|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Rules|
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is a 53-year-old (as of 2011) widower and retired Marine sniper, and presently works as the head of the NCIS Major Case Response Team stationed at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
A Native of Pennsylvania's coal mining region, Gibbs grew up in the small town of Stillwater, the only son of local General Store owner Jackson Gibbs and Ann Gibbs. His parents separated when he was very young, which resulted in his mother's indefinite absence from his life.
In 1976 Gibbs left Stillwater and joined the Marines, while at the same time began a relationship with a local girl named Shannon Gibbs, who was to become his wife in 1982 as seen during Hiatus Part 2 (episode). The couple had a daughter, Kelly Gibbs, two years later, not long after which the family moved to California when Jethro was transferred to a different marine base.
However Gibbs's life changed forever, when in 1991 while he was serving with the Marine Corps in Operation Desert Storm. During his absence, Shannon bore witness to the murder of another Marine by the Mexican Reynosa drug cartel member Pedro Hernandez.
When Shannon pledged to testify against Hernandez, she and her daughter Kelly, eight years old at the time, were placed under the protection of a federal agent.
On February 28, 1991, the agent was transporting Shannon and Kelly in the family van when a sniper shot the agent in the head, resulting in a fatal car crash which killed both Shannon and Kelly. Gibbs was later given the news by a Marine while serving in Desert Storm and was left grief-stricken.
Consumed by the thought of avenging their deaths, Gibbs delivered his own brand of justice by shooting Hernandez in the head with his sniper rifle, killing the drug dealer instantly, a crime he kept hidden for nearly twenty years but it emerged with a vengeance in 2010 when Hernadez's children, Paloma Reynosa and Alejandro Rivera emerged, both with different techniques but they shared the same goal: revenge against Gibbs.
Gibbs has worked at NCIS for nearly two decades. He joined NCIS (then the NIS) in 1992 as a Junior Agent. He was typically referred to by his boss, Michael Franks, as "Probie" or "Gunny", a reference to his military rank of Gunnery Sergeant, something that continues to this day. Gibbs rose through the ranks until he was put in charge of the Major Case Response Team. He is often referred to as "Boss" or other humorous variations thereof by the members of his team.
Gibbs's relationship with his father was strained for many years. Before he joined the Marine Corps, Gibbs repeatedly clashed with many of the other local boys of Stillwater, Pennsylvania, and often resented that his father came to his rescue with the family's Winchester rifle. During the time that Gibbs was in the Marine Corps, he did not speak often with his father, to the point that Jackson himself believed that it was his son's wife Shannon Gibbs, who was responsible for sending him Christmas cards every year.
The tension between father and son did not ease with the deaths of Shannon and Kelly Gibbs, but instead only heightened when Gibbs took offense to his father bringing a girlfriend to their funeral. They did not speak to one another again after the funeral until a case brought Gibbs and his team to Stillwater. Throughout the case, the two began a tentative reconciliation as seen in Heartland (episode).
In the months after leaving Stillwater, Gibbs made something of an effort to stay in touch with Jackson, calling him the day after Christmas to wish him a happy holiday in the last few seconds of the Season 6 episode, Silent Night (episode).
The following Christmas, in the Season 7 episode, Faith (episode), Jackson traveled to Washington D.C. to spend the holiday with Gibbs and to also seek his advice after having shot a man who attempted to rob his store. Their interactions during this visit showed that their relationship is still a rocky one, but both were willing to make it work.
In the season 7 finale, Paloma Reynosa, the head of the Reynosa Cartel, forced Gibbs to work for her by threatening Jackson. After he got out of her clutches, she personally traveled to Pennsylvania to kill Jackson but Gibbs had already warned him and after a hectic gunfight, Jackson escaped.
For four months, Gibbs protected Jackson at his house and, after Paloma was killed in the Season 8 episode, Spider and the Fly (episode), he went back to Stillwater with him to help him rebuild his store and when Jackson asked about his work, Gibbs answers: "Do what you can for family."
Although Gibbs's relationship with his former mother-in-law was one of great respect and honesty, it was greatly strained by the death of Shannon and Kelly, whom she referred to as "[her] girls." Joann held Gibbs responsible for their deaths, as he was not with them the day they were killed but over in Iraq. Because of this tension, the two did not frequently come into contact.
That changed when Joann became involved in one of Gibbs's cases when her fiance was shot and killed during the Season 7 episode, Mother's Day (episode). As the investigation progressed, the evidence began to indicate that Joann was responsible for the man's death. She later revealed to him that she had discovered that her fiance was involved with the same drug cartel that had killed Shannon and Kelly, and that she wanted to do something to avenge her daughter and granddaughter. It was in this same conversation that Gibbs tacitly informed Joann that he had already killed the man responsible for Shannon and Kelly's deaths. Gibbs had also been ordered to arrest Joann, but he had covertly retained Margaret Allison Hart to defend her. He deliberately made mistakes, such as questioning her without an attorney and not reading her her rights, which allowed Hart to prevent him from arresting Joann.
Shortly thereafter, Director Leon Vance stated that Joann was no longer a person of interest and that Gibbs and his team should shift their focus to another case.
Gibbs has been married four times, widowed once and divorced three times as revealed in the Season 1 episode, Marine Down (episode). His first marriage to Shannon Fielding was from all accounts a happy one, and their daughter, Kelly Gibbs, was born in 1984 as revealed in Hiatus Part 1 (episode).
