NCIS is an American dramatic police procedural television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The series was created by Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill as a backdoor pilot with the season eight episodes "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown" of JAG. The series premiered on September 23, 2003 featuring an ensemble cast which has included Mark Harmon, Sasha Alexander, Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Wilmer Valderrama, Jennifer Esposito, Emily Wickersham, Brian Dietzen, Duane Henry, Lauren Holly, Rocky Carroll, and David McCallum.
Main cast and characters
Leroy Jethro Gibbs
- Main article: Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Senior Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) was born in Stillwater, Pennsylvania to Jackson and Ann Gibbs. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1976 and became a Scout Sniper. After serving tours of duty in Panama and Iraq, he retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. He joined NIS, which later became NCIS, after his wife Shannon and only daughter Kelly were murdered in 1991. He later traveled to Mexico and murdered the drug dealer responsible, a crime he kept concealed for twenty years. Since then, he has been married and divorced three times, and is single, although he has had a number of romantic relationships since his last divorce.
Gibbs leads a Major Case Response Team (MCRT) consisting of field agents DiNozzo, McGee, and Bishop, supported by forensic scientist Sciuto and medical examiner Dr. Mallard and his assistant. In the episode "Bête Noire", Gibbs comes face to face with terrorist Ari Haswari and tries to kill him but fails. Finding Ari later becomes an obsession for Gibbs after Ari shoots and kills original team member Kate Todd in front of Gibbs and DiNozzo in the season two finale, "Twilight". Gibbs often shows frustration with his team (particularly DiNozzo for rambling or McGee for getting sucked into technical rambling) by slapping them over the back of the head, an action that is later shared between team members and known as a "headslap" or "Gibbs-slap".
Gibbs is often shown in his basement building boats, at least one of which he names after his daughter; another is named after one of his ex-wives. In the episode "Blowback", when confronting "Goliath" on the plane about "ARES", Gibbs reveals he is a Virgo. He is an expert sniper, as evidenced in "Hiatus" with flashbacks of him hitting a long-distance head shot of his family's murderer, who was driving a moving vehicle, at 1200 yards, in "Deliverance" by a file read by Director Leon Vance, and in "Jeopardy" when he hits a kidnapper with a very swift killshot to the forehead taken while kneeling inside a car trunk, with his left hand. In "Truth or Consequences", Gibbs saves his entire team by shooting the leader of a terrorist cell with a killshot after DiNozzo and McGee get captured looking for Ziva. In the season nine finale, "Till Death Do Us Part", a bomb blast at NCIS headquarters occurs with Gibbs tackling Abby to the floor in her lab. He and Abby both survive. In the episode "Extreme Prejudice", Gibbs goes after Harper Dearing, cornering the terrorist in a home in West Virginia, and when the man is about to use his gun, Gibbs stabs him, killing him.
Harmon is one of two actors to appear in every episode of NCIS.
- Main article: Caitlin Todd
Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander) first appears in the episode "Yankee White". Todd is a former Secret Service agent, recruited by Gibbs after she successfully helped him solve a murder aboard Air Force One. She works well with everyone on the team, becoming particularly close with Ducky and Abby, who convinces her to get a tattoo. Todd's relationship with DiNozzo, however, is more adversarial and they are more like siblings than anything else. Tony frequently flirts with her and sometimes goes through her personal belongings, no matter how many times she points out that his behavior is grossly unprofessional. At the same time, Kate is willing to risk her life for DiNozzo and admits that life would be considerably less interesting without him around. Following Sasha Alexander's decision to leave the show, Todd is killed in the line of duty (at the end of the episode "Twilight") by Ari Haswari, collateral damage in the terrorist's obsession with Gibbs. She dies after being shot in the head by Ari with a lone bullet that is fired from a model of sniper rifle (Bravo 51) nicknamed "Kate".. She is replaced at NCIS by Ziva David.
- Main article: Anthony DiNozzo
Senior Special Agent Anthony D. "Tony" DiNozzo, Jr. (Michael Weatherly) is a former homicide detective for the Baltimore Police Department. Prior to Baltimore, he worked for Philadelphia PD and Peoria PD. Like Gibbs, he has limited patience for the scientific method and technical terms. DiNozzo is perhaps best known for his seemingly-endless film references; Ziva insists that his dying words will be "I've seen this film". He attended Ohio State University as a physical education major and was a member of the "Alpha Chi Delta" fraternity, class of 1989. DiNozzo is said to have played college basketball, "running the point for Ohio State" according to Abby Sciuto in a discussion with her assistant, Chip. It is mentioned in the season three episode "Kill Ari (Part I)" that he comes from a wealthy family but has been cut off by his father, Anthony DiNozzo Sr (played by Robert Wagner who in turn was played by Weatherly in a TV movie). DiNozzo's mother was over-protective and she "dressed him like a sailor until he was ten". ("Frame Up")
DiNozzo is a flirt, and has his fair share of success in that department. He has a fondness for playing pranks on his co-workers and little respect for their boundaries. During the course of season four, he is on an undercover assignment that Director Jenny Shepard leads, the key mission being to find arms dealer La Grenouille by posing as La Grenouille's daughter's boyfriend, but he ends up falling in love with her. In the episode "Knockout", he reveals that he is not doing well with women and that he is still hurting from his relationship with Jeanne Benoit. There is a great deal of romantic tension between Tony and Ziva. Despite his playboy manner and lighthearted nature, DiNozzo is frequently shown to be very sharp; he is able to coax Mossad Director Eli David into admitting that he ordered Rivkin and Ziva to spy on NCIS. He is reassigned as an Agent Afloat in the season five finale "Judgment Day", and transferred back to the Major Case Response Team in the episode "Agent Afloat". In the season nine finale, "Till Death Do Us Part", a bomb blast at NCIS headquarters occurs with Tony and Ziva in the elevator. Both are rescued from the elevator and survive their ordeal.
In season thirteen, DiNozzo confesses his love for Ziva after learning of her apparent death, and it is revealed that the two have a child named Tali. He departs NCIS in order to travel to Israel and France, in order to look for answers and to bond with his daughter.
Prior to his departure in the season thirteen episode "Family First", Michael Weatherly appeared in every episode except season thirteen's "Homefront".
- Main article: Abby Sciuto
Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) is a forensic specialist with NCIS. As indicated in the episode "Seadog", she is the adopted child of deaf parents. She later learns that she has a biological brother, whom she reconnects with in season ten. She is known for her gothic style of dress and addiction to the fictional, high-caffeine beverage "Caf-Pow!" which according to former NCIS director Jenny Shepard earned her the nickname "Energizer Abby". Abby has a brief sexual relationship with Special Agent McGee, seen in the episode "Reveille" in season one, which ends with the two remaining friends. She is the most active and affectionate person of the team, often hugging everyone and talking fast, though she can be easily distracted. She is one of the few who can talk to Gibbs freely, and he often buys her Caf-Pow. She and Gibbs are both fluent in sign language. She has a stuffed farting hippopotamus named Bert that often appears in the show and provides comic relief in otherwise tense situations. Abby develops a fondness for a Navy sniffer dog in the season five episode "Dog Tags". Originally named "Butch", she renames it "Jethro" (after Gibbs) for being "handsome and quiet". The dog is framed for the murder of a petty officer, but Abby proves Jethro's innocence. Afterwards, Abby forces McGee to adopt him, much to his dismay (as Jethro had attacked him earlier in the episode). Abby would have preferred to adopt Jethro herself, but is prohibited from doing so by her landlord.
Abby's hobbies include a bowling league with nuns, helping build homes for the needy, and playing computer games. She also sleeps in a coffin and is, according to DiNozzo, "the happiest goth you will ever meet". In the season nine finale "Till Death Do Us Part", a bomb blast at NCIS headquarters occurs with Gibbs tackling Abby to the floor in her lab. In the episode "Extreme Prejudice", it is revealed that she survives and is physically unharmed.
Perrette is one of two actors to appear in every episode of NCIS.
Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard
| David McCallum 2015.jpg |
|First appearance||"Ice Queen" (JAG)|
|Created by||Donald P. Bellisario, Don McGill|
|Portrayed by||David McCallum|
Adam Campbell (young)
|Title||Chief Medical Examiner|
|Family||Joseph Mallard (father)|
Victoria Mallard (mother, deceased)
Lorraine Mallard (ex-stepmother)
Nicholas Mallard (half-brother)
Dr. Donald Horatio "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum) is the chief medical examiner at NCIS. His nickname "Ducky", which the NCIS team addresses him as, is a play on his last name Mallard. When he was younger he went by "Donnie". Mallard is Scottish-born, and has been long-time friends with Gibbs. He has a "second talent", as Gibbs calls it, to be able to read people, which he expands in season four by studying psychology. In cases without actual bodies, he assists by using his psychological training to decipher the clues left by the perpetrators. His skill in reading behavior proves to be crucial when establishing modus operandi and motive. Mallard is an eccentric character who often talks to the deceased ("their bodies tell me a great deal; it helps to reciprocate") and rambles to the living with many long personal remembrances or historical accounts, but is a kind man at heart. In the episode "Truth or Consequences", Tony describes him by saying "sometimes his head is connected directly to his mouth". He also calls co-workers by their full first names, with the exceptions of Abby, Gibbs, and medical assistant Jimmy Palmer, whom he addresses as Abigail (or Ms. Sciuto), Jethro, and Mr. Palmer, respectively (although he does refer to Palmer by his first name, Jimmy, when concerned for him, as revealed in "About Face" and "Detour"). He also refers to Jenny Shepard and Leon Vance by their job title, "Director". Although most of his time is spent in autopsy and going to crime scenes to examine bodies, he is sent on a highly important undercover mission in the episode "Blowback".
Mallard attended Eton College and the University of Edinburgh Medical School and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. While in the RAMC, he fought in the Vietnam War while on an officer-exchange program with the United States military; he also spent some time in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion, and in Bosnia during the Yugoslav Wars. He then joined NCIS in 1992. During his time in Afghanistan, in the Jalozai refugee camp on the Pakistani border, Ducky stumbled on a CIA interrogation program run by Marcin Jerek, aka Mr. Pain, which tortured Afghan refugees on the suspicion of espionage and knowledge of troop movements. When Ducky found out about the program, through a young man named Javid who was being tortured by Mr. Pain, he gave Javid a lethal injection of morphine to save him from a slow and painful death at Pain's hands. Ducky also gave this way out to numerous other prisoners before the horrors of the camp led him to leave Afghanistan. When Javid's sister attacked Ducky at a crime scene, the story resurfaced and Ducky was to be investigated by the Afghan government on the charge of war crimes. However, he was found innocent when he confronted Mr. Pain himself at the Afghan embassy. It was revealed that Mr. Pain knew that Javid was innocent and that the only reason he was torturing him repeatedly was because he was trying to break Ducky so that he wouldn't take away any more prisoners with his morphine injections. Pain was then arrested for his part and turned over to the Afghan government for trial. Ducky however claimed that he would not be forgiven for the act neither by others nor by himself. Ducky and Gibbs have worked together for many years with Ducky easily identified as Gibbs' closest and best friend. When Special Agent Todd asked Gibbs "What did Ducky look like when he was younger?" he replied, "Illya Kuryakin"—the Russian U.N.C.L.E. agent played by McCallum in the 1960s television show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Ducky drives a Morgan that he restored himself. In the episode "Hung Out to Dry", it is revealed that he has a nephew, though no further information follows.
Ducky lives with his aging mother and her corgis until season six. In the episode "Broken Bird", Ducky reveals that his mother has moved out and has Alzheimer's disease.Nina Foch, the actress who played Ducky's mother, died on December 5, 2008, necessitating the change. In the episode "Double Identity", it is revealed that Ducky's mother has died. Her headstone indicates she lived 1912–2010. The rest of the team only learns of Victoria Mallard's passing when Abby follows Ducky to her gravesite. Later, Gibbs pays him a condolence call in the autopsy room, but Ducky seems relieved at her death rather than sad (probably that she was no longer suffering from Alzheimer's), and grateful to have been her son. He expresses to Gibbs his pride at the fact that she almost lived to the age of 100. In the episode "Spinning Wheel", Ducky is revealed to have a half-brother, Nicholas, who is 20 years his junior; his father Joseph and his ex-stepmother, Lorraine, are also introduced in that episode.
Ducky owns a classic Morgan sports car. His cellphone's ringtone features bagpipes playing "Scotland the Brave". There is a running gag in which Ducky and his assistant (first Gerald and then Jimmy) frequently get lost or meet a mishap when driving to the crime scene. In the Halloween Day episode "Witch Hunt", he and Jimmy are late after their van is pelted with eggs by youths in ninja costumes. According to Jimmy, Ducky chased the teens for several blocks and apprehended them, forced them into the van and made them clean its windshield. In season nine, "Playing with Fire", it is revealed that Ducky has inherited a lot of money from his mother's estate. Gibbs is the first person he reveals this to. He asks Gibbs to be the executor of his will. While walking on a beach, Ducky suffers a heart attack in the season nine finale, "Till Death Do Us Part", after hearing about the bomb blast at NCIS headquarters and then is seen lying motionless. In "Extreme Prejudice", it is shown that he is alive and receiving treatment after being found on the beach. He recovers from his heart attack, and under reduced workload, returns to work alongside the team. From this he is seen to push Jimmy into being more confident and to be ready to take his place.
David McCallum has appeared in every episode of NCIS except "Legend Part II", from season six.
- Main article: Timothy McGee
Timothy "Tim" McGee (Sean Murray) first appears in the episode "Sub Rosa" as a case agent stationed at Norfolk, and is promoted to field agent and assigned to Agent Gibbs' team at the end of the season two premiere, "See No Evil". This episode also marks his becoming a regular character on the show, a Junior Special Agent with NCIS. He serves as a field computer consultant and occasionally assists Abby Sciuto in the lab. McGee clashes with DiNozzo, though after the two became partners (following Ziva's departure from the team at the end of season six), they are frequently shown to form an effective team; however, their relationship reverts to its original state upon Ziva's return. McGee's methods are often indecipherable to the other team members, which earns him the pejorative nicknames "McGeek", "McGoo", and "Probie" from DiNozzo (along with other derisive nicknames, usually based on his surname); and "Elf Lord", used by multiple characters due to his elf character in an online role playing computer game. He was trained in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and computer forensics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He graduated the top of his class at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
McGee is also a writer, writing mystery crime novels including a national bestseller, Deep Six: The Continuing Adventures of L.J. Tibbs, under the pseudonym Thom E. Gemcity (an anagram of his name), featuring characters based on his fellow co-workers and others from his everyday life. He drives a silver Porsche Boxster as seen in the episode "Twisted Sister". He has Apple's iPhone smartphone, and frequently uses it during investigations. He owns a dog named Jethro who was falsely accused of killing his police handler. Abby proves his innocence, names him Jethro and convinces McGee to take Jethro because her landlord won't let her keep the dog ("Dog Tags"). McGee is transferred to Cybercrimes Division in season five ("Judgment Day") and back to the Major Case Response Team in season six ("Last Man Standing"). In the season nine finale, "Till Death Do Us Part", a bomb blast at NCIS headquarters occurs with McGee being thrown across the office with flying glass. He survives, but is impaled by a shard of glass, which requires a few stitches. With DiNozzo's departure in the final episode of season thirteen, McGee is permanently promoted to Senior Field Agent.
- Main article: Ziva David
Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) initially holds the post of Mossad Liaison Officer to NCIS, to which she is appointed following the murder of Special Agent Caitlin Todd by a rogue Mossad operative named Ari Haswari. Ziva was Ari's control officer and half-sister. Despite initially believing that Ari is innocent, she fatally shoots him when he attempts to kill Gibbs, earning the latter's trust. Later, she requests a liaison assignment to NCIS, where she subsequently joins Gibbs' team. At the end of season six, she falls under suspicion as a spy for the Mossad. De Pablo describes the character as someone who is "completely different from anyone else on the show" and that's because "she's been around men all her life; she's used to men in authority. She's not afraid of men." The series creator Don Bellisario stated, "When the Kate [Todd] character was killed [at the end of last season], I didn't want to bring in the same character I had in Kate, someone who was very Puritan, uptight and treated Tony like a big brother. I wanted to bring in a character that causes Tony to have to sit back and not quite be able to handle her. And I wanted someone who was more international." David's specialty with Mossad was espionage, assassination and counter-terrorism and she is highly trained in the martial arts. She speaks Hebrew, English, Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian and Turkish. Despite being fluent in English, she sometimes misinterprets idioms and phrases that have different meanings in other languages if translated directly; this is a running joke within the series. Throughout the series, she is accused of driving too fast with passengers, leading to McGee and DiNozzo always wanting to drive whenever they are partnered with her. She is shown to frequently clash with DiNozzo in good-natured arguments. She is very skilled with a knife and is shown teaching her colleagues how to throw one properly. She is the one person Gibbs trusts with any type of firearm in difficult, potentially hazardous, situations. Throughout her career, she has traveled extensively to countries including Egypt (where she met Jenny Shepard), Iraq, the United Kingdom and Morocco.
