"I've loved that show from the first season when nobody believed me that it would be a hit," he said at the time.
The wait was well worth it. Nearly 15 million fans were left hanging at the end of the last season's finale when Agent Gibbs was shot. On Tuesday's season 13 premiere, Cryer's character comes to Gibbs' rescue.
"I save Mark Harmon's life on the show," Cryer told ETonline's Leanne Aguilera. "He was shot in the chest and you need a heart surgeon, and the heart surgeon you need looks a lot like this."
NCIS co-star Pauley Perrette told ET she didn't learn about Cryer's role until the table read for the episode.