There may be a lot of buzz about all the rookie shows debuting on TV this fall, but the returning series won’t be overshadowed! From major cliffhanger resolutions to major cast departures, here are 10 hotly anticipated shows viewers are looking forward to coming back.
PREMIERE DATE: Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c
STARS: Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Michael Weatherly as NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Sean Murray as NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee, Pauley Perrette as Forensic Specialist Abby Sciuto, Rocky Carroll as NCIS Director Leon Vance, Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer, and David McCallum as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: DiNozzo, McGee and David all turned in their badges in response to Gibbs being investigated by the Department of Defense. The team learns that the murder of Ziva’s father and Vance’s wife were part of a CIA distraction from an unknown domestic threat. In the final moments, the show flashed forward to four months in the future with Gibbs aiming a rifle at FBI Agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) and the unknown person he was guarding.
WHAT’S NEXT: You may notice a certain name missing from the cast list. Cote de Pablo, who plays NCIS Special Agent Ziva David, will depart the series in the 11th season’s two-part opener. What does that mean for Tiva fans? Will Ziva and Tony finally get together after years (and years!) of sexual tension? Executive producer/showrunner Gary Glasberg to xfintyTV, “I think we have come up with something for people that will be emotional and fulfilling. I hope it pays off for the Tiva fans. I hope we deliver.” Michael Weatherly recently told TV Guide, “The will they/won’t they is answered. Tony’s going to be forced to face this Sword of Damocles that’s been hanging over him since Season three.” But don’t panic. Producers promise Ziva won’t be leaving the show in a body bag.
FUN FACT: With de Pablo off the show, the series will be casting a new character. TV Line reports producers are currently casting a twentysomething character named Bishop who is “bright, educated, athletic, attractive, fresh-faced, focused and somewhat socially awkward. She has a mysterious mixture of analytic brilliance, fierce determination and idealism. She’s traveled extensively, but only feels comfortable at home.” Until the still uncast Bishop arrives on the scene early next year, the show team will deal with a rotating number of characters as Ziva’s replacement.
PREMIERE DATE: Thursday, October 3 at 10/9c
STARS: Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Columbus Short as Harrison Wright, Guillermo Diaz as Huck, Darby Stanchfield as Abby Whelan, Katie Lowes as Quinn Perkins, Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Grant, Jeff Perry as Cyrus, Bellamy Young as First Lady Mellie Grant and Joshua Malina as David Rosen
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Who’s your daddy? In the second season finale’s final moments, Olivia comes face to face with her father (Joe Morton), the man in charge of B613. David gets a confession out of Billy Chambers (Matt Letscher) and becomes District Attorney for Washington, D.C. in the process. Jake (Scott Foley) is dumped in the Huck hole for defying orders. Cyrus has a heart attack. And uh-oh! Someone has leaked the secret of Olivia and Fitz’s affair.
WHAT’S NEXT: The season three premiere will pick up 22 minutes after Olivia looked at the man sitting across from her in the limo and said, “Dad?” Foley will return – so hopefully Jake won’t be stuck in the hole for long. Cynthia Stevenson (“Dead Like Me”) will guest star as a woman seeking help from Pope & Associates. Through flashbacks, the show will delve into Olivia’s past which will feature a lot of Morton.
FUN FACT: We’ll find out early on who leaked the Olivia and Fitz’s relationship to the press. “You will be really shaken by it,” Goldwyn told the Huffington Post recently.
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
PREMIERE DATE: Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8/7c
STARS: Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter, Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz, Kunal Nayyar as Rajesh Koothrappali, Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, and Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Good news for the shy Koothrappali! After Lucy (Kate Micucci) dumps him, he realized he no longer needs alcohol to talk to women and now he can’t stop talking. The gang throws a goodbye party for Leonard who, with Penny’s blessing, has accepted a job on a scientific expedition for Stephen Hawking in the North Sea.
WHAT’S NEXT: The seventh season kicks off with a one-hour episode as both Penny and Sheldon deal with missing Leonard. Regina King (“Southland”) returns as Janine Davis, the University’s Director of Human Resources. Bob Newhart will reprise his role of Professor Arthur Jeffries. Executive producer Chuck Lorre recently told The Hollywood Reporter that big things are in store for Sheldon’s career. “Sheldon has a breakthrough in his work and it lifts him to another level and he has to deal with it and he’s not comfortable with it — it’s not exactly what he was hoping for.”