Following Ziva's captivity and torture in a terrorist camp in Somalia, an ordeal that lasts for several months, she resigns from Mossad. In the season seven episode "Good Cop, Bad Cop" she becomes a probationary NCIS Special Agent. Since then, Tony refers to her (as with McGee) as "Probie". As of "Rule Fifty-One", she is a citizen of the United States and able to become a full agent which is made official in season nine's "Nature of the Beast". David rarely speaks of her personal life. As of season ten, all of her immediate family are deceased. Her father Eli David is the director of Mossad until he is shot and killed in "Shabbat Shalom". The show rarely mentions her mother, Rivka, who taught her to drive; all that is known is that her mother is deceased and that she does not have the same mother as Ari. Her younger sister, Tali David, was killed in a Hamas terrorist attack against Israel at the age of sixteen. She also has an Aunt Nettie who likes to play mahjong. Ziva is able to play the piano and is shown to enjoy cooking and reading. She enjoys the fictional drink Berry Mango Madness. She drives a red Mini Cooper but at the end of season ten, she sells the Mini and replaces it with a bigger red car. She likes listening to the Israeli band Hadag Nachash and the Latin American band Kinky. She does not own a television but her favorite film is The Sound of Music. Following Ziva's resignation from NCIS, she is replaced by former NSA analyst Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop.
In season thirteen, following Ziva's presumed death at the hands of a Trent Kort-hired assassin, it is revealed she and Tony have a child named Tali.
| Lauren Holly lf.jpg |
|First appearance||"Kill Ari, Part I"|
|Last appearance||"Judgment Day"|
|Created by||Donald P. Bellisario|
|Portrayed by||Lauren Holly|
|Family||Col. Jasper Shepard, US Army (father, deceased)|
Jennifer "Jenny" Shepard (Lauren Holly) first appears in the episode "Kill Ari (Part I)". She replaces former NCIS director Thomas Morrow at the start of season three after Morrow takes a Deputy Director's position with the Department of Homeland Security. She was a military brat, as her father, Jasper Shepard, was a colonel in the United States Army. It is believed that this is one of the reasons why she joined a forces organization rather than working somewhere such as the FBI. She was Gibbs' former partner and lover. While she and Gibbs were stationed in Europe, Gibbs was ordered back to the States and she was offered her own section in Europe. When Gibbs asked Jenny to go with him, she refused, as she wished to advance her career in order to exact revenge on the arms dealer who killed her father. Jenny and Gibbs are reunited in "Kill Ari (Part I)", which stirs Gibbs' heart and opens a constant flirtation between her and Gibbs. Jenny is killed in the episode "Judgment Day" (Part 1). At the time of her death she is already dying from an unspecified terminal illness that only she, Ducky, and Mike Franks know about. After her death, Ducky eventually reveals the news of her illness to Gibbs. Shepard has a close relationship with Ziva David and occasionally provides her with key information on cases without going through regular channels or telling Gibbs, as in the season three episode "Head Case". They make it a point to keep these dealings confidential, arguing that "what Gibbs doesn't know can't hurt us." Later in the episode, though, Gibbs' remarks reveals that he already knows about her assistance. Shepard and Ziva have a working relationship prior to Shepard's being appointed Director of NCIS.
During season four, Director Shepard places Tony DiNozzo on an undercover assignment to get close to notorious international arms dealer René Benoit, otherwise known as La Grenouille. The sub-plot comes to a head late in the season when it is revealed that Jenny blames Benoit for her father's death and that Benoit is now central to a major CIA deep-cover operation. Gibbs confronts Jenny over the operation, suggesting that she is letting her emotions dictate her actions and that she has knowingly placed DiNozzo in danger and jeopardized a major CIA operation for the purposes of getting revenge, while hiding behind her position as NCIS director to justify her actions. During the episode "Internal Affairs", it is strongly implied that Shepard is responsible for La Grenouille's murder; this is reiterated when Gibbs looks through the FBI's file on La Grenouille's death in "Judgment Day" (Part 1). In several episodes during season five, before her death in the episode "Judgment Day" (Part 1), Jenny's failing health becomes a plot issue. For example, in "Stakeout", Ducky is shown ordering a test on a blood sample and tells Abby it is from a John Doe. However, when Abby talks to Jimmy Palmer, he says they have no John Does. Gibbs deduces, correctly, that the only person Ducky would "stick his neck out" for would be the Director. In the next episode, "Dog Tags", Gibbs questions Jenny about her illness and she lies to him, saying she is fine. Her exact illness is never revealed; however, in "Stakeout", Abby tells Ducky there is an elevated level of creatine kinase in the blood sample she runs.
Mike Franks also discovers Jenny's illness by going through her purse and finding her medication. In the episode "Judgment Day" (Part 1), Franks and Jenny are talking in an abandoned diner in the California desert when she reveals that she regrets her decision to leave Gibbs in Paris and that she is still in love with him. It is revealed that she botched an operation ten years prior, when she and Gibbs had been ordered to assassinate Russian lovers who were crime lords. Gibbs shot the man, but Jenny faced down the woman, Natasha (AKA Svetlana), and let her live. As a result, Natasha sends assassins to kill Jenny in the diner, but Jenny manages to kill all of them. However, Jenny is injured during the gunfight and succumbs to those injuries. Franks, who is outside at the time of the shooting, returns to Jenny's house where Natasha is trying to kill Gibbs, and Franks shoots her. Gibbs and Franks decide to cover Jenny's mistake and death by burning down her Georgetown mansion. Jenny's cause of death is reported as "death in home fire". Her loss breaks the crew's hearts. Abby regrets that she never told Jenny she was a snappy dresser, and says that would have made her smile. After Director Shepard's death, she is replaced by Assistant Director Leon Vance.
| RockyCarrollHWOFOct2012.jpg |
|First appearance||"Internal Affairs"|
|Created by||Shane Brennan|
|Portrayed by||Rocky Carroll|
|Spouse(s)||Jacqueline "Jackie" Vance (née Thomas) (wife, deceased)|
|Children||Kayla Vance (daughter)|
Jared Vance (son)
|Relatives||Lamar Addison (father-in-law)|
Michael Thomas (brother-in-law)
Leon James Vance (Rocky Carroll) first appears in the season five episode "Internal Affairs" as the Assistant Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and is named Director after the death of Jenny Shepard. It is revealed in the episode "Knockout" that he was originally from Ohio, but grew up in Chicago where he trained to be a boxer. His wife states that Vance attended the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, but was forced to take a medical discharge before ever serving due to having undergone surgery to repair a detached retina suffered during his boxing career. However, Ducky later reveals to Gibbs that Vance's close childhood friend, who had died just prior to the start of the episode, also suffered a detached retina. Vance also reveals that it was this friend who decided that Vance should leave Chicago while he stayed behind. Vance says this despite his insistence to Gibbs that his friend was a Marine, though there is no record of his friend's service in the military.
More of Vance's background is revealed in the season eight episode "Enemies Domestic". To play the young Vance, Rocky Carroll underwent make-up procedures that he described as "a little instant facelift". Computer effects were used to turn back the clock 20 years. In 1991, just prior to joining NCIS, Vance is a student at the United States Naval War College in Rhode Island. His coursework includes Combat Philosophy and Advanced Cryptography. During his time at the War College, he begins to take an interest in black operations and even imagines one himself: Operation Frankenstein, which would later play a big part in the season eight finale. NIS takes an interest in him and he is hired by Special Agent Whitney Sharp for an operation in Amsterdam codenamed Trident. Vance is trained by Sharp and leaves after a six-week training course for Amsterdam where he meets his handler, Riley McAllister. McAllister tells him that the target of the operation is a Russian intelligence operative, known to Vance only as the Russian. NIS believes that he is bribing sailors in return for intelligence. Vance later meets Eli David, a promising agent of Mossad, who tells him that he knows of the operation and that the Russian will kill him. Later, Eli betrays Vance to the Russian but it is revealed that this is so he can kill him himself. Eli also tells Vance that he has been chosen because he is expendable and that he is not someone who would be missed. Eli and Vance kill the Russian's hit team but the Russian manages to escape and Eli is unable to find him or who he was. Vance is credited for the elimination of the hit team and he starts to rise swiftly through the ranks at NCIS. He keeps believing, along with Eli, that Amsterdam was not what it seemed and they come to the conclusion that there was a dirty agent in NCIS, the one who had really tipped off the Russian to Vance's mission. It is later revealed that McAllister had masterminded the entire operation: being an expert in Russia, he had seen that the Soviet Union's collapse had taken attention away from Russia and onto the Middle East. Knowing that new attention to a potential Russian threat would throw him in the spotlight for director of NIS, he planned to have Vance killed by a Russian operative to show that Russia still posed a threat and to satisfy his ambitions.
Then-Assistant Director Vance takes over for Jenny Shepard during her leave of absence between "Internal Affairs" and "Judgment Day", establishing himself as a formidable presence with Gibbs and his team. He scatters Tony, McGee, and Ziva to various departments and assigns Gibbs a new team in the Season 6 premiere "Last Man Standing" upon being named Director; however it is later revealed that he did this to flush out a mole in the agency. Vance and Gibbs clash during this span, prompting a cold war between them which ends with a détente in "Agent Afloat" at the start of season six. The two clash later on, however, as Gibbs feels he cannot fully trust Vance, though he cannot identify a specific reason why. Vance spearheads the investigation into Shepard's death, and is angered greatly when he is not kept in the loop by Gibbs and Mike Franks, who ultimately manipulate the situation to exonerate Shepard from her past failure, not what Vance had in mind. After Shepard's death, and possibly before, he lobbies the Secretary of the Navy hard to take over NCIS, as seen in "Cloak", but in "Semper Fidelis" the Secretary of the Navy informs Gibbs of a major operation which will require Vance to serve as its head, and that NCIS and the Navy will need Gibbs and Vance to get along. Things come to a head in "Aliyah", when Gibbs accuses Vance of selling out his team to Mossad Director Eli David. Vance responds that Ziva is a plant, used to get Mossad a foothold in NCIS through Gibbs. Vance also reveals that he knows about the true story of the death of Ari Haswari. After this, the two of them realize that circumstances will prove one of them right. At the start of season seven, Vance approves Ziva's transfer to NCIS, proving that Gibbs was right, and Ziva is loyal to NCIS. Despite his professional attitude towards Gibbs' team, Vance shows that he does care about them at least once when Alejandro Rivera threatens Abby in "Spider and the Fly". He tells Rivera to leave before he gets hurt and when Rivera asks by whom, he replies angrily: "By me."
Even after the events of "Aliyah", Vance is shown to still be in official contact with Eli David in his capacity as director of Mossad. This is shown when he receives a text message on his phone from Eli which says only: "I found him". Vance also refuses to discuss a phone call from Eli with Gibbs, despite knowing how dangerous Eli is, and despite his precarious relationship with Gibbs and his team. Upon being promoted to the director's position at the end of season five, Vance immediately goes to former Director Shepard's office, and is seen to shred a single mysterious document from his own personnel file. It is revealed in season six ("Semper Fidelis") that the document was written by his supervising agent at the time. The Secretary of the Navy tells Gibbs that the file is a fabrication and that he thought all copies had been destroyed. It is further revealed in the season eight episode, "Enemies Domestic", that the head of the San Diego field office, when Vance was assigned there, had begun creating a legend for Vance that incorporated fictitious information about Vance in order to backstop a deep cover assignment, including the false information that Vance had been a pilot and director of a field office.
In the season nine finale, "Till Death Do Us Part", a bomb blast occurs at NCIS headquarters with Vance's whereabouts unknown. In the season 10 premiere, "Extreme Prejudice", it is revealed that he survived relatively unscathed, along with Gibbs and Abby. In the season 10 episode "Shabbat Shalom", Vance is widowed when his wife Jackie is shot and dies in surgery. Eli David also dies in the episode. In the Season 11 episode "Homesick", Jackie's estranged biological father Lamar Addison shows up at the family home, much to Vance's displeasure. It is revealed that he walked out on Jackie and her mother and brother when she was young and that he was never married to her mother. Vance and Jackie have two children: a daughter, Kayla, and a son, Jared. Vance met his wife while attending a University of Maryland basketball game while Len Bias was playing. By season 10, Vance and Gibbs are on friendlier terms. Gibbs is particularly empathetic to Vance after his wife's murder and his recovery from a serious injury since Gibbs himself has been through a similar experience. Vance also prevents Gibbs' detention during a DOD internal investigation by allowing him to be temporarily assigned to JSOC.
In "Double Trouble", Vance is almost asked to resign after a confrontation with former NCIS Agent Kip Klugman, whom Vance arrested during his last case as a field agent in San Diego in 2005, until he and Gibbs are able to clear his name. In that episode, Secretary Porter mentions that he has been the Director of NCIS for longer than his last two predecessors combined (at that point, just over 7 years).
| BrianDietzenHWOFOct2012.jpg |
|First appearance||"Split Decision"|
|Created by||Donald P. Bellisario|
|Portrayed by||Brian Dietzen|
|Occupation||Assistant Medical Examiner|
|Spouse(s)||Breena Palmer (née Slater)|
|Children||Victoria Elizabeth Palmer (daughter)|
|Relatives||Ed Slater (father-in-law)|
James "Jimmy" Palmer (Brian Dietzen) first appears in the episode "Split Decision". After Gerald Jackson is incapacitated, Palmer becomes Mallard's medical assistant both in the field and in the morgue. In the episode "About Face", Jimmy becomes a central character of the episode who must recover his memory to find a suspect to the murder case and his attempted killer. He self-identifies as a sufferer of a "mild" case of diabetes mellitus in the episode "In The Dark". He often seems intimidated by Gibbs, especially when he goes into an explanation of something that has not been requested. Part of the reason that Dr. Mallard and he are often not at the crime scene until well after Gibbs and his team arrive is related to Dr. Mallard's emphasis on Jimmy being a horrible driver and always getting lost, although Jimmy tries to defend himself by pointing out that Ducky is the one with the map. He was named after former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, but does not like baseball.
Like Ducky, Palmer speaks to the dead though he is far more irreverent, sometimes raising eyebrows in the process. Some episodes depict an ongoing illicit office romance between Jimmy and Michelle Lee. They make excuses for working late and are seen entering and exiting the underside of the autopsy table. In the episode "Last Man Standing", Palmer admits to Gibbs and Vance that he and Agent Lee had been "doing it" for a while. In the episode "The Good Wives Club" it is revealed that Jimmy is claustrophobic; when he is entering the enclosed hallway he is seen sweating profusely and when he has to go get the body bag he gets freaked out about having to go back through it. In the episode "About Face", as Jimmy is being hypnotized by Abby, it can be inferred that he has a foot/shoe fetish as he dreamily talks in great detail about Ziva and Abby's footwear, instead of recalling information about the current case. The episode also indicates that his mother's name is Eunice. In the episode "Bounce" it is shown that Palmer regularly helps Tony when he is in charge, despite the fact that Tony has frequently mocked Palmer in-person by calling him an "autopsy gremlin". Palmer is also shown to have severe tinnitus.
Season seven reveals that Jimmy is in love with a girl named Breena Slater, who appears in the episode "Mother's Day". In the season eight finale, "Pyramid", NCIS special agent E. J. Barrett congratulates Jimmy on his engagement, and in the season nine premiere "Nature of the Beast" Ziva says that they are getting married next spring. In the season nine episode "Newborn King", Palmer is accompanied to NCIS headquarters by his future father-in-law, Ed Slater. Slater alternates between grating on the nerves of the entire team and mocking Palmer's career choice. Most of the team either ignore Slater or quietly tolerate his rudeness out of respect for Palmer and his guest. Abby is the exception – when Slater makes a comment regarding the supposed promiscuity of tattooed women, she places Palmer and Slater in "time out" by locking them in her office. Palmer eventually tires of Slater's behavior, telling him to sit down and shut up. The end of the episode shows Slater accepting Palmer and expressing a desire for a grandchild. In "Till Death Do Us Part", prior to a bomb blast at the NCIS headquarters, Palmer and Breena decide to get married on the spot so he can assist the rest of the team in the Harper Dearing case. In episode "Damned If You Do", Jimmy tells Ducky that he and Breena are on a waiting list for adoption, seeing as how there are so many children without parents. In the season 11 episode, "The Admiral's Daughter" it is revealed to Jimmy through a word game that Breena is pregnant.
During his first few seasons, Jimmy is portrayed as a geek who has the tendency to ramble or speak out of turn, much to the irritation of Gibbs and even Ducky on occasions. When he first starts, as with most newbies, he is subjected to some teasing by senior agent Tony DiNozzo. By season 10, he is shown as more of a surrogate son to Ducky rather than simply his assistant. In "Extreme Prejudice", he insists on remaining at Ducky's bedside until Ducky convinces him that NCIS needs him more. In the season 12 episode, "We Build, We Fight", Jimmy becomes a father when Breena gives birth to a baby girl whom they name "Victoria Elizabeth Palmer" after Ducky's mother and Ducky will be her "Grand-Ducky".