Upon their first meeting in 1976, Shannon introduced him to the code that she lived by, and those rules would become the foundation of Gibbs' Rules. The marriage came to an abrupt and tragic end. When in protective custody by NIS, Shannon and Kelly's driver was killed and they died in the resulting car crash. Gibbs very rarely speaks of them, to the point that none of his colleagues at NCIS knew about them until he was caught in an explosion and woke up with amnesia, believing that they were still alive as seen during Hiatus Part 2 (episode).
His second, third, and fourth marriages all ended in divorce. His ex-wives have demonstrated an awareness of the existence of his marriage to Shannon. Diane Sterling showed awareness of Shannon and Kelly in Devil's Triangle (episode) and about her being "human antidepressant" for Gibbs and her comments about how he was "her Shannon" makes it seem plausible that Diane was his second wife. In earlier episodes like "Twilight", Diane was referred to by name as Gibbs's second wife in a conversation with Fornell. (he said this in front of Tony, who met Gibbs when Gibbs was divorcing Stephanie); when Shannon is added to the list, confusion offers Diane as the third wife. However, Diane is reconfirmed as second wife in a conversation with Fornell in "Escaped". When Jenny found that Gibbs was building a boat, she asked if it was the one he was building 6 years ago (98/99) and which wife that was named after. Jenny guesses the boat to be named "Diane", Gibbs neither confirms or denies the guess. Stephanie, the last ex-wife, at the end of The Ex-File recognized the name "Kelly" on the boat Gibbs was building.
Gibbs named one of his hand-made boats after his ex-wife, Diane. He gave this boat a symbolic "Viking Funeral" Gibbs stated that he could never stand to see any other man sailing off her, to which, Jenny remarked that he didn't care who sailed off on Diane as revealed in Kill Ari Part 2 (episode).
After their divorce, in 1995, Diane married Gibbs' friend and colleague, FBI Agent Tobias Fornell, with whom she had a daughter, Emily. Gibbs had warned Fornell against marrying her, but Fornell had thought that he was exaggerating Diane's bad traits. He later admitted that marrying her was a mistake. After her divorces from both men, she cleared out their bank accounts as noted in the Season 2 finale episode, Twilight (episode). She was recently married to a Homeland Security officer, named Victor Sterling though neither Gibbs nor Fornell think it will last. In "Devil's Triangle", Victor Sterling was kidnapped, prompting Diane to seek the aid of her two previous husbands in rescuing Victor.
Very little if any has been said of his other marriage.
Gibbs' fourth and final marriage was to Stephanie Flynn. They were only married for a short time -- fourteen months -- and spent the majority of their marriage in Moscow while Gibbs was serving there. At some point during their marriage, Stephanie also came into contact with Jenny Shepard, and sensed that she and Gibbs had been romantically involved prior to her marriage to Gibbs as revealed in the Season 5 episode, Ex-File (episode).
Stephanie blamed Gibbs for their break-up, and for several years after the divorce, she would get drunk on the anniversary and pepper him with harassing phone calls which was shown during the Season 1 episode, Hung Out to Dry (episode).
At some point after their divorce, Stephanie discovered that Gibbs' dog-tags had ended up in one of her drawers, but she did not return them to him until just before she moved to Philadelphia to be closer to her family, in 2007. It was around this time that she admitted that the failure of their marriage was "not anyone's fault which was again mentioned during "Ex-File".
During an assignment in Paris, Gibbs became romantically involved with Jenny Shepard, who was his partner at the time. Jenny was the one who ended the relationship, because she felt that Gibbs did not fit in with her "five-year plan" which she mentioned during Judgment Day Part 1 (episode). Despite this separation, the two regained a close, intimate friendship when she became the new Director of NCIS in 2005 during Kill Ari Part 1 (episode).
However, secrets would cause a great deal of tension between them, as Jenny refused to admit that she had an unhealthy obsession with capturing René Benoit when Gibbs asked her about it during Bury Your Dead (episode). Nor the fact that she was terminally ill in the last months of her life although Gibbs suspected something was wrong. She also did not inform him of the fact that one of their old cases had come back to haunt them, instead choosing to deal with it with help from Mike Franks. She did confide in Franks that she regretted ending her and Gibbs's relationship, but knew that it was too late to change anything. She died shortly thereafter in a shootout with men sent by the woman Jenny failed to assassinate on a previous mission in Paris nine years previously.
Gibbs was briefly involved with Karen Wilkerson, a supervisor at Bethesda Naval Medical Center during Doppelgänger (episode) but the relationship was quickly terminated when it became apparent that she was involved with a murder that Gibbs was investigating.
For several months, Gibbs had a relationship with Hollis Mann who worked for the Army Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Army's version of NCIS. The attraction between them was so intense that Gibbs's team speculated that Hollis would become his "fourth ex-wife" which was mentioned during Sandblast (episode). Their relationship grew more serious as time passed, Gibbs showing his commitment to her by offering to put new pipes in throughout her apartment during In the Dark (episode) but the relationship came to an end, however, when Hollis realized that however much Gibbs cared about her, he was still deeply mourning Shannon and Kelly during "Ex-File".. She left Washington D.C. shortly thereafter and moved to the Hawaiian island of Lanai as revealed in Lost and Found (episode).
Gibbs was also deeply attracted to defense attorney Margaret Allison Hart, despite her suspect ties to one of his nemesis, Merton Bell which he learnt during Ignition (episode). However, Hart left the country after intercepting a report that would have implicated Gibbs in the death of Pedro Hernandez and gave it to him. Before leaving, she told him that, as a defense attorney, she believed that '[they] could beat it.'
