Characters / NCIS

The characters of the hit series NCIS. Warning: There's a lot of untagged spoilers here. Probably best not to read this unless you're caught up.

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Main Characters

    Special Agent in Charge Leroy Jethro Gibbs 
Played By: Mark Harmon
Tony: 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?

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.

  • Action Dad
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Only Gibbs could turn his repeated dope slaps to DiNozzo into this.
  • 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 "But he made one crucial 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.
  • Atonement Detective
  • Badass: There's a good reason why he has Memetic Badass status in-universe.
  • Bad Boss: Gibbs leans toward this when he's really angry or upset, as his already-considerable impatience skyrockets, his tolerance for the team's personality quirks goes right out the window, and he gets a lot snippier and Drill Sergeant Nasty-ish.
  • Berserk Button: Do not insult, desecrate or harm the US Marines or anyone associated with them to the Nth degree. Do not hurt any member of his team or anyone else he cares about. And seven thousand times never hurt Abby (though Abby usually has the situation well in hand).
    • People who do harm to kids, especially their own.
    • Messing with his coffee, although his reaction to this is fairly minor in comparison to the others.
  • Born In The Wrong Decade: Fairly consistent throughout the series. Example: he tried to get a USB drive to work by biting it.
    • He also refers to computer chips and the like with terms such as "doo-da" and "deweywhacker."
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Cartwright Curse: With his first wife, Jenny Shepard and Diane Sterling.
  • Catch Phrase: "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."
  • 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.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • 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.
  • 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 stop 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.
  • 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.
  • Drives Like Crazy: 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 residents of his hometown or his ex-wives call him 'Leroy'.
  • Facial Dialogue: Gibbs can hold entire conversations with squints, glares, smirks, and Gibbs slaps.
  • Fair Cop
  • 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.)He was at the time
    • Later, he explicitly refers to his team as his "kids."
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
  • Friend to All Children: Probably has something to do with Kelly. If there's a child involved, he will take the case very seriously.
  • 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
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Gibbs' strong-but-silent characterization comes from Mark Harmon deciding early on to not say his lines as written in the scripts and simply reacting with facial expressions as other actors say their parts of the dialogue. Writers have since started doing what they call a "Gibbs pass" on their scripts and cutting or reassigning Harmon's lines until all he's left with are the bare bones to work with.
  • Has a Type: See below.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: His four past wives, and Jenny Shepard (who the two had a past relationship) are all redheads. He's dating a redhead in the series.
    • When Tony learns about Gibbs flirting with a suspect, his immediate response is "Is she a redhead?" She is.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ducky.
  • Hidden Depths: He apparently plays racquetball.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Knight in Shining Armor: To the women in his team, especially Abby.
  • Last Name Basis
  • Layman's Terms: Does this at least once an episode, mostly to Abby, Ducky and McGee.
  • The Leader: Of the Major Response Team.
  • Magnetic Hero
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe.
  • Military Maverick
  • Must Have Caffeine: In the form of coffee.
  • Noodle Incident: Nothing was known about his second ex-wife until halfway through season twelve.
  • Old Marine
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His daughter died along with his first wife.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not endanger his people. Just don't. Especially Abby.
    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 family.
  • Perp Sweating: A master of interrogation.
  • Phrase Catcher: "On it, Boss."
  • 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. See Harpo Does Something Funny, above, as to why.
  • Rated M for Manly
  • Right Behind Me: Tends to evoke this reaction from his agents.
  • Rule Number One: "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.
  • Sexy Mentor
  • Semper Fi: And Gibbs always remembers it.
  • Silver Fox: Abbey even calls him this to his face once, by accident.
  • The Strategist
  • Sugar and Ice Personality
  • Sympathetic Murder Backstory: He killed the killer of his first wife and daughter.
  • Team Dad: To his agents, 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.
  • Ultimate Job Security: The man is a maverick and doesn't have the patience to play nice when prudent 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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-"

    Senior Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo Jr. 
Played By: Michael Weatherly
Ziva: Tony, your dying words will be 'I've seen this film'.

NCIS' resident lothario. Tony is a former college athlete who decided to become a cop after an incident where he had to leave a girl behind in a burning building while saving her brother. He was recruited to join NCIS by Gibbs from the Baltimore Police Department and has established himself as a highly effective, albeit extremely unorthodox, investigator. Most people consider him to be Gibbs' heir as SAC of the MCRT.