Template:Anchor Ellie Bishop
| Emily Wickersham.jpg |
|First appearance||"Gut Check"|
|Created by||Gary Glasberg|
|Portrayed by||Emily Wickersham|
|Title||Probationary Field Agent|
|Family||Barbara Bishop (mother)|
George Bishop (brother)
John Bishop (brother)
Robert Bishop (brother)
|Spouse(s)||Jake Malloy (ex-husband)|
Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop (Emily Wickersham) is an NSAanalyst who is introduced in the season 11 episode "Gut Check". Bishop is a "country girl" from Oklahoma and has three older brothers. Described by her boss at the NSA as a "reclusive data freak", Bishop claims that she "remembers almost everything she reads", and often thinks while sitting cross-legged on the floor. She applied to NCIS before taking the job with the NSA, and Gibbs invites her to a "joint duty assignment". Gibbs later offers her a probationary position as a Special Agent in "Monsters and Men", affectionately referring to her as "probie" for the first time. After that, DiNozzo and McGee are seen pulling the seniority card by ordering her around to do more menial tasks, such as evidence collection. Bishop is repeatedly shown as a bit of a perfectionist, sometimes asking for second tries, knowing she can do better the next time around. When first introduced, DiNozzo and McGee quickly notice her wedding band, but she remains coy when asked about her marital status. It is eventually revealed that she is married and her husband's name is Jake Malloy (Jamie Bamber), an attorney for the NSA. They met during their first week at NSA, though during season thirteen they appear to be having marital difficulties. In Season 13 episode 9, Jake reveals he is having an affair with a fellow NSA Agent. Bishop is horrified and the two separate, with Bishop going home to Oklahoma to get some distance. She later returns to DC to continue with NCIS, and tells Jake that their marriage has been deteriorating quickly since she joined NCIS. Despite him wanting to make things work, she has already decided to file for divorce. She sees Gibbs as a father figure and leans on him. After her divorce she prefers to stay single for a while. It is revealed in Enemy Combatant that Ellie is dating Qasim Naasir, last seen in season twelve.
|First appearance||"Dead Letter"|
|Created by||Gary Glasberg|
|Portrayed by||Duane Henry|
Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry) is a British SIS Intelligence Officer who first encounters the NCIS team working abroad with Anthony DiNozzo. Upon returning to the US, Clayton is attacked by Trent Kort, whom he later shoots and kills. Glasberg describes Reeves as "edgy and fun and fast and has a real physicality to him and honestly just lights up a room. There’s this sort of simmering, bubbling danger that’s below the surface."
|Created by||Gary Glasberg|
|Portrayed by||Jennifer Esposito|
Alex Quinn (Jennifer Esposito) joins Gibbs' team after a stint assigned to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).Before that she was a field agent, but after her partner was killed in an ambush while the two where following suspects, and her engagement to Mike fell apart, she left the field. Quinn met Gibbs when he was a part of the team investigating her partner's death. She is described as having "sharp wit, quick mind and immense talent as a federal agent".
|Created by||Gary Glasberg|
|Portrayed by||Wilmer Valderrama|
|Family||Lucia Campbell (sister) |
Amanda Campbell (niece)George Campbell (brother- in- law, deceased)
Nicholas Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) is described as "an NCIS field agent who disappeared after accepting a deep cover assignment many years ago. In fact, many agents don't even know that he's still on the job—or whether he's even alive. When he resurfaces, he'll be as dedicated to his job and country as ever, but after his years-long assignment he'll become an unpredictable, charismatic loose cannon."
Recurring cast and characters
Dr Grace Confalone (Laura San Giacomo) is the therapist of both Gibbs and Dr. Cyril Taft. First appearing in "Loose Cannons", Grace builds a professional relationship and personal friendship with Gibbs, nicknaming him "Popeye", and often resorting to child psychology (including picture charts) to tap into his psyche. In "Family First", Grace befriends Emily Fornell at the request of Gibbs.
Emily Fornell (Juliette Angelo) is the daughter of Agent Tobias Fornell and Diane Sterling. Emily first appears during season four, played by Payton Spencer. During season eleven, "Devils Triad", Emily is kidnapped and subsequently rescued by NSA Analyst Eleanor Bishop, while in season twelve she is visibly distraught following her mother's death. In "Cabin Fever", she enlists Gibbs' assistance when Tobias is arrested for DUI. She later appears in person in the episode "Dead Letter", where she quickly learns about her father being critically wounded by an unknown assassin. Out of anger and grief (especially as it happens just a year after her mother has been murdered), she demands that Gibbs swear to her to find the one who did this and make him pay. She later calls Gibbs requesting his help, as the nurse at the hospital refuses to resuscitate Fornell due to a "do not resuscitate" clause he had written when he was still grieving for her mom's death. While waiting for him to wake up, she attempts to paint his toenails to look like watermelons, but then she notices he is waking up and tries to talk to him. He is only awake for a few moments, but he tells her to tell Gibbs some vital information relating to SISCO regarding stolen cell-phones. This information allows them to track down Jacob Scott (whom they had believed was the man who murdered Terdei and left Fornell under critical condition at the time) who, much to everyone's surprise, has surrendered to NCIS custody and arrives at the naval yard. In "Family First", she is still waiting for her dad's recovery. During this time, she also runs out of nail-polish, thus leaving her manicure on her dad incomplete. In addition, Gibbs, under the pretense of helping to catch the man who tried to kill Tobias (although it is heavily implied that it is actually to help Emily come to terms with what might happen), brings his shrink, Dr. Grace Confalone, who also proceeds to help her with the project.
Thomas Morrow (Alan Dale) is the Director of NCIS, who later becomes employed as a Senior Section Chief at the Department of Homeland Security. Tom first appears in the NCIS two-part pilot episodes, "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown", before making his official debut in the season one episode, "Yankee White", with his final appearance as NCIS Director in the season three opener "Kill Ari (Part I)", when he leaves to accept an appointment as a Senior Division Chief in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, handing over the reins of his position to new director Jenny Shepard. He appears in several episodes during seasons one and two, but unlike his replacements, Directors Shepard and Vance, Morrow himself is not part of the main cast, and is credited as either a recurring character or a guest star. He has less direct involvement with the team's cases than either of his successors (exceptions being matters of terrorism and national security), and seems to spend much of his time in MTAC monitoring NCIS' global presence. While he seems to like Gibbs, he is less tolerant of Gibbs' personal style and methods than Jenny or Vance; he has a deeply serious, almost stern demeanor, and Gibbs only ever refers to him as "sir". This is probably due to Gibbs being a former Gunnery Sergeant / Scout-Sniper in the U.S. Marine Corps. and Morrow being a former Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. He reappears in his Homeland Security position in the Season 10 episodes, "Chasing Ghosts" and "Berlin". He also appears in the Season 11 premiere episode, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" where he is left badly injured in an explosion that kills current SECNAV, Clayton Jarvis. Morrow later informs Vance that a terrorist group, the Brotherhood of Doubt, are responsible for the bombing and are targeting former NCIS Special Agent Ziva David. In the season 13 episode, "Return to Sender", Morrow is found dead, having been shot in the head by a sniper the team presume is former British spy Jacob Scott, although it is later revealed that the actual killer is former CIA agent Trent Kort.
Anthony DiNozzo, Sr.
Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. (Robert Wagner) is the father of Tony DiNozzo. Described by his son as a "con man", DiNozzo prefers to refer to himself as an entrepreneur. From season seven, he attempts to rebuild his relationship with his son, from whom he had been previously estranged. The character is shown to be particularly charming.
Tobias C. Fornell
Senior FBI Special Agent Tobias C. Fornell (Joe Spano) first appears in the series premiere episode "Yankee White". He is often involved in "inter-agency turf wars" with Gibbs' NCIS team. The two frequently pretend to be furiously angry at each other in front of their agents, while privately they are on friendly terms. When their teams have to share jurisdiction on a case, Gibbs usually asks for operational control; in exchange, credit for successes is claimed by Fornell's team. Their friendship is close enough for Gibbs to delay his retirement in the episode "Escaped" to assist Fornell in recapturing a fugitive. In the episode "The Bone Yard", Fornell comes to Gibbs for help when he is accused of being a mole for the mafia. In the same episode, he reveals that Gibbs is likely his only friend. Gibbs seems to feel similarly about Fornell, going so far as to fake Fornell's death to further the investigation to clear him of guilt. It is revealed in the episode "Twilight", that Fornell was married to Gibbs' second wife (Diane) after she and Gibbs divorced, something that Gibbs warned him against. Fornell often refers to Diane as "our ex-wife" to Gibbs. Fornell and Diane have a daughter, Emily. After a period of estrangement, the two reunite and agree to marry. Diane is later murdered, and Fornell turns to alcoholism for a short time.
Tess Monroe (Sarah Clarke) is a Senior FBI Agent. After working with Tobias Fornell, Monroe joins NCIS in the hunt for British spy Jacob Scott during season thirteen. She later shoots and kills Trent Kort. Executive Producer Gary Glasberg described Monroe as "full of fire and cynicism and sarcasm and wit and energy and is extremely experienced". Tess has been divorced multiple times, but has no children. She "thinks of her team as her family. She's no-nonsense on the outside, but has a big heart underneath with a belief in honor, justice and doing what's right. She'll fight to protect the values she holds dear, and her team, with determination and a bit of sarcasm."
Delilah Fielding (Margo Harshman) is a Department of Defense analyst and McGee's girlfriend. An agent with the Department of Defense, Fielding first appears in the Season 11 premiere episode "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" and later becomes an ally, assisting the NCIS team in their hunt for terrorist Benham Parsa. In the Season 11 episodes "Kill Chain" and "Double Back", Delilah is left badly injured in a missile attack at a black-tie event she and McGee are attending. While McGee is not seriously injured, Delilah is left permanently paralyzed due to shrapnel embedded in her spine, she thereafter uses a wheelchair. She continues to assist the NCIS team. After spending almost a year as a senior intelligence analyst in Dubai, Delilah returns in the episode, "Status Update". When she returns as team leader now based in the US, she and McGee move in together. McGee later buys an engagement ring, with the intent of proposing to Delilah.
Jake Malloy (Jamie Bamber) is NCIS Agent Ellie Bishop's ex-husband and an attorney for the National Security Agency. He becomes friends with Ellie's boss, SSA Leroy Jethro Gibbs. After her transfer from the NSA to NCIS, Jake and Ellie's marriage begins to show signs of stress, which he disingenuously attributes to the fact that they can no longer talk about their day with each other like they used to. It is revealed in season 13 episode 9 "Day In Court", however, that Jake has been dishonest, having an affair with fellow NSA employee Taylor Matthews. Following this revelation, Bishop returns home to Oklahoma for some time to herself. Then in the "Spinning Wheel" Jake comes to Bishop and makes attempts to apologize for the infidelity, but she recognizes that an affair is only a symptom of a wider pattern, and tells him that their marriage is over.
Cyril Taft (Jon Cryer) is a doctor who appears in the NCIS Season 13 premiere episode, "Stop the Bleeding" where he performs surgery on Gibbs, who has been left badly injured after being shot by Luke Harris. Taft is also a Captain in the Navy Reserves and a former surgeon at the Walter Reed Memorial Hospital. Taft's son died at a young age. Taft later begins a friendship with Gibbs, and the two are shown to mutually support each other through their respective struggles. He also convinces Gibbs to seek counseling and eventually is able to make an introduction to his therapist, Grace Confalone.
Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Franks, NIS (Ret.) (Muse Watson) is introduced in episode flashbacks in the episode "Hiatus" (Part 1). He is Gibbs' former mentor and partner, still referring to Gibbs as "Probie", just as DiNozzo does with McGee. In "Hiatus" (Part 2), it is stated that he retired to Mexico in 1996, roughly five years after Gibbs joined NCIS, after being disgruntled with the government's failure to prevent the Khobar Towers bombing. Although he comes across as crass and uncaring, Franks has been known to be very devious and sneaky, even hiding the fact that he had a son, though Gibbs helps hide his granddaughter and the girl's mother. Gibbs has picked up many of his mannerisms, including the trademark head slap he gives to DiNozzo and his ability to find a way around red tape. Jenny Shepard, who was still a junior agent during Franks' time, brings him back in hopes of helping Gibbs regain his memory after suffering a concussion in part 2 of "Hiatus". He is unable to help Gibbs regain his memory although Gibbs recognizes him on sight. Franks is the only survivor of the gun battle that ends Director Shepard's life and finds some evidence that the new director was apparently looking for, even though he is outside getting himself water for tea when the shooting starts and goes back in to make sure that the other shooters are dead. He is the last person to know about then-Director Shepard's incurable illness during her lifetime, as Gibbs only has suspicions at the time as of "Judgment Day" (Part 1). In his visit to Gibbs' bedside in season four, it is revealed in flashbacks that he warned members of the intelligence community about the threat that Osama Bin Laden posed to American servicemen abroad some time before the Khobar Towers bombing. After the deaths of a number of Air Force personnel in the bombing, Franks retired to Mexico and handed control of the MCRT to Gibbs.
In season seven, Franks is seemingly ambushed by Colonel Merton Bell's henchmen and hitmen from the Reynosa drug cartel. His fate is left ambiguous and it is unknown whether he is killed or captured in the attack. However, later on, Franks appears again to assist DiNozzo in investigating Alejandro. As a result of the gunfight between Bell and the Reynosa Cartel's men, Franks loses his right index finger. In the beginning of season eight, in the episode "Spider and the Fly", he appears after four months by showing up at Gibbs' house to help him, the team, Vance, and Jackson Gibbs destroy Paloma and Alejandro once and for all. Franks is killed by Jonas Cobb, the "Port-to-Port Killer", outside of Gibbs' house in the season eight episode "Swan Song" as he attempts to apprehend Cobb. Franks, a Marine like Gibbs, is given a full military burial at the end of the season eight finale. It is also revealed in this episode that Franks was dying of cancer and Gibbs was making him a coffin. It is revealed in the episode "
NCIS is entering its eighteenth season this year—and it's showing no signs of slowing down.
The CBS crime drama, which aired its first episode in 2003, has been such a success that it inspired two spinoffs: NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. While the newer shows are very popular, loyal fans can't get enough of the original series and its star-studded cast. Mark Harmon, Wilmer Valderrama, David McCallum, and the rest of the actors and actresses on NCIS make the procedural what it is.
Some cast members have come and gone over the years, including Pauley Perrette, whose controversial exit in 2017 left long-time viewers devastated. Still, others have stuck around since the beginning. There are even a few who left briefly before making a shocking comeback. (We're looking at you, Cote de Pablo!)
Sadly, the show is gearing up to lose another beloved character: Sloane, played by Maria Bello, is reportedly leaving this season. Details about her exit are still fuzzy, but many are speculating that her goodbye might have something to do with her daughter, Faith (Kate Hamilton). But will Sloane and Gibbs finally have a ~moment~ before she's gone for good? Hope so!
Whether you're just getting introduced to NCIS from season one, or have been a fan for years, it's important to understand who's who. Here's everything you need to know about the old and returning cast of NCIS.
Mark Harmon as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Gibbs is a former U.S. Marine turned special agent, and the commander of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service team on NCIS. In real life, Mark has earned multiple Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations throughout his long career in television and film. Most recently, you've probably seen him in The West Wing and Freaky Friday.
Sean Murray as Special Agent Timothy McGee
McGee is a Senior Field Agent who works on the main NCIS Major Case Response Team and—despite plenty of rumors—is not leaving the show. Disney lovers will remember a younger Sean as Thackery Binx, his breakout role in Hocus Pocus.
Wilmer Valderrama as Special Agent Nicholas "Nick" Torres
Wilmer rose to fame for his iconic role as Fez on That '70s Show. On NCIS, he stars as an undercover agent and primary member of the Major Case Response Team.
Emily Wickersham as Special Agent Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop
Before joining the NCIS team as a Special Agent, Ellie was an analyst for the National Security Agency where she examined the Middle East to determine any potential threats. Outside of work, Emily likes to hang with her seriously adorable dog, Miguel.
Diona Reasonover as Forensic Scientist Kasie Hines
Kasie first appeared as Ducky's graduate assistant in season 15 while he took time away to write a book. Eventually, she a earned a permanent role as a Forensic Scientist for the Major Case Response Team. Before taking on the role of Kasie, Diona starred as Charmaine Eskowitz in the television show Clipped.
Brian Dietzen as Dr. Jimmy Palmer
Jimmy—AKA the "Autopsy Gremlin"—is a long-standing member of the NCIS team who was promoted to the role of Chief Medical Examiner after Ducky stepped down. Fun fact: In 2003, Brian performed in the film From Justin to Kelly alongside Kelly Clarkson.