Gibbs began a relationship with Dr. Samantha Ryan, the head of the Pentagon's PsychOps Division, after they met during a case invloving one of her agents. Ryan, a sharp-tongued and inquisitive woman who enjoyed her job beyond anything else, irritated Gibbs by only revealing half-truths and speaking in riddles but he eventually managed to unhing her when he approached her outside her son's school, a location that she had taken many precautions to keep secret. Losing her composure over this, she finally reveals what she had been holding back about the case. She later visits Gibbs and asks him to keep her secret about her son's school. Gibbs accepts. Later, she calls him and asks him out to breakfast (at four o'clock in the morning), telling him that he had a gift of making people feel safe, and he accepts.
They work together again in the episode The Tell (episode) during which the entire team begins specualting about their relationship. They share a kiss at the end of the episode.
In The Missionary Position (episode), Gibbs and Ryan have consummated their relationship and both want to make the relationship work although their jobs once again stand in their way namely due to Ryan's secrecy. However, their relationship continues and, although she tells Gibbs that she can't stay because she doesn't have a sitter for her son, he tells her that 'it doesn't have to be all night.' The last scene of the episode is of Ryan resting her head on Gibbs's shoulder.
In the penultimate and final episodes of the series, Till Death Do Us Part (episode), Ryan aids NCIS in their hunt for Harper Dearing, the man responsible for the terrorist attacks on the Navy. Her relationship with Gibbs comes under strain when he is frustrated at her always being in what he called 'Doctor mode' and he berates her for never turning it off. However, she also claims that he never turns his own mode off and that, if he wants her to let him in, he should let her in. However, Dearing, who was planning to exact vengeance on the Navy and NCIS for the death of his son, knows that Ryan is the only one who can figure out what he is up to. To destabilize her, he has her ex-husband (who had been indirectly mentioned several times during the season) released from prison on a bogus technicality and she decides to flee with her son. Gibbs tries to stop her saying that it wasn't the right thing to do and suggesting that he really wants to start a serious relationship but he is unable to convince her and she leaves.
Gibbs often tended to keep his emotions close to his chest, saying little about his thoughts or feelings to the people around him. One example of this tendency was the fact that he never told any of his colleagues about his first wife and only child as revealed during "Hiatus Part 2 (episode)".
Gibbs developed the habit of slapping his subordinates on the back of the head if they did or said something foolish, a technique that he picked up from when he worked for Mike Franks as shown in a flashback during "Hiatus Part 2". He did not apply this habit to all the members of his team, however. While Tony, McGee, and Ziva all received multiple head-slaps, Ducky and Abby as well as deceased Agent Kate Todd were all spared this "wake-up call."
Gibbs is an extremely respected and feared individual in NCIS. This brings security to his position but it also brings fear as he has more experience than any of the most recent Directors of NCIS, culminating in their attempts to control him. Based on the fact that the Secretary of Navy told Gibbs that he and the FBI were talking about Vance's loyalty, it is clear that superiors like him better than the Director.
Mike Franks was the NCIS/NIS agent in charge of investigating Shannon and Kelly's murders, which was how he was first brought into contact with Gibbs. He eventually proved that Pedro Hernandez was behind their deaths, but when Hernandez fled to Mexico, he was unable to have the drug dealer extradited back to the U.S., thanks to an uncooperative Mexican government.
Because of this, Franks turned a blind eye and unofficially allowed Gibbs a glimpse of Hernandez's file, which in turn allowed Gibbs to track the man to Mexico and kill him as revealed during "Hiatus Part 2"..
Shortly before NIS became NCIS, Franks brought Gibbs into the agency as a probationary agent. It was during this time that Gibbs learned many of the tricks of the trade that he employed as a team leader years later, including the head-slap, and many of the rules that Gibbs taught to his own team members which was shown in "Hiatus Part 2".
Franks retired from NCIS after the terrorist attack on Khobar Towers, leaving Gibbs on his own as an agent. He retired to Mexico and built himself a house on the beach. How much contact he and Gibbs maintained with one another during this time is unknown. He did, however, return to the U.S. in 2006 when Jenny Shepard contacted him to tell him about Gibbs's amnesia. He provided a catalyst for many of Gibbs's memories, and later offered his home to Gibbs as a place to turn to after Gibbs walked away from NCIS following the Cape Fear bombing that PinPin Pula had carried out which resulted in the deaths of numerous servicemen on board the ship which enraged Gibbs to no end and finally caused him to understand Franks's reason for quitting the agency all those years ago.
Gibbs was able to return the support to Franks some time later, when he learned that Franks had a son who had been mortally injured. He was present with Franks when the life-support was turned off during the Season 4 episode, Iceman (episode). Gibbs also became the godfather of Franks's granddaughter, Amira as revealed during Judgment Day Part 2 (episode). He even gave the little girl his fourth hand-made boat, the Kelly prior to Outlaws and In-Laws (episode).
In the Season 8 episode, "Swan Song", Franks was murdered by the Port-to-Port Killer, leaving Gibbs and the team devastated.
During Franks's funeral which had full military honors, Gibbs was seen carrying Franks's coffin and in a flashback, it was shown that Gibbs had personally designed his former boss's coffin.
Ducky is one of Gibbs's closest and oldest friendships, spanning over a decade to Gibbs' early days at NCIS. Ducky is one of the few people who calls him Jethro on a regular basis, and Gibbs is the only one allowed to refer to him as "Duck" which Ducky revealed during Internal Affairs (episode). Their friendship suffered a set of blows in 2006 when the news about Gibbs's first wife and family came out and Gibbs retired from NCIS and moved to Mexico with barely a word to him which was revealed during Hiatus Part 2 (episode). Relations between them were strained for some time, even more so than after Gibbs returned to NCIS, though the two eventually were able to resolve their problems. It was at that time that Gibbs made a rare exception to his rule about never apologizing which ended with the two men shaking hands during Smoked (episode).