  • Accidental Misnaming: Of course, there's the McNicknames, but Tony gets his own share of this from Fornell, who pronounces his name DiNotso (he says the double z's like 'pizza') and occasionally McGee calls him DiNosey.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Zoe Keats calls him "Spider", a name dating back to when they were cops in Philadelphia.
  • Becoming the Mask: In season four when he went undercover.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Ziva.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't ever betray NCIS or the USA in general (like Agent Lee) or make fun of people he makes fun of but you don't know (like Det. McCadden).
    • Oh... and don't try to kill him and then think you can work with him.
    • And for the love of all things military, leave Ziva alone.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Do not let the Cassanova-like personality with all the jokes and snark fool you. He is a trained interrogator and can break anyone given the right leverage.
  • The Big Guy: He's originally the "muscle" of the team and he mentioned that he majored in physical education. After Kate dies, he steps up as The Lancer (though he's the official Number Two) with the group's muscle then being filled by Tykebomb Action Girl Ziva David.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Very often Gibbs catches him apparently slacking off, only to then reveal all the investigation and work he's been doing.
    • Whenever he's in charge of a case he uses a brainstorming technique he calls "campfire", where the squad roll their chairs into the middle of the bullpen and talk through a conundrum. The rest of the team roll their eyes whenever he calls for one but can't deny that it's an effective tool.
  • Butt Monkey: In the early seasons, this was his position for the most part. In the pilot, he was thrown out of a car onto a highway and in the second he was thrown out a plane, he had a parachute in this case.
  • The Casanova: Especially in early seasons, he was seen as wooing a lot of women. After his time with Jeanne, it slowly stopped.
  • Catch Phrase: "On it, boss."
  • Clear My Name: Twice. First the lab assistant Chip hated him for getting him fired in the past and sought out a complicated, nearly forensic-proof case. Second Jeanne Benoit claimed to have seen him kill her father, the arms dealer René Benoit ("La Grenouille").
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's a clown, but he's a clown who can trick the head of Mossad into confessing to illegal activities and can beat up a mook while tied to a chair.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost every sentence contains some snark.
  • Distressed Dude: Generally, Tony is the resident dude in distress, but he usually manages to get himself out of his situations by himself.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Zig-zagged. In season 1, he's said to have played basketball at Ohio State, and went to the Final Four. In season two, he he says that he played football at Ohio State, and broke his leg in the rivalry game with Michigan. Later seasons retcon this back to basketball, as seen in "Baltimore," "Rekindled" and "Cadence."
    • Also fails to recognize The Maltese Falcon early in S1 before his cinephile trait was established.
  • Everybody Knew Already: He tried keeping his relationship with Zoe Keats secret but couldn't hide the positive effect it had on his personality. No one was surprised when he finally admitted it
  • Exasperated Perp: His preferred method of interrogation. Most prominent when he doesn't ask questions, but just sits there, chewing on his tie and playing Tetris on his phone.
    • He once inverted the trope, pulling it off while he was the one being interrogated. By the director of Mossad, who he successfully aggravated into admitting that he had sent the agent Tony had killed to spy on a meeting of several law enforcement agencies, which were discussing an operation regarding Israel.
  • Fair Cop
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
  • Freudian Excuse: One that's something of a Tear Jerker: It turns out the reason Tony's such a movie buff is because his mother took him to movie theaters a lot when he was a kid before her death; they were even watching a movie when she passed away in the hospital. Ziva notes the irony that this is the first time Tony's ever mentioned his mother to her.
  • Genre Savvy: He's a big movie buff, and will very often find a way to compare the current case to a movie he's seen.
  • Handsome Lech: From "Hung Out to Dry":
    KATE: "Your mind, DiNozzo, runs the gamut from 'X' to triple 'X'."
  • Has a Type: Four of his five main love interests (Kate, Ziva, EJ, Zoe) on the show are action girls.
  • Hidden Depths: He maintains that he coasted through school and shows pride in being kicked out of many expensive prep schools. In Season 12, however, it's revealed that he cleaned up his act while at military school and was a model student from that point onwards. He swears Bishop to keeping that fact a secret.
  • Hey, You!: Calling McGee Probie or one of many McNicknames.
  • Jerk Jock: He was a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team when it went to the NCAA Final Fournote . He also graduated with a degree in Phys Ed.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: If you dig deep enough, you may find it, somewhere.
  • Ladykiller in Love: With Jeanne Benoit; he was undercover at the time, so it wasn't supposed to happen.
    • He had a spectacular eight year will they won't they arc with Ziva, with genuine feelings coming from both parties.
    • He's now head over heels for Zoe Keats, an ATF agent and his former partner from the Philadelphia PD. Hilariously, the entire team knew about the relationship before he revealed it because he couldn't hide how happy it made him.
  • The Lancer: While he's always been Gibbs' official Number Two, it wasn't until Kate dies when he really steps up to this role.
  • Last Minute Kiss: With Ziva, ending 8 seasons of UST in her final episode.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: Director Shepard offered him the chance to lead his own team in Rota, Spain, in Season 4 but he turns it down in favor of keeping an eye on Gibbs in the wake of Gibbs' accident. Shepard warns him that such chances are few and far between. He hasn't been offered a chance to move up in the agency in the eight years since.
  • Locked in a Freezer: With Ziva in "Boxed In".
  • The Movie Buff: His defining trait outside of being the Handsome Lech
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Is on the receiving end of this twice in the episode "Last Man Standing."
  • Number Two: He easily steps into the role of leader when Gibbs is absent, even demonstrating Gibbs' seeming-precognition and knowing when major developments will happen before they occur.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In the rare times when he's totally serious, it's almost scary.
    • Watch his interrogation room time in "Iced." He may have majored in Phys Ed, but he paid attention in his core classes.
  • Persona Non Grata: After the events of "The Admiral's Daughter," he can never go back to Marseilles again (Despite the fact that the mess in question wasn't his fault).
  • Plucky Comic Relief: In the first few seasons.
  • Porn Stash: We've never seen it, but it must require a C-5 Galaxy to carry.
    • However, in "Bikini Wax," he reveals that he has a subscription to "GSM" ("Get Some Magazine"), and brings in one of the issues from his collection because the victim had a photo shoot in it.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Owns a literal one. Her name's Kate. Now it's up to two, as of season 12, because he has a goldfish named Ziva. (See below.)
  • Reference Overdosed: His movie references turn this show into this all on his own.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Several episodes reveal that his wardrobe is a who's-who of expensive name brands. His grousing during the shower scene in "SWAK" is one of the best examples:
    Tony: This very instant, someone is incinerating my Ermenegildo Zegna suit, my Armani tie, my Dolce & Gabbana shirt, and my Gucci shoes!
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to McGee's Sensitive Guy.
  • Spanner in the Works: Tony is often so unpredictable that he can screw over the best laid plans of the villains by simply being his annoying self. This is also his preferred method of interrogation, thinking so far out of the loop that rehearsed defenses are useless, and being so annoying or weird that the suspect is unable to think clearly. This methodology also proves useful when he is being interrogated by the FBI or the Director of Mossad. He even called himself one in the season 7 opener:
    Tony: I'm the wildcard. I'm the guy that looks at the reality in front of him and refuses to accept it.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Between seasons 10 and 11, to get the case against Gibbs dismissed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Multiple levels between seasons three and four, then smaller yet still noticeable levels between seasons five and six, then multiple levels again between seasons six and seven.
  • Unorthodox Holstering: Discussed. Apparently he annoys the NCIS armorers by constantly visiting them to try out different sidearms and carry methods to figure out the coolest combination that works for him.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: A little with Kate, but to a much greater degree with Ziva.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: Starting in season five. He acknowledges in Season Six that he's going through a dry spell since falling in love while undercover. He just doesn't want anyone to know.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 2 with McGee. They act almost like brothers.
    • Tony is also very close to Gibbs, but you wouldn't say so from their normal interactions. It's the same story with Kate (which appears at first like a type 1), and with Ziva.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Has this dynamic with his father ironically given his usual attitude. Though given DiNozzo Senior is The Casanova and a Chivalrous Pervert par excellence this is to be expected.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Mostly in the early seasons, with Gibbs.
    • Also clearly present with his biological father. They're improving.

    Abigail "Abby" Sciuto 
Played By: Pauley Perrette
Tony: Abby Sciuto, resident NCIS forensic scientist, heart and soul. A paradox wrapped in an oxymoron, smothered in contradictions in terms. Sleeps in a coffin. Really, the happiest goth you'll ever meet.

A forensic science genius who apparently handles the lab work for all of NCIS by herself, Abby is a perky goth who always tries to see the best in everyone despite being confronted by all the horrible things people do to each other every day.

She is the barometer by which the mood at NCIS can be judged. If Abby is anything other than her usual cheerful self it means something is most definitely wrong and upsetting her in any way is a guarantee to getting your ass kicked (by her with the rest of Team Gibbs rushing in just as she's finishing up).