David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard
Ducky began his career with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as the Chief Medical Examiner. After announcing he was leaving in season 16, the beloved doctor returned as the "NCIS historian." Fans of '60s shows may have seen David on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Rocky Carroll as NCIS Director Leon Vance
Leon Vance is the suit-wearing Director who's been part of the crime team for years. The actor who portrays him is best known for his starring role on the FOX series Roc.
Maria Bello as Special Agent Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane
Jack joined in 2015 as a Forensic Psychologist. She was previously in the Army, but was honorably discharged after enduring a traumatic capture in Afghanistan. This year, Sloane is gearing up to make her exit—a move that will surely make fans sad!
The actress who plays Jack has appeared in a number of films, including Permanent Midnight, Payback, and Coyote Ugly.
Cote de Pablo as Special Agent Ziva David
Ziva is a Special Agent on the NCIS team who was thought to be dead for years before her sudden reappearance during season 16. During her hiatus from NCIS, Cote was in a historical drama called The Dovekeepers.
Pauley Perrette as Forensic Scientist Abby Sciuto
Abby was the Forensic Scientist on the Major Case Response Team for 15 years before stepping down after discovering a contract killer was after her. Pauley was starring in a sitcom called Broke, but she recently said she is "finally and happily retired" from the biz.
Michael Weatherly as Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo
Tony was the Senior Field Agent and second in command to Gibbs. After fifteen years of service, he resigned to care for his and Ziva's daughter. Now, Michael heads up Bull on CBS.
Lauren Holly as Director Jenny Shepard
Jenny was the former Director of NCIS up until she tragically died in the field in May 2008. After leaving the show, Lauren landed a recurring role in Netflix's Designated Survivor.
Kelly O'SullivanContent Strategy EditorKelly O’Sullivan is the content strategy editor for The Pioneer Woman and manages the website’s social channels, in addition to covering entertainment and lifestyle news.
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Characters / NCIS Main Characters
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Senior Special Agent Timothy "Tim" McGee
Played By: Sean Murray
Abby:I love it when you talk geek!
McGee:I love it that you love it.
A tech genius who graduated from college as a teenager. McGee was the MCRT's long-suffering probationary agent who eventually grew in confidence to become a seasoned investigator. He is also a fairly successful author who's written a series of novels based on his coworkers (to their intense displeasure). As an MIT alumni, he is often the one responsible for much of the technical work in solving cases at NCIS, but sometimes forgets others around him don't come from the same background and can't make heads or tails of technological lingo.
While a "Probie", he used to be the butt of Tony DiNozzo's every joke. Eventually, he became an official agent, then later took over Tony's status and desk as Senior Special Agent when he left to raise his daughter in Paris at the end of Season 13. McGee is currently married to Delilah Fielding, whom he met in Season 10 while in need of a good fellow computer hacker. In Season 15, he becomes the proud father of Johnny and Morgan McGee.
Following Gibbs' permanent retirement from NCIS, he's now the team leader of the MCRT.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Between seasons 10 and 11 to get the case against Gibbs dismissed.
- Accidental Misnaming: Suffers from all of Tony's Mc-names and being called "Probie." The second name goes away when he becomes an official agent, unless someone reminds Tony to Poke the Poodle.
- Affectionate Nickname: He's originally addressed as "Probie" by Tony as an epithet, but it morphs into something friendlier and even somewhat affectionate as Tim gains more experience and starts standing up for himself. Tim learns to accept it when he learns that Gibbs is still called "Probie" by people who knew him from his Probie days 20 years ago, and that it eventually becomes a reminder of the mentor-mentee relationship some agents share.
- Badass Beard: After being stuck in captivity by a terrorist group for two months between Season 14 and 15, Tim's clean-shaven face became unkempt. After escaping captivity, he got a few compliments on how dignified the beard made him and decided he was keeping it as a souvenir of his experience. It also marks the completion of his character evolution from timid probie to seasoned badass.
- Bash Brothers: In Season 14, he and Torres were often teamed up.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He is the kindest and most polite secret agent you will ever come across, but do something that pisses him off and you will regret it. He has the tech-savviness, book smarts, gun skill, and the combat skill to make the rest of your life miserable if he really wants to.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Don't let the husky size and geek-personality fool you, he is a skilled interrogator, hacker, and an excellent shot.
- Big Brother Instinct: Will do some irrational things to protect his college-age sister, some of which have jeopardized his career once.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Downplayed. He's rather normal compared to the rest of the team, but he's a still a hardcore nerd who will drop a reference or two at the drop of a hat if the situation allows for it. He's also a trained federal agent that knows when to throw down when necessary. The "bunny ears" part gradually gets more downplayed as his confidence and competence increases, but he's still plenty nerdy occasionally.
- Butt-Monkey: In early seasons, he is often made fun of by Tony.
- Calling the Old Man Out: In the episode where Tim reunites with his Glory Hound of a father, he rages at his dad for putting his job above the affections of his own family.
- Catchphrase: "On it, boss." He hates it when he ends up using this for Tony, knowing he will never let him live it down. However, with Tony's departure, it seems to be an affectionate keepsake of his friend as opposed to just another Borrowed Catchphrase.
- Clear My Name: In "Probie" he was charged with killing another cop.
- Cool Car: Had one in high school, much to the surprise of Tony. He shares in lamenting the car's demise when McGee told him of its fate.
- Deadpan Snarker: In later seasons.
- Disappeared Dad: His estranged and divorced father appears late in Season 10, then dies from cancer in season 12. He had not been a major part of Tim's life since before the show started.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: His middle name is Farragut. This was first mentioned halfway through season 13.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He is particularly ashamed when his colleagues call him "Elf Lord" (his online gaming name).
- Fair Cop: Sean Murray as Agent McGee would seem to be the only one to avert this, but then he lost a good amount of weight entering Season 7, and now we can include him.
- Fake Guest Star: In season 1, he has 2 real guest spots, before showing up for the last 6 episodes, he joins the main cast in season 2
- First-Name Basis: But ends up being called "Tim" a lot more as of Season 14.
- Formerly Fat: Before around Season 6, McGee is noticeably a bit rubbery in the face and slightly heavyset. Then he slims down dramatically and the excess blubber around his face goes away and the skin clings more closely to his facial musculature, making him look a lot older and wiser. This also marks his Character Development. Tony later remarks he preferred Tim more when he was fatter because he was easier to tease.
- Friend to All Children: An early mission involving The Team being bodyguards to a military woman and her family showed Kate and Tony struggling to get along with said client's children, while McGee just played ORPG with the son and things ran very smoothly (much to Tony's dismay). He also bonds fairly well with Henry, the 14-year-old who's being targeted for witnessing a drug-related stabbing in "Homefront" due to the two of them being Military Brats.
- Friends with Benefits: Surprisingly, for all the ribbing he takes from his coworkers and especially Tony that he has never gotten anybody in the sack, McGee has lost his virginity and has been seen to have had a girl sleep over at his place wearing his MIT t-shirt.
- Happily Married: Married Delilah Fielding at the end of Season 14.
- Hidden Depths:
- A tech head, hacker and best selling author.
- He loves the outdoors and has various skills from the scouts, including tracking abilities.
- Hollywood Nerd: He plays role-playing games online, prompting the others to occasionally call him "Elf Lord." Somewhat justified in that his online character is named "Elflord".
- Honorary Uncle: To Tony's daughter, Tali. She even refers to him as "Uncle Tim" in a video recording.
- Idiot Ball:
- When his sister showed up to his apartment obviously drugged, in a stupor saying she killed someone, and covered in blood, the seasoned investigator grabs this with a dose of Big Brother Instinct as he doesn't take her to NCIS or even the hospital. He lets her shower and by the time she does get her blood tested, the drugs had metabolized. The Director calls him out on this, hoping it would trick him into resigning.
- Averted to some degree in that episode when in justifying his actions to Gibbs that he knows how it looks and because of that he couldn't trust anyone, even Gibbs. Gibbs accepts the apology even though he has a beef with people showing weakness by apologizing.
- In-Series Nickname: Gets a new one nearly once-per episode, almost always recived as a variant of his last name, with 'gee' being replaced by an insult or something pertaining to his personality. However, the moniker 'Elf Lord' has stuck around quite consistently, and even Gibbs has used it.
- Intimate Marks: In season 1 he gets a tattoo on his butt to impress Abby. Later it's revealed that it's the word "Mom".
- I Want My Jet Pack: In S7 Ep11, McGee outs himself as a jetpack, no, rocket belt expert nerd, to the point where he has made a short film detailing their history and credited it to his authorial pseudonym. He does get to sort-of fulfill his dream by remote-controlling a prototype jetpack being used by a killer to escape, although that, pretty much, amounts to him flying a drone with a person inside.
- Last-Name Basis: Almost always referred to as "McGee".
- The Lancer: Tony's departure means that McGee is now Gibbs' Number Two.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Ziva whom he treats like a barely older twin sister, also a Big Brother Mentor to Ellie. Also Abby after both recieved some Character Development. He also treats Tony like an annoying older brother.
- Loser Has Your Back: Plays this role once or twice in early seasons, but he's no longer enough of a loser to pull it off.
- Military Brat: His father was an Admiral in the Navy.
- Most Writers Are Writers: He's a successful author of novels inspired by his workplace and coworkers, which he writes under the Significant Anagram "Thom E. Gemcity."
- Mr. Fixit: "Special Agent Goodwrench," season two, episode four.
- Mystery Writer Detective: McGee is a special agent, who wrote a best selling novel... that he would have preferred his coworkers never found out about. Later on, he was able to use his fame to get into a club that other undercover agents couldn't get in to.
- Name McAdjective: Tony gives him a lot of Mc-nicknames to work with.
- Nerds Are Sexy: Well, his wife Delilah certainly thinks so. At one point they have an argument in a private code developed from binary shorthand!
- Not So Above It All: After years of protesting against Tony's treatment of him, McGee's just as eager to break in Ziva and Bishop when they join the team as probies. However, he continually insists that the way he treats probies is nowhere near as bad as how Tony treated him.
- Number Two: Ever since Tony left. Symbolized by Tony calling McGee "Very Special Agent."
- Official Couple: With Delilah Fielding, who's now his wife.
- Platonic Life-Partners: He and Abby dated once early in the series, and they've had a Will They or Won't They? that ended with "won't", but they still get along fairly well. Enough for her to be his Best Woman at his wedding.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Starting season 2.
- Properly Paranoid: McGee never tells anyone where he works. He'll give out cell numbers, pages, etc, but he never mentions NCIS. Which is how he knows, when his new girlfriend shows up to pick him up after work, that she's not who she says she is. Overlaps with I Never Said It Was Poison.
- Real Name as an Alias: His pseudonym as a writer is just an anagram of his full name.
- Recurring Character: In season 1.
- The Reliable One: McGee is often called on by the others to help out with technical or difficult favors outside of the job, such as helping Ducky create a collage for his mentor or getting clearance for a young boy to contact his mother through MTAC.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Not his own, but he assists in Ziva's against Bodnar.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Savvy Guy to Abby's Energetic Girl.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Tony's Manly Man. He also plays the Sensitive Guy to Torres' Manly Maz
- Significant Anagram: His pseudonym as a novelist is Thom E. Gemcity, an anagram of his full name.
- The Smart Guy: He's the main tech guy of the group whenever Abby - and later Kasie - aren't available, offering up his knowledge and experience in technology whenever the situation calls for it.
- Techno Babble: He had a serious problem with this in the earlier seasons, much to Gibbs' exasperation. It gradually died down in later seasons, and is now non-existent.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- Between seasons six and seven. Big time. Most exemplified in the episode "Need To Know" when he was giving the young Special Agent Dorneget tips on how he could possibly join the Major Case Squad as well as some of Gibbs' rules.note And then Dorneget reveals he forgot his service weapon.
- The extra levels in badass arguably started with the sixth season episode "Caged", where he has to solve a murder case in a women's prison on his own. Compare the phone calls he has with a car mechanic at the start and at the end of the episode.
- In terms of character, in the first three seasons, he's the fat, wet-behind-the-ears put-upon probie who bumbles around and people treat like a gullible and clumsy child. In the next three seasons, he's gotten fitter and his probie status is lifted, so he becomes a fully-fledged agent of NCIS and finally starts repaying most of the ribbing he got from Tony because now they are equals and he can't belittle him anymore. By Season 14, McGee is now the senior special agent on the team and no longer the target of anyone's insults (because Kate, Tony, and Ziva, his teasers, are no longer present), his face has gone from looking all wide-eyed and flabby to incredibly sharpened and aged with some deep furrows in his forehead and cheeks. And, as mentioned above, the Badass Beard he starts sporting during Season 15 didn't hurt, either.
- Underestimating Badassery: Occasionally; in one Season Fourteen episode, he and Torres were interrogating a perp, doing the classic Good Cop/Bad Cop. The guy assumed Torres was the bad cop, but he wasn't — McGee was. Cue twisted arm and face slammed into the table.
- Undying Loyalty: McGee has a tendency to pick up the Idiot Ball and run with it when people he's loyal to are in trouble. He's risked his job for his sister's sake, and despite being newly married to Delilah with a child on the way, left the safety of the chopper at the end of Season 14 to help Gibbs, which got him stranded in Paraguay.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tony, behaving much like a pair of squabbling brothers at times.
- Wham Episode: Ziva is not hunting Bodnar on her own. McGee has been helping her track Bodnar's movements. The scene in which Tony finds out what they're doing is played like he caught them sleeping together.
- Will They or Won't They?: As noted above with Abby, although McGee says outright in Season 12 that they never will because he failed to pass a Secret Test of Character Abby gives to all the men she dates. And because he later ends up marrying Delilah Fielding.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James "Jimmy" Palmer
Played By: Brian Dietzen
"Is it just me or does anyone else wonder how they get IUDs in there? (Beat) That probably sounded a lot more inappropriate than I meant."
Ducky's protégé, taking the place of Gerald Jackson after he had been injured too severely to continue work at NCIS, who also acts as a Ducky-expy to Tony's Gibbs whenever Tony is in charge of a case. He is always eager to help the team any way he can, even if his skills are more or less exclusive to the morgue. However, Jimmy's also a gawky nimrod with a spectacular knack for saying the wrong thing. He's married to a woman named Breena and they have a daughter named Victoria. In Season 16, he becomes the Chief Medical Examiner when Ducky retires from full-time work and passes on the position to him.
- Action Survivor: He works out in a gym but he isn't combat proficient.
- Affectionate Nickname: Because of his Lurch-like presence and incredibly gawky demeanor, Tony likes to call him the "Autopsy Gremlin".
- Brainy Brunette: He has dark hair and is very knowledgable about the human body.
- Butt-Monkey: If there's a chance for a character to be insulted or put-upon in any given episode, there's at least a 75% chance it'll be Palmer. McGee occupies another 20%, while the remaining 5% is a wildcard usually filled by Tony.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: The drinks served at his Stag Party are all watered down, but he still gets hammered.
- The Consigliere: It's revealed in one episode that whenever Tony is left in charge of a case, he secretly has meetings with Palmer to help point him in the right direction whenever Tony feels that he's lost on what to do next.
- Creepy Mortician: Downplayed, but working with dead bodies has given him a rather macabre sense of humor. It's probably not a coincidence that he winds up married to an actual mortician — but Breena averts the trope completely by being a bubbly blonde sweetheart.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Is very intelligent and a good assistant to Ducky, but has problems with self-confidence.
- Deadpan Snarker: While his attempts at humor usually fall flat, even Palmer gets his moments. For example, when he's brought to the cold storage of a ship at sea to examine a murder victim:
Chief Petty Officer: Jones's body, it's gone!
Palmer: This'll complicate the autopsy.
- Disappeared Dad: "Bears and Cubs" reveals that Palmer's dad was an abusive jerk who died when he was ten years old.
- Doting Parent: He loves his daughter Victoria with all his heart. In fact, her birth was what finally helped Jimmy stop hating his own abusive father as he spends every day with her in a conscious effort to never be like him.
- Exact Words: He uses this on Gibbs when he stopped a suspect running away by charging him with a car, pointing out that he technically stayed in the car as he was ordered.
- Fake Guest Star: Might as well be a Trope Codifier. Dietzen was credited as a recurring guest star for the first 5 seasons and as "Also Starring" from season 6 onwards. He was even on the cover art for the Season 8 DVD and was featured in articles alongside the main cast but he wasn't promoted to the opening titles until Season 10.
- Fetish: He apparently has a thing for footwear.
- The Glasses Come Off: In Season 5, he pulls his glasses off before charging a suspect in the car he was in while the suspect was trying to escape in another car. It was a good thing he did, too, since he got a bloody nose from the incident, so it's likely he would have broken his nose if he didn't pull his glasses off.
- Happily Married: To Breena as of Season 10 and until she dies in the COVID pandemic between "1mm" and "The First Day". They later have a daughter named Victoria.
- Heroic BSoD: He gets this after Diane, Gibbs' and Fornell's ex-wife, dies in Season 12.
Ducky: Right, on three. One, two
Ducky: I beg your pardon?
