This week's episode of NCIS (8/7c, CBS) introduces Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham), the character who's been brought in to replace Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), who departed the series earlier this season. But showrunner Gary Glasberg wants longtime fans to rest assured that the show won't be changing that much, despite the presence of a new kid on the block.
"At the end of the day, it's not so much about reinventing or doing anything that different," Glasberg tells TVGuide.com. "NCIS is still NCIS. All of the dynamics are there. ... The vibe of the show is the same, the chemistry is the same, the tone is the same. It's just that we've got this new character and she brings something new to the party."
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Bishop is an analyst with the National Security Agency who is brought in to consult with the NCIS team on Tuesday's episode, after a hypothetical security threat she previously outlined in a paper comes to fruition.
"We had started to sort of talk about the idea of doing a story line that involves the NSA ... and someone who really kind of looks at things from a global standpoint, someone really wrapped up in sort of the international view of terrorism and the way things work," Glasberg says. "We felt that that could be a fun addition in working with our team."
There isn't any friction per se between Bishop and the existing members of NCIS, but she definitely has her own way of doing things, according to Glasberg. "She's incredibly personable, but at the same time, she's in her own head," he says. "And part of the way that she thinks about things and arrives at things is to sort of isolate herself and close things off and really focus. ... The dynamic between her personality, her eccentricity, her quirk and how she interacts with our group is just fantastic."
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While the NCIS crew may embrace Bishop with open arms, it's clear that Ziva is still very much on the minds of her former colleagues — Tony (Michael Weatherly) in particular. Last week, viewers learned that Tony's been meeting with a support group to work through some of his issues. So what will help him snap out of his funk? "I think realistically it just takes time," Glasberg says. "This was a big change for Tony DiNozzo, to not have Ziva there and have to rely even more on McGee than he has in the past. ... But we'll get back to the Tony DiNozzo that people know and love. Just like real life, it takes time to get there."
Bishop is still an NSA employee at the end of Tuesday's episode, but Glasberg hints that the seeds will be planted for her transition into NCIS. "We start to see the wheels turning for Gibbs, and by the end of the episode we understand that she's going to stick around for a while," he notes.
Check out a sneak peek from "Gut Check" below:
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)