Why 'NCIS' Won't Address Gibbs Suspension for a While

NCIS ended on a major cliffhanger this week, but it won't be resolved for at least three weeks. That's because the series is now on hiatus, with a new episode coming on Tuesday, April 6. In the meantime, fans will be stuck waiting and wondering what's next.

Warning! Spoilers for NCIS Season 18 ahead! NCIS Season 18, Episode 10, "Watchdog" premiered this Tuesday, and it left fans in shock. For starters, the episode kicked off with the story of an abused dog — a tragic narrative for anyone to follow. Before long, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) was confronting the dog's owner, and he was not gentle about it. Gibbs was ultimately arrested for his use of force in the interrogation, leaving the rest of the NCIS team with an added duty of clearing his name.

The team has some success in proving that the dog's owner was abusive and exonerating their boss, but Gibbs himself was not ready to get off that easily. He confessed the extent of his attack on the dog owner to the Inspector General, leaving NCIS Director Vance (Rocky Carroll) no choice but to suspend him.

Now, Gibbs is suspended from work indefinitely, leaving NCIS without the leadership that has seen it through nearly two decades now. The whole series is up in the air with this move, including the ensemble dynamics and the future of the team.

The dramatic cliffhanger is a surprising move for NCIS, which tends to follow a story-of-the-week format. However, the added drama may make up for this year's shortened season. Like many other shows, NCIS' production was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic over the last year, forcing the studio to cut the season short. Where it usually makes 24 episodes per season, this year the show is only making 16 episodes.

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This month's prolonged hiatus may help NCIS stretch out its season to fit the usual airing schedule, plus give CBS a chance to air some primetime specials or pertinent re-runs. As for NCIS fans, they can stay caught up on the show on ViacomCBS' new streaming service Paramount+, which has all 18 seasons of the series available to stream. That includes the latest episodes, so die-hard fans can stream them as a refresher just before the new episode drops in April.

Whether it's on broadcast, cable or streaming, fans are definitely going to want to catch the next episode to see what Gibbs' fate will be. NCIS returns on Tuesday, April 6 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.