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NCIS: Origins Just Cast Its Third Returning Character With An Actor Who's Already Appeared In The Franchise

 Leroy Gibbs' final NCIS episode.
Leroy Gibbs' final NCIS episode.

Mark Harmon may have departed NCIS three years ago, but Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ story lives on… well, at least in the past. The upcoming prequel show NCIS: Origins will chronicle Gibbs joining the law enforcement agency in 1991, with Austin Stowell playing the younger version of the character. We also recently learned that Kyle Schmid will play the younger Mike Franks, who’s leading the ragtag team that Gibbs is on. Now it’s been revealed who’s playing Origins’ third returning NCIS character, and it’s an actor who’s already appeared in the franchise.

Shortly after NCIS: Origins was announced, it was reported that Vera Strickland, Mike Franks’ former partner who was played by Roma Maffia in an NCIS Season 11 episode, is set to be included in the prequel. Now we know that Diany Rodriguez, arguably best known for playing Weecha Liu on The Blacklist, will play the younger Strickland. Deadline describes the character as “a no-nonsense, sharp-witted Brooklynite who’s tough as nails and never minces words,” and who has “spent her entire career being underestimated by misogynistic morons (as she calls them).”

This will be Rodriguez’s second role in the NCIS franchise, as she previously played DHS Agent Garcia in an episode of NCIS: New Orleans. She’s far from the first actor to play multiple characters across these shows, but this may be the first instance of a guest star who comes back to play a different role as a series regular. Somewhat related though, Katrina Law, who currently stars as Jessica Knight on NCIS, previously played Quinn Liu as a series regular in Hawaii 5-0 Season 10 and as a guest star in an episode of Magnum P.I., and all those shows are set in the same universe.

Tyla Abercrumbie in The Chi
Tyla Abercrumbie in The Chi

Along with Diany Rodriguez’s casting, Deadline shared that Tyler Abercrumbie from The Chi will play Field Operation Support Officer Mary Jo in NCIS: Origins. This character is said to be “both a product of her time and the lifeblood of the Camp Pendleton office,” and having dubbed herself the “HSIC,” i.e. Head Secretary in Charge, she knows where “the bodies are buried.” These two round out Origins’ main cast, with Mariel Molino already on deck as Special Agent Lala Dominguez.

Behind the scenes, in addition to being an executive producer alongside his son Sean (who previously played the younger Leroy Jethro Gibbs in a handful of NCIS episodes), Mark Harmon will narrate the prequel series. David J. North and Gina Lucita Monreal are co-writing the premiere episodes and will serve as showrunners together. The show’s casting directors include Jason Kennedy, Krysti Baxter and Meredith Goble.

NCIS: Origins will premiere sometime on CBS during the 2024-2025 TV season. While we wait for more updates on the prequel, revisit the existing NCIS shows with a Paramount+ subscription, and look through the 2024 TV schedule to see what shows are currently airing or will premiere soon.