Ducky proved that he was one of few people who could predict Gibbs's actions. While discussing how Shannon and Kelly Gibbs died during "Hiatus Part 2", he casually told Jenny Shepard that they could close the file on the drug runner's disappearance and then stated that there was no way that Gibbs would have let the man who murdered his family live with Ducky stating that if given the chance, "Jethro would have pursued the killer of his wife and daughter to Hell and back. Jethro got his revenge".
Five years later, Ducky discovered that his prediction was in fact correct, when the body of Pedro Hernandez was sent to him for an autopsy and he discovered a bullet from Gibbs's sniper rifle in Hernandez's skull during Patriot Down (episode).
- "What do you got, Abs?"
- —Gibbs upon entering Abby's lab for answers in regards to the team's current case.
Abby is perhaps one of the few people who is close to Gibbs; she stated on multiple occasions that they were family or "tighter than blood." The two of them occasionally communicate in American Sign Language with one another, often to the annoyance of other people that are with them including DiNozzo.
Gibbs often demonstrated more patience with Abby than he did with other members of his team, and she was one of the few people who never received a head-slap. When she would ramble over one subject or another -- usually over evidence concerning a case -- Gibbs would bring her back to the point with a gentle spoken, "Abby" or "Abbs." Like Ducky, Abby also had some success predicting Gibbs's reactions to certain situation as seen during Light Sleeper (episode). Gibbs also showed pride in her work, providing a seemingly unlimited supply of "Caf-Pow!" as well as an occasional peck on the cheek for a job well done.
Though Gibbs was always protective of all members of his team, he was especially so with Abby. On two occasions, he even dropped or threw aside his cup of coffee when she was in danger. Once was when Ari Haswari attempted to snipe Abby in her lab shortly after he had murdered Kate Todd during Kill Ari Part 1 (episode) although DiNozzo had saved Abby from harm but Gibbs later protected Abby while also vowing to get her glass that would stop a bullet. Another time was when Abby was trapped in a car rigged to kill its passenger with carbon monoxide during Driven (episode).
Abby was very devoted to Gibbs, as shown by her extensive knowledge of Gibbs's rules and her amusing belief that his extensive skills were "magic" as revealed during Internal Affairs (episode) She was visibly devastated on a number of occasions whenever something happened to Gibbs, such as when he retired to Mexico, or when Gibbs was caught in an explosion and sent to the hospital in Hiatus Part 1 (episode), or when she discovered that Gibbs was the killer in a cold case she was working -- the murder of Pedro Hernandez during Borderland (episode) which for a time left her faith in Gibbs shaken although she soon recovered.
Abby was also aware that Gibbs preferred not to celebrate his own birthday, and wished him a Happy Birthday on the Marine Corps' birthday instead as revealed in Under Covers (episode). Similarly, Gibbs and Abby had a tradition of having dinner together every year on the night before her birthday. She also did not hesitate to remind him that one year he did actually forget her birthday, a scolding Gibbs took with good grace.
In the Season 9 finale, Till Death Do Us Part (episode), when the bomb explodes at NCIS HQ, Gibbs is seen tackling Abby to the floor of her lab.
In Extreme Prejudice (episode), it was revealed that all the team had managed to survive the explosion and in the beginning, Gibbs was seen looking for Abby. After finding her and realizing she was being treated by a medic, she signed to him that she was alright much to Gibbs's own relief.
DiNozzo has been working for Gibbs for a long time and the two have saved each others' lives more times than either man could count. Gibbs's relationship with Tony has often been compared to his relationship with Mike Franks, a kind of father-son relationship. While undercover, Gibbs would sometimes refer to Tony as his son as revealed during Sandblast (episode).
Similarly, when trying to cover up the real reason for the call, Tony called Gibbs "Pop" and "Dad" during Last Man Standing (episode). And while Gibbs puts up with Tony's clowning around, he considers Tony to be the best young agent he's ever worked with which was revealed in Flesh and Blood (episode).
Tony also showed extraordinary loyalty to Gibbs on numerous occasions, such as when during Singled Out (episode), he turned down the chance to lead his own team in order to stay with Gibbs and the team at the Washington D.C. office because Gibbs's memory still had not fully recovered from his coma some months before. Also, when Tony pulled Gibbs from a car that had been underwater for several minutes, Tony was visibly devastated when it appeared that Gibbs did not survive when he performed CPR as seen during Requiem (episode).
Gibbs and others often see Tony as being very much like himself. For example, Ducky stated that a decade before, when Gibbs was pursuing Kyle Boone, Gibbs was much like Tony which was revealed during Mind Games (episode). Like Abby, Tony also never doubted Gibbs's instincts, even sticking up for him when other members of the team asked him if there was even a possibility that Gibbs might be wrong. In return, Gibbs often demonstrated confidence in Tony's abilities, such as when Leon Vance expressed his disbelief that Tony could hold his own when being interrogated by Eli David, the director of Mossad during the Season 6 finale episode, Aliyah (episode).
The trust between Tony and Gibbs is deep enough that Tony often feels guilt if he withholds information from Gibbs. When Tony went undercover to catch René Benoit, for example, he admitted to Jenny Shepard that he disliked having to conceal information from him as revealed during Blowback (episode).
