NCIS made its long-awaited return to screens on Monday night with its twist-filled season 21 premiere, which ended on a major cliffhanger that had fans feeling quite emotional.
Keep reading for a recap of what went down in the opening episode, and why fans were left in tears by the end.
Warning! Spoilers for season 21 episode one ahead!
The episode, titled ‘Algún Día’, opened with a huge revelation about Nick Torres’ past. Fans will remember that season 20 ended with Torres seeking vengeance on a mystery man, turning up at his house with a gun.
The new season kicks off with a flashback to 1995, which sees a young Torres with a gun, protecting his family from their mother’s abusive boyfriend, Maurice Riva. His sister Lucia intervenes, telling him, “algún día” – some day, they’ll get their justice.
Flashforward back to present day, and Torres looks rather battered and bruised after turning up at Riva’s house, leaving viewers in the dark over what exactly went down between the pair.
Later in the episode, the FBI turn up at NCIS HQ with an arrest warrant for Torres. While Parker and the rest of the team are left bemused, they soon learn that Torres has been charged with Riva’s murder.
It doesn’t take long before the team launch their own investigation, while Torres takes a plea deal and waives his right to an attorney.
Following a bust-up at the prison with some of his former inmates, Torres is left with a nasty wound and heads to the infirmary. The team are quick to visit him and learn that Torres thought he was protecting his sister, assuming she had killed Riva after previously vowing that some day, “algún día”, they would get justice. But neither of them were responsible.
Riva was killed by his latest victim: the mom of Torres’ prison inmate, Reymundo De Leon. After murdering Riva, she ran off with his offshore money, but left behind a confession, clearing Torres’ name.
All seemed well by the end of the episode until Parker’s phone rang, with a distressed Jimmy Palmer on the end of the line. “Whoa, whoa, slow down,” he told him. After listening intently, Parker’s face dropped, prompting McGee to ask: “What’s going on…? What is it?”
The episode then cut to black, ending on a huge cliffhanger and setting the stage for next week’s tribute to the late David McCallum, who passed away in September.
Reacting to the episode’s ending on social media, one person wrote: “Was not expecting that twist at the end. Engage waterworks,” while another dropped a string of crying emojis, adding: “Man the ending… I’m so not ready for next Monday.”
A third person penned: “Not mentally or emotionally prepared for next week’s #NCIS. I already want to give @BrianDietzen and the cast a hug and will undoubtedly need to watch alone,” while another added: “I knew where that was going at the end and I’m already crying. Probably not a good sign for the actual episode of #NCIS next week.”
The upcoming episode, titled ‘The Stories We Leave Behind’, will see the team mourn the death of David’s character, Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard.
The synopsis for the instalment, which is co-written by Brian Dietzen, reads: “As NCIS mourns the loss of Ducky, the agents find comfort in working on one of his unfinished cases involving a woman whose father was dishonourably discharged from the Marines.”
NCIS season 21 continues on Monday nights on CBS at 9pm.