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NCIS season 20: release date, cast and everything we know about the crime drama

Wilmer Valderrama, Katrina Law, Sean Murray and Gary Cole in NCIS
Wilmer Valderrama, Katrina Law, Sean Murray and Gary Cole in NCIS (Image credit: Robert Voets/CBS)

The fall 2022 CBS lineup wouldn’t be complete without NCIS, as the crime drama prepares for its third decade on TV. Once again finishing as TV’s top broadcast drama (by number of viewers per Nielsen numbers (opens in new tab)), what lies in store for NCIS season 20?

Created by Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill, with Steven Binder as the current showrunner, NCIS is the flagship entry for a franchise that currently includes NCIS: Hawai’i and NCIS: Los Angeles. While fans can be sure that the NCIS team is going to be tackling plenty of entertaining cases in season 20, who’s going to be on the job, when does the show return and how to catch up on everything that happened in NCIS season 19 are all important questions.

So, without further ado, here is everything we know about NCIS season 20.

When is the NCIS season 20 release date?

NCIS season 20 has a premiere date of Monday, September 19, at 9 pm ET/PT. After the series was moved from Tuesdays to Mondays with season 19, fans don’t have to worry about shifting airdates again, as NCIS remains in the same spot it was as last season.

On a similar note, the CBS Monday night lineup remains the same, which includes the comedies The Neighborhood and Bob Hearts Abishola at 8 pm and 8:30 pm ET/PT ahead of NCIS and then the NCIS spinoff series, NCIS: Hawai’i, airing at 10 pm ET/PT.

UK audiences who enjoy tuning in for NCIS are going to have to be patient, as no premiere date for the procedural has been made available for the UK. NCIS season 19 episodes debuted on Disney Plus in April 2022, but whether that'll be the case now that Paramount Plus is available in the UK is still to be determined.

Who is in the NCIS season 20 cast?

CBS has not come out and shared an official list of returning or new cast members for NCIS season 20, but here is who the network has listed currently as the main cast members on the show:

  • Sean Murray as Timothy McGee
  • Wilmer Valderrama as Nick Torres
  • Diona Reasonover as Kasie Hines
  • Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer
  • Gary Cole as Alden Parker
  • Katrina Law as Jessica Knight
  • David McCallum as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard
  • Rocky Carroll as Leon Vance

Some fans may be wondering if Mark Harmon’s Jethro Gibbs is going to make an appearance in the new season after his character stepped away from NCIS in season 19. While Harmon previously suggested you can never say never on a return in some capacity, there is no info on whether or not he’ll appear in NCIS season 20. 

What is the NCIS season 20 plot?

NCIS is a procedural show, which means that each episode often deals with a single case, though there are the occasional multi-episode/season-long arcs.

To cover the basics, NCIS follows the Naval Criminal Investigation Service team and the complex (but amusing) dynamics of the NCIS team. From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, these special agents investigate all crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties.

However, fans are certain to be interested to know how the events of the season 19 finale are going to bleed into the new season. Warning, SPOILER ALERT if you are not yet caught up with NCIS.

In the NCIS season 19 finale, Alden Parker’s ex-wife Vivian (Teri Polo) was kidnapped and Parker becomes one of the main suspects. However, the NCIS team believes that he is innocent and decides to help him go on the run. Vivian, who managed to escape her kidnappers, decides to go with him. 

In the final moments of the episode, Vivian receives a text asking, "How’s it going?" She responds, "It’s done. I have him," hinting that she is actually the kidnapper in this situation. It also is being teased that this all involves the Raven, a mysterious crime figure.

We can imagine that this storyline will be crucial in the early parts of NCIS season 20.

Is there an NCIS season 20 trailer?

No, there is no trailer or footage from NCIS season 20 yet. We’ll update this page as soon as something becomes available. 

How to watch NCIS

NCIS airs on CBS in the US, meaning that it is available to just about all US TV households that have a traditional pay-TV subscription service, as CBS has local stations across the country that are must-carry channels for cable providers. TV antennas can also pick up the local station signals. A number of live TV streaming services also carry CBS, including FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV.

For consumers who have cut the cord and moved entirely to streaming services, Paramount Plus is going to be the one you want to watch NCIS. Paramount Plus has all previous episodes of NCIS and will have new episodes available to stream the day after they air on live TV. However, if you’re a subscriber to Paramount Plus’ premium tier, you can watch NCIS (and other CBS shows) live.

Outside of the US, UK viewers are expected to be able to watch NCIS season 20 on Disney Plus, though it's possible the show could make the move to Paramount Plus, though nothing has been announced. Disney Plus currently has all previous seasons of the show available to subscribers.  

Michael Balderston
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.