Palmer: No. I don't want to.
Ducky: You don't want to what, Mr. Palmer?
Palmer: I don't want to know how much her liver weighs. I don't want to catalog her scars. (Gibbs enters autopsy) Most of all, I don't want to cut open another friend. I think I've had my limit. (walks away)
Ducky: I don't remember the moment I reached my limit, but I do remember never being the same.
- Hidden Depths:
- He trained as a medical examiner and is presumably being groomed to replace Ducky in the future (which ends up happening in Season 16), but he also demonstrates significant knowledge of criminal activity when he acts as Tony's secret consigliere.
- The episode Keep Going reveals that he took and failed the ME exam twice, and passed on the third try. This means that he could be an official ME on par with Ducky outside the Navy Yard— but since he respects Team Gibbs' dynamic so much, he chose to stay.
- Hollywood Nerd: He's quite attractive and muscular on top of being a pretty smart guy himself, but the attractive part barely comes up in conversation due to how ridiculously awkward he is.
- In-Series Nickname: the numerous Memetic Mutation 'Autopsy Gremlin' that he received from DiNozzo.
- Loose Lips: Coupled with his chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome, Palmer is often the person to blunder a secret the fastest, sometimes without even knowing it was a secret. For instance, Palmer inadvertently clued Tony in on a private detective's name that Ziva and McGee were desperately trying to withhold from him because they knew he'd find it to be a goldmine for wisecracks and they'd never hear the end of it. Cue Palmer catching him in the office late at night and accidentally spilling the beans...
- Loved I Not Honor More: He tells his love that while he loves her more than anything, his True Companions were in trouble and he needed to go and help them, even if it meant moving the wedding up to a sooner date (within the hour) and then come back for the honeymoon. She completely understands.
- Megane: Wears glasses and is quite easy on the eyes to boot, as Brenna can attest to.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: His story about spending time in France features a downplayed example: He was trying to tell some French friends of his how his mother used to hunt squirrels when he was a child, but he mixed up the French word for "squirrel" with the word for "shark". ("écureuil" and "requin").
Ducky:(chuckling) "How they must have imagined your strange homeland with your shark-hunting mother."
- Nerds Are Sexy: Agent Lee thought so and so does his wife, Breena.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Every episode if not more than once per episode. See the character quote above. Clearly Jimmy has never heard the adage that "closed mouths gather no feet". It usually leads straight into Digging Himself Deeper. For example, Quinn was feeling very awkward after she had a sex dream about Gibbs so he tried to comfort her by revealing that he had pretty much the same dream ("He knocks on the desk and asks 'Do you know what kind of wood this is' and things get wild!") with a bit too much enthusiasm.
- Passing Judgment: Often on the receiving end. Jimmy's unbelievably terrible with his choice of words. He usually says just one thing that turns out to be highly irreverent and gets a really dirty stare from Gibbs or an appalled look from Ducky, sometimes both at the same time.
- Person as Verb: In a Call-Back, an NSA agent is mentioned as having "pulled a Palmer" in an 11th season episode.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Introduced in season one, appeared in roughly half the episodes per season from then on, got an "Also Starring" credit as of season six, FINALLY into the opening credits in season ten.
- Rank Up: Passed the Medical Examiner's examination at some point in season 14 and didn't tell the others because he didn't want to leave the team. With Ducky on sabbatical, Palmer is (temporarily, at least) in charge of Autopsy. This becomes permanent after Ducky decides to retire from the Chief Medical Examiner role permanently in Season 16.
- Recurring Character: Starting after "Bete Noir", when Ducky is forced to hire a new assistant to replace Gerald as he goes through months of excruciating rehab. Eventually, Palmer sticks as a main cast member.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Palmer has no actual firearms training so it almost results in I Just Shot Marvin in the Face with Ducky in the season 10 episode "Detour". Ducky, whose military training may be decades old, is smart enough to carefully push the gun away from his face and avoid being accidentally shot.
- Retirony: Subverted. One moment, Jimmy's talking with Agent Barrett about his recent engagement. Seconds later, the Port-to-Port Killer is loose and violently kidnapping Jimmy and Barrett. However, Gibbs saves the day, and Jimmy ends up surviving the episode with only a few scratches.
- Stepford Smiler: [[spoiler:As Kasie mentions in "The First Day", he kept a disturbingly cheerful outlook for the past two months to hide just how much he's hurting from Brenna's death. He drops it at the end of the episode luckily.
- That Came Out Wrong: Happens to him a lot, and when he tries to explain, he just looks worse.
- Too Kinky to Torture:
- When he helps Abby solve a problem, Gibbs gives Abby a peck on the cheek and Jimmy a Gibbs slap. He looks just as pleased at this as Abby. Though that might have been because the slap meant that Gibbs considered him part of the team.
- In an earlier episode, Ducky mentions that his attempts to emulate the "Gibbs' Slap" on Palmer were ineffective, as he seemed to enjoy it.
- Palmer himself lampshades this after Gibbs slaps him in "Scope".
Palmer: "Every time he does that, I feel special."
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: He's hardly ugly, but Jimmy definitely falls on the "geeky cute" side of things, whereas his wife Breena is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous.
- The Watson: To Ducky's Holmes.
- The Workaholic: After Breena dies in the COVID-19 pandemic in the one-year time skip between "1mm" and "The First Day", Jimmy starts burying himself in his medical examiner work to distract himself from the loss.
Director Leon Vance
Played By: Rocky Carroll
"Wow. I heard about your techy mojo."
Formerly NCIS' assistant director who oversaw operations on the west coast. He was promoted to agency director in the wake of Jenny Shepard's death. He was initially recruited to the Naval Investigative Servicenote NCIS' predecessor as an expendable deep cover operative who did wet work. He has a rather tough managerial style (shaped by his being a boxer when younger) and often butts heads with Gibbs. He's unusual among the cast for having a happy family life, although that's brought to a tragic end by a drive-by shooting at his house.
- Assassin Outclassin': When McCallister tries to assassinate Vance in hopes of taking his place as Director, Vance stabs him to death despite being in a hospital bed on a ventilator due to injuries he sustained in an earlier assassination attempt.
- Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: He starts out as a very gruff director who will absolutely take no BS, even from Gibbs, but it's revealed that underneath it all; he truly respects the team and will do everything and anything to make sure that they are safe.
- Bad Boss\Benevolent Boss: He has a gruff demeanor and can be absolutely tyrannical at times, especially if the situation is critical, but he truly respects his team and would lay his life down for them.
- Crusading Widower: Starting season 10, as of "Shabbat Shalom".
- Da Chief: He's been the Director of NCIS ever since the end of Season 5.
- Dead Person Impersonation: It's heavily implied in one episode that he is not the real Leon Vance, but an old boxing acquaintance thereof, and that the two switched identities at some point in the past.
- Death Glare: Is one of the few people not intimidated by Gibbs', due to having a pretty epic one of his own. When the two of them get into a Glare Down, everyone else hauls ass out of the room.
- Genius Bruiser: He was once a boxer, but can compete with McGee in knowledge of cryptology.
- Happily Married: Until his wife is murdered.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear in the show until Season 5.
- It's Personal: Twice he has caused an interrogation to get out of hand because someone close to him was murdered and a suspect was in the hot seat.
- Mysterious Past: Not all of it has been explained...yet. We do know he's quite happy to be out of the field.
- Oral Fixation: Chewing on toothpicks.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He won't tolerate his agents breaking the rules outright, but he will actively bend the rules to make sure things go their own way.
- Scary Black Man: He can be absolutely terrifying when he wants to be, which is probably one of the reasons he gets to boss Gibbs around. Taken to severe extremes when he put a fire safety axe through a metal table in the interrogation room to intimidate a teenage suspect who was suspected of killing one of Vance's friends.
- The Uriah Gambit: Vance is revealed to have been originally recruited to NIS in 1991 almost specifically for his expendability. Obviously, it didn't go as planned.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Has this vibe with Gibbs. Despite their animosity, there is a sincere mutual respect—and mutual tragedy of having their wife murdered. Indeed, their friendship develops because of this—Vance seeks his advice, knowing that Gibbs knows exactly what he's going through.
NCIS Historian (and former Medical Examiner) Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard
Played By: David McCallum, Adam Campbell (young Ducky)
"I look forward to weighing your liver."
A proud Scotsman with an expansion pack past. He is Gibbs' long time friend and confidant and has a habit of conducting one-sided conversations with the bodies he's examining.
- Berserk Button:
- In "Seadog", Ducky goes ballistic on a local LEO who contaminates a crime scene so he can get in good with the news reporter on the scene. His merely getting angry means he's mellowed, however, as Gibbs has a story where Ducky pushed a French policeman off a cliffnote there was water at the bottom for the same reason. Later in "Conspiracy Theory" we see him going at a psychiatrist whose poor standards led to one of his patients being murdered. And never forget to show Due to the Dead.
- He also doesn't like it when people are on their phones at the wrong times, or won't put them down long enough to focus on the task at hand.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's probably the most forgiving character on the show and most bad guys dismiss him because of his advanced age. But he knows exactly where to hit someone to knock them out and possesses the expertise to cut a major blood vessel with a single, seemingly innocuous, cut. Watching him calmly use such a cut as a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique is simply chilling.
- Broken Bird: This was name of the episode when we see just a glimpse of his past, where we see that a Torture Technician repeatedly tortured the same innocent man, not for information but to see how many times Ducky would treat the man before Ducky would break in order to get rid of his good influence on the other prisoners.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His tendency to go on long speeches during work is lampshaded by Palmer when he does his first solo dissection.
Palmer: I'm suddenly overcome with the desire to share a story of only a peripherally relevant nature.
Ducky: It's a hazard of the profession, Mr. Palmer.
- Clear My Name: Ducky didn't want to clear it, but Gibbs did.
- Combat Medic: He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was stationed in Afghanistan and Bosnia.
- Commuting on a Bus: Spends a good part of Season 15 on sabbatical to teach forensic medicine and write a book on the subject. Then he spends half of Season 16 on vacation, after which he decides to retire. Then Director Vance gives him a new job as the part-time Agency Historian, so he doesn't necessarily need to appear in every episode even though he's officially back and still part of the team.
- Combat Pragmatist: In S11E01, Ducky took down a random mook with a random bowl, saving Palmer in the process.
Palmer:(being manhandled) CALL SECURITY!!
Ducky:Who needs security?
- Cool Old Guy: Ducky has several stories and trivia to share, and everybody on Team Gibbs admires him as a grandfather-figure.
- Cool Train: Occasionally visible in the background, displayed on a small shelf is a scale model of LNER #4468 "Mallard"
- Ducky is carefully maintaining it in one episode and comments on the relationship between his name and its name.
- Tragic Keepsake: That train was the last Christmas present he ever gave to his half-brother Nicholas, who dropped it when his mother, who had just divorced Ducky's father, took the boy away from his childhood home and moved to Albania.
- The Coroner: The chief medical examiner for NCIS, before passing on the position to Jimmy in Season 16 due to his age.
- Creepy Mortician: A very lovable kind of creepy, but still damn creepy. Gibbs finds it a useful way to break some suspects by showing them what will happen to their bodies if they refuse to cooperate and end up dead as a result. It works too.
- Deadly Doctor: His medical expertise allows him to kick your ass if you push him too far.
- Deadpan Snarker: Like most of the cast, he has his moments. For example, when Gibbs presses him about the cause of death of a diver killed inside a pressure chamber, without access to the body for an examination.
Ducky: Oh, Jethro, please. You can't expect me to determine a cause of death from an instant replay.
Gibbs: Come on, Duck, you got to give me something.
Ducky: All right... I can confidently rule out quicksand.
- Expansion Pack Past: The sheer number of stories he has to tell clearly implies that he's lived a very full life.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Rarely has he ever raised his voice in anger or struck someone. He uses non-physical forms of intimidation.
- Heroes Want Redheads: The very lovely Dr. Jordan Hampton.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He and Gibbs are longtime best friends.
- Honorary Uncle: Honorary Grandfather (or "Grandducky") to Victoria Palmer given how close he is to the elder Palmer.
- Labcoat of Science and Medicine: He is often shown wearing one, complete with a bowtie. He wears blue-green scrubs when performing autopsies and blue coveralls on crime scenes.
- Like a Son to Me: He doesn't say it outright, but is very paternal towards Palmer.
- Long-Lost Relative: His half-brother Nicholas Mallard, whom Ducky thought to have been killed in an accident decades ago, turns out to be alive in the episode "Spinning Wheel" (13x11).
- Major Injury Underreaction: In "Broken Bird", Ducky is suddenly attacked by a knife-wielding woman while examining a body at a crime scene. He dismisses it as "just a defensive wound." His right hand still has the knife impaled in it.
- The Medic: In addition to being the Medical Examiner.
- The Mentor: To Palmer. Officially too.
- The Münchausen: Averted, as it seems to be generally accepted by those who know him that his stories are true.
- My Beloved Smother: His mother had Alzheimer's and drove him crazy in early seasons; she was put in a home shortly after the death of her actress in late 2008 and died a year later during Season 7.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: Originally started out as the team's ME. Then in Season 4 he earned a master's degree in psychology and started getting called-upon to profile suspects. Or to go undercover as an arms dealer, because they needed an older British man on very short notice. After deciding to retire from medical examination, Director Vance arranges for him to get a new part-time position as the agency historian.
- Nice Guy: Probably the nicest guy on the show, or at least tied with Abby.
- Non-Action Guy: Naturally as a medical examiner, he doesn't actively participate in the action. That does not mean that he can't be incredibly terrifying if he needs to be.
- No Sense of Direction: He blames his assistants but he's always the one giving directions.
- Odd Friendship: his friendship with Abby, rare to see a young perky goth woman, and an old British guy getting along so well.
- The One That Got Away: Ducky has had a number of love interests over the years, but the only woman he ever really loved was his childhood friend Maggie, who ended up marrying his best friend Angus instead. The tragedy in all this is that Maggie actually loved Ducky more and followed him upon his departure, but he had already gone by then; she then married Angus, and while they cared for each other, the marriage eventually lost all spark. When Maggie and Ducky meet again years later after Angus' death, they both accept what's happened and move on.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Few people call him "Donald". Inverted in the way he calls everyone else by their full names — "Anthony", "Timothy", "Caitlin", etc.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Ducky wears a four-in-hand tie to work one day and the other characters immediately wonder what's wrong (granted, he was also acting strangely, but the tie was the major cause for concern). Turns out Ducky has found himself a girlfriend named Sophie and she is much younger than him and made him feel self-conscious about his age, and he's tried to find ways to make himself appear younger and reinvent his image. We never get a chance to meet her, however, because come next episode, the romance has fizzled out and Ducky is back to his old self again, deciding that he shouldn't have to change for someone for them to love him.
- Out of Focus: Due to David McCallum voluntarily reducing his role on the show, Ducky starts constantly traveling to attend lectures and the like, then moves into a side office in the NCIS basement to be their historian. Starting from Season 17, he stops being a main character and becomes recurring, going multiple episodes with no appearances.
- Passing the Torch: In "Bears and Cubs", Ducky decides it's time for him to retire and permanently hand the reigns of the Chief Medical Examiner over to Jimmy. While Ducky decides to still stay at NCIS in the next episode, Jimmy still becomes the Chief Medical Examiner while Ducky becomes the part-time Agency Historian.
- Parental Substitute: In "Bears and Cubs", Palmer calls Ducky one of his two father-figures, with the other one being Gibbs.
- The Profiler: Ducky can fish up an enormous amount of information from a victim just by looking at the nature of their wounds and the things found on (or sometimes in) their person.
- Punny Name: With a name like that, what did you think he'd be called, Mousey? Ari first thinks of the locomotive, mildly surprising Ducky. (Ducky actually has a model of the locomotive on display back at his home)
- Quintessential British Gentleman: He is unfailingly polite and charms ladies of all ages.
- Rhymes on a Dime: "Witch Hunt" has this one:
The sky is blue, the grass is green,
May we have our Halloween?
- Shout-Out: Gibbs mentions that when Ducky was younger, he looked like Illya Kuryakin from The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. David McCallum played Illya in the original TV series.
- Shown Their Work: A meta-version. To prepare for the role, David McCallum went to coroner and medical examiner's conferences to learn the trade. He became so good the producers were tempted to pay him a consulting fee.
- So Proud of You: This is Ducky's reaction to finding out that Jimmy passed the ME Exam during the events of "Keep Going".
Jimmy: Dr. Mallard, what are you doing here?
Ducky: Where else would I be? I'm not going to leave you out there all alone... Dr. Palmer.
- Talking to the Dead: He routinely does this with his "patients." Truth in Television: Real Life medical examiners have been known to do this.
