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Our executive producer, Gary Glasberg, wasn’t joking when he said he wanted this season to be all about “Fallen Heroes.” And fallen they have. We began with Gibbs destroying a ruthless nemesis, then Ziva at one of her lowest points after losing her father, and Director Vance destroyed by the sudden death of his wife. But the thing about heroes (especially the ones on our show) is that they always come back stronger than before. And for Vance, this episode begins that process. His recovery and rebirth begins.
With that in mind, I started kicking around ideas. Specifically, what could get in the way of that recovery? What would throw Vance in a tailspin like we’ve never seen? I’ve always been fascinated with the things peoplelearn about those they love after they’re gone. How the relationship doesn’t end, but instead deepens and grows. Or, in the worst cases, fragments and splits apart. Maybe that’s because those left behind never stop trying to get to know their loved ones. And in this story, Vance’s desire to learn more about Jackie brings him to the brink. He begins to question his life with her, what their relationship was really all about. Of course, the person who has the greatest insight into this dynamic is Gibbs. And when Vance shares with Gibbs the “secrets” he’s learned about his wife, Gibbs is the one to pull him back from that brink. Their scenestogether really anchor this episode. It doesn’t hurt that Mark Harmon and Rocky Carroll are two of the most gifted actors working today. Their subtlety, complexity, and compassion make every moment between them crackle. The scene in the break room is truly one of my favorites. Heartbreaking and sweet all at once.
Thank you to Mark and Rocky for their unbelievable work. Rocky in particular had to go to a really vulnerable place, but he never once hesitated. There were a few takes that brought several of us to tears. He’s that good. Thank you also to Michael, Cote, Sean, Pauley and David for their grace and humor. Thanks to David Cook for his great editing, and to Tony Wharmby for directing the episode with such heart.
As always, we’ve got the best crew in the business and these shows wouldn’t be what they are without their hard work. But finally, thank you to all of you for watching. I hope you enjoyed “Hereafter”, and I’ll see you on the next one…