FUN FACT: Did you know that Amy and Howard have never had a scene with just the two of them? That will change this season.
PREMIERE DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 8/7c (new day and time)
STARS: Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson, Billy Burke as Miles, Zak Orth as Aaron, Daniella Alonso as Nora, Elizabeth Mitchell as Rachel Matheson, David Lyons as Monroe, Giancarlo Esposito as Major Tom Neville, JD Pardo as Jason Neville and Tim Guinee as Ben Matheson
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Miles and Monroe have a major fight. Tom stages a coup. Nora (Daniella Alonso) is badly shot and dies. Aaron turns the power back on. Randall Flynn (Colm Feore) launches nuclear missiles before committing suicide. An unseen man tells the President of the United States, who has been hiding out in Cuba, that Randall Flynn did it and it’s time to go home.
WHAT’S NEXT: Don’t expect the power to stay on for long. This is, after all, a show about a country without power. Steven Culp (“Grey’s Anatomy”) will begin an arc as Edward Truman, who is described as merely “a dignified authority figure.” But with a last name like “Truman,” could he be the unseen President in the finale?
FUN FACT: Executive producer Eric Kripke knows season one had problems in both plotting and character development. “My headline is: I’m out to prove something for season two. I’m aggressively working on building a better engine here,” he told io9 at ComicCon.
PREMIERE DATE: Monday, Sept. 23 at 10/9c
STARS: Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas as NYPD Detective Javier Esposito, Seamus Dever as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan, Penny Johnson Jerald as NYPD Captain Victoria Gates, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle and Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Ryan’s wife is pregnant. Alexis heads off for a summer in Costa Rica. Kate gets offered a job at the FBI. Before she decides whether or not to accept it, Castle, in a moment that made long-time fans rejoice, proposes telling her he wants more from their relationship.
WHAT’S NEXT: The ABC promos for the sixth season premiere promise “the wait is over” and that fans will get Kate’s answer to Castle’s question in the premiere. Joshua Gomez (“Chuck”) and Antonio Sabato Jr. (“General Hospital” will guest star in early episodes. Joshua Bitton will play a new detective in the squad. Myko Olivier will guest as Pi, a guy Alexis met in Costa Rica.
FUN FACT: Lisa Edelstein (“House”) will have multi-episode arc as a federal agent who interacts with Kate so it certainly seems like Beckett may have accepted the D.C. job.
Photo Gallery: Fall TV 2013 Returning Favorites
“The Voice” (NBC)
PREMIERE DATE: Monday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c
STARS: Carson Daly, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green and Blake Shelton
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: 16-year-old Danielle Bradbery from Cypress, Texas was crowned the season four winner of “The Voice.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The gang’s back together Aguilera and Green return to the series after taking a hiatus last spring. Ed Sheeran will come on board is a mentor for Aguilera’s team. Look for all the judges to be in fighting form. Shelton has won three times in a row and the rest of the judges aren’t necessarily happy about it. “I hate the fact that Blake won three in a row,” Levine told critics in July.
FUN FACT: After the cat in season one and the cockatoo in season two, Green is still mulling over what animal will be his mascot this season.
“American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
PREMIERE DATE: Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 10/9c
STARS: Jessica Lange as Fiona, Sarah Paulson as Cordelia, Kathy Bates as Delphine LaLaurie, Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Lily Rabe, Gabourey Sidibe, Patti LuPone, Denis O’Hare, and Emma Roberts
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Lana (Paulson) kills Bloody Face (Dylan McDermott), the son she gave up for adoption. Sister Jude (Lange) dies peacefully after being rescued by Kit (Peters).