Special Agent Nicholas "Nick" Torres
Played by: Wilmer Valderrama
Nick Torres is a Latino-American NCIS Agent who has been doing deep undercover work for the agency prior to his introduction in Season 14's premiere. His undercover assignment during his introduction was to investigate Leo Silva, an Argentine businessmen who has allegedly built a criminal empire in Argentina, as a Buenos Aries police captain, while also befriending Silva's son David and having a relationship with Silva's daughter Elena. However, Silva discovered Nick's true identity, and put out a hit on his sister, Lucia, and her family, resulting in his brother-in-law's death. Nick returns to the United States as a result to help avenge him and work with Team Gibbs to defeat Silva. After Silva is arrested, Nick decides to stay in DC to help his sister and niece out while giving up deep undercover work, which prompts Gibbs to offer him a place on his team.
- Badass Biker: Went undercover in a bike gang. He's still awesome on a bike.
- Berserk Button: He doesn't like anybody who endangers children in any way. According to Palmer, this comes from how he had to go undercover in a child sex-trafficking ring to help take it down during his undercover days.
- The Big Guy: He's the main muscle of the team, making the first drop on the suspects. He's also the least nerdy of the group (sans Gibbs) preferring to leave the analyzing to McGee, Bishop, or Kasie.
- Disappeared Dad: Season 16 "Crossing a Line" During a heart-to-heart with Max, the son of an agent killed in the Navy yard bombing, he reveals that his father abandoned him when he was young.
- Heroic BSoD: Reeves' death has left him in a deep funk.
"I miss my buddy."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is deeply reluctant to go out of his way to help a witness (a former sailor who will be deported to Mexico as soon as he's turned over to FBI) see his mother in Ohio one last time until the witness and Bishop threaten to torture him by singing in the car all the way back to DC. At the house he covers for him ("He's being redeployed" "Where?" "It's... classified"), stays long enough for mom to make dinner and for her son to tell the truth, and even gives him his cellphone back and lets him go make a call by himself without fear he'll run away. Torres explains that meeting the witness' mom "made it personal" — he knows people like him and his mom — and he couldn't not help him.
- The Lost Lenore: He and a childhood friend Sophia were inseparable, and he was convinced that she'd be his wife one day. Then in their senior year of high school, she was diagnosed with cancer.
- Macho Latino: Downplayed. While Nick likes to workout, is a pretty big jock (especially compared to his nerdier coworkers), and would often compete in manliness contests with Reeves before his death, he's also caring about his coworkers and is known to be gentle around children.
- Mr. Fanservice: It's even lampshaded at one point. A young Salvadorean girl that doesn't speak English very well is being targeted, so Torres asks her some questions in Spanish. Her response is to ask him in Spanish, "Why is your shirt so tight?"
- Nerves of Steel: In his introductory episode, he's extremely calm while sitting in a chair with a bomb that will go off if he stands up.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Although Torres managed to pin Silva for a bunch of crimes, he sabotaged Silva's family.
Silva: (to Torres through the interrogation glass) You got me, Torres! Now you ruined my family. You happy now?
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Downplayed. He's quite a bit shorter than the other guys on the team, but he's The Big Guy for a damn good reason.
- Raised Catholic: He mentions that Catholicism was part of his upbringing in "Ephemera".
- Before that, in "Exit Strategy", Torres mentions that he is Catholic.
McGee: (Spots a church sticker) Did you know that it's the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation?
Torres: Congratulations, but I'm Catholic.
- Rogue Agent: Deep cover for 8 years in Argentina.
- Walking Techbane: Not to extreme levels, but his distaste for office work and complicated technology in general put him in conflict with the printers.
Forensic Specialist Kasie Hines
Played by: Diona Reasonover
- Ascended Fanboy: In-universe. Kasie has always been on the up-and-up of the NCIS HQ agents, but especially of Abby. Becoming their next forensic specialist is her dream job.
- Black and Nerdy: Fits this to a "T". One could even claim she's like a female version of Urkel.
- Chekhov's Gunman: She was introduced early in Season 15 for the sake of easing viewers into her character for the eventual departure of Abby, so the transition would not be abrupt and complaints about who took her place would not erupt from the fans. In fact, her introduction serves to set her apart from Abby in that she's not just some xerox of the person she admires most, but a person with her own likable personality and quirks.
- Disappeared Dad: Her father died from a fatal heart attack a couple of months before her debut episode.
- Establishing Character Moment: She has two of them in her debut episode, "One Man's Trash". In the Cold Open of that episode, Kasie turns down an offer of a sandwich Ducky gives her in favor of finishing up that night's work, showing that she has a major work ethic. Secondly, when she meets McGee, Torres, and Bishop, she easily figures out who's who before they can properly introduce themselves from the details Ducky gave her beforehand, and when Gibbs comes into the bullpen she gives him a hug out of excitement at finally meeting him. This demonstrates she's detail-oriented and friendly.
- Extraverted Nerd: She's a skilled forensic scientist and is very friendly.
- Genki Girl: She exudes a lot of energy and presence just like Abby. In fact, she hugs Gibbs when she met him in person for the first time because she's so happy that she finally gets to meet him.
- Irony: Several seasons before her introduction, as past agents left the scene and nerdier ones arrived like McGee and Bishop, Tony joked "the geeks are taking over" and that himself and Gibbs are the only people left who aren't that mold (the original cast). Now NCIS has one if its geekiest agents yet.
- Shrinking Violet: To Abby, initially, because she's too shy to admit a massive girl crush on her and feels very intimidated around her idol.
Former Main Characters
Special Agent in Charge Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Played By: Mark Harmon, Sean Harmon (young Gibbs)
"What have you heard? That suspects would rather confess than be interrogated by him? That his steely gaze can cool a room by five degrees? That he can only be killed by a silver bullet, like a werewolf? Well, it's all true, except the silver bullet part. Might give him indigestion or heartburn, but I don't think it'd kill him. Any other questions?" — Tony
Not to be confused with Ludicrous Gibbs, though he does pull some pretty crazy stunts to get the bad guys.
A former US Marine Scout Sniper, he joined what was then called the Naval Investigative Service shortly after the First Gulf War in the wake of his first wife and daughter's murders. He rose up the ranks to become the Special Agent in Charge of the Major Case Response Team, responsible for investigating Navy and Marine Corps-related crimes in and around Washington DC, and has a rather hands-on approach when it comes to maintaining discipline amongst his subordinates.
He is a master interrogator and there are very few people who are brave/stupid enough to try and resist his death glare.
Also, he is a functional mute.
In season 19, Gibbs retired from NCIS, preferring to stay in Alaska for an indefinite time. He made his final appearance in S19 E4 after 19 seasons.
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Only Gibbs could turn his repeated dope slaps to DiNozzo into this.
- Affectionate Nickname: Jack Sloane calls him "Cowboy" when she's feeling particularly playful.
- Always Gets His Man: Highlighted in Mind Games: The serial killer featured in that episode was the boogeyman of D.C. when he was active, evading metro cops and terrorizing the female populace. When explaining the case to McGee, Tony and Paula Cassidy finished by saying "[He] only made one mistake: He killed a Petty Officer."
- Amnesia Danger: In "Hiatus", a bomb blast knocks Gibbs back to his Marine days. He has critical information that he doesn't remember. Luckily, remembrance is just a Dope Slap away.
- Amicable Exes: Amazingly, Gibbs has managed to retain some level of friendship with all the women who have loved and left him, even when its looks like their relationships have been so badly torpedoed its a wonder they still talk to him. Very noticeable with his first ex-wife Diane, who is witch incarnate and also Fornell's ex (a fact which Gibbs and Fornell love to drive into the ground), but even more so with ex-wife number three, who is arguably Ax-Crazy and torments him on the day of their anniversary by drunk-dialing him so much he's forced to take his phones off the hook and even drown his cell in beer. Similarly, after Diane is killed and he blames himself for her death, he keeps avoiding his old flame Hollis Mann's attempts to be there for him because he doesn't want to put her at risk.
- Anti-Hero: He's one of the best agents NCIS has, and probably ever will have. He's also pragmatic, cynical, will take whatever measures he needs to ensure the safety of his team, and occasionally flies off the handle with unsanctioned work and arguably illegal actions if something truly personal comes up. He'll play his sympathies to those that deserve them, yet drop just about anyone else into hell feet first if they've crossed a line. His tenuous grasp of proper morality and conduct is legendary, but he's too damn good at his job to cut him loose over it.
- Arch-Enemy: Ari Haswari. He was the first major enemy to escape Gibbs, he killed Kate, and even years after his death his various associates keep coming out of the woodwork to torment Gibbs and his team. While Gibbs may have been the one to survive their final confrontation, he's never been able to lay Ari's ghost to rest, and probably never will.
- Basement-Dweller: He spends most of his spare time in his basement working on various carpentry projects, usually boats. As a sign of just how messed up his personal life is, he's all but abandoned the second floor of his house, preferring to sleep on his couch, with the bedrooms being reserved for the occasional guest or if he has a female companion over.
- Batman Gambit: There's more than a few episodes where Gibbs either knows who he's dealing with or specifically manipulates those around him into all the proper positions, sometimes both at the same time, while exploiting his expectations of their personalities and histories to get just about exactly what he desired for an outcome. It gets to the point that when he goes missing to investigate something without informing the rest of the team, they tend to clam up and stonewall others investigating after him - and then accounted for whoever was investigating inevitably succeeding so they'd be his insurance policy or backup anyway.
- Berserk Button:
- Messing with his coffee, wasting his time, or making him put up with someone's fumbling stupidity. Sometimes all three at the same time.
- Another big one is trying to hurt or threaten Gibbs's team, his family, or anyone he knows and loves; do this, and he will hunt you down, as several unlucky criminals learned the hard way. Examples include Pedro Hernandez and his two children, Paloma Reynosa (daughter) and Alejandro Rivera (son).
- Also, getting in his way when he's angry. If you see Gibbs yelling at his team or somebody else, RUN.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Fairly consistent throughout the series.
- He exclusively uses hand tools in his basement workshop. The only exceptions are a single bare bulb and an old timey box-shaped TV set. note Well, two of them. One is in the living room while the other is in the basement.
Fornell: A 4K TV would look great on your wall.
Gibbs: Already got a TV. [cue shot a tv set that looked like it literally came out from the '80s]
Fornell: I'll alert the Smithsonian.
- He once tried to get a USB drive to work by biting it.
- Gibbs still uses a flip phone, even in 2021. Not to mention, he hates modern smartphones, smashing one that McGee gave him after he couldn't get it to work.
- It's hard to keep track of how many cell phones he's destroyed during the run of the series, either because they malfunctioned or just generally annoyed him. One even wound up in a jar of paint thinner. His agents now keep plenty of spares in their desks, ready to hand to him at a moment's notice. When the stash ran out, the tech department went crazy.note For the record, said phones are flip phones.
- He also refers to computer chips and the like with terms such as "doo-da" and "deweywhacker."
- When a Roomba vacuum cleaner was about to suck up some of the evidence from a crime scene, he didn't even bother picking it up or trying to turn it off. He stomped it to pieces.
- And he is not familiar with the Internet slang. At one point, he had no idea what the word "meme" means note No, really, we're not making this up. In a different episode, he asked, "What the hell's an e-vite?", and in another, "What's a hashtag?". And in one season 16 episode, he said "Chappysnat" when he meant Snapchat.
- Kudos to Abby, when she starts talking excitingly about #LivingRocks. And guess what Gibbs said? "#GetToThePoint"...and he even said "hashtag" correctly. Well played, Gibbs.
- At one point, Fornell tried (and failed) to contact Gibbs via Snapchat. Apparently, Gibbs doesnt have any social media accounts, nor is he really familiar with social media in general. He doesn't even understand the concept of it.
- Gibbs seems to barely understand the concept of the Internet, and isn't really familiar with websites or how they function. At one point, Bishop asks Gibbs "You know what Amazonnote the website is, right, Gibbs?". His response? "Yeah, the big one", thinking she meant the rainforest in South America.
- Weirdly, he has e-mail. Most of the team questions this since Gibbs has not kept up with the modern technology. Though It's fairly obvious he barely uses it and he seemingly phased out using email.
- Being born in the 1950s, before cell phones, social media, and the widespread existence of computers, probably makes it harder for him to understand modern technology. Although some people (like Fornell) his age or at least *close* to his age is tech-savvy.
- He does own a laptop......from the 1990s and it seems he barely uses it.
- At one point, in one S17 episode, Phineas gave him a modern-day laptop so Gibbs can communicate with Phineas. Let's just say he seemingly barely using it and probably stashed it somewhere at his house.
- At one point, Phil (one of Gibbs's friends besides Tobias) give Gibbs an iPhone so he can help Gibbs get into online dating. And yes, in a typical Gibbs way, Gibbs throws a iPhone into a fireplace.
- He even mixed social media names up like "Instachat" or "Facegram".
- He is very tempted to dispose of a tablet that Kasie and Ducky purchase for him in his fireplace, since he's absolutely confused about how to use the videochat settings.
- He exclusively uses hand tools in his basement workshop. The only exceptions are a single bare bulb and an old timey box-shaped TV set. note Well, two of them. One is in the living room while the other is in the basement.
- Broken Bird: He has never fully recovered from the murder of his wife and child. Three ex-wives and dozens of girlfriends that didn't go anywhere are what remains of his love life.
- Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: He's starting to develop this dynamic with Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane, the Navy Yard's forensic psychologist. Jack has her own demonsto contend with, which is probably why she can coax him out of his dark moods — she understands his pain, and he knows she understands it. Her warmth, understanding, and lack of judgment help him open up to her when he wouldn't with anyone else.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In a more dramatic than comedic fashion. He has some serious quirks that if not for the fact he gets the bad guys and never gives anything but his best, he wouldn't be employed. For instance, in early seasons, he once interrogated some people by talking with them in autopsy as Ducky was working on their alleged victim. It's acknowledged that except for his impatience for dealing with politics, he could be the Director.
- Byronic Hero: He's troubled and broody, but still definitely a hero.
- Cartwright Curse: With his first wife Shannon, Jenny Shepard, second wife Diane Sterling, and fiancée Ellen Wallace.
- Even women he's merely attracted to aren't safe—Kate, possibly Lara Macy (their interactions in the Back Door Pilot for NCIS: Los Angeles heavily imply a prior relationship or some strong feelings at the very least), and flashbacks to his basic training days show that he had a crush on a female recruit who was killed in action before he ever got a chance to tell her how he felt. Even though it never went beyond flirtation, he clearly felt enough to be devastated by her death as well and to still remember her years later, indicating that she is the first example of this trope for him, rather than Shannon.
- Catchphrase: "Ya think?", "What's the point, McGee?", "Yeah, Gibbs" (default phone answer), and "That's a good question, [Character]. Why don't you find me an answer?", "Grab your gear.", "Got a dead [insert military position here].", "Talk to me, Abbs.", "Is that a fact, _______?"
- Abby once boiled down Gibbs' catchphrases into a remote that played them back on cue. She, of course, affectionately gave it to Gibbs, who got a kick out of it.
- Character Development: He eventually starts to open up after all of the losses he witnessed over the years, becoming more comfortable with talking to people on a personal level; even going as far as to talk to McGee in the Season 17 finale about the horrors he witnessed during Desert Storm. He also starts to loosen up quite a bit, not quite losing his stoicism per say, but becoming more accustomed to showing more emotion other than deadpan annoyance.
- Chest of Medals: Played With. He's badass enough to have earned numerous medals and citations to be this if he wanted but he doesn't care for medals. Tony keeps track of his accomplishments. He even gave away his Silver Star which is the second highest honour that a US serviceman can get for valour in the face of the enemy.
- Cold Sniper: Marine sniper previous to his current employment. And as many episodes show, he can still be just as deadly despite his vision and age.
- Cool Old Guy: He's up there in age, but he's still kicking ass like there's no tomorrow. Then there's the fact that he's still able to snipe people despite his age and his vision problems.
- The Comically Serious: On-the-job Gibbs has no time for anyone's BS. Ever. Off-the-job Gibbs is as mellow and affable as can be and even willing to engage in some joking around... but he still doesn't care for really stupid antics.
- Cowboy Cop: But he always gets away with it. He's Gibbs. And "he only uses his powers for good".
- Crazy-Prepared: As shown in the blackout, he has a kit with three polaroid cameras, Band-Aids, food, and clean socks.
- Crusading Widower:
- He didn't rest until he hunted down and killed the man who slaughtered his first wife and their eight-year-old daughter. Actually, he didn't rest after that either.
- He went pretty ballistic when Jenny and Diane were killed too, despite his relationships with them having long since ended.
- He's also determined to be involved in the investigation of his late fiancée's murder, despite how inappropriate it would be, plus the fact that he's briefly a suspect.
- Cutting the Knot: Due to his ever-present lack of patience and no nonsense personality, Gibbs always takes the shortest path to an answer even if nobody has managed to give him one- after which Gibbs complains for the others taking too long, leading to much friction. He also does things that would be undesirable outcomes to others, like smashing stuff to stop it from malfunctioning, although sometimes this approach is infinitely more effective in a life-or-death situation.
