NCIS Season 21 Narrowly Avoided A Twist That Would’ve Broken The Entire Show


NCIS season 21, episode 6, “Strange Invaders,” narrowly avoided an extraterrestrial plot twist that would have broken the logic of the NCIS universe.

NCIS season 21, episode 6 heavily teased a bizarre twist that might have gone past the boundaries of disbelief and broken the premise of the entire show. Currently airing NCIS season 21 on CBS, the show typically concerns itself with down-to-Earth matters. Each case-of-the-week episode follows members of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as they investigate crime scenes involving Navy and Marine Corps personnel.

The original NCIS show has been coming out with new seasons since 2003, giving the NCIS season 21 cast a steadfast reputation to uphold. Part of that reputation comes from the fact the team is capable and grounded, getting to the bottom of even the most complex criminal investigations. While the crime procedural format may be a bit formulaic, it’s what audiences have come to know and love, with expectations that each week will dive deep into a sordid but terrestrial affair. It’s why the unexpected revelation teased in NCIS season 21, episode 6 was so jarring.

NCIS Season 21, Episode 6 Heavily Teased Aliens (But Ruled It Out)
Although There Is Still Some Room To Believe, The Team Escaped The Twilight Zone

Things were feeling pretty extraterrestrial in the NCIS universe in season 21, episode 6, “Strange Invaders.” When the team goes to solve the murder of a dead Navy pilot, they find their killer defies Earthly expectations. The killer is a “levitating” killer at the crime scene, the victim’s wounds are unidentifiable and seem otherworldly, and Dr. Jimmy Palmer can’t find a single bullet in the victim’s body. Then, Kasie Hines discovers that the element that killed the pilot, Element 116, doesn’t exist on this planet.

If the hints at the crime scene aren’t enough, NCIS lays into the alien narrative when Special Agent Alden Parker (Gary Cole) has a conversation with NCIS director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll). In the conversation, he reveals his team thinks there’s a serious possibility their killer could be an alien. The entire team is further spooked when Special Agent Nicolas “Nick” Torres disappears for six hours, returning with no memory or trace of the journey.

Fortunately, the team turns the extraterrestrial narrative around when they trace the smell that hit Torres right before he passed out to an old warehouse. They also concurrently discover an AI company whose CTO contacted their victim the night before he died. Eventually, they’re able to trace it back to a military-grade drone that likely killed their victim before they pass completely into the realm of The Twilight Zone. With their discovery, the team narrowly avoids a plot twist that would have broken every show in the NCIS universe.


Why Aliens Existing In NCIS Would Hurt The Show’s Universe
Aliens In The Flagship NCIS Show Would Implicate Aliens In Other Contexts

Consider it a win that the team didn’t settle on aliens as their killer because it’s a plot twist that would have broken the logic of the NCIS franchise. The show depends on no-nonsense investigative work that leaves no fraction of a doubt about what happened by the time the team finishes their investigation. Opening up the NCIS universe to aliens would create more dimensions to the show than it’s built to tackle and would factor into every investigation the team conducted moving forward. Doing so would compromise the show’s credibility that the agents are experiencing plausible real-life events.

To admit that there are aliens in the NCIS universe could reflect that actual NCIS agents are also dealing with aliens, and it’s probably not a narrative the show wants to factor into every episode moving forward. What’s more, inviting aliens into the flagship series would mean inviting aliens into every NCIS franchise, creating a possibility for aliens in shows like NCIS: Hawaii, as well as upcoming spinoffs. Although the Tony & Ziva NCIS spinoff will feature exciting firsts for the franchise, it also shouldn’t be the first NCIS show to feature an extraterrestrial killer.

Although the episode leaves a small opportunity for something extraterrestrial in the NCIS universe, the franchise probably won’t be turning into the NCIS galaxy any time soon. The team all but rules out their alien killer, using the practical, straightforward investigating techniques for which it’s known. Finding the real culprit of the case – an AI drone that can kill on its own – saves NCIS from a plot twist that would rewrite the entire past of the show, and compromise every episode in its future.

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