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Sneak Peek: 'NCIS' 'Alleged' episode tackles the serious issue of sexual assault

Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray and Mark Harmon in the "Alleged" episode of "NCIS."
Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray and Mark Harmon in the "Alleged" episode of "NCIS."
CBS/Sonja Flemming

Sexual assault in the military is still a major, real-life issue, and since "NCIS" reflects what is going on in the armed forces, the topic will be addressed on tonight's episode. When the body of a Naval officer is found dead on a rural road, the team has to discover if he was murdered as the result of a random bar fight, or if it was possibly because he knew something about the attack of a female officer.

It is a subject that "NCIS" has looked at before, but at the request of the military, they are going to address it once again.

"It is something that specifically the Navy right now are very aggressively are trying to deal with internally," says Executive Producer Gary Glasberg in this one-on-one interview. "As we do every year, we sit down with the Navy and the Marine Corps. and talk about things that are important to them. This is something that they brought to us a while ago. It is a very delicate, tricky subject matter to do on a show like ours."

Kelli Williams is brought in to play NCIS Special Agent Maureen Cabot, who specializes in domestic abuse and sexual assault. In real life, NCIS now has between 50 and 100 agents that specialize in that area.

To lighten up what is an otherwise dark episode, Glasberg and his staff of writers came up with the idea of DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and McGee (Sean Murray) starting a juice cleanse to purge their bodies of impurities.

"We were joking around in the writers room one day about something that would be fun for the two of them, and they agreed, so we thought we would give it a shot," Glasberg says. "It is a popular, current subject matter and people are constantly trying to take care of themselves. We figured the 'NCIS' workplace is no different."

It will definitely be a bonding moment between DiNozzo and McGee, who will be able to commiserate about the difficulties of an all-liquid diet, but they have more in common than that this season. DiNozzo lost his lady love when Ziva (Cote de Pablo) was written out of the series at the actress' request; and last week McGee's relationship with Delilah (Margo Harshman) became geographically undesirable when the DOD employee decided to take a position overseas.

To me, it seems as if both men were dumped, but Glasberg doesn't see it that way. He thinks it was much more noteworthy in both cases.

"The Ziva story was so significant and enormous, I would like to think that there is more to that than just a parting of the relationship," he says. "And McGee hasn't really been dumped. At the end of the day, we sent Delilah off on a job that she absolutely wanted, but they haven't actually broken up. Hopefully, we will be seeing Delilah again."

And speaking of relationships, the one person who has a successful relationship on the series is Ellie Bishop (Emily Wickersham), who is married, but we have yet to meet her husband. Glasberg says we will have to wait until Season 12 to meet the man and to discover if there is a twist to their relationship.

"I don't think it will be any kind of huge surprise, but any time you have a couple that is married and each one works for a different government agency, there is bound to be some complexity and some trouble there, just in terms of how honest they can be with each other based on what they are allowed to say to one another," Glasberg says. "We established that her husband worked with her at the NSA and now she isn't there anymore, so there is a lot of stuff they can't talk about. I am sure that will come into play."

The "Alleged" episode of "NCIS" airs Tuesday, April 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. An 800 number will be featured at the end of the episode as a public service.