HUMANITAS Trustee Gary Glasberg Celebrates 300th Episode of 'NCIS'
NCIS is about to celebrate its 300th episode on Tuesday night — and, amazingly, it is TV’s No. 1 drama in its 13th year on the air. By now, most people have forgotten that it began as a JAG spinoff and initially, it wasn’t the powerhouse show it has become with more than 20 million viewers each week.
Truth be told, Season 1 didn’t make it into the Top 20. But those days are far behind the series about a team of special agents who investigate crimes that involve the military, which has been the No. 1 scripted series for six years and seven as the No. 1 drama. So with the news that series star Mark Harmon renewed his contract for two years, is it any surprise that CBS greenlit the series for a 14th and 15th year?
“This is a huge milestone, and everybody over here recognizes it and appreciates it,” executive producer/showrunner Gary Glasberg tells Parade.com. “We take nothing for granted. The success around the world, in addition to our fantastic audience here in the States, it’s just continued year after year, and we’re super lucky to have them.”
To celebrate the occasion, Glasberg and his crack team of writers have created a special episode that will feature a performance of Leonard Cohen‘s song “Hallelujah” by guest star Taye Diggs, who will be accompanied by the MusiCorps Band, part of a music rehabilitation program for wounded veterans based at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.
It was producer Gina Monreal, who co-wrote the episode with Glasberg, who pointed out the music rehab program that MusicCorps provides to veterans.
“We were blown away by what they do, and what they accomplish, and how they work, and we decided that we wanted to build a story around it, so we came up with a story that involves a sniper played by Taye Diggs,” Glasberg says.
In the Scope episode, the NCIS team is investigating the ambush of a group of Special Ops snipers in Iraq after an American couple is attacked in the same area six months later. When Gibbs discovers he needs the account of the lone survivor, Marine Gunnery Sergeant Aaron Davis (Diggs), he tries to connect with the wounded warrior who is being treated for PTSS [Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome].
“Davis is really seriously wounded and goes into this rehab program, where he has a psychological connection with another sniper, our own Leroy Jethro Gibbs,” Glasberg says. “In addition to the connection that they have, there is this missing rifle that’s out there; this experimental rifle that takes us on this case-related journey that gets very tense. So that while the rest of our team is focused on that aspect of the story, Gibbs is involved with a one-on-one with Taye Diggs’ character.”
Not just any actor could play Davis. It had to be someone with an excellent music background, and Diggs, who has starred on Broadway in Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Chicago, Wicked and Rent, fit the bill.
But instead of flying to D.C. to work with the MusiCorps Band there, the band flew to L.A.
“We actually brought out the head of the organization Arthur Bloom, and he brought a bunch of his wounded warriors with him, and we did a lot of our music here live,” Glasberg says. “Then we went into the recording studio with Taye, and the result is a very special, very different, very unique episode of the show.”
The 300th episode of NCIS airs Tuesday, March 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.