• NCIS: Origins
    explores young Mike Franks and Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ relationship.
  • A brand new
    NCIS: Origins
    set image reveals a good look at Kyle Schmid looking like Muse Watson’s Franks
  • The upcoming
    prequel is set in the early ’90s and will premiere as part of CBS’ 2024-2025 TV season.

Young Mike Franks is revealed in a brand new NCIS: Origins set image, and he looks so much like the original NCIS version. Originally played by Muse Watson in the flagship show, the upcoming CBS prequel spinoff will further explore the character as he plays an integral part in Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ start in the agency. Kyle Schmid will step into the role, joining Austin Stowell as the recast young Gibbs. While plot specifics are still scant at the moment about the much-anticipated project, various images and videos from the set of NCIS: Origins have been gradually hyping the public for it.

Courtesy of Mariel Molino on Instagram, there is a brand new NCIS: Origins set image that shows Schmid looking very much like Watson’s Franks. Check out the image below:

NCIS: Origins set photo

The image shows Molino with his NCIS: Origins co-stars. Aside from Schmid, the snap also features Stowell and Caleb Martin Foote as Special Agent Benjamin “Randy” Randolf, who is a new character to the NCIS franchise.

How Young Mike Franks’ Relationship With Young Gibbs Is Integral To NCIS: Origins’ Success

NCIS Established Gibbs And Franks’ Unshakable Bond

Aside from being his mentor, Gibbs also saw Franks as a brother.

Franks debuted on NCIS, and while he was never a regular, he was involved in some of the biggest storylines of the show, especially when it concerned Gibbs. As the mentor of Mark Harmon’s famed character, Franks was integral in teaching the no-nonsense Major Case Response Team (MCRT) leader a lot of his working style. The prequel delves deeper into their solid relationship, since NCIS: Origins will kick off in the early ’90s and run throughout the decade. Even as he led his squad, it was clear that Gibbs continued to look up to Franks.

Aside from being his mentor, Gibbs also saw Franks as a brother. There was never any doubt about their loyalty to each other. Proof of how big of an impact Franks played on Gibbs’ life was his continued appearance as a vision after his heartbreaking death. That kind of bond must have been fostered over years of working together, with NCIS: Origins tasked to show how the pair developed their unshakable connection. It’s arguably the most vital relationship in the show. If Schmid and Stowell fail to sell their characters’ brotherhood, it will be difficult for the project to succeed.


New NCIS Gibbs Prequel BTS Image Officially Fixes Its First Major Mark Harmon Mistake

As filming starts, a new NCIS: Origins BTS image confirms that it has officially fixed its first mistake about Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

Considering where it lands in the timeline, it would be difficult for NCIS: Origins to have any kind of crossover with the main show. The flagship series may not even have any ties with the offshoot, considering Gibbs’ retirement from MCRT. However, NCIS season 22 can function as a launching pad for the events of the offshoot, if Harmon’s version of the character returns to DC following his retirement. Perhaps the prequel can begin with one of his imaginary conversations with Franks again, as he reminisces on their old life together.

What Happened To Mike Franks In NCIS?

Franks Had A Heartbreaking End In NCIS Season 8

Mark Harmon as Gibbs and Muse Watson as Franks walking outside in NCIS

Watson has either appeared or been referenced in almost every season since he debuted as Franks in the NCIS season 3 finale. Since reconnecting with Gibbs following his near-death experience that first revealed the brutal death of his first wife and daughter, Watson would pop up every time Harmon’s character would find himself in deep trouble. Occasionally, however, NCIS also gave Franks his own storyline. Regardless of the narrative, it was always a great time every time Gibbs and Franks got to team up again years after the latter retired.

Despite Franks’ rather early death in
the procedural continued to regularly feature the character via Gibbs’ visions, with Watson continuously reprising the role.

Unlike Gibbs, who continues to live, however, Franks met his swift but heartbreaking end in the NCIS season 8 episode “Swan Song.” He was fatally stabbed by serial killer Jonas Cobb. Admittedly, there’s division over how such a prolific agent, who survived the cartel going after him and had his finger cut off, was somehow murdered quite easily. Despite Franks’ rather early death in NCIS, the procedural continued to regularly feature the character via Gibbs’ visions, with Watson continuously reprising the role. His final flashback cameo was in NCIS season 18, “Everything Starts Somewhere.”


Mark Harmon’s NCIS Prequel Can Finally Fix Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ Oldest Plot Hole

NCIS: Origins will tackle Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ earliest years with the agency, but beyond that, it can also fix Mark Harmon’s oldest show plot hole.

Will Muse Watson Also Appear In NCIS: Origins As Mike Franks?

Schmid Credits Watson For Helping Him Prepare For His NCIS: Origins Role

Muse Watson as Mike Franks smiling at Mark Harmon as Gibbs at Gibbs' house in NCIS

Whether Harmon will physically appear on NCIS: Origins is the primary question in the new CBS endeavor. That said, considering Franks’ big role in the project, there’s also interest in whether Watson will make a cameo as well. Schmid has been vocal about how the seasoned actor has helped him prepare to take over the role. This hints that although Watson isn’t officially credited in the show like Harmon is, he is also involved in the creative process of the project.

Harmon is a producer on
NCIS: Origins,
and he’s also narrating the series.

There is no concrete indication that Watson will have an on-screen appearance in NCIS: Origins. Based on the established narrative, Schmid is expected to be the only actor to bring the character to life, and as seen in the set image, he looks the part. While the mothership show has established that a Watson cameo is possible with the right storyline, it would still be entirely dependent on Harmon’s own cameo. It wouldn’t make sense to see an older Franks but not his mentee in what’s supposed to be Gibbs’ origin story.

Source: Mariel Molino/Instagram

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