- Dark Secret:
- Gibbs murdered Pedro Hernandez, the man responsible for the death of Gibbs' first wife and daughter, by sniping the killer from a dune as he drove through the badlands in a truck- something that, if revealed, would instantly spell the end of his career at NCIS and cause an enormous scandal. When Ducky remarks that the bullet ricocheted in Pedro's skull after exhuming him, Gibbs is visibly haunted- though the body of the man he killed being presented in front of him for the first time is enough to do that on its own.
- Deadpan Snarker: More than half of what he says is pure snark.
- Death Glare: Has one that is very effective in breaking a suspect or stopping Tony when he was being an idiot. This is his default look when his buttons are pressed.
- Dented Iron: Severely wounded during Desert Storm (permanently damaging his eyesight). Later caught in an explosion that caused temporary memory loss. In addition, he's been shot and stabbed several times and nearly drowned once, but recovered no worse for wear. His shooting in the Season 12 finale resulted in some permanent damage, though. His knee was obliterated (necessitating replacement surgery) and he admits, in a rare show of vulnerability, that he's experiencing chronic pain.
- Determinator: Few things will stop him from getting Justice for those harmed. He will even break some laws if need be.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": Largely because he was enlisted, not a commissioned officer. In one notable instance, Abby called him "ma'am" in response, with him showing an amused reaction.
- Dope Slap: Aka the "Gibbs Slap" done to all of his agents, but to Tony the most. He's even self-inflicted when he knew he was doing something he'd slap any of his agents for. The only people he never, ever slaps are Abby or Ducky.
- Drives Like Crazy: When Gibbs needs to get to an investigation ASAP, he weaves in and out of traffic like a bat out of Hell. Kate at one point describes his driving as "Apparently Gibbs is trying to kill us." He's also the only one on the team unfazed by the motoring antics of Ziva, another crazy driver.
- Embarrassing First Name: Though it's never stated that he's embarrassed by it, no one except his parents, residents of his hometown, or his ex-wives call him 'Leroy'.
- Experienced Protagonist: Gibbs has been an agent for over a decade as of the pilot, and was a Marine sniper before that.
- Facial Dialogue: Gibbs can hold entire conversations with squints, glares, smirks, and Gibbs slaps.
- Fair Cop: Even in his 60s he's still quite attractive.
- A Father to His Men:
- Ziva directly calls him "the closest thing she has to a father". (Note that her father is very much alive—or, at least, he was at the time.)
- Later, he explicitly refers to his team as his "kids."
- For a wedding gift, he gives McGee the watch his father gave him on his wedding day.
- Friend to All Children: Probably has something to do with Kelly. If there's a child involved, he will take the case very seriously. His Establishing Character Moment from "Ice Queen" saw him comforting a Cub Scout who happened upon a corpse and giving him his NCIS hat and telling him he could come visit their headquarters sometime with his friends.
- Guile Hero: Just as guile as a Magnificent Bastard is magnificent.
- Gut Feeling: It's legendary. Some fans consider his gut an extra character. His gut has Memetic Badass status in-universe.
- The Hero: The main character who does everything in his power to get his man.
- Has a Type: Redheaded women.
- Hates Small Talk: Functional mute, remember?
- Heroes Want Redheads: His four past wives, and Jenny Shepard (who the two had a past relationship) are all redheads. Even Hollis Mann is a very reddish shade of strawberry blonde.
- When Tony learns about Gibbs flirting with a suspect, his immediate response is "Is she a redhead?" She is.
- He asks M. Allison Hart if she ever used to be a redhead, apparently bewildered by his attraction to her, given that she's a brunette.
- There might be a Freudian Excuse for this—in "Life Before His Eyes", we see that his beloved mother was also a redhead.
- Averted with CGIS Agent Abigail Borin. Despite a genuine mutual respect and their virtually identical personalities, there's no hint of an attraction. Even the team fails to note that she's a redhead when debating the possibility of fixing the two up.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ducky.
- Hidden Depths: He apparently plays racquetball and wanted to be a painter when he was younger (wanting to specialize in watercolors). "Beastmaster" reveals that he likes horses (treating them with the same gentleness that he does with kids) and knows a lot about them.
- History Repeats: Just like protagonist Harmon Rabb from parent series JAG, Gibbs possesses some form of visual impairment. However, unlike Harm, Gibbs's condition is caused by injuries and irreversible, while Harm's was just a defect that developed with age and was later corrected through laser surgery.
- Honorary Uncle: To Fornell's daughter (who calls him Uncle Gibbs) by their mutual ex-wife. Also with Mike Franks' half-Arab granddaughter (who is also his goddaughter).
- Hopeless with Tech: Gibbs is so bad with technology he defaults to really abusive solutions like they're the only way of fixing it. Ironically enough, 20 years ago Gibbs went undercover as a computer technician. The team finds this hilarious when they find out. (Of course, that was when MS-DOS was the standard for computers. He hasn't kept himself caught up since.)
- Keep in mind that Gibbs still uses a old Motorola flip phone, which somehow still have service, and not even once did he upgrade to a newer touchscreen smartphone.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Not always, but employed whenever he gives a Death Glare.
- Informed Flaw: The injury that damaged his eyesight did nothing to impair his shooting skills, including sniping a terrorist through a window from a mile away.
- It's Personal: He has a tendency to do this. As said, anything involving children (or otherwise reminding him of Shannon and Kelly) automatically becomes this. Hurting anyone from his team also pushes him to this point. But every criminal that is disgusting enough to him can trigger this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he can be quite rude towards his teammates and others, for the most part his "heart of gold" aspect far outweighs his "jerk" aspect.
- Knight in Shining Armor: To the women in his team, especially Abby.
- Last-Name Basis: To everyone under his direct supervision, who are basically intimidated into calling him by last name, and Leon, whom Gibbs likewise calls Director (unless they're engaging in personal conversations). The only people to break this trend are his late wife Shannon, his late father, who obviously called his son by his first name, Ducky and Director Shepherd, who prefer to use Gibbs's middle name, and his late mentor Mike, who affectionately called him "Probie." Some military personnel have also referred to Gibbs as "Gunny", referencing his military rank.
- Layman's Terms: Does this at least once an episode, mostly to Abby, Ducky and McGee. Abby uses a lot of scientific and medical terms and takes a while to get to the meat of a conversation because she loves theatrics and retorts that she needs a big windup to get to the point or else Gibbs would be bored, Ducky has a habit of going off on tangents with reminisces, and McGee's IT jargon goes right over Gibbs' old-fashioned head.
- The Leader: Of the Major Response Team.
- Living Legend: He's one of the most famous agents in all of law enforcement, and many criminals have referred to him as some version of "the legendary Leeroy Jethro Gibbs."
- Married to the Job: Particularly in early seasons. The job is pretty clearly a substitute for his late first wife and daughter, and he pursues it doggedly and near-obsessively. He expects the same of his team.
- Unfortunately, this killed marriage number four, when he became viciously obsessed with catching a serial killer and alienated his then-wife sometime around 1995, and the marriage finally went kaput in 2001 when Gibbs was negotiating with his wife and a divorce lawyer right around the time he recruited Tony to the team. Gibbs hasn't been married for real in nearly twenty years since.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe. Whenever The Team sets up an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, they give him the edge.
- Military Maverick: He has a slew of incident reports under his belt and came under investigation in later seasons.
- Must Have Caffeine: In the form of coffee.
- Never My Fault: Completely averted. Whenever he screws up, he takes full responsibility and never tries to pin it on his subordinates.
- Noodle Incident: Nothing was known about his second ex-wife until halfway through season twelve. Nor that he had yet another fiancée until towards the end of season sixteen.
- Old Soldier: Specifically, an old marine. He's well into his 60's and still going strong.
- One True Love: His first wife, Shannon, whose death he has never managed to fully move on from. According to his first ex-wife, Diane, Gibbs still loved Shannon when they were together, and will only ever really love her for the rest of his life. Judging by the string of failed marriages and relationships he's had throughout the course of the show and prior, she's probably right.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His daughter died along with his first wife. Unfortunately, Pedro Hernandez shot an NCIS agent driving a car they were in. When the agent was killed, the car went out of control, wiped out, and the resulting wreck killed Shannon and Kelly.
- Papa Wolf:
- Do not endanger "his kids", especially Abby. Being older than them just means you have to fatherly fury in addition to a boss' fury.
Abby: (telling Gibbs why she didn't tell him about an ex she got a restraining order on) "I wanted him restrained, Gibbs, not beaten to a bloody pulp."
- He extends these tendencies in the episode "Requiem" to his deceased daughter's now grown friend Maddie. Twice he's asked if he's her father. He shrugs it off. But ultimately, it's evident he views her in the same light as the rest of his team...as family.
- Parental Substitute: In "Bears and Cubs", Palmer calls Gibbs one of his two father-figures, with the other one being Ducky.
- Percussive Maintenance: Among his favorite solutions for electronics that piss him off are drowning them in booze, smacking things that won't turn on until they break (he once suggested this as a way to deal with an ornery PDA), and shooting computers.
- Perp Sweating: A master of interrogation.
- Phrase Catcher: "On it, Boss."
- Put on a Bus: In season 19, now unsure what he wants in his life, Gibbs decides to leave NCIS to travel the world in search of adventure.
- The Quiet One: Remarkably reticent for the lead character of a TV show. There are entire scenes where he doesn't say a word but is clearly in control and directing the conversation through facial expressions alone.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: He earned a Silver Star when he was with the Corps.
- Right Behind Me: Tends to evoke this reaction from his agents. Season 13 reveals he's made a habit out of eavesdropping on the skylight reverberations in the main office, which lets him pop in on their conversations already informed.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
- His reaction to Ari murdering Kate was to kill the bastard and stop at nothing less than that. Eventually, he decided killing him was less satisfying than watching him be killed and allowed Ziva to take him out.
- Gibbs blatantly committed an act of cold-blooded murder by taking out Pedro Hernandez. Then, he left behind his spent shell casing as a message to those who were close to him. Gibbs paid a steep price for that crime much later, and he deeply regrets what he's done, and how badly it hurt Abby when she found out about it.
- When Sergei Mishnev murders Diane, Gibbs proceeds to shoot several of his mooks and dishes out a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Sergei himself — which only ends when one more mook shows up and KO's Gibbs from behind.
- Abby herself being severely wounded on the onset of leaving the NCIS teams, and Clayton being killed protecting her. Gibbs is past devastated and angry, simply broken and forlorn. This is not the typical reaction he has when a loved one gets hurt. This one sent him over the edge... and God knows what fury is coming afterward. He destroys a door trying to go after the hitman who shot them, but doesn't get to unload on him because the man has been killed for failing to take out his target and so the mastermind can make a clean escape by getting rid of his loose ends. In trying to pinpoint the mastermind, Gibbs goes off to interrogate Alejandro and coldly and menacingly threatens to kill him if he finds any connection to the hit on his team. The team later discovers the culprit is, Robert King, who has escaped prison. Gibbs' restrained anger finally surfaces when Robert King is captured again, and he lets Abby pay him back by screwing with his head and making him think he's been poisoned, allowing revenge to be served cold again as King panics and the other agents surround him once again. But then King pushes his buttons when he taunts Gibbs that he'll be back. Gibbs doesn't even humor him with conversation and knocks the shit out of him on the spot.
- Rule #1:
- "Never let suspects stay together," or maybe it's "Never screw over your partner." There's a lot more "Gibbs Rules". The ones shown tend to be consistent: Never let suspects stay together, Never go anywhere without a knife, Never involve lawyers, Never get personally involved, Never screw over your partner. Rule 44 was sent to Mike Franks to get him away from his house before he was attacked. We only see 15 out of 51 rules for the most part.
- Tony mentions that any situation that requires Gibbs to invoke any rule in the 40s is serious business. The forties are emergency rules, and Abby reacts to them with strong distress when she hears they are in play, because it almost always means Gibbs is knee-deep in a life-threatening situation.
- There were originally 50 rules, but Shannon snuck an additional one in prior to her death. Rule 51: "Sometimes, you're wrong."
- The list of 51 expanded with the years after Shannon and Kelly's demise, and the true number may be poking near the hundreds.
- He later adds a ninety-first rule at the end of season 18: "If you decide to leave, don't look back."
- Semper Fi: And Gibbs always remembers it.
"There's no such thing as 'ex-Marine'."
- Sergeant Rock: Gibbs is a retired gunnery sergeant but still displays characteristics associated with the trope; He's stern but treats his men with respect and is willing to die for them. In turn, his men return the favor.
- Serial Spouse: A part of his background is that he went through three short-lived marriages and three messy divorces (getting cleaned out each time). This is later explained as his attempts to fill the hole left behind by the loss of Shannon and Kelly and that there is no one alive who can come close to making him feel the way they did.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Gibbs can be cold and ruthless with his team, especially when they're working on dangerous cases, and they know better than to push him, but for all his standoffishness, he genuinely cares about his team and always goes into Papa Wolf mode whenever any of them are in danger.
- Sympathetic Murder Backstory: He killed the killer of his first wife and daughter.
- Team Dad: To most of his agentsnote Sloane is the exception; he cares just as much for her, but she is much more his equal, but especially to Abby, she's more or less the Daddy's Girl of the NCIS family.
- Technologically Blind Elders: It's a Running Gag that he doesn't know how the digital gadgets work.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Took a little longer than most but he had one.
- Terse Talker: Outside of the interrogation room, Gibbs's sentences generally don't exceed ten words. Very much enforced, and the result of a lot of bottled lamentations. Gibbs is a man of few words, and once the man enters the room, he makes everyone present knock off their idle chatter and give him clear and simple information. Occasionally, he will speak at length, but only very rarely- or when in the presence of a family member or someone he grew up with. This is because Mark Harmon didn't care for a lot of the lines Gibbs was given and started paring them down, causing the writers to start hedge-trimming his dialogue.
- Ultimate Job Security: The man is a maverick and doesn't have the patience to play nice when it would be prudent to do so, but he gets results, meaning that his job is safe.
- Vance and Gibbs become friends of a sort, and Vance knows that Gibbs has the unaltered copy of Vance's personnel file - even if he's never opened it. Yet. Gibbs has yet again armor-plated his job security in adamantium.
- When Gibbs "retired" at the end of season 3, it later was revealed that Director Shepard had "neglected" to file his retirement. His job security is so great he can't quit even if he wants to!
- It has been implied on occasion that before Vance, and possibly even during Vance's tenure, Gibbs would be Director if he ever decided he wanted the job; the sheer havoc he could cause if denied means only a fool would try to stop him. It has been implied more than once that Gibbs knows how to deal with politics and how to act as a proper Director. He just doesn't care to do so. The one time Gibbs acted as Director while Jenny was away, we found out he doesn't have the patience for the politics.
Director Shepard: Jethro's a great field agent, a great team leader, and he deals more efficiently with difficult politicians than I do.
Captain Todd Gelfand: Then why isn't he the...
Director Shepard: He shoots them.
- May be running thin as of season 18, where he's indefinitely suspended for assaulting an animal abuser.
- Tsundere: Type A. He's usually harsh and imperious but has a softer side.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: invoked The team has had discussions pitting Gibbs vs. the likes of The Terminator, Godzilla, Mothra, and himself. They tend to give the edge to Gibbs.
- The Unapologetic: As per Rule #6: "Never say you're sorry. It's a sign of weakness."
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- Has this vibe with Vance. Despite their animosity, there is a sincere mutual respect—and mutual tragedy of having their wives murdered. Indeed, their friendship develops because of this—Vance seeks his advice, knowing that Gibbs knows exactly what he's going through.
- With Jack Sloane, the Navy Yard's forensic psychologist. He avoids discussing his emotions as a matter of course, whereas her entire job is to get people to discuss theirs; this unsurprisingly leads to them butting heads on a fairly regular basis. But as an Army veteran and former prisoner-of-war and longtime NCIS agent, she understands him in ways very few people ever will, and he is often seen turning to her when he's troubled because he knows she'll always tell him exactly what she thinks and won't break his confidence with anyone.
- Working with the Ex:
- Once had to deal with one of his ex-wives, his ex-lover, and his current lover at the same time. All he could do was awkwardly stand there as the three women took pot shots at him.
- Diane, the ex-wife he shares with Fornell, has become a recurring character. Most of Diane's venom is directed at Fornell, though, so Gibbs is free to silently snark as they argue. Any episode that features Diane is titled "Devil's Tri-". Until the events of Season 12, where Diane is murdered.
Special Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd
Played By: Sasha Alexander
"Hack into the servers. I can't believe I just said that. I would have never suggested that before I started working here."
- Foreshadowing: In the fake-out dream sequence Gibbs has in the Season 1 finale, "Reverie", she's shown in autopsy with a bullet hole in her forehead, with a pallid complexion and her eyes coagulated over from death. The person who dies in that episode is an entirely different woman, but Gibbs's dream turns out to be providential come next season...