In the days after the end of Tony's undercover assignment, Gibbs seemed hesitant to let Tony leave his sight very often, even indirectly forcing Tony to cancel a dentist appointment so that he would not leave the office alone which was seen during Family (episode).
Gibbs rarely spoke of his pride in any of the members of his team, but he did speak to them when it mattered. When Tony expressed his feelings of failure over sending an innocent man to prison and later believing that the same man had been murdered by the men who framed him, Gibbs stated that while Tony had messed up three years previous, he was proud to see that Tony was working to make it right and catch the real criminals as seen during Bounce (episode).
Gibbs's relationship with McGee bears some similarity to his relationship with Tony, in that he occasionally behaves like a protective parent toward the younger agent. Tim also received one of Gibbs's rare apologies when Gibbs did not come with him when he was questioned by D.C. Metro Police concerning an undercover cop that Tim had shot during Probie (episode).
Like Abby, Tim has the tendency to ramble on about certain subjects, mainly how he would use computers and technology to trace a suspect, which would confound and overwhelm Gibbs.
On numerous occasions, Gibbs would also put a stop to Tim's rambling by cutting him off in exasperation or giving him a headslap as well.
- "Sorry, Kate."
- — Gibbs apologizing to Kate after being late for her funeral in the Season 3 episode, "Kill Ari Part 2".
Initially, Gibbs's interactions with Kate were quite tense. While investigating the death of a military officer on Air Force One, he told her that if he had to he would hijack the plane. Her response was to agree to help because she didn't want to delay things by having to shoot him as revealed during Yankee White (episode).
However, after she resigned from the Secret Service Gibbs offered her a job and she joined his team at NCIS. The two slowly came to develop a good working relationship and even a solid friendship. When Director Thomas Morrow gave Kate the assignment to protect Gibbs from Ari Haswari, she took the assignment very seriously, even sleeping on the floor behind her desk near Gibbs's own when he refused to leave the building and return home during Twilight (episode).
When Kate died after Ari shot her in the head, Gibbs blamed himself for her death, as Ari had killed her to make him suffer. He suffered two visions of her, one confronting him in the office just hours after Kate's death where she wondered why she had to take two bullets for him before demanding to know why she had instead of him and a second suggesting that the only way to save his team from Ari's bullets would be to kill himself.
Nonetheless, Gibbs went on a rampage after her death, refusing to stop until he had avenged her death, not even when ordered to do so by Jenny Shepard, the new NCIS director at the time. After Kate's death, Gibbs would take flowers to the rooftop where she was killed and would not let anyone touch her locker except himself until Ziva David was given her locker when she was assigned to Gibbs's team which Ari mentioned during Kill Ari Part 1 (episode).
Of all of Gibbs's associates, his relationship with Ziva is the one that has gone through the most changes. At first, Gibbs distrusted her because she was Ari Haswari's control officer and she was as convinced of his innocence as he was of Ari's guilt in the murder of Kate Todd as revealed during Kill Ari Part 1 (episode). However, he still entrusted her with having his back when he set up a situation that would give Ari a chance to prove either his guilt or innocence to her, though Gibbs already knew that Ari was going to try to kill him. Ziva ultimately proved worthy of the chance Gibbs had taken on her when she shot Ari dead after he admitted to killing Kate and before he could shoot Gibbs. It was just after she shot Ari that she admitted to Gibbs that Ari was her half-brother, her father's son by an Arab doctor which left Gibbs stunned during Kill Ari Part 2 (episode)
In order to spare Ziva, the report that they submitted on what happened in Gibbs's basement stated that Gibbs was the one who shot Ari which Ziva later thanked him for which was revealed during Silver War (episode).
After returning Ari's body to Israel, Ziva returned to NCIS to take up a position as the agency's liaison with Mossad, and also to fill the empty spot on Gibbs's team left by Kate's death. Gibbs and the others were initially reluctant to allow her to do so, given her complete lack of experience in crime scene investigation, but Jenny Shepard insisted that Gibbs give her a chance.
Ziva learned quickly and grew closer to Gibbs as a result, even earning the team's respect when she saved herself and Ducky from rogue doctor Elaine Burns who had attempted to kill the two, earning Gibbs and the team's trust and approval.
Roughly a year after she joined the team, during Hiatus Part 2 (episode), she was instrumental in helping Gibbs recover his memory after he had been stricken with amnesia. She slipped into his hospital room late at night and began to speak of how they met, how it had been Ari who had killed Kate. Her method worked, though it left her in tears, proving that she was still very much mourning her half-brother. When Gibbs resigned from NCIS a short time later, he stated that he owed her and she promised to collect one day.
It was four months later in the episode, Shalom (episode), that Ziva did collect on the debt Gibbs felt he owed her. After she was framed for espionage and murder, Abby was able to give Ziva the number to reach Gibbs in Mexico, and she was able to ask him for help. Gibbs reluctantly returned to Washington D.C. and ultimately helped prove Ziva's innocence.
Two years later, Gibbs and Ziva's relationship faced its greatest test. Although most authorities in the U.S., particularly the Secretary of the Navy, still believed that Gibbs was the one who killed Ari Haswari as revealed during Semper Fidelis (episode), Leon Vance finally revealed that he was aware that it was actually Ziva who had pulled the trigger during a talk with Gibbs during Aliyah (episode). Vance even revealed to Gibbs that Ziva and Ari's father, Director of Mossad Eli David, had actually known that his son was out of control and sent Ziva to kill him, thereby eliminating the threat Ari posed and gaining Gibbs's trust at the same time.