WHAT’S NEXT: Producers are notoriously tight-lipped about the series but we do know this season will follow witches who relocated from Salem, Massachusetts to New Orleans and will pit the Salem witches against the voodoo witches. In a twist on the relationship the two actresses portrayed last season, Paulson’s character will be the daughter of Lange’s. Bates and Bassett are both playing real people — Bates’ LaLaurie was a notorious serial killer and Bassett’s Laveau was the voodoo queen of New Orleans. In addition to newcomers including Sidibe, Lupone and Roberts, a bunch of the cast will be back. But FX declined to say who they would be playing or how they will fit into this season’s story line. The series will bounce between the present day and the 1830s
FUN FACT: The show still won’t be happy, happy, joy, joy but executive producer Tim Minear told critics that this season will be a little lighter than the previous two. “There is a lot of humor,” he said. “We are embracing a kind of velocity and fun with the series this year.”
PREMIERE DATE: Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9/8c (new time)
STARS: Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, Damian Lewis as Nicholas “Nick” Brody, Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody, Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn, Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody, Jackson Pace as Chris Brody, Sarita Choudhury as Mira Berenson, Tracy Letts as Senator Andrew Lockhart, F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal, and Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: The CIA is hit with a terrorist attack during a memorial service for Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan) killing the Vice President’s family and CIA Director David Estes (David Harewood). Peter Quinn didn’t kill Brody when he had the chance. The video of Brody’s confession from season one is released to the public and now everyone believes Brody is behind the attack. Carrie drops Brody at the Canadian border but does not join him in his escape.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brody’s family must deal with the repercussions of their husband and father being a terrorist. The entire CIA is under investigation for their involvement with Brody. And Carrie is off her meds – again. In addition to the several new faces in the regular cast (including playwriting Tracy Letts), Nazanin Boniadi (“How I Met Your Mother”) guests as a CIA analyst and Sam Underwood (“Dexter”) is a love interest for Dana.
FUN FACT: Brody is MIA in the first two episodes but don’t fret Damian Lewis is still on the series. Lewis told television critics last month that the big question is, “When you do see Brody is what state will he be in?”
“The Walking Dead” (AMC)
PREMIERE DATE: Sunday, Oct. 13 at 9/8c
STARS: Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, David Morrissey as The Governor, Emily Kinney as Beth Greene, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Chad Coleman as Tyreese and Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Rather than turn into a zombie, Andrea (Laurie Holden) takes her own life. Milton (Dallas Roberts) is killed at the hands of the Governor. Rick returns to the prison with some of the residents of Woodbury while the Governor remains at large.
WHAT’S NEXT: There’s a new threat in town and somehow it’s even worse than all the walkers. Rick will relinquish his role as de facto leader and focus more on his family, especially his son Carl who last season killed a teen who was surrendering. Kyle Gallner (“Veronica Mars”) joins the cast as a college student who will have a romance with one of the main characters. And everyone lives happily ever after. Just kidding! Word is this season will be the bloodiest one yet and feature the most deaths.
FUN FACT: The series is on its third showrunner in four seasons. Scott Gimble takes over the show from Glen Mazzara.
PREMIERE DATE: Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8/7c
STARS: Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson, Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester, Jayma Mays as Emma Pillsbury, Kevin McHale as Artie Abrams, Lea Michele as Rachel Berry, Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester, Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez, Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang, Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans, Jacob Artist as Jake Puckerman, Melissa Benoist as Marley Rose, Blake Jenner as Ryder Lynn, Alex Newell as Unique, and Becca Tobin as Kitty Wilde.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF: Rachel auditioned for “Funny Girl.” Brittany (Heather Morris, who is departing the series) got early acceptance to MIT. Will and Emma got married. Blaine buys a ring and is ready to propose to Kurt. Ryder learns Unique has been the one catfishing him. And the New Directions won at Regionals.
WHAT’S NEXT: Sadly, the series must deal with the real life death of Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson. The actor passed away in July from a drug overdose. The third episode of the season will honor the late actor and deal with Finn’s death. “I think it turned out to be a lovely tribute, and it’s a very heartfelt look at how young people grieve,” executive producer Ryan Murphy recently told Deadline.com. The first two episodes of the season will feature all Beatles songs. Demi Lovato and Adam Lambert will both have major guest star arcs. And Broadway star Phoebe Strole will guest as Sam’s love interest.
FUN FACT: The season finale did not mean the end of the school year. Season five picks up in the middle of the year with the National glee competition still to come.