  • All Women Are Prudes: Downplayed. She has no problem with sex, just certain expressions of it (like Palmer's foot/shoe fetish AND how carefully he takes note of his coworker's footwear...)
  • Awesomeness by Analysis
  • Badass Adorable: Once, she was Alone with the Psycho, who was her current assistant, and he tried to kill her. The team figured it out, and came running, only to find that she had kicked his ass, hog tied him, and gagged him. She wasn't even winded. There's also the time she was taken by a hitman hired to kill her to prevent her from testifying. By the time Gibbs and company arrive, she's using a taser on him.
    Abby: (To the hitman, lying on the ground squealing while she stands over him) And don't look up my skirt! **zaps**
    • Implied by Ducky to the corpse in "Toxic": "You messed with the wrong forensic scientist."
  • Badass Bookworm
  • Berserk Button: Abby's two biggest pet peeves are people who claim to be vegetarians but still eat chicken, and poorly handled evidence.
    • She is this to all of Team Gibbs. If she's missing, off they go to find her.
    • In "Toxic," (Season 6, Episode 21), she insists, "What is Abby's rule #1? Do not lie to Abby."
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • She once threatened Agent Lee that she's one of the few people in the world who can kill someone and leave absolutely no forensic evidence.
    • And a couple times people tried to hurt Abby, the scene cuts to agents running to help her, and when they arrive, Abby has taken her attacker down, and is clearly coming down from a major adrenaline rush (see Badass Adorable).
    • She can verbally dress you down as well as Gibbs, and in a way it's even more harsh just because it's coming from her.
  • Boring but Practical: Her job as The Lab Rat.
    • Abby would vehemently disagree.
  • Brains and Bondage
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Breakout Character: She's basically the series mascot.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: See Perky Goth. Can also be something of One of the Kids at times.
  • The Cast Show Off: Pauley Perrette has a Masters Degree in Criminal Science.
  • Catch Phrase: "I hate it when he/she/they does/do that."
  • Characterization Marches On: Go back and watch some Season 1 episodes, and you'll see that Abby isn't nearly as bubbly or talkative as she would later become. She's also gotten something of a Girliness Upgrade over time.
  • Cheek Copy: Admits in "Left for Dead" (Season 1, Episode 10) that she did this once.
  • Cheerful Child: In a flashback we see she was an extremely cheerful tomboy with a knack for science and detective work.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Abby plays the halves of the trope title separately with McGee. The "clingy" can kick in when she's upset or worried. The "jealous" can kick in if there's a non-team member around who pulls McGee's attention away from her (e.g. an ICE agent played by Jaime "Hustle" Murray). You'd swear at times that they were still dating...
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In spades.
  • Cuddle Bug
  • Damsel out of Distress: Got captured by the villain when she went over to NCIS: Los Angeles for a crossover. She used his live camera feed to send her location to Callen's team via Morse code blinks.
    • This happens several times over the series, including tasing a stalker into submission and duct taping up a forensics specialist who was trying to get Tony convicted of murder. Abby does occasionally get into trouble, but she's more than capable of saving herself.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When she thought she isn't doing enough good to counteract all the bad she was horribly detracted and even called in sick. Triggered when she was reminded of her very first "case": When she was a child she found a little girl's teddy bear and went to return it, but due to family drama (the girl's dad hated his father-in-law who had given her the bear) the girl couldn't take it back; she even found the girl's grandpa who told her it was impossible. Eventually Abby secretly gave her one of her own toys instead and kept that bear until it fell apart.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
  • Embarrassing First Name: She doesn't much care for being called "Abigail" by Ducky.
  • Fake Food: The giant cup of the Caf-Pow soda that Abby frequently drinks is actually sugar-free cranberry juice; it was orginally Hawaiian Punch up until around the fourth season, when Pauley Perrette gave up eating or drinking anything that contained refined sugar.
  • First Name Basis: Besides his wife and Gibbs, she's the only one who calls Director Vance "Leon".
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
  • Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Used to great effect while helping Ziva to subdue an intruder at Gibbs' place. She even lampshades her choice of a weapon.
    Abby: It's a frying pan. It's a little cliché.
    Ziva: Works for me.
  • Genki Girl: If this were a manga, she would be most likely to Say It with Hearts.
  • Girlish Pigtails:
    • "Hit and Run" shows that she had these even as an actual young girl.
  • The Glomp
  • Happily Adopted: Nine seasons in and we learn she was this to her deaf parents.
  • The Heart: As indicated in the character quote, again. Even those who know she isn't an easy mark will go after her first for that reason.
  • Hot Scientist
  • I Call It "Vera": "Major Mass Spec" and her other lab equipment. She also names her own teeth, though they appear to be masculine names - one is Frank.
  • Improbable Age: Abby was stated as being in her late twenties during season 7. And it's also been heavily implied she has a PhD in chemistry.
  • I Work Alone: For the sake of everyone involved. Including the bad guys.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: When Michelle Lee suggests that NCIS is better off without Gibbs in the episode "Escaped":
    Abby: I like you Michelle, so I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that.
  • Killer Rabbit: See below.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Usually unbuttoned to frame her goth outfits. Whenever she is showing her Wrench Wench attitude, she swaps it for red NCIS overalls.
  • The Lab Rat / Misfit Lab Rat
  • Let's Get Dangerous: People who target Abby tend to wish they hadn't (via off-screen mayhem).
  • Love You and Everybody: She's a big-time hugger.
  • Morality Pet: To Gibbs. He refers to her as the team mascot.
  • Motor Mouth: And how. It seems the more stressed she is, the faster she'll talk and the more tangents she'll go off on. Usually Gibbs has to pull her back on track.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Fetish Fuel, indeed.
  • Must Have Caffeine: In the form of "Caf Pow" soda.
    • She's tried to break the addiction before. It never works.
  • Nerds Are Sexy
  • Nightmare Fetishist: She sleeps in a coffin.
    Marty: You wouldn't happen to have an unhealthy obsession with death, would you?
    Abby: Oh, no. It's just a hobby.
  • Older Than They Look: Pauley Perrette was born in 1969. Abby looks maybe 25-30.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Has a black, lacy one, that she carries in a few episodes. Speaking of which...
  • Perky Goth: If you put Lisbeth Salander and Penelope Pitstop in a blender...
    • With the ratio of perkiness to gothiness gradually shifting in favor of the former over time.
  • Power Echoes: "...and I will rise up, and I will find the man that did this to Tony, and I will crucify him!"
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
  • Really Gets Around: Abby's sex life hasn't gotten much attention since the early seasons, but it is known to be... eclectic.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: See her character quote.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Energetic Girl to McGee's Savvy Guy.
  • Secret Test of Character: She has a list of criteria that the men she dates have to meet before she'll commit to a long term relationship. None know that they are being tested and none, including McGee have passed and her friends take it for granted that every man she's involved with will be gone within a few months. She eventually makes an exception for Burt, the Parks Police Sergeant.
  • Separated at Birth: Turns out in season 9 that she was adopted. Her twin brother runs an SPCA-affiliated pet shop.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Most notably in the Halloween Episode, "Witch Hunt", from Season 4, where she dresses up as Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, causing speechlessness in McGee and DiNozzo when they first see her.
  • Sherlock Scan: When Abby's teaching a class on forensics for the Mexican government, one of her students looks at her and snarkily asks if she forgot when The Day of The Dead is. Abby proceeds to tell the woman that she has a cat. When the woman isn't impressed, Abby reels off a list of things she's observed that range from the woman having three cats of two different breeds, all the way to the fact that she's currently ovulating. The woman quickly shuts up.
  • She's Got Legs: "And don't look up my skirt!"
  • Sign Language: Her parents were deaf, so she's equally proficient in English and ASL.
  • Team Pet
  • Techno Babble
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Kate and Ziva's Tomboy. Being a Wrench Wench puts her in Tomboy territory, too.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Implied with Abby in "Bloodbath":
    McGee: Now, you stay here and don't answer the door, or I will tie you up!
    Abby: Really?
  • Tsundere: On any given episode she can be the sweetest, most loving and caring ball of fluff on the series and turn around to threatening anyone with the fact that she can kill them and leave no forensic evidence. Witness her Dere to Tsun turn around in the season 5 episode "Dog Tags" with McGee when she first sees McGee hurt, only to wanting to never have met him when she realized he shot a dog. Never mind that It Was Self-Defense.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Rather, will they or won't they again; she and McGee used to date, and still have chemistry, up to and including being jealous of whoever the other one is currently seeing. As of Season 12, however, McGee makes clear that they never will because Abby has a secret list of criteria that the men she dates must meet (without them even knowing that there is a list) before certain dates and no one's ever made it past two months with her.
  • Vanity License Plate / Cool Car: "4NS CHIK" displayed on her red 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe. The car before this one was a hearse.
  • Zettai Ryouiki

