At the end of Tuesday's episode, Bishop decided to put an end to her brothers' independent investigation and come clean that she's been seeing Qasim Naasir (Rafi Silver), whom we first met in Season 12 when his brother Rasheed Naasir, a terrorist, was killed by Gibbs (Mark Harmon). Qasim is brought back into the fold in the Thanksgiving episode as the case of the week leads Bishop to a man who's being wrongfully detained at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of being a terrorist.
Bishop's brothers George (Ryan Doom), John (Jesse Bradford) and Robby (Jesse Johnson) arrive unannounced for Thanksgiving, and immediately deduce that Bishop must have been out on a date, since she arrives home after midnight, all dolled-up and wearing perfume. Determined to find out the identity of her paramour, they interrogate the usual suspects — McGee (Sean Murray), Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry) — before finally landing on Gibbs of all people, after an algorithm designed by Abby (Pauley Perrette) says that Gibbs and Bishop would be a near-perfect match. But the real answer was under their nose the whole time. (The throwaway line about "evening plans" in the scene where Gibbs tasks Bishop and Qasim with going through a ton of files, in retrospect, is a dead giveaway.)
TVGuide.com chatted with Wickersham about whether we're going to see more of Bishop and Qasim's relationship play out in future episodes, why now is the right time for Bishop to jump back into the dating pool, and what impact the Guantanamo case is going to have on Bishop going forward.
We learn in this episode that Bishop and Qasim have been dating for a few months. Will we start to see more of them together?
Emily Wickersham: Over the next few episodes ... Qasim is in them and a little bit more of their relationship is revealed. You know how it goes at NCIS. It's not like we're gonna learn so much, but we will definitely get a little window into their relationship.
Previously you talked about the importance of Bishop being alone for a while after her divorce. Why is this relationship such an important move for her?
Wickersham: Bishop has definitely regrouped and took time for herself, and really focused on work at NCIS. I don't get the feeling in my mind that she was really looking or on the prowl at all. I think this thing that unfolds, it just kind of happens so naturally, and because there is this previous friendship, the relationship advances that much faster, and I guess just feels very natural.
Bishop, I feel, is at this point where she's happy. I think last season we saw her really struggling with a lot of stuff personally. Before the divorce there was a struggle, and then after the divorce. And now, after taking time for herself, I feel like she is at a strong point personally, feels confident and capable. She was a little beat up last season. So I think this really shows how far she's come, and that she's gone through all this stuff. She's doing really well. She was doing well alone, but also this thing just kind of happened. She's good.
Talk about the impact Bishop's visit to Guantanamo has on her.
Wickersham: It brings up the fact that Bishop realizes that she could have taken part in sending innocent people to Gitmo. That is really something that obviously hits her hard, and it's not a light subject at all. We don't fully dive into it, but it definitely affects her, and I think will affect her moving forward.
The idea of someone being falsely imprisoned for being a terrorist is a rather timely storyline, with recent discussions about a potential registry for Muslims. Do you know if that was intentional?
Wickersham: I know. It's funny, I feel like a lot of our episodes coincidentally air when real stuff happens in the world. ... I don't know [if it was intentional]. I feel like it's a great thing when that happens, when it's brought up at the perfect time, and starts a conversation. I don't think it was planned. I don't think there's any way for the writers to have known what was going to happen in the world or how to plan that perfectly, but I think it's a good thing, just like last week's episode. Like I said, it starts a conversation. And these are important conversations to be having, now especially.
It's been a pretty tough year for NCIS. How are you guys moving forward after the loss of Gary Glasberg?
Wickersham: That was a really big shock, and it was really tough for all of us, the cast and the crew. Obviously it came out of nowhere, and we all loved Gary so much. He was our dude. He organized it all, he held it all together. And to not have that [presence] definitely shook us. But obviously, the only thing you can do is move forward. George [Schenck] and Frank [Cardea], who are now running the show — I don't think there can be two better people doing it, and I think Gary would be pretty happy about it. These guys have been with the show for so many years. They know the show inside and out. It's like a family over there. So we all pitch in and band together. It's not not bumpy, but we're moving forward and I think as the episodes unfold this season, I think they'll be really strong.
Do you know how much of the season Gary had planned out before he died, and whether the new showrunners plan on sticking to that?
Wickersham: Gary had an outline, definitely, over the whole season. But as far as what they're doing, I think that's more a question for them. I don't really know exactly what happens up in the writers room. ... I know that they have a plan and I'm sure it was based on Gary's outline.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
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