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LOS ANGELES – "NCIS" is pulling out the stops for February sweeps with the manhunt continuing for Russian terrorist Sergei Michnev (Alex Veadov), a special episode that introduces us to a teenage Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), and several returning special guest stars.
So what's the 411 on Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his crack NCIS team? Let's ask "NCIS" executive producer/show runner Gary Glasberg, shall we?
[SPOILER ALERT: The following text contains info on upcoming "NCIS" episodes]
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 --- "We Build, We Fight"
Is it a hate crime when openly gay Navy Lieutenant Eric Kutzler (Andy Favreau), who was nominated for the Medal of Honor, is murdered? Gibbs is joined by his former flame Hollis Mann (Susanna Thompson) to investigate the crime.
"The episode delves into the complexity of that issue -- how some of Kutzler's fellow officers feel about it, how it is being handled," Glasberg told FOX411. "It was brilliantly directed by our first-time director Rocky Carroll [who is normally in front of the camera as NCIS Director Leon Vance]. It is a terrific episode. The acting is really strong. I am excited about it on every level."
As for the return of Hollis, it is too soon after the murder of Gibbs' ex-wife Diane (Melinda McGraw) at the hands of Michnev for there to be any romance in the air. And no reveal is made as to whether or not Hollis is still happily married. According to Glasberg, she is there strictly on business. She was assigned as the investigator to vet Kutzler's Medal of Honor, so when the case blossoms into a murder investigation, she then works with the team to solve it. If she also lends a shoulder and is a supportive friend for Gibbs, so much the better.
On a lighter note, the episode will also have a little fun with a baby shower being thrown for Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) and his wife Breena (Michelle Pierce), who are due any minute!
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 -- "Cadence"
What was a teenage Tony like in military prep school? We'll find out in "Cadence," when Tanner Stine plays the hormonal hunk.
"It's another insight into who Tony was and who Tony is," Glasberg says, "How his life has changed and evolved and moved forward. I look back and I love the way that little by little, we have learned things about Tony."
As for Stine, Glasberg compliments the relatively unknown 19-year-old actor, saying, "He's got Tony's spark, he's got his wit, and there's a sharpness in a look and a glance. He was a terrific kid and really studied. He went back and looked at a lot of episodes and studied Michael's mannerisms."
Also, in "Cadence," we get a second visit from Ellie Bishop's (Emily Wickersham) husband, NSA Attorney Jake Malloy (Jamie Bamber), who has a really nice moment with Gibbs.
"We will absolutely see more of Jake in the future," Glasberg says. "I'm really enjoying what that relationship is for Bishop. The fact that she is married, she is content in that relationship, and there is consistency in her world means a lot. And I know it means a lot in the real NCIS world because many of them are happily married."
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 -- "Cabin Fever"
The wheels are turning in Gibbs' mind and ideas are percolating below the surface for the first two weeks in February as Gibbs decides what action to take to get justice for Diane. Then in this episode, the Michnev story comes to a head -- there is a resolution -- and Gibbs finally lets down his guard -- he's been stoic up to now to help out Fornell (Joe Spano) -- and we see him react to Diane's death.
"There are some really brilliant moments between Harmon and Joe Spano's Fornell," Glasberg says. "It's them working through the loss and grief."
Can't get enough "NCIS"? Here are the answers to more burning questions about CBS' No. 1 drama:
Talks are in the works for Abby to be featured in an episode: "Any time I can shine a light on Pauley Perrette, that's a good thing. Absolutely. It's a matter of finding the niche. Our writers love to write for her."
McGee (Sean Murray) and Delilah (Margo Harshman) are still going strong -- even if it is long distance: "Later in the spring, you'll see her again. We are excited about seeing Delilah resurface."
McGee's career as an author is on hold for a bit: "We haven't touched on the book stuff in a long time. At Christmas time, McGee was writing that letter to his dad. It was the first time we had seen him back at the typewriter in a very long time. Again, any time we can dig into what makes people tick, I am up for it. I say Delilah is the next bit of personal stuff we get into with McGee, but I am always open to what the guys come up with."
Robert Wagner will be returning as Senior: "Right now, we are starting a new episode with Robert Wagner. That will be coming up a little later in the spring. I feel that it just adds to Michael's already terrific performance to see how Tony deals with family situations and other relationships."
Don't count out Rebecca (Jeri Ryan), Gibbs' wife No. 2: "I don't have any plans right now but we had a great time with her and she was a delight. Everyone hit it off. As another view into Gibbs' personal life, she provided a unique, fun, different approach into yet another Gibbs' wife.
Just because Rocky directed an episode doesn't mean Leon will vanish in front of the camera: "Rocky Carroll is a very important part of the cast and Director Vance is an important part of our cast. I think Rocky had a terrific time directing. Whether or not he does it again, we are open to talking about it. He did a fantastic job and it was a good first-time learning experience for him."
Ziva (Cote de Pablo) could return: "I have said it before and I am happy to say it again, we are open to the possibility. We very intentionally didn't kill her. As far as anyone knows, she is living in Israel and her life is moving forward. We will have to see organically what works in the future. But it is something that we think about."
"NCIS" airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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