    Special Agent Timothy 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).

  • Accidental Misnaming: Suffers from all of Tony's Mc-names and being called "Probie."
  • 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" after 20 years and that it eventually becomes a reminder of the mentor-mentee relationship some agents share.
  • 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 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
  • Butt Monkey
  • Catch Phrase: "On it, boss." He hates it when he ends up using this for Tony, knowing he will never let him live it down.
  • 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 father dies in season 12.
  • 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.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Leukine.
  • 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).
  • Hidden Depths: A tech head, hacker and best selling author.
    • Who 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".
  • 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.
    • Also 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.
  • 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 partiaining to his personality. However, the moniker 'Elf Lord' has stuck around quite consistent,y 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".
  • Last Name Basis
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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. He insists, however, that his treatment of probies is nowhere near as bad as Tony was to him.
  • 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.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Not his own, but 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.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Between seasons 10 and 11 to get the case against Gibbs dismissed.
  • The Smart Guy
  • Techno Babble
  • 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 onto how he could possibly join the Major Case Squad as well as some of Gibbs' rules.note 
    • 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.
  • 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.

     Medical Examiner's Assistant 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 protoge 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. He's married to a woman named Breena and the two are expecting a baby.

  • Action Survivor: He works out in a gym but he isn't combat proficient.
  • Adorkable
  • Brainy Brunette
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Is very intelligent and a good assistant to Ducky, but has problems with self-confidence.
  • Exact Words: He uses this on Gibbs during his Crowning Moment of Awesome (see the page), 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: During his Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Happily Married: To Breena in Season 10.
  • Heroic BSOD: He gets this after Diane, Gibbs' and Fornell's ex-wife, dies.
    Ducky: Right, on three. One, two—
    Palmer: No.
    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, but he also demonstrates significant knowledge of criminal activity when he acts as Tony's secret consigliere.
  • Hollywood Nerd
  • In-Series Nickname: the numerous Memetic Mutation 'Autopsy Gremlin' that he received from Dinozzo.
  • 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
  • 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".
    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,
  • Nightmare Fetishist
  • 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.
  • Person as Verb: In a Call Back to his Crowning Moment of Awesome, an NSA agent is mentioned as having "pulled a Palmer" in an 11th season episode.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: After eight seasons on the show, Brian Dietzen was finally upgraded to a series regular in season ten.
  • Recurring Character
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Watson: To Ducky's Holmes.

     Probationary Special Agent Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop 
Played By: Emily Wickersham
"I wrote it my third day at the NSA. It was a Wednesday morning, I'd just finished a box of Coco Pebbles."

An NSA analyst brought to joint duty with NCIS. Gibbs says that he wants to keep Bishop around after she helps the team solve a case involving high level security leaks, which she predicted in a paper years ago. Now officially the newest Probie on Team Gibbs.

  • Action Girl: Having had three older brothers, Bishop is fairly adept at grappling with opponents who are much larger that her. On the other hand, she has little experience with gunfights and hasn't done well in those she participated in so farnote .
  • Affectionate Nickname: She inherits the title of "Probie", although Tony calls her that with none of the venom he used when McGee was the junior member of the team.
  • Awesome by Analysis: What she did at the NSA.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Has several signs of Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Big Eater: She loves to snack and uses food as a device to help her recall details. The first thing she asks about the NCIS New Orleans office is if they have a junk food machine which completely dumbfounds SSA Pride.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tends to create "nests" where she works, which is often on the floor rather than a desk (or sometimes on her desk), although Gibbs eventually puts an end to this practice in the office. Also associates key details of situations and her surroundings with foods she was eating at the time.
  • The Cutie: She is notably Lighter and Softer compared to her two predecessors, Kate and Ziva. It's even reflected with their hair colors and personalities (she's blond and more social, while both her predecessors were initially Aloof Dark Haired Girls to the max). She can also match Abby's perkiness if she wanted to.
  • Dumb Blonde: Inverted. She's a brilliant NSA analyst who predicted several security breaches years in advance.
  • Dynamic Entry: She misunderstands Tony asking her to open a hotel door and eagerly tries to kick it down but doesn't do any damage because of her small stature. Tony then reminds her that they'd just gotten a key from the front desk and meant for her to use that.
  • Fake Guest Star: In season 11.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: On her desk is a sticker for Oklahoma State University, presumably her alma mater. OSU is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the same name as Gibbs' hometown in Pennsylvania.
  • Happily Married: She's married to a man named Jake, who she's known since they were in college together. Her new job as an NCIS agent appears to be causing some strain on her marriage, which starts falling apart when Jake has an affair with a coworker.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Bishop claims to have had sex in a position that Tony and McGee consider to be impossible. She was about to start explaining how it was done when Gibbs walks in, ending the conversation.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Almost always has a notebook computer with her.
  • Honey Trap: Implied to be how Bishop became the NSA's expert on Benham Parsa. (the NSA does number crunching, not field work, so this got Bishop yanked off the case.)
  • The Maiden Name Debate: She uses her maiden name than Jake's surname.
  • Motor Mouth: When she gets going, she could give Abby a run for her money.
  • Nerds Are Sexy
  • Never Gets Drunk: Claims this is the case, though it hasn't been shown on screen. She apparently learned this during a Noodle Incident at college with her future husband.
  • New Meat: Has to bear the brunt of Tony and McGee's ribbing and hazing and does all the dirty work the senior agents don't want to do. Her first day as an agent involved sifting through buckets of human excrement and climbing up a rickety fire escape even though she isn't good with heights.
    Bishop: "First, 'Probie' sounded endearing...and cute...doesn't anymore."
  • Noodle Incident: Claims to have successfully executed a sexual position that Tony and McGee had previously considered anatomically impossible. She starts to explain when Gibbs walks in.
    Tony: "Are you double jointed?"
  • Photographic Memory: She uses food association to help her with her recall.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Immediately after she joins The Team.
  • Retcon: Bishop originally said that she and Jake knew each other in college, but Jake tells a story where they first met at the NSA.

