Will NCIS: Sydney Be Renewed For Season 2 Following Season 1 Finale Cliffhanger? Here's What We Know

 Olivia Swann and Todd Lasance in NCIS: Sydney Season 1 finale.
Olivia Swann and Todd Lasance in NCIS: Sydney Season 1 finale.

Spoilers ahead for the Season 1 finale of NCIS: Sydney, called "Blonde Ambition."

NCIS: Sydney has been CBS' one and only entry in the NCIS franchise with new episodes this season so far, but now the freshman season of the Australia-set series has come to a close with an intense finale that ended in a killer cliffhanger. Unfortunately, while the original series and Hawai'i spinoff will finally be back in just a few weeks, there is no guarantee that Sydney will get a second season at the time of writing.

So, as the wait for news begins, let's look at the numbers for the show's premiere, comments from one of the stars, and the state of the franchise as a whole for what we know about the future of NCIS: Sydney!

Cast of NCIS: Sydney in Season 1 finale
Cast of NCIS: Sydney in Season 1 finale

How Season 1 Ended

This was undoubtedly a rough episode for anybody who was already afraid of clowns, because "Blonde Ambition" wasted no time in showing JD's young son Jack being kidnapped from his birthday party by a creepy clown. JD was ready to cross lines to get his son back, including helping the titular blonde – going by the name "Ana Niemus" – escape custody to make an exchange with the kidnapper for his son. The kidnapper went back on the deal to exchange Jack for Ana, intending to execute JD with his blindfolded son just feet away.

Ana managed to get the jump on the clown and shot him in the head, rescuing JD but having no intention of going back into custody. She did leave JD the dead man's phone with the suggestion that he "phone a friend." He called the one name on the kidnapper's cell phone, and the phone of none other than Colonel Rankin himself started to buzz, miles away away in a room with Mackey and Blue.

Rankin was apparently involved somehow with the creepy clown who kidnapped Jack and fully intended to kill JD. The connection wasn't lost on Mackey, who ended the season reaching for her gun and asking the Colonel if he was going to answer his phone. So, with that major cliffhanger, will fans ever get to see the payoff via a second season?

Logo for NCIS: Sydney
Logo for NCIS: Sydney

What The Ratings Tell Us

While the normal approach to predicting a show's renewal odds would involve checking out the ratings, NCIS: Sydney isn't a typical broadcast network TV series. It was originally intended to just release for Paramount+ Australia and Network 10 in Australia, before the WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike meant that CBS had a shortage of NCIS content in the fall of the 2023 TV season. So, NCIS: Sydney has been releasing on CBS and Paramount+ as well as Paramount+ Australia.

CBS did release some cross-continent ratings information for the premiere back in November, though. In the United States market, the premiere approached 10 million viewers across CBS and Paramount+, becoming the top most-streamed CBS series premiere in the history of the streamer after three days. NCIS: Sydney became the #1 new show of the season, with a big boost in delayed viewing. The initial total from CBS was an audience of 5.6 million viewers, which later rose to 7.25 million viewers following the live broadcast.

At the time, CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach said that "These viewer numbers for NCIS: SYDNEY further demonstrate the global strength and popularity of the NCIS franchise," while Executive Vice President/CCO/Head of Paramount+ Australia Beverley McGarvey said "We are so appreciative of the opportunity to utilize the world-class NCIS brand to tell quintessentially Australian stories" and "it has been so productive to work closely with our colleagues at CBS and Paramount+."

So, following the premiere back in November, the show had generated solid numbers with support from execs at CBS and Paramount+. But is that still the case in the 2024 TV schedule?

NCIS: Sydney portrait of Todd Lasance
NCIS: Sydney portrait of Todd Lasance

What Star Todd Lasance Says

At the time of writing, no announcement has been made about whether or not there is a future for NCIS: Sydney stars in their roles after the end of the Season 1 finale. The cliffhanger ending left the door open for their stories to continue in a second season, and star Todd Lasance – who plays JD Dempsey – opened up about the "dream" for how the show continues, telling Parade:

Obviously, the dream for us would be to go back and do more seasons of the show because we just loved every second of it. But that cliffhanger, I remember reading the cliffhanger and I basically threw my script. I was like, ‘There’s no way this is happening.’ This is such a great, not only cliffhanger episode, but for it to finish on Mackey’s line where she’s like, ‘Are you going to get that?’ It was just perfect writing. I’m so excited for everyone to see this episode.