- Former Teen Rebel: DiNozzo finds out that when she was a university student, she once engaged in (and won) a wet T-shirt contest. This also falls under Blatant Lies since she lied to Tony about what she did during Spring Break.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted in her last episode where she jumps in the way of a bullet meant for Gibbs... only to be saved by her bulletproof vest. When she does die, she gets unceremoniously sniped in the head.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Her Fatal Flaw, literally; she thinks she is a good one but has helped more than one murderous psychopath because they looked sympathetic. One almost kills her, then Ari actually does.
- She's right more often than wrong, so this is a played with trope.
- I'm Going to Hell for This: In the episode where the victim and attacker were on the same "dating" site.
Abby: Care to guess what their fetish was, Kate?
Kate: Oh, no. I'm going to hell just listening to all this.
- Intimate Marks: Never seen or described but apparently Abby talked her into getting a tattoo on her butt.
- Mood Whiplash: Causes two cases back to back in the Season 2 finale when she takes a bullet for Gibbs only to reveal she was wearing a bullet-proof vest only to then immediately get shot in the head.
- Ms. Fanservice: A major subplot in "Conspiracy Theory" revolved around Tony finding a (real) picture of her in a wet T-shirt contest and using it as blackmail material.
- Not So Different: There are several moments where she just as much like Tony as she claims she isn't. Usually involving McGee, going so far as to agree with Tony that they have no respect for him and casually breaking into his apartment to "see him in natural environment". After apparently taking bets about what kind of underwear he uses.
- Only Sane Woman: She felt like this at times with Gibbs and Tony at the beginning.
- Out of Job, Into the Plot: Was recruited by Gibbs after having to quit Secret Service for defying orders.
- Posthumous Character: As Ducky is autopsying her, he has an actual internalized conversation with her with her joking about being dead.
- Really Gets Around: In the pilot episode, she "got to know" people on the job by sleeping with them. It took a dark turn when two of those people died of poisoning. She believed it was the only time on the job you could get to know someone, asking Gibbs if he knew any other way. Gibbs's answer was a very curt "Church". She was actually forced to resign from Secret Service due to breaking the rules by shagging the agents (no fraternization policy). She kept everyone in the dark about it and no one tattled on her. The truth came to light when NCIS investigated the murders on Air Force One.
- Sacrificial Lion: The very first main character to be killed off, and her sudden death firmly establishes the Anyone Can Die aspect of the series.
- Two First Names: Applies to her actress too.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Gibbs. It was never resolved after her death, but they had extreme chemistry throughout the first two seasons of the show.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Posthumously, her "spirit" torments Gibbs, who is guilt-ridden over the kill shot.
"I already took one bullet, Gibbs... why'd I have to go and taketwo!?!"
Special Agent Ziva David
Played By: Cote de Pablo
"Have you ever been tied up by a woman before? Did you like it? Then today's not your lucky day."
- Accidental Misnaming: As a trainee NCIS agent, Tony had started calling her "Probie". Gibbs had called her "Probie" on at least 2 occasions.
- Action Girl: Ziva is (ex-)Mossad. Early on in her tenure at NCIS, she is not allowed to participate in taking down suspects. Another woman comments on the presumed chauvinism of this. Ziva replies that Gibbs is actually afraid she'll kill the suspect by mistake. Then it happened. Several times. First Once when chasing an overweight suspect who has a heart attack when climbing some stairs. She's chastised despite it not being her fault, but mostly out of frustration at losing a lead and it doesn't last the scene.Second And again, much more serious, when she punches an obnoxious suspect in the neck, causing him to drop dead despite her insisting that she does know her own strength and couldn't have killed him. Ducky finds a blood clot in his brain that could have been released and gotten lodged there by the punch, but ultimately rules Natural Causes.Third Ilan Bodnar, but whether that was accidental is debatable.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Ziva is a tall, beautiful woman who is a definite Ice Queen to her teammates. McGee's novel even describer her (well, her Expy anyway) as "emotionally distant". She mellowed down considerably to the rest of the team by Season 7.
- Ambiguously Bi: Ziva enjoys dropping casual hints to Tony that she likes girls as well. So far she's only been seen with male lovers though. Mostly played for laughs or titillation.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: For Kate. Compared to her, Ziva has a harsh upbringing and is more willing to get her hands dirty.
- Assassin Outclassin': Her ability to effectively and efficiently deal with attackers means that she will probably live to a ripe old age. Or at least that seemed to be the case...
- Badass Israeli: Former Mossad operative. 'Nuff said.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Routinely averted. Many viewers were surprised, however, when she was seen in a back-less dress a few seasons after her months-long captivity and torture in Somalia, with no overt scarring on her back. This is to an extent Truth in Television, as most forms of torture do not leave extensive, obvious scars.
- Becoming the Mask: It is suspected by Leon Vance at the end of season 6 and confirmed by Ziva in early season 7 that she was ordered by her father to kill Ari in order to gain Gibbs' trust and spy on the team. By the end of season 3, her crying over Gibbs' life threatening condition shows she has become closer to her targets than a cold assassin ought to be.
- From "Broken Arrow"
Chase: Does Agent David carry a weapon?
Gibbs: She is a weapon.
- From "Broken Arrow"
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Tony.
- Berserk Button: A couple, but God help you if you hurt Tony.
- The Big Guy: Neither big nor a guy, but unquestionably the best fighter in the main cast.
- Bookends: In Ziva's debut episode, the first character she meets is Tony. In Ziva's final episode, the last character she interacts with is Tony.
- Broken Bird: Considering she was held captive in Somalia and tortured for months, she covered it extremely well. In the season 11 opener, she finds that she no longer can, and this leads to her leaving NCIS for good.
- In season 16, it's implied that covering her past trauma and the events from season 11 to then took a toll on her— she's suffering from and taking pills for chronic anxiety, and much more closed off from even NCIS.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: A Running Gag is her regularly messing up American figures of speech.
"American idioms are driving me up the hall."
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In her own, unique way, just like the rest of the team.
- The Bus Came Back: Makes a surprise return in the Season 16 finale to tell Gibbs he's in danger.
- Clear My Name: The first episode of season 4 dealt with this issue.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: Her reappearance in the Season 16 finale has her telling Gibbs he's in danger and there are no time for pleasantries. Sure enough, the Season 17 premiere shows Gibbs' basement getting riddled with bullets less than a minute later.
- The Comically Serious: Her sternness and her lack of grasp on western pop culture has been used as a Running Gag in the series.
- Conflicting Loyalty: As of the end of season 6, she is torn between her loyalty to Mossad and her father, and Gibbs and NCIS. She picked Mossad and ended up caught by a terrorist and tortured to be saved by Gibbs and the team. In retrospect, she realizes she made the wrong choice, and decides to stay in the United States from then on and becomes a US Citizen so she can become a bonafide NCIS agent.
- Dead Guy Junior: Names her daughter after her late sister, Tali.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has her moments.
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: She's not allowed to interrogate suspects because Gibbs thinks she might kill them by mistake.
- Drives Like Crazy:
- Director Shepard once said of her, "I think she was an Eastern European cab driver in a past life."
Vance: Most fathers teach their daughters to drive. I have you to blame for this?
Eli David: This she learned from her mother.
Ziva: I was barely going over the limit!
McGee: (Reads the ticket) It says you were doing 80 in a 40.
Ziva: Not the entire time.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Three seasons after she left the show, she's killed off screen and the team finds out about through a breaking news bulletin. Subverted as of "She" which reveals that she survived.
- Extreme Mêlée Revenge: How Ilan Bodnar bites it.
- Fake Guest Star: In season 3, she appeared in all episodes except "Mind Games"; de Pablo was credited as a guest star in her first two episodes.
- Faking the Dead: Season 16 reveals that her supposed death in Season 13 is just staged.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Averted. While very much the manly Action Hero, she can cook quite well. According to Abby in the episode "Caged", "Her cooking rocks!"
- Fire-Forged Friends: With the exception of Abby, Ziva truly became close to the team after enduring some difficult investigations.
- Funny Foreigner: Downplayed. She's serious except for her tendency to butcher English-language quotes or figures of speech.
- Good Is Not Soft: While she's compassionate and honorable towards her friends and crime victims, she has no mercy towards terrorists, murderers and other such people, and has implied she is not above using a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique to get information or revenge.
- Heroic BSoD: The final straw is an attempt on her life by a terrorist cell that drives her off the grid. This leads to her departure from NCIS in the Season 11 opener.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear in the show until Season 3, but is significantly more well-known and popular than her predecessor, Kate.
- I Have No Son!: I have no father in this case. It gets to the point of changing nations just to give him a Take That!.
- Informed Judaism: Always wears a Star of David pendant, but her Judaism usually only comes up in times of crisis (such as when she visits a synagogue in distress or performs Jewish death rites after a death).
- Though considering her former profession as a Mossad operative, strict adherence to almost any religion would be tough. Pointedly, she has on occasion turned down food allegedly because it's not kosher, but she has no problem with pepperoni pizza.
- Improbable Age: Ziva David is less Improbable Age and more Impossible Age. She joins the show in her early twenties, supposedly after she's graduated high school, served her two years in the IDF, attended college, applied for Mossad, become immediately tapped for inclusion into an elite and highly competitive special operations unit with a training period of several years, and still have enough time to become "an experienced agent" with multiple missions under her belt. And this is at a age the youngest CIA intelligence officers would be beginning training. (It's worth pointing out, however, that she is the daughter of the Director of Mossad, and it is heavily implied that she was all but raised from the cradle to be a Mossad operative.)
- Notably, her age is never stated within the series, and the idea that she joined the show in her early twenties is derived from a prop paper in one episode that, when zoomed in upon, shows that she was born on November 12, 1982. So the actual timeline of her life is a bit more murky.
- Ironic Death: She lost her sister to a suicide bombing. She herself got murdered in an explosion. Supposedly. Season 16 reveals she's alive.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": As she has pointed out, her last name is pronounced "Dah-VEED," not "David."
- Kill the Ones You Love: Ziva is forced to do this to her half-brother Ari.
- Knife Nut: Ziva is one of the few people in the world who can kill you reliably with a thrown knife. She has demonstrated this.
- My Nayme Is: "David" has the earlier pronunciation (just as it appears, and as an iamb), rather than the Anglicized, trochaic "Dei-vid."
- Never Found the Body: Inverted in that they did find a body, and it was identified as her, but other characters, Tony included, make it clear they're not completely convinced and there's a few hints that it isn't her body. When Tony leaves to take care of his and Ziva's daughter, it is strongly implied his departure is also for the purpose of independently investigating her death. Season 16 reveals she's alive and well, meaning the body found really wasn't hers. And then she shows up in the flesh in the Season Finale.
- New Meat: Although she was attached to NCIS for several years and was essentially an equal to Tony, she had to start at the bottom when she formally joined the agency as a probie. Tony and McGee gleefully give her all the paperwork and Gibbs adds to the pile. From then on, she's seen being occasionally frustrated because she goes from being somewhat senior to being the most junior member of the team (even becoming subordinate to McGee, whom she used to boss around) and has to go through the hazing process all probies go through.
- Nice Hat: Her Tragic Keepsake is an Orange Cap.
- One of the Boys: She likes to hang around men in a nonromantic wolf-in-the-pack sort of way and she takes great pride in her skill at manly things.
- Omniglot: She speaks at least nine languages, including the language of love.
- Photographic Memory: Very useful in her line of work as agents who don't develop this tend not to last long in Mossad.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Immediately after joining The Team.
- Put on a Bus: Cote de Pablo left the series after season 10, unable to come to terms with her contract. Ziva, emotionally torn up by the attempt on her life, decided to leave NCIS and stay in Israel off the grid. Her life comes to an end, offscreen, in "Family First".Supposedly. Season 16 reveals she survived and used the attempt on her life as a way to go further off the grid.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Woman in this case, thanks to her upbringing.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Sgainst Ilan Bodnar, and unsubtly enough to draw attention from the CIA. And roped McGee into helping, behind Tony's and Gibbs' backs. But in the end, she gets him in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Scrabble Babble: Averted one time she played McGee in Scrabble. With the last Q at a corner of two Is, she makes Qi twice, read 'Chi'.
- Someone to Remember Him By: The Season 13 finale reveals that Ziva became pregnant by Tony at the beginning of Season 11 (when she was written out) and subsequently gave birth to a daughter. This bombshell is dropped after Ziva's supposed death.
- Stuffed in the Fridge: Blown up in her sleep in a missile strike. For a while it seemed she got out of it... then it was implied that whatever was left of her got unearthed from the charred ruins of her compound. And in season 16, it turns out that wasn't her.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In season 3.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Abby's Girly Girl.
- Tragic Keepsake: Ziva's orange cap; it's a reminder of the victim from "Dead Man Walking".
- Two First Names: "Ziva" and "David".
- Uncertain Doom: Seems like they found her body after the bombing, but it was never shown, just implied that they were convinced it was hers. Season 16 confirmed that it wasn't.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: The writers seemed to enjoy dropping hints that in fact she and Tony had, something confirmed in the Season 13 finale. note Michael Weatherly has stated that a kiss was filmed quite a while ago, and was never aired
- Verbal Tic: Has a slight habit of forming questions as statements with "yes?" tacked on the end; which is probably a carry over from her native Hebrew (a language in which asking a question by means of inflection is perfectly common.
- Wham Shot / Wham Line: In the Season 16 episode "She", she is revealed to still be alive after Bishop successfully completes the cold case that Ziva had started investigating a decade before. Bishop goes back to Ziva's secret office to find her coat gone, her favorite scarf on the desk, and a note saying not to tell anyone so that Tony, Tali and the other NCIS agents aren't endangered.
- And, if that wasn't enough, she appears in person at the end of the Season 16 finale, "Daughters." Wham Shot in and out of universe, as Gibbs clearly didn't know she was still alive (and, considering that the episode had been about him hallucinating his dead ex-wife, probably thought he was seeing another ghost at first) and the show's crew went to a lot of effort to keep this quiet, to the point of bringing Cote in after the rest of filming with a minimum of crew to shoot that final scene and even keeping her appearance out of the table read.
- White Sheep: She's the only decent member of her family. Her brother was a murderer and terrorist and her father was a Well-Intentioned Extremist at best.
- Willfully Weak: Gives up her knife and engages in what seems to be a losing fist fight in "Shalom" to make the opponent that framed her start beating the crap out of her and make it seem like she's weak and pathetic.. solely so that they would explain who they really are in arrogance of their victory, which Ziva promptly thanks them for. Two blows later and the aggressor is knocked out across the ground before they even realize what just happened.
- You Killed My Father: To Ilan Bodnar, her sent her spiraling into a wave of grief upon shooting her father.
Director Jenny Shepard
Played By: Lauren Holly
"Do you think it would be inappropriate if, as director, I went in there and smacked that smile off her face?"
- Hypocrite: She won't let Gibbs go after Ari without proof, yet she goes after La Grenouille with a vengeance, positive he killed her father, even though she has no proof.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear in the show until Season 3.
- It's Personal: Her possibly unwarranted hunt for René Benoît is this, since she believes Benoît killed her father. Benoît claims that he had actually been bribing her father and that he killed himself out of shame.
- Secretly Dying: In Season 5, she was plagued by a fatal illness hinted to be ALS. Instead, she went out in a shootout, taking down five people before she succumbed to blood loss, and it's implied that she preferred this end to her life. Nobody except Ducky knew, as she'd went to him for a second opinion and advice; in fact, when he learned about her death, he initially thought the disease had killed her sooner than expected.
- You Killed My Father: To La Grenouille. Later she does kill him, but no one figures it out until she's already dead...
Which NCIS Characters Call Gibbs By His First Name?
Naturally, Gibbs' late first wife Shannon (Darby Stanchfield) called him by his name, as did his many exes. Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly), Diane Sterling (Melinda McGraw), Rebecca Chase (Jeri Ryan), Stephanie Flynn (Kathleen York), and Ellen Wallace (Erin Cummings) all refer to him as Jethro, as does Hollis Mann (Susanna Thompson) — an old flame from Gibbs' past. A few of them also refer to him as "Jay" or "LJ," as noted by multiple users in the "NCIS" subreddit. This speaks of Gibbs' desire to be closer to his romantic partners, even if he couldn't make the relationships last.
The only person who addresses Gibbs as Leroy was his father Jackson (Ralph Waite), who named his son after his best friend Leroy Jethro Moore (Billy Dee Williams). A pilot in the U.S. Air Force, Jackson's relationship with his son underwent its fair share of strain. Ultimately, the two mended fences and were close until Jackson died in Season 11's "Honor Thy Father." As a pilot during World War II, Jackson's life was spared by a German flier named Walter Beck. Jackson introduces Gibbs to Beck while he is on his deathbed in the Season 11 episode "Better Angels." He comforts Walter by telling him his act made Gibbs' birth possible and that his son had gone on to help a great many people and was the finest man he knew.
Names ncis characters
.Has Gibbs Retired From NCIS Permanently? - NCIS 19x04//Ending Scene #subscribe
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