See NCIS' Throwback Guest List for 1000th Episode

Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Joe Spano

Tonight, NCIS will celebrate a milestone episode. It will air the 1000th combined episode of all its franchises: the mothership, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, NCIS: Hawai’i and NCIS: Sydney and it will pay homage to the past, especially the first episode of NCIS, “Yankee White,” which took place aboard Air Force One. In fact, one of the guest stars from that first episode appears in the 1000th episode, “The Thousand Yards.”

NCIS 1000th Episode Guest Stars

“We’ve got a lot of heavy nods to that [first episode], a lot of characters that we haven’t seen and people that were in the first episode, such as Joe Spano as Fornell,” Sean Murray, who plays Timothy McGee, tells Parade. “Without giving anything away, the whole team is together trying to stop something from happening with Air Force One. We did a lot of fun things when we filmed where we put in a lot of references visually and dialogue-wise to a lot of things that the longtime fans will appreciate. Little Easter eggs hidden around the episode.”

Gary Cole, Joe Spano<p>Photo: Courtesy of CBS Entertainment/CBS </p>
Gary Cole, Joe Spano

Photo: Courtesy of CBS Entertainment/CBS

The story begins with the whole NCIS agency under attack by an unknown foe who happens to know its long history, and that includes Director Vance (Rocky Carroll), who tries to mend fences with his estranged son by explaining why, despite the ongoing dangers of his job, he still chooses to stay at NCIS.

Related: The Who, What, Why and When for the NCIS Franchise’s 1,000th Episode

“We have a visitor in Jared Vance (Spence Moore II), who of course is Leon Vance’s son,” Brian Dietzen, who plays Jimmy Palmer, tells Parade. “Through his eyes and through his questions we get to really ask the questions: Why is NCIS important? Why do we spend all this time with NCIS? He’s asking his father this. I think viewers are going to come away with a lot of cool answers to that and why this thing that we’re doing is important. I just can’t say enough good things about the script and I can’t spoil it beyond that.”

Spence Moore II and Gary Cole<p>Photo: Robert Voets/CBS</p>
Spence Moore II and Gary Cole

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

We did get a bit more of a tease from Diona Reasonover (Kasie Hines), who shares, “I think in this episode we really get to see a lot of the NCIS locations come together and start to work together. That’s something that we’ve seen before, but it just feels special now because it feels like such a big case. It’s something that has never happened in NCIS before.”

We do know that both Daniela Ruah from NCIS: Los Angeles and Vanessa Lachey from NCIS: Hawai’i will be making appearances, but not traveling to the D.C. office, so that isn’t a spoiler. The rest of the cast, like Dietzen, doesn’t want to spoil the episode, but they are happy to talk about what it means to reach such a milestone.

Related: Sean Murray Looks Back on 21 Years and 1,000 Episodes in the NCIS Universe

“It’s quite humbling to know that I have somehow managed to finagle my way into the 1,000th episode of NCIS,” Katrina Law, who plays Jessica Knight, says. “I came aboard about two and a half years ago, so a little late to the game, but to know that I was welcomed with open arms by the cast and crew is amazing. And to know that the audience has just been just as welcoming as everybody else saying, “please give us more episodes,” knowing that our franchise is growing is a wonderful feeling.”

Wilmer Valderrama, Katrina Law<p>Photo: Robert Voets/CBS</p>
Wilmer Valderrama, Katrina Law

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

And Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Nick Torres, says, “I’ve been really incredibly humbled and blessed in my career. To be able to have entertained so many people around the world earlier in my career and then entering a family that continues to deliver network television. Say what you will about the ever-evolving platforms, but network TV is still very much alive and still very much a platform for unity, for storytelling. The fact that we can have a show that continues to invite so many people to watch is unbelievable. For me it’s such a privilege and I don’t take it lightly. I come to work every single day and try and figure out how do we make the show better every single time.”

NCIS’ 1000th episode airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Streams next day on Paramount+.

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