Vivian "Viv" Blackadder was a former FBI Agent-turned-NCIS Special Agent who investigated the murder of Lieutenant Loren Singer in the JAG (series) Season 8 episodes, Ice Queen (episode) and Meltdown (episode) which served as the official pilot for NCIS (series) before the show itself went solo.
During the two episodes, she was partnered with Anthony DiNozzo.
However due to negative reaction from test audiences, Blackadder was written out of the show altogether and as such, has not appeared in any of the main episodes of the NCIS series since then.
Born to an unnamed mother and father, Viv also had a brother named Rex Blackadder and presumably at the time of Rex's death Viv worked for the FBI as a Special Agent.
In late 2001, Rex was one of the fatalities in the USS Cole tragedy which ultimately prompted Viv to quit working for the FBI for good.
JAG Season 8
Viv made her debut in the JAG Season 8 episode, Ice Queen (episode) where she was partnered with fellow NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo and she also worked alongside Dr. Donald Mallard and Forensic Scientist Abigail Sciuto with Gibbs as the team's leader.
When a JAG Navy Lieutenant's body was discovered, Viv and the team went into the field, processing the crime scene while Viv herself was tasked with interviewing the Scoutmaster who was hysterical after discovering the remains.
While out searching the area, Viv told Tony about Rex, her dead brother and that his death in the USS Cole bombing was the main reason for Viv quitting the FBI and joining NCIS instead which left Tony stunned.
Once the body had been brought back to NCIS, Viv and the team returned to the NCIS Building to search for more information in regards to the victim who they believed was Lieutenant Loren Singer before Director Thomas Morrow summoned Gibbs and the entire team including Agent Don Dobbs to MTAC where they witnessed the capture of Amad Bin Atwad.
However, unlike the others, Viv was not impressed before she later stated that the main target they were after was Hussan Mohammed and as such, she demanded to be on the kill team who would go after Mohammed if Bin Atwad ever gave him up.
Gibbs refused, stating NCIS wasn't Viv's instrument of revenge and then proceeded to give Viv a dressing down while also telling her that he'd sent her back to the FBI if she didn't get her head around the murder that they were investigating.
Viv eventually relented but not before casting an angry glare at Gibbs's retreating back. She was also left disgusted by Gibbs's suggestion that they need the foetus in utero if they were to have any chance of matching it with the father's DNA.
In the morgue, Viv argued with Gibbs yet again about using the unborn baby's DNA to find the baby's biological father and was also present as Ducky was able to cut the victim open much to her own discomfort but at that second, much to Viv's relief, the fax machine beeped, bringing it with confirmation that the dead body was Lieutenant Loren Singer.
The next morning, Viv and Gibbs headed to JAG Headquarters where they saw Admiral A.J. Chegwidden inform his staff that the body NCIS had discovered was of that Lt. Loren Singer.
After Chegwidden had given out to Harmon Rabb, Viv and Gibbs set about interviewing the entire JAG team, the two NCIS agents choosing to talk to Admiral Chegwidden first and then Lt. Commander Tracy Manetti before they spoke to Colonel Sarah MacKenzie.
With the interviews having finished, Viv and Gibbs then returned to NCIS although Viv expressed some anger over them not interviewing Harmon with Gibbs stating that if they'd spoken to Rabb before all their pieces were in place, Harmon would pull an O.J and the Commander wouldn't even need a fancy lawyer to do it which had Viv ashamed and later apologizing.
In the lab, Viv later discovered that Harmon and Sergei Zhukov were half-brothers which left the team stunned.
Viv later informed Gibbs that she'd uncovered more information about Singer before expressing dismay that while Gibbs and Tony were off getting drinks, Viv herself was going down to the morgue to see Ducky.
Viv also witnessed the interrogation of Harmon Rabb and later read Rabb his rights when the NCIS team arrested him, having determined that they had enough evidence to prove that Rabb had killed Lt. Singer.
In Meltdown (episode), with Rabb in custody, Viv was later given the assignment of returning to the FBI and finding out all the information they had on Bin Atwad. She later returned to NCIS, triumphant, only for Gibbs to send her back again after he determined that the info Viv had given him wasn't going to be good enough.
Viv later went back and returned, carrying the information Viv was looking for before insisting that she be allowed to accompany Gibbs to see his interrogation of Bin Atwad but Gibbs refused.
The next morning, Viv returned to work but was left dismayed after DiNozzo voiced his concern that the Lt. Singer murder case was not over.
DiNozzo's gut feeling was later proven to be true after NCIS Forensic Scientist Abigail Sciuto confirmed that the hat that had been found near the scene where Singer had drowned was a plant.
After talking to Gibbs and then Harm, Viv was again a witness to Tony interrogating Theodore Lindsey, the man responsible for Singer's death and for framing Rabb.
Viv was later present for the anti-terrorist operation to take down Mohammad but unfortunately blew it due to the fact that she couldn't take her eyes off Mohammad.
Although the operation was a success, Gibbs berated Viv for blowing the operation.
Viv's final fate is unknown but it's presumed that after Meltdown and after the team returned to the United States, Viv was presumably fired from NCIS in disgrace or let go by mutual agreement.