    Director Leon Vance 
Played By: Rocky Carroll
Abby: 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  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.

  • And Starring
  • 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
  • Crusading Widower: Starting season 10.
  • Da Chief
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Vance is the husband and father of a respectable suburban family and unlike Gibbs, is not the type to have a series of four wives.
  • Genius Bruiser: He was once a boxer, but can compete with McGee in knowledge of cryptology.
  • Happily Married: Until his wife is murdered.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Last Episode, New Character: He was introduced in the fifth season finale.
  • Mysterious Past: Not all of it has been explained...yet.
  • Oral Fixation: Chewing on toothpicks.
  • 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.

    Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard 
Played By: David McCallum
"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.

  • And Starring
  • Badass Grandpa
  • Bowties Are Cool: Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, the service's medical examiner, ancillary Cool Uncle of the main group, Scottish gentleman and perpetual font of trivia tangential to the case at hand, always wears a bow-tie to the morgue. It's also practical: a regular tie is likely to get dipped in something nasty.
  • 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  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.
  • 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 dissection. "I'm suddenly overcome with the desire to share a story of only a peripherally relevant nature."
  • 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.
  • Combat Pragmatist / Improvised Weapon: In S11E01, Ducky took down a random mook with a random bowl, saving Palmer in the process.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • 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
  • 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.
    • He is kidnapped and nearly killed by one, who begins to drain his blood before Gibbs and company arrive to save him.
  • 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.
  • Honorary Grandfather: To Victoria Palmer.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: he is often shown wearing one, complete with the aforementioned Cool Bowtie. He wears blue-green scrubs when performing autopsies and blue overalls on crime scenes.
  • Long-Lost Relative: His half-brother Nicholas Mallard, whom Ducky tought to have been killed in an accident decades ago, turns out to be alive in the episode "Spinning Wheel" (13x11).
  • The Medic: In addition to being the Medical Examiner.
  • The Mentor: To Palmer. Officially too.
  • The Munchausen: 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.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: He earned a master's degree in psychology in Season 4 and is occasionally called-upon to profile a suspect.
  • Non-Action Guy
  • No Sense of Direction: He blames his assistants but he's always the one giving directions.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Which leads to...
    • Punny Name: With a name like that, what did you think he'd be called, Mousey?
    • Ari actually first thinks of the locomotive, mildly surprising Ducky.
  • 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).
  • The Profiler
  • 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?
  • Scotland
  • 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.
  • Talking to the Dead: He routinely does this with his "patients." Truth in Television: Real Life medical examiners have been known to do this.

Former Main Characters

    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."

    Special Agent Ziva David 
Played By: Coté de Pablo
Eli David: Use her well, Leon. Ziva is the sharp end of the spear.

"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. The show frequently implies she used to be a Dark Action Girl.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Ziva is a tall, beautiful woman who is a definite Ice Queen to her teammates. 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.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Her ability to effectively and efficiently deal with attackers means that she will probably live to a ripe old age.
  • Badass: Early on in Ziva's 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  Second  Third 
  • Badass Israeli: Former Mossad operative. 'Nuff said.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Book Ends: 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.
  • Brainy Brunette
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clear My Name: The first episode of season 4 dealt with this issue.
  • 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.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen
  • Does Not Know Her Own Strength: See Badass.
  • 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.
    • One of her notable driving habits is doing 80 in a 40 zone, as was noted on her speeding ticket.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: How Ilan Bodnar bites it.
  • Fair Cop
  • Fake Guest Star: In season 3.
  • 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!"
  • Femme Fatale Spy
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With the exception of Abby, Ziva truly became close to the team after enduring some difficult investigations.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
  • Funny Foreigner: Downplayed. She's serious except for her tendency to butcher English-language quotes or figures of speech.
  • 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.
  • I Have No Father: To the point of changing nations just to give him a Take That.
  • Informed Judaism: 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.)
  • 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.
  • The Lad-ette: She rotates between this and;
  • Lady of War
  • Last Minute Kiss: With Tony in her final episode.
  • Locked In A Shipping Crate: With Tony in "Boxed In".
  • Ma'am Shock: Another Berserk Button.
  • MacGyvering
  • Malaproper: Her messing up quotes, again; this is the main reason she qualified as a Funny Foreigner.
  • Military Brat
  • My Nayme Is: "David" has the earlier pronunciation (just as it appears, and as an iamb), rather than the Anglicized, trochaic "Dei-vid."
  • 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 Orange Cap: Her Tragic Keepsake.
  • 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.
  • Proud Warrior Race Gal : Because she is a Badass Israeli.
  • 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.
  • A Real Woman Is A Killer
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: against 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'.
  • 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".
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension/Will They or Won't They?: Done to death with Tony. (The writers seem to enjoy dropping hints that in fact they have, but this is probably not canon.)
    • They Do.
    • 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.
  • You Killed My 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?"

Other NCIS Agents and Superiors

    Director Thomas Morrow 
Played By: Alan Dale

    Special Agent Michelle Lee 
Played By: Liza Lapira

Tony: She's even more probie than Probie!

    Mike Franks 
Played By: Muse Watson
"Don't tempt me, Jethro! I ain't nearly drunk enough."

    Gerald Jackson 
Played By: Pancho Demmings

One of the initial characters, he was Ducky's first Assistant Medical Examiner on the show before Jimmy Palmer took over that role in Season 3.