Considering that the first season only ran for eight episodes, fans undoubtedly share Lasance's feelings about wanting multiple more seasons of NCIS: Sydney. The actor couldn't confirm or deny whether the show has a future, but he had a strong reaction to finding out about the cliffhanger when he read the script!

Todd Lasance as AFP Liaison Officer Sergeant Jim  'JD' Dempsey and Olivia Swann as NCIS Special Agent Captain Michelle Mackey in NCIS: Sydney pilot
Todd Lasance as AFP Liaison Officer Sergeant Jim 'JD' Dempsey and Olivia Swann as NCIS Special Agent Captain Michelle Mackey in NCIS: Sydney pilot

The Star's Wish List For Season 2

The first season proved that the show has plenty to explore in moving the NCIS action to Australia, and viewers have every reason to expect that Sydney could continue telling fresh new stories after resolving the cliffhanger in a second season. Speaking with TVLine, Todd Lasance shared his wish list for Season 2:

Obviously, I want [the finale’s big reveal] to come to fruition and we work all that stuff out, but I also want to get into action sequences again. I want to get into some shootouts, car chases, some big-scale action things, because that’s what NCIS is known for.

The NCIS franchise certainly is known for shootouts and car chase, particularly NCIS: LA. Considering that show wrapped after fourteen seasons with some big reveals back in 2023, I'd say that there's room in the franchise for more big-scale action. The actor went on about more wishes he has for a second season:

I also want to explore the family dynamic side of things. This is a dream series for me because I get to play with the comedy, with that cheeky 'ribbing each other' element, and also be the straight cop/leader, and then I get to go with the emotional element of the relationship with the son and my ex-wife and the breakdown of that relationship. The sky’s the limit for us.

There was a limited amount of "ribbing" in the high-stakes Season 1 finale, and emotions were definitely running high for JD with his ex-wife and kidnapped son. Another batch of episodes presumably wouldn't be as intense for the characters' personal lives on a weekly basis, but it'll take a renewal for fans to know for sure!

Gibbs in jacket and hat in NCIS
Gibbs in jacket and hat in NCIS

The Future Of The NCIS Franchise

It's worth noting that CBS is already moving forward with another show set in the U.S. branch of the franchise, to go along with the original NCIS and NCIS: Hawai'i. The network gave a straight-to-series order for NCIS: Origins, which will explore the early years of none other than Leroy Jethro Gibbs, with Mark Harmon on board as executive producer and narrator. The plan is for the show to debut in the 2024-2025 TV season, which could mean as early as this fall. And Gibbs isn't the only character from the original series who will be part of the new series.

Additionally, both NCIS Season 21 and NCIS: Hawai'i Season 3 are already set to premiere on Monday, February 12. Basically, CBS will still have plenty of franchise action with or without another season of NCIS: Sydney. It's clear that the brand is still going strong, but is the Australia-set series going to keep going on CBS?

Cast of NCIS: Sydney
Cast of NCIS: Sydney

The Verdict

At this point, I wish there was more to go on to speculate yea or nay about a second season. With NCIS: Sydney releasing on multiple different platforms on opposite sides of the world, the data isn't available to make a guess based on numbers. Plus, we shouldn't ignore the fact that Sydney did not have a spot on CBS' schedule until the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes meant a shortage of options in the fall. Would NCIS: Sydney have become the #1 new show of the TV season if it had more competition?

At the same time, NCIS: Sydney did become a hit, and the cliffhanger certainly set the stage for a second season. The end of NCIS: LA also leaves a gap in the franchise lineup, even with the order for NCIS: Origins. Sydney is at least set in the present day, letting fans (and one star) to speculate about crossovers. On the whole, I'm optimistic about Sydney getting a second season; whether or not it airs on CBS in a post-strike entertainment industry is a different question, and I have questions about the cost of producing the series.

For now, you can always rewatch Season 1 with a Paramount+ subscription, and check out NCIS and NCIS: Hawai'i on February 12.