NCIS season 20: next episode, cast and everything we know about the crime drama

Rocky Carroll and Gary Cole in NCIS
Rocky Carroll and Gary Cole in NCIS (Image credit: Michael Yarish/CBS)

The CBS lineup wouldn't be complete without NCIS, as the crime drama nears its third decade on TV. Once again finishing as TV’s top broadcast drama (by number of viewers per Nielsen numbers), 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 and when and how can you watch the latest episodes?

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

When is the next NCIS season 20 episode?

The NCIS season 20 finale airs on Monday, May 22, at 9 pm ET/PT on CBS. The title of the episode is "Black Sky," here is the official synopsis:

"Torres finds himself in prison as the team tries to stop an impending terror attack on U.S. soil."

Check out the promo for the latest episode right here:

See what else is on TV tonight with WTW's US TV listings.

All episodes of NCIS season 20 can be streamed live on Paramount Plus for Premiere subscribers and are available to all subscribers the next day on-demand. 

UK audiences who enjoy tuning in for NCIS can now catch up with season 20 of the show on Disney Plus, as new episodes of it and NCIS: Hawai'i season 2 are released on the streaming platform every week.

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.

UPDATE, November 14: While it's still a bit until this is going to happen, CBS has announced it is going to have a special crossover event with all three of its currently running NCIS series — NCIS, NCIS: Hawai'i and NCIS: Los Angeles, aka the NCISverse — coming together for a special three-hour event on Monday, January 2, starting at 8 pm ET/PT. Here's what to expect:

"The NCISverse crossover will center around a very personal, high-stakes case to take down a mysterious hitman. Team members from the different NCIS divisions come together in Washington, D.C., to celebrate a beloved FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) professor who taught multiple members of each of the squads. On the eve of the celebration, the professor is found dead of an apparent suicide and his former students immediately suspect foul play. While investigating his past, they uncover a mysterious hitman, and the more they dig into it, the bigger the targets on their backs become. Members of the team are suddenly kidnapped and all the agents must come together to take down the assassin and save their own."

Who is in the NCIS season 20 cast?

Here is the main cast for NCIS season 20:

  • 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
  • Rocky Carroll as Leon Vance

Interestingly enough, Mark Harmon's Special Agent Jethro Gibbs is also listed as a regular cast member for NCIS season 20. This comes after his character stepped away in season 19. How and when Gibbs may be featured in the new season is unclear at this time.

Meanwhile, another longtime cast member, David McCallum, who plays Ducky, is still set to appear as a guest actor throughout the season. How much we'll see of the fan-favorite is still TBD.

Is there an NCIS season 20 trailer?

CBS released a combined trailer for NCIS season 20 and NCIS: Hawai'i season 2 ahead each shows' premiere:

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 has 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 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 Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.