Some time later, Gibbs and NCIS received word that Ziva had been killed by a terrorist in Somalia. Subsequently, Gibbs led a team to destroy the terrorist's training camp and to avenge Ziva's death during Truth or Consequences (episode). It turned out that Ziva was still alive, however, and while Gibbs was the one to snipe the terrorist that was interrogating her, McGee, and Tony, the two younger agents were able to get Ziva out of the camp. They then brought her back to Washington D.C. to help her recover from her ordeal.
In Reunion (episode), Gibbs finally confronted Ziva about what really happened when she first came to the U.S., during Ari's rampage. He confronted her with what Vance had told him, and she said that while her father had sent her to kill Ari, she had come to Washington with the intent of getting her brother out of the country. It was not until she listened to Ari's confession of killing Kate Todd and his desire to kill Gibbs that she decided to follow the directive Eli David had given her. She said to Gibbs, "I was not following orders, when I pulled the trigger." She also stated that Gibbs had become more of a father to her than her own biological father.
Some weeks later, during The Inside Man (episode), Ziva chose to resign from Mossad and seek to become an NCIS agent although Gibbs expressed doubt over that happening.
Not long after, in Good Cop, Bad Cop (episode), Ziva's father sent another Mossad officer to frame Ziva for the murder of a Marine officer while on the mission to Somalia in hopes of forcing her to return to Israel for good. But with Vance's help, Gibbs proved that Ziva did not kill the Marine, and he ordered the Mossad officer to tell Eli David that Ziva was "off-limits." And after that, Ziva was finally granted the right to become a NCIS Special Agent much to her joy.
Several months later, Ziva gained U.S. citizenship. However, in Rule Fifty-One (episode), due to Gibbs's past coming back to haunt him, he missed the ceremony, which troubled Ziva greatly.
In recent years, Gibbs has given Ziva the nickname, "Ziver" which is an affectionate play on Ziva's name, hinting how far their father-daughter relationship has come.
Gibbs's relations with Leon Vance are strained at best, and antagonistic at worst although it has grown much better in recent years. Vance assisted the FBI in investigating NCIS over the murder of René Benoit, much to Gibbs's irritation. A few months later, Vance took up the Directorship of NCIS in the aftermath of Jenny Shepard's murder, and immediately after her funeral, Vance reassigned McGee, Tony, and Ziva elsewhere, thereby incurring Gibbs' resentment. Several months passed before Vance revealed that he reassigned them because he was looking for a traitor within NCIS, and so Gibbs spent months perceiving Vance as a mere bureaucrat with no understanding of the qualities that make up a good field agent.
Working together to find the leak in NCIS allowed Gibbs and Vance to gain a greater understanding of one another, but while they developed a mutual respect for one another, they still maintained a sense of wariness. When Vance comandeered Gibbs's team to investigate the death of a friend from Chicago, Gibbs warned him of exceeding his authority, stating that Vance's predecessor had used NCIS to further her personal agenda.
Vance and Gibbs continued to work together despite their differences, and trust continued to grow between them. In "Rule Fifty-One", Gibbs was blackmailed into bringing a package to Washington for the Reynosa drug cartel, the tension that had been building between them for months finally hit a climax.
In the office, after exchanging insults, Vance yelled at Gibbs calling him an "egotistical son of a bitch" when he refused to tell Vance what was going on, unaware at first that he was under duress.
But Vance shortly realized what was going on and secretly followed Gibbs to his meeting place with Alejandro. Using a tape-recorder he had given Gibbs, Vance was then able to record a conversation between Gibbs and Alejandro Rivera that proved that Rivera was involved with the cartel.
After the attempt on Jackson Gibbs's life, Vance made it his priority to find Paloma Reynosa before she could kill the Gibbses and ordered for Alejandro Rivera to be moved from the building before he got hurt, not only by the team but also by Vance himself.
The trust and respect between Gibbs and Vance was once again shown in Enemies Domestic (episode) when Vance appointed Gibbs as Acting Director of NCIS while he was recovering from the assassination attempt against him. Gibbs's growing respect for Vance was shown while Vance was in the hospital. Gibbs gave him his knife to protect himself and later when NCIS Special Agent McCallister tried to kill Vance by injecting a lethal amount of morphine into his system, Gibbs managed to stop the morphine from getting into his blood, effectively saving his life.
Although some tension erupted between Gibbs and Vance over the next few episodes, Gibbs still retained enormous respect for Vance which he showed by knocking on his door to "try and stay on his good side" and, when during One Last Score (episode), DiNozzo told him that he would have made a great Director, Gibbs looked up at Vance who was passing by and said: "We already have one of those."
Gibbs is notorious for being difficult to work with, but he does maintain a good working relationship with many other agents, both in and outside of NCIS. Stan Burley, for example, viewed Gibbs as a mentor, father figure, and friend. Burley had been a Senator's aide until Gibbs recruited him to NCIS. The two worked together for some time until Burley left the Washington office and eventually ended up taking an Agent Afloat assignment. He utilized the skills that Gibbs taught him, but had no problem admitting when he needed help with a case. Gibbs, in turn viewed Burley as a friend and prized protègè, expressing his pride in the younger man so much that Tony DiNozzo became jealous. Burley, however, pointed out to Tony the differences in their relationship -- it took Gibbs years before he would look him in the eye and even get his name right, while Tony had accomplished all of that within just two years of working with Gibbs which was revealed in the Season 1 episode, High Seas (episode).
