Lynsey Ellis planned her outfit weeks ago. Tonight, when NCIS begins its 11th season on CBS, the 22-year-old Grove City resident will wear a black NCIS ball cap and a "McGeek" T-shirt - a nod to the nerdy-but-adorable computer genius, Timothy McGee (played by Sean Murray).
Lynsey Ellis planned her outfit weeks ago.
Tonight, when NCIS begins its 11th season on CBS, the 22-year-old Grove City resident will wear a black NCIS ball cap and a “McGeek” T-shirt — a nod to the nerdy-but-adorable computer genius, Timothy McGee (played by Sean Murray).
Joining her on the couch will be a stuffed hippo — a replica of Bert, who belongs to Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), the Goth forensic scientist on the show — and her grandfather Gary Boggs, the person she credits with her “addiction.”
“I happened to be in the room when he was watching,” said Ellis, a Columbus State Community College student who lives with her grandfather.
“I saw one (episode) and was hooked.”
Ellis and Boggs are just two of the roughly 20 million fans of the No. 1 scripted TV drama expected to tune in for the season premiere.
The series stars Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the leader of a tightknit, talented team in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
For dedicated NCIS followers, the new season is seen as especially intriguing in light of the impending departure of beloved team member Ziva David (Cote de Pablo).
The actress, unable to reach an agreement on a contract renewal, announced in July that she would leave the show.
With the fate of Ziva reportedly to be determined in the first two episodes, fan websites and Twitter have been heavy with speculation about how she will — or should — go out.
Will she return to her native Israel to work for the Mossad?
Will the mounting sexual tension between Ziva and Tony finally be resolved?
She won’t die, will she?
Jay Rowsey is among the NCIS fans who hope that Ziva doesn’t suffer a fate similar to that of her predecessor, Kate Todd (Sasha Alexander).
“(She) got shot through the head, and it was very violent,” recalled Rowsey, a 37-year-old Spanish teacher at Westerville South High School.
“But she was only on the show ... (two years). Ziva’s been here eight years. It would be a lot more dramatic (if she died).”
Executive producer Gary Glasberg has said Ziva “doesn’t deserve” to be killed.
Still, in an open letter this month, he promised a “heart-wrenching” resolution — “a moment in television history.”
Rowsey, who describes Ziva as his favorite character on the series, expects her to replace her late father as head of the Israeli intelligence agency.
“She’s a strong female character,” said Rowsey, who started watching the show about four years ago at the suggestion of his father and stepmother.
“She’s very intense, and, as a language teacher, I enjoy seeing her goof up some of the English idioms.”
Resigned to her departure, he figures that her absence will free up the show “to get back to the crime solving” instead of focusing on her romantic interests.
Ellis, on the other hand, has enjoyed watching the growing chemistry between Ziva and fellow agent Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).
She, too, anticipates a return to Israel — although she would choose an ending more personal than professional.
“I would want her to leave because she finally wants to have a real relationship with Tony,” Ellis said. “She can’t be with him while working at NCIS, because of Gibbs’ ‘rule No. 12,’ which says, ‘Never date a co-worker.’??”
A part of Sandy Barton thinks Ziva should leave crime fighting altogether.
“But this is Ziva David. She’s a trained assassin, and, after being trained by Gibbs, she would have the desire to fight for justice.”
Barton, a 54-year-old customer-service representative from Columbus, thinks Ziva might join another agency, opening the door for guest spots.
Her loss on the show, though, will significantly affect the other characters, she said.
Barton became a die-hard NCIS fan — “I can stand outside the room and hear dialogue and tell you the name of the episode,” she said — during the fifth season, with her husband in the Navy at the time.
Since then, she has traveled to NCIS fan festivals in Los Angeles and bought an episode script.
Barton will watch the season premiere — the 235th episode of the series — with her computer in front of her, exchanging tweets with other people worldwide.
She expects most of the chatter to center on Ziva, but her thoughts might be more focused on the future.
“I’ve always thought NCIS was Gibbs’ story,” she said. “It will be interesting to see him training someone new."