  • Career-Ending Injury: At the very least it ended his job in NCIS. It's unknown what, if any, work he returned.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Inverted. Ducky offers himself to be shot instead of Gerald when Ari takes Autopsy under hostage. Ari instead ignores Ducky and shoots Gerald when Ducky and Kate tried to trick him.
  • Put on a Bus: After his first encounter with Ari led him to leave Autopsy with a gun shot to the shoulder and being kidnapped and release by Ari at the start of season 3, he hasn't been seen since.
  • Saltand Pepper: Him and Ducky.

    Special Agent Paula Cassidy 
Played By: Jessica Steen

An NCIS Special Agent who worked at the Pentagon and Guantanamo Bay as an interrogator. She made reoccurring performances over the first four seasons.

  • Action Girl
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In a split second decision, she saw a suicide bomber come out from behind a hidden passage way. Without hesitation, she jumped onto the man, keeping him in the passage as the door closed. She saved the rest of Team Gibbs and the clerics they were protecting.
  • Hero of Another Story

    Nikki Jardine 
Played By: Susan Kelechi Watson
  • The Atoner: To the Iraqi family who's father got shot trying to help her brother.
  • Help Mistaken for Attack: Part of her backstory, her brother was injured in Iraq and when a friendly Iraqi tried to help him, he was killed by US forces.
  • Neat Freak: Played with. Nikki is a Germaphobe and always using wipes to clean her hands and things she touches, but (as revealed in the episode In The Zone) is a slob when it comes to leaving stuff lying around.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Vanishes without trace after her A Day in the Limelight episode In The Zone.

    Charles "Chip" Sterling 
Played By: Michael Bellisario

Abby's first lab assistant, as appointed by the new Director of NCIS Shepard. Only showed up for a four episodes in the first half of season 3.

  • Embarrassing Nickname: Abby calls him Chip, which he didn't like but begrudgingly accepted.
  • Porn Stache: Had one in his first episode, was told by Gibbs in his second to shave if off.
  • Real-Life Relative: He is the son of producer of the show Donald Bellisario, and brother of Troian Bellisario (Sara McGee's actor). He is also the step-brother of Sean Murray (Timothy McGee's actor).
  • Revenge: Tried to frame Tony for when he, as a Baltimore cop, got him fired for mishandling evidence. Nearly got away with it too if it weren't for Abby.

    Special Agent Brent Langer 
Played By: Jonathan LaPaglia

  • Clear My Name: After he had been killed.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: He and the mole are in a sensitive area. As he explains some things to the mole, he realizes he is with the mole. He tries to draw his gun but it doesn't help.
  • Red Herring Mole: Set up to be the mole by the mole.
  • Whack A Mole: Subverted, due to him not actually being the mole and being killed trying to stop the mole.

     Stanley Burley 
Played By: Joel Gretsch

Was a part of Gibbs' team before DiNozzo was hired away from Baltimore PD. Still an active NCIS agent, now working as Agent Afloat on an aircraft carrier.

    Riley McCallister 
Played By: Michael O'Neill

    SECNAV Phillip Davenport 
Played By: Jude Ciccolella

    Erica Jane "E.J." Barrett 
Played By: Sarah Jane Morris

    Simon Cade 
Played By: Matt Willig

  • Clear My Name: He goes into hiding after being framed for stealing microchips from the bodies of Watcher 8 fleet members. Tony ends up pursuing him, leading to Cade getting shot and killed by the true thief, Jonathan Cole, who frames Tony for the murder.
  • Genius Bruiser: He has an IQ of 160 and played football at Yale.
  • Red Herring Mole
  • Smart People Wear Glasses

    Gayne Levin 
Played By: Alimi Ballard

    SECNAV Clayton Jarvis 
Played By: Matt Craven

    Ned Dorneget 
Played By: Matt Jones

A relatively new probationary agent. He's eventually transferred into the cyber division and demonstrates computer skills on par with McGee.

  • Butt Monkey: Once left the dentist's office with a bugged tooth implant. Hilarity did not ensue.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Plays a major role as a cyber-specialist in the multi-part episode starting with "Troll", then gets killed in the second part while evacuating a hotel about to be the site of a terrorist bombing.
  • Hero of Another Story: He gets mentioned a lot more than seen, and does a lot of gruntwork.
  • Straight Gay

    Richard Parsons 
Played By: Colin Hanks

An up-and-comer in the DoD Office of the Inspector General. He has Gibbs arrested for his questionable methods, hoping to use his prosecution as a launching pad for his own career.

  • Blackmail: Engaged in lots of it to worm his way into his current lofty position.
  • Break the Haughty: Coming within feet of being blown up can do that.
  • Condescending Compassion: To Ziva in the tenth season finale. He tells about how much he "sympathizes" with her over the murder of her father right before taunting her about his ultimate goal of bringing down Gibbs, who he acknowledges is the only father figure she has left.
  • Evil Counterpart: Tony quips that he's like McGee's evil twin. He turns out to be less "evil" and more "too ambitious for his own good".
  • Filler Villain: For all the threat he was played up to be, he's quickly overshadowed by a larger threat within the CIA and reduced to this. That was prior to his Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Not too surprisingly, when he does decide to help and not hinder Gibbs, the rest of his team gives him the cold shoulder.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After he gets a front row seat for the bomb that killed SecNav Jarvis and seriously injured DHS Secretary Morrow.
  • I Shall Taunt You: One of his ways of getting information from the subjects of his investigation. Notably, he goads Tony by insulting Ziva in his first episode.
  • It's All About Me
  • Jerk Ass
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: So freaking much. He starts off seeming nice but comically annoying. He quickly shows that he is not to be taken lightly and stays one step ahead of the team.
  • Out-Gambitted: Gibbs is conveniently sent on assignment abroad before having to testify, and his team all turn in their resignations to accept responsibility for him. Documents about Mike Franks and the murder of the drug lord that killed Shannon and Kelly are burned and shredded, effectively yanking the rug out from under Parsons' case.
  • Sixth Ranger: For Gibbs in the season 11 premiere.

    Vivian Blackadder 
Played By: Robyn Lively

Tony DiNozzo's first onscreen partner; appeared only in the two-part pilot on JAG. It's generally assumed that she was fired after blowing the operation they were on, as Gibbs didn't like her and she's never been mentioned since.

Other Federal Agents

    FBI Agent Tobias C. Fornell 
Played By: Joe Spano

Fornell: And people say we're bastards?
Gibbs: Only because they know us.