Similarly, Gibbs appeared to have a good working relationship and even a friendship with NCIS Agent Christopher Pacci, so well that Pacci asked for Gibbs's assistance on a cold case during UnSEALeD (episode). Unfortunately, Gibbs was currently working on a case of his own at the time and thus was unable to render assistance at the time, which would later come back to haunt him.
Shortly after Pacci asked for Gibbs's help on the case, he was murdered in the episode, Dead Man Talking (episode). Gibbs exhibited considerable guilt over Pacci's death, and worked fiercely to find his killer. When he and his team did find the murderer, Gibbs informed the killer that Pacci had been a friend of his just before Gibbs was forced to pull the trigger on him. Gibbs was also invited to speak at Pacci's funeral, indicating that their friendship was common knowledge, but he declined. Gibbs was also able to avenge Pacci by murdering the person who had killed Pacci.
Another agent that Gibbs had frequent interactions with was NCIS Agent Erica Jane Barrett, who was reassigned to Washington, D.C. along with her MCRT in pursuit of a serial killer, Jonas Cobb. Gibbs was hostile to Barrett, stating flatly that "I don't trust you." He was also irritated that she, whom he perceived as a rookie, outranked him, having been promoted to Special Agent in Charge of the case, over him, and that she and Tony DiNozzo had begun dating, breaking one of his cardinal rules: "Never date a co-worker." However, despite his antagonistic feelings towards her, E.J. gradually earned Gibbs' respect over the course of the case, and they parted on good terms. Later, he would willingly help her when an unknown assassin was trying to kill her, and again, when she returned after a year of living off the grid in an attempt to evade the assassin. Eventually, after two years of being chased by killers, E.J. returned home, parting on good terms with Gibbs.
More complicated was Gibbs's relationship with Special Agent Lara Macy. Gibbs and Macy met in 1991, shortly after Gibbs killed Pedro Hernandez. At the time, Macy was a lieutenant with the military police, and she investigated Gibbs as a suspect in Hernandez's death. She gathered all of the evidence in the case, evidence that pointed to Gibbs as the killer, but buried everything because she considered the kill justified, in light of the fact that Hernandez had murdered Shannon and Kelly Gibbs. Gibbs did not learn until years later that Macy spent nearly two decades protecting him. They met again in 2009 when Macy was head of the Los Angeles Office of Special Projects team and Gibbs had come to Los Angeles to work a case with her and her team, resulting in the two teams forming a temporary partnership. There was a good deal of animosity between them, and Gibbs was almost dismissive of her abilities. It was not until Nate Getz indirectly informed Gibbs of what Macy had done for him years ago that the two of them came to a better understanding of one another. Macy's murder a year later had a profound impact on Gibbs, to the point that he revealed to M. Allison Hart, "People are dying around me, people I care about."
Of the Los Angeles team, Gibbs was also close to G. Callen. The two met on assignment, and Gibbs saved Callen's life in Serbia. Gibbs also asserted that he saved Callen in Russia as well, but Callen denied it. Callen also had intimiate knowledge of Gibbs's past, being aware of Gibbs's boat-building hobby as well as his three failed marriages. He did not know that Gibbs had been married four times, however, until Gibbs admitted to it in 2009 when Gibbs came to Los Angeles. By his own admission, Callen considered Gibbs family. Gibbs was also noticeably shaken by the attack on his friend soon after he left Los Angeles.
Gibbs also worked frequently with agents outside of NCIS. In addition to their personal connection, Gibbs and Tobias Fornell also worked together on numerous occasions. Both were "get it done" type of men and eschewed politics, departmental or otherwise. Gibbs helped Fornell fake his death when he had been framed for being a mole for the mafia, allowing Gibbs time to work the case and find the real mole. Fornell and Gibbs were also known for their antagonistic and sarcastic manner toward one another, though it was not as fierce as it appeared. On one occasion, the two began a shouting match and stormed into the NCIS elevator, where they then dropped all pretense of anger and agreed to help each other to get the job done, with no regard for who would get the credit. After coming to a conclusion on how to resolve the issue, Fornell said, "And people call us bastards!"
Gibbs also worked frequently with Trent Kort, but there was little trust between them. Gibbs did not trust him when Kort took credit for killing René Benoit, or even when Gibbs later discovered that Jenny Shepard had been the one who really killed Benoit. Several months after Shepard's death, Kort said, "Trust is elusive at best," to which Gibbs responded, "Not Between us -- it's impossible." Kort also gave Gibbs Vance's CIA profile, though Gibbs never read it and returned it to the Secretary of the Navy. Gibbs also disliked Kort for his actions against Tony. Kort may have blown up Tony's car because he and Jennifer Shepard were interfering with Kort's plans and jeopardizing Operation Lodestone. It has not been proven. In addition, another theory is that one of René Benoit's enemies did it, targeting his daughter. Despite these issues, though, Kort and Gibbs appear to have a wary mutual respect for one another, even if it does not reach a level of admiration.
Another outside agency member is Agent Abigail Borin from CGIS. Gibbs and Borin seem like good friends as they joke about things like how often they meet in Ships in the Night. They both are very similar in many ways: both run their own team and head slap their teammates, are only children, have their own rules, served as Marines, joined an Investigative Service agency, are coffee lovers, have gut feelings about anything, don't believe in coincidences, and are called "Boss" by their teammates.
Personality and Skills
Gibbs can be very charming in an understated way, and he has a dry sense of humor. He is something of a gentleman, often being very decorous and restrained, such as when his last ex-wife, Stephanie, lashed out at him for questioning her boyfriend as a suspect on a case. He already knew that her boyfriend was having an affair with her friend, but did not throw it in her face in retaliation.
