NCIS Season 21 Gets Release Window (Report)

By Richard Nebens Posted:
NCIS Mark Harmon

NCIS Season 21 finally has an idea of its release window with production for the long-standing show on the horizon.

Investigating crimes within and around the United States Navy since 2003, NCIS looks to continue its run as the third-longest-running live-action scripted prime-time TV series with a new set of episodes on CBS coming in Season 21.

Even with only a pair of Season 1 cast members remaining in Sean Murray (Timothy McGee) and Brian Dietzen (Jimmy Palmer), NCIS keeps evolving into the 2020s with new faces nearly every season.

In fact, Season 20 had the highest total viewership of any network drama in 2020 at nearly 10 million viewers, via TVLine, proving that this team still resonates with viewers across the world after two decades of action.

NCIS Season 21 Eyes Upcoming Release Window

NCIS Season 19 poster

Deadline announced that numerous network TV shows are set to restart production in the near future following the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike, including Season 21 of CBS' NCIS.

According to this report, NCIS is aiming to have Season 21 hit the air sometime in February or March 2023 with its stars now allowed to be back in front of the camera.

NCIS Season 21 appears to be a priority for CBS to bring back to the small screen, as it was one of close to a dozen TV series already greenlit to resume prep for production immediately following the strike.

This comes after the writers' room for Season 21 officially opened in early October after the WGA strike finally reached its end.

How Many Episodes Will NCIS Season 21 Have?

Looking back at the past 20 years of NCIS' run, the show usually delivers anywhere from 20 to 24 episodes per season with the exception of Season 5 in 2007-2008 (19 episodes) and the COVID-19-affected Season 18 in 2020-2021 (16 episodes).

The window between starting up production on Season 21 and the show coming to air should only be somewhere from two to three months after Season 20 started filming on July 14, 2022 and had its first episode premiere on September 19.

Should that be the case, and should production start before the end of November, Season 21 should have its early episodes ready sometime in either mid-January or early Feburary 2024.

When it comes to how many episodes the series will have, that will all depend on when Season 21 can officially start.

Every single season of NCIS except for Season 17 ended their runs on CBS in May of the given year, which likely means the same for Season 21 unless the team can afford to push the story into early June.

Given that timeline, should mid-February hold Season 21's debut date, this new season could include anywhere from 13 to 18 new episodes, not taking potential double-episode premieres into account.

No matter how the details work themselves out, NCIS' return should help bring back excitement and anticipation for the new season of network TV with the strikes now over and fans eagerly awaiting new adventures to dive into.

NCIS Season 21 is currently being written, although no official timeline for production or release has been revealed.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.