Let's be clear about something up front:
CBS has not yet renewed NCIS for Season 18.
But let us also be clear about something else:
There's a better chance of Hannah Ann Sluss and Peter Weber walking down the aisle someday than there is of CBS not bringing the Mark Harmon-led drama back into the fold for at least 22 more episodes.
This is a show that averaged over 15 million viewers per week this past season, which is simply unheard of for a network series these days.
NCIS can basically air for as many years as it wants to at this point.
Fans can expect confirmation that Season 18 is on the way any week now, most likely.
When will new installment actually hit your small screen?
That question, sadly, has no answer at the moment... due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and how it has prompted the total shutdown of all Hollywood productions for the foreseeable future.
However, while we can't announce any sort of NCIS return date, we can report on one thing we know about Season 18:
It will feature at least one gigantic hour of television.
You see, the Season 17 finale was scheduled to be the show's 400th ever episode.
These plans, of course, were disrupted after production was shutdown for the scary reason cited above, prompting last Tuesday's episode (the 398th in program history) to serve as this season's finale.
Have no fear, though, co-showrunner Frank Cardella tells TV Line, Episode 400 will air one day -- and it will be amazing.
"Episode No. 399 was just two days away from the start of production," Cardella has said, explaining in further detail:
"All of the prep work was completed, sets were built, the guest cast was set as were locations. No. 400 was set to shoot next, and we will probably still shoot it as 400 and air as 400."
The milestone hour was set to air this spring, Cardea added in this same interview, adding as a tease:
“We had special things planned for it, CBS was throwing a big party for us... But it will happen.”
Episode 400 boasts “a very interesting script” by co-showrunner Steven D. Binder “about how Gibbs and Ducky met,” Cardea also noted, offering viewers a pretty huge spoiler.
Last week, Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) guest-starred on the makeshift finale as a 95-year-old man who claimed to have served on the USS Arizona when it was attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The episode's co-writer, Gina Monreal, told TV Guide, however, it should not be considered a legitimate season finale because it hinted where the rest of the season would have gone for Gibbs.
And, alas, the season had to abruptly come to an end.
"At the end of this episode, he opens up to McGee [Sean Murray] about his past. He's seeing ramifications of the sacrifice he's made for the team and his family. You're seeing an emotional side to him," Monreal explained.
"One thing about the Gibbs character, he's constantly evolving."