Gibbs has a love for children, and often goes out of his way to help and comfort them. Some instances are when he finished the tree-house for the son of a dead marine, giving a scout who found a dead body his NCIS hat, letting a girl under NCIS protection stay at his house, and using his woodworking skill and his father's help to make toys for kids at Christmas time.
Gibbs is very unforgiving of his colleagues's mistakes and demands high quality work from his team as well as himself. He rarely accepts apologies for mistakes, and will headslap most of the members of his team whenever they become distracted from the current case with DiNozzo usually receiving most of the slaps. He has even been known to headslap himself when he falsified evidence in order to protect a Marine's career.
Gibbs's chief hobby is wood-working, and is famous to his team and colleagues for building boats by hand in his basement. He has made four boats, the first three being named after each of his ex-wives and burned after their completion and his divorce from the wife in question. The fourth was named the Kelly, after his deceased daughter, and was gifted to his goddaughter, Amira. After removing the fourth boat from his basement, Gibbs moved on to making wooden toys for orphans, which he donated for Christmas in 2009.
Gibbs is a chronic coffee-drinker, even having a rule concerning coffee. He is farsighted, and for a few years he refused to wear the corrective lenses that he needed to allow him to read things like fine print. Gibbs also displays an uncanny knowledge of his co-workers's activities. He will often walk into the squad-room when his team is engaging in a completely off-topic conversation. When he arrives, his team will switch over to conversing about the case, covering for their distraction, but Gibbs often follows up with a comment related to the off-topic conversation, indicating that he is aware of what they were discussing which leaves his team surprised. During his brief tenure as head of the team, Tony attempted to replicate this by "listening in" on the team's conversation with a cell phone and an open line. However, Gibbs also demonstrated his knowledge of the conversation without Tony's props.
Also, as a Marine, Gibbs takes every crime committed against the Marine Corps and Navy personnel very seriously and as such, goes to great lengths to ensure that the families of the victims get the justice and closure they deserve.
Gibbs has a command of Russian, and is able to identify several other languages, such as when Ziva went through several languages to determine a suspect's nationality. Throughout his career as both a Marine and an NCIS agent, Gibbs spent much of his time in foreign countries such as Iraq, France, and Russia, which would explain his familiarity with several different languages. He also speaks Japanese, as of the season 2 episode Call of Silence.
Gibbs's knowledge of technology is extremely limited and he shows very little patience when dealing with technical jargon, usually interrupting whoever is talking. He often experiences problems or frustration with his cell phone, prompting him to accidentally/intentionally destroy it, so his agents keep a stock of replacements in their desks for use at a moment's notice. In addition, he has damaged his computer at least six times while trying to make it "go faster." There are some occasions, however, when his lack of knowledge appears to be a ruse, such as when he once displayed a lack of knowledge about the workings of a flash drive, only to later show that he knew how to manipulate it. Gibbs' lack of knowledge of technology and his old-fashioned way of life proved helpful in Power Down when the entire city's electricity is knocked out during a case.
Many of the leadership techniques that Gibbs employs with his team were ones learned during his days as a probationary agent under his mentor, Mike Franks. Franks often forced Gibbs to carry their equipment when they were on an investigation while complaining that he was too slow. Franks also slapped Gibbs over the head when he complained about the new black jacket he received when NIS changed its name to NCIS.
When Gibbs created his own team years later, he took many of the techniques which Franks used on him and brought them to bear on his colleagues. The most often used technique was the Headslap, using it whenever one of his team said or did something foolish. There were exceptions to this technique, though -- Abby, Kate, and Ducky. For example, when Abby once got off-topic during a case, Gibbs interrupted her, saying, "I'd hate to have to start smacking you like I do DiNozzo," to which Abby responded, "You wouldn't! Would you?" Similarly, during a case on Halloween, McGee and Tony were extremely distracted by Abby's costume -- Marilyn Monroe. When McGee and Tony did not respond to Gibbs's orders, he headslapped them both simultaneously to get them moving, and only responded to Abby's costume when they were alone.
Gibbs can also drive a yellow Dodge Challenger with skills seeing as he can do a 180 degree turn and can also drift with one. He also uses his Marine skills as an advantage over people, such as entering a room without people noticing, and has an extensive knowledge of American Sign Language, which he uses to converse often with Abby Sciuto.
Gibbs also has impressive marksmanship skills which was drawn from his service in the US Marine Corps as a sniper, using a Marine M40A1 Sniper Rifle. His marksman skills were shown on numerous occasions for example just before he left the Marines he participated in a black ops mission in Columbia. His task was to assassinate a Columbian drug dealer known for brutal crimes. He completed his task with a single sniper shot to the heart from 1200 yards; however, on his way to extraction he was wounded by the cartels but was assisted by a local woman named Rose who helped him recover.
- Mark Harmon plays the regular Gibbs while his son, Sean plays Gibbs in his younger days.
- Both Vivian Blackadder and Caitlin Todd are presumably the only NCIS team members not to know about Gibbs's first wife or his daughter as Viv left NCIS after Meltdown (episode) while Kate died in the Season 2 finale episode, Twilight (episode).
- Carries a SIG-Sauer P228 as his main weapon while a Smith & Wesson Model 37 serves as his back-up weapon.
- Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the NCIS: Los Angeles Database
- A page with the rules Gibbs quoted so far
- Gibb's CBS profile
- Leroy Jethro Gibbs at Wikipedia
- Episode 6.23 NCIS Legend Part Two Press Release
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