Previously an FBI Agent, Viv is emotionally distant and cold. She has also stated that her intended reason for joining NCIS in the first place is so that she can avenge her brother Rex who died in the USS Cole bombing.
She has something of a very hostile or icy relationship with Gibbs and isn't even remotely close to the other members of the team, especially Abby.
She also tends to ignore Ducky who regularly attempts to invite her out to dinner and regards his habit of talking to the corpses as disturbing while also strongly believing that he has a lack of respect for the dead.
She's so focused on avenging her brother to the point where it becomes a strong obsession and she doesn't care what happens as along as she's part of the team bringing the terrorists responsible to justice.
As seen in "Meltdown", she is even willing to jeopardize an important anti-terrorist mission for the sake of getting close to Hussan Mohammed, the man responsible for the Cole bombing.
These actions regularly brings her into conflict with Gibbs who is hellbent on making sure that Viv doesn't use NCIS as her own personal instrument of revenge.
In regards to Loren Singer's death, Viv was the only one out of the Major Case Response Team who seemed truly convinced that Harmon Rabb was the killer and when Tony expressed his doubts, Viv was even reluctant to go any further after the investigation was closed, suggesting that she's willing to accept the evidence as it is and not be prepared to look deeper or go the extra length, even if it meant that the supposed murderer was being framed by someone else.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Viv and Gibbs's relationship is very cold and tense due to the fact that Viv is more concerned with avenging her brother who died in the USS Cole bombing than focusing on her job and duties as an NCIS Special Agent.
As such, Gibbs has regularly insisted that NCIS will not be used as her own personal instrument of revenge and the topic is such a thorny subject that the two have even come to blows over it numerous times.
It's also quite clear that due to this subject hanging over them, their relationship is very stormy and hostile.
Viv simply regards DiNozzo as a surrogate brother figure because he's similar to her deceased brother. They could be considered colleagues, not potential friends or even lovers.
Viv's relationship with Ducky is one of extreme distrust due to the fact that Ducky regularly keeps hitting on her every time they're out in the field with Ducky even going to lengths to ask her out to dinner, something Viv usually rejects.
Unlike the others who accept Ducky's talking to the dead as being normal and part of his job, Viv finds it extremely disturbing and even believes that the lack of respect for the dead that Ducky shows towards the victims he autopsies is disgusting despite Ducky insisting that he has the utmost respect for the bodies he autopsies.
Despite the fact that the two were never talking to one another, it's presumed that Viv and Abby don't get along either.
As such, Viv is the only member of the team that hasn't formed anything resembling a strong friendship to Abby but later took to Viv's successors, Kate and Ziva as well as Ellie.
Behind the Scenes
Viv Blackadder was played by American actress Robyn Lively. Unfortunately, the character of Blackadder didn't go down with the audiences so she was written out of the series altogether with Lively being dropped from her contract.
When Season One of NCIS officially began, the vacant position went to Caitlin Todd played by Sasha Alexander and following Kate's death in the Season Two finale, "Twilight, Ziva David played by Cote de Pablo and after Ziva's departure in the Season 11 episode, Past, Present and Future (episode), Eleanor Bishop played by Emily Wickersham later took over the role and has maintained it to this day.
- Viv and Kate Todd are the only two NCIS characters who do not know anything about Gibbs's first family due to the fact that by the time that the Season 3 finale had aired, Viv had long since left the show and Kate had been killed off in the Season 2 finale, Twilight (episode).
- In a way, Blackadder has been in every episode of NCIS's run; the closing shot of the main title sequence of the blue sedan driving away from the camera, with the Capitol Building in the background, is lifted directly from Ice Queen (episode), when Vivian and Gibbs return from questioning several of the JAG officers.
- The pilot episodes, "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown" are the only two episodes where the main characters have any interaction of any kind with Viv. After that, no-one in the main series has mentioned or made any kind of reference to her since then.
- Viv can read deer tracks, a skill that she mentions that she learned from her murdered brother, Rex.
- During her short tenure on the team, Viv carried a SIG-Sauer P228 as her sidearm.
- Viv is also the only red-haired woman not to have been in a romantic relationship with Gibbs, possibly due to the fact that the two have a hostile or very tense relationship with each other.
- While she was stationed at NCIS, Vivian had the desk in the far corner of the bullpen, the desk directly in front of Gibbs's and opposite DiNozzo's. Once she left, the desk was left empty for most of Season 1 until Agent Timothy McGee temporarily claimed it during Dead Man Talking (episode). McGee later claimed it as his own when he permanently joined the team in Season 2's See No Evil (episode).
- Viv holds the honor of being DiNozzo's first-ever female partner in the field with Kate, Ziva and Ellie later replacing her.
- Along with Don Dobbs, Viv is the only female character whose fate after Meltdown (episode) is not known. In addition, both she and Dobbs are the only two characters from the backdoor pilot have not appeared in any of the episodes of the main NCIS series nor have they been mentioned since then.
- Viv's surname, Blackadder was the last name of the character played by Exec. Producer Donald Bellisario when he guest-starred in the 3rd season cliff-hanger, "To Russia, With Love". The name, "Blackadder" is also the name of a British comedy series that aired in the 1980s which starred Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) with the main character surname's being Blackadder.