‘NCIS’: First Look at Gibbs’ Version of ‘Sturgeon Season’ (PHOTOS)

Mark Harmon NCIS Sturgeon Season Gibbs
Sonja Flemming/CBS

In Season 17, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) left in the middle of a case, claiming it was “sturgeon season.” Now, we’re getting a first look at just what that means.

That excuse of his is the title of the NCIS Season 18 premiere, which, according to CBS, sees the team’s leader and his old friend Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) trying to track down the leader of the drug ring who supplied those counterfeit opioids to the former FBI agent’s daughter. (Juliette Angelo‘s Emily Fornell nearly died of an overdose back in the Season 16 finale.) The rest of the episode will have the team handling a cadaver going missing from autopsy.

In Season 17’s “Musical Chairs,” Gibbs had received a text before he took a couple days off, and he’d told forensic psychologist Jack Sloane (Maria Bello) that Fornell needed help because Emily left rehab. It seems like he was at least truthful about part of that; the text did likely come from Fornell. But when he appeared at the end of that episode, he was sporting a black eye. And he has it in one of the photos from “Sturgeon Season” (above, see bottom for the full image).

But he doesn’t have it in the picture (below) with Fornell, a moment which presumably takes place soon after he left in response to that message. Those two “bring different energies to this chase,” executive producer Steven Binder told TV Insider. “Gibbs has a bug up his butt about breaking the law and causing all sorts of chaos in communities with the drug situation. Fornell’s daughter has been hurt by this epidemic, so he’s a little more fiery.”

Mark Harmon Joe Spano NCIS Season 18 Premiere Fornell Gibbs

Joe Spano as Tobias “T.C.” Fornell and Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

It won’t just be Gibbs with Fornell during the premiere. The final photo released shows Gibbs with team member Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Special Agent Veronica “Ronnie” Tyler (Victoria Platt). Can Torres save that victim?

Mark Harmon Wilmer Valderrama NCIS Season 18 Premiere Gibbs Torres

Victoria Platt as NCIS Special Agent Veronica “Ronnie” Tyler, Wilmer Valderrama as NCIS Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres, and Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Mark Harmon NCIS Season 18 Premiere Gibbs

(Sonja Flemming/CBS)

NCIS, Season 18 Premiere, Tuesday, November 17, 8/7c, CBS