Prepare to welcome back a guest actress who has been absent for a long time!
Mark Harmon left NCIS on a weekly basis early in Season 19, but the show found ways to fill the void he left behind. With Parker taking over as team leader, the agents returned to business as usual, and now a familiar face is on his way to save the day. No, it’s not Gibbs returning, nor is Michael Weatherly reprising his role as DiNozzo in the upcoming finale of Bull, but fans can still be excited to see Meredith Eaton back in the mix, and they won’t have to wait much longer.
Meredith Eaton has appeared in three episodes of NCIS to date, beginning with an appearance as immunologist Carol Wilson in Season 7, followed by an episode in Season 9, and finally in Season 11 in 2013. Although that was her final appearance on NCIS until Season 19, she did reprise her role as Carol in a Season 1 episode of NCIS: New Orleans, which ended at the end of last season. Steven D. Binder, the show’s executive producer, confirmed Eaton’s return and explained why the show (and team) are bringing her back, telling TV Insider:
We’re thrilled to be able to collaborate with Meredith Eaton once more. She’s a fantastic actor who adds a lot of energy to our show. Since her last appearance in Season 11, we’ve been itching to have her back whenever her schedule permitted. And now, with the team in desperate need of an expert immunologist, who better to come and save the day than Meredith’s beloved ‘Carol Wilson’? The only real question is whether she will arrive on time.
The team’s desperate need for an immunologist isn’t great news for them or the in-universe general public, but fans can rejoice in whatever disaster means that the agents need Carol back. It remains to be seen whether she will arrive in time to save the day; it is clear that bringing her back has been a long-held desire of the production team. And what better time to bring back a familiar face than in the same season that said goodbye to Gibbs, not long after Bishop’s departure?
Fortunately, the wait for Carol’s return to action isn’t too long. Brian Dietzen, who has played Palmer since the first season, confirmed on Twitter that Meredith Eaton will appear in the next episode. NCIS is taking a brief hiatus until after the Olympics (which are already affecting the majority of NBC’s primetime hits) and isn’t expected to return until late February, presumably on Monday, February 28. While the episode won’t be airing for a few days, her appearance will be in the next one.
Despite the fact that Meredith Eaton’s return to NCIS as Carol Wilson for Season 19 is her first, she has remained a familiar face on CBS over the years. She began playing Matty Webber on MacGyver in 2017, despite the fact that the show had some casting issues with George Eads. She stayed on the show until its abrupt cancellation, which came only after the Season 5 finale had wrapped and became the series finale. Her return to NCIS will not be as a series regular, but she has been a part of the CBS family for many years.
For the time being, NCIS fans must wait to see what happens next, but the show will return to its Monday night time slot on CBS at 9 p.m. ET, ahead of NCIS: Hawai’i. The two shows will cross over before the end of the season, and the most recent episode of the Hawai’i-set series established a fun connection to Gibbs, so the relationship between the shows is growing even before they start sharing characters on screen. With our 2022 TV schedule, you’ll have some viewing options while you wait for NCIS to return and bring back Meredith Eaton as Carol to potentially save the day.
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