  • Aloof Ally: Though he does always want to help if he can even when he is likely breaking rules to do so. Even when he is technically an antagonist, he still wants what's best for Gibbs and his team.
  • Always Gets His Man: Much like Gibbs, both are famed in story for this.
  • Big Eater: Half of his lines during his guest appearance on NCIS: New Orleans is him telling Pride which restaurants he wants to visit and the list of dishes he intends to eat at each one.
  • FBI Agent: Obviously. Fornell is the FBI equivalent of Gibbs.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Due to being part of a different agency Fornell only shows up when something bad is happening so everyone tends to view his appearance within NCIS headquarters as this.
  • Hero of Another Story: Implied for the most part, but we do get glimpses of Fornell's career at FBI. He's their version of Gibbs.
  • Like an Old Married Couple:
    • This scene from "Short Fuse" says it best...
    • Then there's this exchange in the Season 11 premier:
    Fornell: You know I'm not going to kiss you goodnight.
    Gibbs: What?
    Fornell: You're walking me to my car. We breaking up?
    Gibbs: If I could, I would. Unfortunately, I trust you.
  • The Missus and the Ex: He and Gibbs are a Gender Flip of this trope. (Though by the time the series starts he's divorced from Gibb's ex-wife too.)
  • Perp Sweating: Not seen as often, but he's brutal in the interrogation room.
  • The Rival: A friendly rival, but a rival.
  • Sixth Ranger: Occasionally, when he shows up.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    Tony: I thought you were dead.
    Fornell: Got better.
    Kate: I thought he was dead.
    Tony: Got better.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He considers Gibbs his best friend.

    CIA Agent Trent (Thomas) Kort 
Played By: David Dayan Fisher

     Army CID Agent Lt. Col. Hollis Mann 
Played By: Susanna Thompson

"If this is going to turn into a pissing match, you'd better bring an umbrella."

  • Distaff Counterpart: To Gibbs. She's even a team leader in the Army's corresponding agency, Army Criminal Investigation Divisionnote  - yes, that spells what you think it does: usually referred to as Army CID.
  • Everyone Can See It: Her UST with Gibbs is noticed by the whole team.
    • Upon meeting Mann for the first time, Vance asks Gibbs if she's one his ex-wives.
  • Fiery Strawberry Blonde
  • Girl of the Week: Subverted; she appears to be this at first, but it takes her and Gibbs two episodes to get together and they remain together for almost a year. In fact, she's easily the most long-term love interest Gibbs has had on the show.
  • Hands-On Approach: Gibbs does this to her in "Grace Period." She doesn't seem to mind that much.
  • Hero of Another Story: Her career with CID could easily have been the basis for a Spin-Off.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: This is how she meets Gibbs and what brings them back together.
    • It happens again when she returns from Unretirement.
  • Love Interest: To Gibbs in her first run of apperances. She later married someone else.
  • Put on a Bus: To Hawaii.

    CGIS Agent Abigail Borin 
Played By: Diane Neal

  • Ambiguously Bi: In "Oil and Water", she and Tony are chasing a suspect, which she KOs with a left-handed swing of an oar. Her explanation is...interesting.
    Borin: College softball.
    Tony: Southpaw?
    Borin: I swung both ways.
  • Badass
  • Berserk Button: Don't joke about blowing stuff up. Her temper's much more explosive.
  • Broken Bird: Her lover was killed in an IED explosion with two other marines. She had to pull his mangled body out of the water.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Gibbs, to the point that the entire team lampshades it. So naturally the following apply: Death Glare, Dope Slap, Gut Feeling, Must Have Caffeine, Rule Number One and Right Behind Me.
  • Expy: This is an extreme case of Actor Allusion, but Borin is ADA Casey Novak as a cop, minus the emotional trainwreck but it looks like she could be headed that way. It's more than likely some of her lines are recycled. Bonus points for the softball playing and commentary on her swinging.
  • Fair Cop
  • Hero of Another Story: She's the Gibbs of CGIS so you better believe she's having adventures bringing down bad guys off screen.
  • Last Name Basis: To avoid the One Steve Limit with Abby Sciuto.
  • Must Have Caffeine: It's implied she and Gibbs even take their coffee the same way.
  • Perp Sweating: At one point, she and Gibbs double team someone.
  • Once a Season: She proved to be so popular that her appearances tend to be this. Lampshaded really, really hard at the end of one of them:
    "Same time next year, Gibbs?"
  • One Steve Limit: Averted for a gag in her first appearance. She asks Gibbs to call her 'Abby', which he immediately refuses to do. It becomes clear as to why when he takes her to the NCIS lab.
    Abigail Sciuto and Abigail Borin extend their hands and simultaneously say: "Abby."
    • From then on, she's addressed as "Agent Borin" or simply "Borin" with Abby Sciuto being the only one to call her "Abby" or "Other Abby" for fun.
  • Rule Number One: Never make excuses.
  • Statuesque Stunner

    Ray Cruz 
Played By: Enrique Murciano

Ziva's boyfriend and near-fiancee in seasons 8 and 9, and also a CIA field agent. DiNozzo refers to him as CIRay. Ziva dumps him after he kills someone in the process of trying to finish up a hit he botched overseas, and Ray is arrested for the murder.

    Dr. Samantha Ryan 
Played By: Jamie Lee Curtis

At work, a creepy-as-hell DoD psy-ops expert who's almost a match for Gibbs in the mindgames department. At home, a single mother with a divorce from an abusive husband in the past. Needless to say, she and Gibbs hit it off very well. As of the end of season 9, in hiding after CEO-turned-terrorist Harper Dearing got her abusive ex sprung from prison.

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Gibbs. They match very well, but they put each other on the defensive so frequently that some of their interactions can be quite angry.
  • Gaslighting: What Ryan does for a living, and not just to military targets.
  • Put on a Bus
  • Riddle Me This: She always tells Gibbs what she thinks he needs to know, but for some reason always does so in the most infuriatingly roundabout ways possible. (One tip was delivered on the inside of a pizza box.) Gibbs does not like this.
  • Silver Fox: Jamie Lee may be the most triumphant example for women right now.
  • Two First Names

    Diane Sterling 
Played By: Melinda McGraw

Gibbs' third wife. She was also married to Fornell, whom she has a daughter. She works for the I.R.S.


    Mossad Director Eli David 
Played By: Michael Nouri

"Tell me, Leon. Are we winning?"

Ziva's father and head of the Mossad. He is utterly ruthless in his pursuit of Israel's enemies, often using the same illegal tactics as them to hunt down and kill them.

    Michael Rivkin 
Played By: Merik Tadros

    Malachi Ben-Gidon 
Played By: TJ Ramini

    Ilan Bodnar 
Played By: Oded Fehr

Eli David's former protege, and the one responsible for having him killed.

    Orli Elbaz 
Played By: Marina Sirtis

Eli David's replacement as the head of Mossad. She doesn't get along with Gibbs right out of the gate.

  • Your Cheating Heart: Had an affair early in her career with Eli David that led to David's divorce from his wife, and years of bad feelings from Ziva. Ziva had considered Elbaz to be sleeping her way to the top, but reluctantly admitted that she may have genuinely loved him when she came to the US to see what was going on with the murder investigation.


