‘NCIS’: A Refresher on the Counterfeit Opioids Case Ahead of Season 18

Maria Bello Mark Harmon Joe Spano NCIS Season 16 Finale Jack Gibbs Fornell
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Remember the open case Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) had when Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) popped up alive in his basement in the Season 16 finale? You’ll want to ahead of NCIS Season 18.

The procedural drama is wrapping up that unsolved mystery, which was only briefly mentioned in Season 17. “We are looking forward to paying this storyline off,” executive producer Frank Cardea told TV Insider.

With that in mind, let’s recap what’s happened so far.

Joe Spano NCIS Season 16 Finale Fornell Emily Overdose Opioids Hospital

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Season 16

In the finale, “Daughters,” Emily Fornell (Juliette Angelo), the daughter of Gibbs’ old friend Tobias (Joe Spano), overdosed on counterfeit opioids. It was touch and go for a bit, but she survived. Though Gibbs and the team identified people on the lower level of the chain, the supplier in Canada was still unknown at the end of the finale, but admittedly a much more minor dangling thread than the previously-presumed dead Ziva walking into Gibbs’ basement in the last moments.

Season 17

In Episode 5, Special Agent Tim McGee (Sean Murray) told his boss he’d found a lead on the case, but Gibbs said to pass it along to the DEA. Fornell wanted to move on, he claimed, and Emily was “making progress.”

Three episodes later, in “Musical Chairs,” Gibbs left in the middle of a case with the weakest excuse in the world (“sturgeon season”) and told forensic psychologist Special Agent Jack Sloane (Maria Bello) that Emily had left rehab and Fornell needed his help. That was a bit more plausible, but there was clearly more going on. “Let’s just say he didn’t walk out in the middle of a case because it was sturgeon season or because Emily Fornell left rehab,” Cardea said. Gibbs also returned with a black eye.

What’s Next in Season 18?

The beginning of the season will reveal where Gibbs went over multiple episodes, TVLine reports. “We are going to pick up Season 18 with that mission that Gibbs was on, back in time,” co-showrunner Steve Binder said. (We’ll still see the rest of the team with regular cases.)

Maria Bello Mark Harmon NCIS Season 17 Musical Chairs Jack Gibbs

(Greg Gayne/CBS)

We know he took his gun — but left his phone, wallet, and badge — with him in “Musical Chairs.” Did he use it? The black eye suggested he got into some trouble. We’ll have to see what we find out in these upcoming episodes.

NCIS, Season 18, Fall 2020, CBS