Is It Time for a New Romance on 'NCIS'?

Meredith Jacobs
Opinion Bill Inoshita/CBS (2)

For the most part, romance has taken a backseat to the cases on NCIS, but should that change in Season 17?

While Rule 12 ("Never date a coworker") does tend to rule out the possibility of one between teammates, it has been bent and broken over the years. (Gibbs did just burn Rule 10, so who's to say another won't suffer the same fate?) And the series has teased a couple possibilities between coworkers in recent seasons. It may just be a matter of "going there," deciding to have another (very) slow burn like Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) or choosing to let the potential for more fizzle out.

8 Questions We Have After Ziva's Return to 'NCIS' (PHOTOS)

8 Questions We Have After Ziva's Return to 'NCIS' (PHOTOS)

From her warning to Gibbs to her status with Tony, we want answers after that Season 16 finale shocker.

In fact, NCIS may be trying to foster vibes similar to those with "Tiva" with Bishop (Emily Wickersham) and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama). Fans kept waiting for something to happen between Tony and Ziva after the partners shared some more than friendly stares and moments, but it wasn't until she was leaving and then presumed dead that anything truly happened. (Tony would then go on to leave to raise the daughter Ziva never told him they had together. But with Ziva now very likely alive, their relationship status is up in the air.)

While there has been a flirtation between Bishop and Torres, it also seems like every time they take a step forward — say, meeting up after a hard day at work — it's completely forgotten by the next episode. And that may be for the best, for both agents involved.

(Michael Yarish/CBS)

Both have some growing to do individually. Plus, Bishop hasn't had the best of luck with love; her marriage fell apart when her husband cheated, and her boyfriend was killed before he could become her fiancé. While that could change with Torres, it does sometimes feel like the show may bring them together simply to introduce a romance between coworkers. There's too much waffling on the matter to take anything between them seriously, at least not yet.

But they're not the only potential match at NCIS, though one of the other agents has had a much rougher go at relationships than Bishop. Gibbs (Mark Harmon) had a brief entanglement with Jenny (Lauren Holly) when they worked together before she became NCIS Director, but like all of his relationships after Shannon, several of which we've seen onscreen, it was never going to work out.

16 Times 'NCIS' Lost One of Its Own (PHOTOS)

16 Times 'NCIS' Lost One of Its Own (PHOTOS)

All the members of NCIS (and those who have worked with them) who have died over the years

Now it seems like there may be something between him and Jack (Maria Bello), though both have boatloads of issues they need to work through. Jack all but admitted that she wants to open up to Gibbs in a session with Grace (Laura San Giacomo) in the penultimate episode of Season 16, but for her sake, we're not quite sure if we want that relationship to happen. Just look at Gibbs' track record.

That being said, Jack may also be Gibbs's best chance at a relationship at this point. She's willing to open up to him, and if there's anyone he's going to open up to (besides Ducky), she may be the best bet. If we can see those two work through some of their issues beforehand, they might have a shot at making things work.

(Monty Brinton/CBS)

But even if that does happen, it's likely that the most successful (and in many ways prominent) relationship of the series will remain McGee (Sean Murray) and Delilah's (Margo Harshman), and that may be because she only recurs. (She's been in 14 episodes since Season 11 and only one in Season 16.) Through them, we've seen that agents can have a family — they've gone from dating to living together to getting engaged to getting married to having kids — but it's not the same as showcasing a relationship between coworkers, like one of these potential romances would do.

Or like the spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles does with Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen), who have shown that there is a place for romance in the franchise. It may not always be pretty and there have been some hiccups, but overall, they've shown that partners can work together and date successfully. (The couple even got married in Season 10.)

So is it time for NCIS to follow in those footsteps and introduce a relationship between team members or at least a significant new romance for one of the team?

Why not?

We're not saying we need to see it onscreen all the time, or even as often as Kensi and Deeks' on NCIS: LA, but it is time to explore the lives of the agents on Gibbs' team outside of work. It's also time to stop teasing those two potential romances and make a decision one way or the other. "Tiva" was drawn out for much too long and really didn't amount to anything onscreen. The last thing NCIS needs to do is do the same with another relationship.

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

However, we do ask one thing if NCIS does go in this direction, with any of the characters: Let's not kill off another loved one?

NCIS, Season 17 Premiere, Tuesday, September 24, 8/7c, CBS