor uproar, which made executives nervous. However, the ratings for NCIS Season 20 have been quite good. Season 19 drew an average of 7.57 million viewers (in the 18-49 demographic) according to TV Series Finale.

The series received an average of 6.555 million viewers during Season 20. Based on that raw data, it’s clear that Gibbs’ departure had a moderate impact, as viewership is down by about a million. NCIS, on the other hand, remains one of CBS’ top performers. As a result, the lost million should have no bearing on its chances of renewal.

NCIS Needs to Improve Story Connectivity

In terms of content, it has also been quite good. The family-focused episodes have allowed NCIS to delve into some backstories and personal dilemmas. Fans, for the most part, agreed. According to IMDb, each episode has received an average rating of 7.57, which is only slightly lower than the 7.7 average from Season 19.


However, there is one minor flaw that is not based on numbers. NCIS Season 20 feels more like a sitcom than usual. It’s as if every episode has to maintain the status quo, no matter how dramatic or threatening it is. Torres, for example, is said to be having problems in Season 20 and is even seeing a counselor, but nothing has come of it. He was also kidnapped and shot, but he was back to normal by the next episode.

Knight was also kidnapped, but nothing happened there. It’s as if the season is struggling to connect its episodes, and there isn’t a single, overarching story arc. Given the numbers, it’s not a huge issue, and it could improve in the second half of the season. In any case, it’s clear that NCIS is doing well in the post-Gibbs era.

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