NCIS season 18 theories: Fans tip shock Director Vance romance with returning character

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Fans have been thrilled by the current season of NCIS after witnessing the highly anticipated return of Ziva David (played by Cote de Pablo). Now the CBS action series is undergoing an unexpected hiatus, devoted viewers have suggested how the show could continue. 

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The latest episode of season 17 stunned fans with a touching tribute to WWII veterans and the victims of Pearl Harbour. 

In episode 20, The Arizona, Christopher Lloyd guest-starred as a survivor of the infamous attack. 

However, the show was originally renewed for a season of 24 episodes, with only 20 being produced between Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

NCIS is hoped to return to screens later this year, with the remaining four episodes intended to roll over to the start of season 18.


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In the meantime, fans are eager to see how Ziva David’s return will impact the future of the show. 

Some fans have predicted Ziva could eventually succeed Leroy Gibbs (Mark Harmon) as the NCIS team leader. 

Over on Reddit, other fans have also discussed the possibility of another major player from the show’s history-making an unexpected comeback. 

Some fans have called for the return of recurring character Cynthia Sumner (Stephanie Mello), who was introduced as the assistant for Director Shepard (Lauren Holly).

Redditor elongated_scream recently posted: “Cynthia is the most reliable, underused character in this show.”

Fans of NCIS looked back fondly at actress Stephanie Mello’s tenure on the show, who appeared as Director Shepard’s assistant throughout seasons three and four. 

Her dynamic with Gibbs is considered a high point of the show’s history, as the pair exhibited a complicated relationship during the team’s downtime. 

Unfortunately, the character was removed in subsequent seasons, and fans never got to see the character interact with the NCIS’ new Director, Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll).

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One NCIS fan responded: “I wonder if there’s a formula to determine the best number of characters with depth on the show. Some float in, do their arc, then they’re gone. 

“Some actors bring enough to a show that they become permanent. Not here, but generally speaking.”

After making such a positive impression on the series, some viewers were confused why Cynthia departed NCIS following appearances on just two seasons. 

In comparison, new cast member Rocky Carroll has remained on the show since his introduction as NCIS director in season five.


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The character has become so popular, Leon Vance has even made appearances in several episodes of the NCIS spin-offs, NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. 

Sadly, Cynthia and Leon never got the chance to meet, and one fan even suggested the pair could have had a romantic dynamic if they were part of the cast at the same time. 

They added: “Cynthia was amazing. I’d have loved to see her relationship with Vance.”

Since her time on NCIS, Stephanie Mello has appeared in over 100 television commercials, so reprising her role as Cynthia Sumner could bring the actress back into the mainstream. 

NCIS season 18 is expected to return to CBS later in 2020.

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