    Ari Haswari 
Played By: Rudolf Martin

"Sorry, Caitlin."

    Rene Benoit 
Played By: Armand Assante

    Mamoun Sharif 
Played By: Enzo Cilenti

    Colonel (ret.) Merton Bell 
Played By: Robert Patrick

    Jason Paul Dean 

    Alejandro Rivera 
Played By: Marco Sanchez

    Paloma Reynosa 
Played By: Jacqueline Obradors

    Jonas Cobb, The Port-to-Port Killer 
Played By: Kerr Smith

    Jonathan Cole 
Played By: Scott Wolf

    Harper Dearing 
Played By: Richard Schiff

    Sergei Mishnev 
Played By: Alex Veadov

Agents' Family Members

    Shannon and Kelly Gibbs 
Shannon is Played By: Darby Stanchfield
Kelly is Played By: Mary Matilyn Mouser, Brenna Radding and Sam Schuder

    Jackson Gibbs 
Played By: Ralph Waite

  • Actor Existence Failure: Ralph Waite passed away in February 2014. The season 11 finale became an episode in his honour, with his character died after suffering from a stroke.
  • Badass Grandpa: Though technically, he isn't a grandfather anymore.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Dad the Veteran: He served in WWII as a fighter pilot.
  • Like Father, Like Son: When Paloma Reynosa comes to kill him in "The Spider and the Fly"
    Reynosa: But we have so much to talk about.
    Jackson Gibbs: From what I hear, you didn't come to talk. (pulls his shotgun)
    Reynosa: You are just like your son.
    Jackson Gibbs: No, ma'am. He's just like me.
  • "Well Done, Dad" Guy: Jethro blamed him for losing his mother. Their relationship has been slowly healing.

    Anthony DiNozzo Sr. 
Played By: Robert Wagner

Tony's father, a failed entrepreneur who likes to live large and has always been a distant and disappointing father to Tony.

  • Chivalrous Pervert: He turns the charm up to eleven whenever there's a woman present (and apparently has had a long string of lovers) but is always polite and never untoward anyone. Ziva and Abby like him and flirt right back, which is saying something.
  • Con Man: Junior thought that Senior was one for most of his life. While it's true that Senior's been using his charms to mooch off of friends and acquaintances, Senior assures his son that he goes into his various ventures with pure intentions and tries to make an honest profit for himself and his investors but hasn't had the best of luck in the past several decades.
  • Cool Old Guy: Much younger people hang onto his every word and he's always willing to impart advice (although it's usually something superficial that sounds deep) to them.
  • Disappeared Dad: He and Tony were never close to start out with but a decades-long rift formed after the death of Tony's mother as both retreated within themselves to deal with the grief. Senior didn't help matters by shipping Tony off to boarding schools and abandoning him in hotels during vacations.
  • Hidden Depths: Once managed to knock out a weapon dealer's bodyguard with one punch to the face.
  • The Load: At least, this is what Junior's attitude towards him often is — whenever Senior blows into town, he tends to drag Junior into all sorts of unwanted situations.
  • Lovable Rogue: He's a wheeler dealer who oozes charm. Only Junior and Gibbs look at him with wary eyes and, even then, it's only to make sure Senior doesn't get into too much trouble.
  • Like Father, Like Son: It's pretty obvious where Junior got his personality from.
  • Mock Millionaire: He is a formerly wealthy businessman, who is trying to keep up the appearance that he is still wealthy.
  • Silver Fox: Has the knack for charming any woman he crosses.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Shares this dynamic with Junior. Given how much of a goofball Junior can be, that's saying something.

    Jackie Vance 
Played By: Paula Newsome

"You are my partner now."

Leon's wife, who is somewhat exasperated with the hours he has to work and the toll it has taken on their personal lives.

    Dr. Rachel Cranston née Todd 
Played By: Wendy Makkena

Offhandedly mentioned (but not by name) as Kate's sister in Miami in season one, Cranston managed to get assigned psych eval duty on Gibbs' team just so she could meet Kate's coworkers.

     Sarah McGee 

McGee's sister. Asks for his off-book help when she finds herself accused of murder. Returns later as an offstage character during McGee's father's funeral.

Sarah: But he loves NCIS...
Gibbs: Evidently he loves you more.

    Breena Slater 
Played By: Michelle Pierce

    Jonathan Cole 
Played By: Scott Wolf

    Jake Malloy 
Played By: Jamie Bamber

Bishop's husband. He works as an attorney for the National Security Agency. He also does the near-impossible by becoming actual friends with Gibbs, to the point where they have a weekly racquetball match.

  • Adorkable: Abby outright calls him "adorable". Then there's his glasses and his school girl-like gushing over Gibbs. He later seems similarly awestruck at Ellie's efficiency.
  • Happily Married: He and Bishop are very much in love, but their jobs cause some tension. When they both worked at NSA, they could freely talk about their days but when Bishop moved to NCIS, Jake became legally prohibited from divulging anything about his work to his own wife so all they can talk about are the murders Bishop investigates. Unfortunately, his recent workplace affair may have completely destroyed this.
  • Hello, Attorney!: He's played by Jamie Bamber, so natch.
  • Megane
  • Retcon: Bishop originally said that she and Jake knew each other in college, but Jake tells a story where they first met at the NSA.
  • The Unseen: He spent a season and a half only being mentioned in passing or unheard on the other end of phone calls with Bishop before he made an appearance on the show. He did manage to help NCIS from afar by getting Bishop and Tony a NSA satellite feed when Gibbs and McGee were shot down in Russia.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Has an affair with a coworker at the NSA after Bishop joins NCIS. Bishop does not take it well, and all her teammates take her side in the matter.

Other Characters

    Jeanne Benoit 
Played By: Scottie Thompson

The estranged daughter of Rene Benoit, and a doctor in a DC-area hospital. Director Shepard sent Tony to seduce her to get information on La Grenouille, but things got complicated.

  • Hospital Hottie
  • Ship Sinking: In a most brutal fashion. When she found out about her father being killed, she blamed Tony, who was forced to claim he never loved her.

    Margaret Allison Hart 
Played By: Rena Sofer
  • Double Agent: Originally worked for Colonel Bell to plague Gibbs at every turn, but would later aid Gibbs several times after defecting from Bell's camp.
  • Hello, Attorney!

    Damon Werth 
Played By: Paul Telfer

     Amanda Kendell  

From "The Admiral's Daughter"

Supposedly ditzy admiral's daughter who uses her father's high position to allow her to credibly spend time partying with the children of powerful and dangerous foreigners, while stealing their parent's secrets for American intelligence.