NCIS season 16 spoilers: Gibbs takes over as acting director as Vance's future remains uncertain

With Abby gone, who else from the original cast will leave? Will Vance make it out alright as Gibbs takes over as acting director? The new season of 'NCIS' returns on Sept. 25.

                            NCIS season 16 spoilers: Gibbs takes over as acting director as Vance's future remains uncertain

'NCIS' is all set to return for a 16th season this month, and as usual, there's no telling which way the show could swing. But educated guesses and popular spoiler speculations online can give us a thin bread-crumb-trail to follow in order to know what to expect on CBS' long-running police procedural drama.

The new season arrives just four months since the shocking departure of Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette). The well-loved forensics expert was one of the few cast members who had been with the show since the very conception and watching her go was surely heart-wrenching for fans. For those wondering if NCIS could drop any more of their well-beloved longtime characters, it's worth noting that 'NCIS' is not foreign to the concept of surprise deaths, leaving the doors open for anything really.

The show returns with recurring characters Gibbs (Mark Harmon), Ducky (David McCallum), McGee (Sean Murray), Jimmy (Brian Dietzen), and Fornell (Joe Spano), who have all been around since season 1 and if we were to see a surprise exit, it would surely be from one of these characters.

However, the person in immediate danger is FBI director Vance (Rocky Carroll), who was kidnapped in the finale of the previous season. And recalling how Kate (Sasha Alexander) and Reeves (Duane Henry) left the show, Vance’s safety is not a hundred percent certain and the same goes for his stay in the series.

TVLine recently gave us the inside scoop on what to expect from the new season. In the Season 15 finale, Jack Sloan (Maria Bello) was convinced she heard the voice of the man who held her captive and tortured her 10 years ago in Afghanistan. Though he’d reportedly been killed, she was right and Nigel Hakim (Pej Vahdat) kidnapped Vance, who had rescued Jack in Afghanistan.

The new season's premiere, titled 'Destiny’s Child', opens just a day or two after Vance's kidnapping, but after the title sequence, does a small jump in time with Gibbs taking over as acting director in Vance's absence, "in a position of authority that he doesn’t feel comfortable with,” according to co-showrunner Frank Cardea. Meanwhile, we could even get a glimpse of Gibbs' ex-wives yet again.

“It’s been a while since we’ve done anything with Gibbs’ ex-wives,” Cardea notes. “Those episodes always pop, so we may be seeing more of them.”

'NCIS' returns on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. on CBS. Watch the promo trailer for season 16 below: