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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.
- 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.
- Amicable Exes: Amazingly, Gibbs has managed to retain some level of friendship with all the women who have loved and left him, even when its looks like their relationships have been so badly torpedoed its a wonder they still talk to him. Very noticeable with his first ex-wife Diane, who is witch incarnate and also Fornell's ex (a fact which Gibbs and Fornell love to drive into the ground), but even more so with ex-wife number three, who is arguably Ax-Crazy and torments him on the day of their anniversary by drunk-dialing him so much he's forced to take his phones off the hook and even drown his cell in beer.
- Atonement Detective
- 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.
- Badass Grandpa: He's well into his 60's and still going strong.
- Basement-Dweller: He spends most of his spare time in his basement working on various carpentry projects, usually boats. As a sign of just how messed up his personal life is, he's all but abandoned the second floor of his house, preferring to sleep on his couch, with the bedrooms being reserved for the occasional guest or if he has a female companion over.
- Berserk Button: Messing with his coffee. Or wasting his time. Or putting up with someone's fumbling stupidity. Sometimes all three at the same time.
- Born in the Wrong Century: 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.
- Cartwright Curse: With his first wife, Jenny Shepard and Diane Sterling.
- This trend was established even before he lost his beloved Shannon—flashbacks to his basic training days show that he had a crush on a female recruit who was killed in action before he ever got a chance to tell her how he felt. Even though it never went beyond flirtation, he clearly felt enough to be devastated by her death as well and to still remember her years later.
- 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.", "Got a dead [insert military position here].", "Talk to me, Abbs.", "Is that a fact, _______?"
- Abby once boiled down Gibbs' catchphrases into a remote that played them back on cue. She, of course, affectionately gave it to Gibbs, who got a kick out of it.
- 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.
- The Comically Serious: On-the-job Gibbs has no time for anyone's BS. Ever. Off-the-job Gibbs is as mellow and affable as can be and even willing to engage in some joking around... but he still doesn't care for really stupid antics.
- Cowboy Cop: But he always gets away with it. He's Gibbs. And "he only uses his powers for good".
- Crazy-Prepared: As shown in the blackout, he has a kit with three polaroid cameras, Band-Aids, food, and clean socks.
- Crusading Widower: He didn't rest until he hunted down and killed the man who slaughtered his first wife and their eight-year-old daughter. Actually, he didn't rest after that either.
- Dark Secret: Two:
- He's actually played host to four wives instead of three- the one he doesn't talk about is his first and truest love, who got killed in an altercation with a drug lord along with their daughter. None of his exes have ever measured up to his loss, which is why his relationships are doomed to fail.
- Gibbs subsequently went ballistic and outright murdered Pedro Hernandez, the man responsible, by sniping the killer from a dune as he drove through the badlands in a truck- something that, if revealed, would instantly spell the end of his career at NCIS and cause an enormous scandal. When Ducky remarks that the bullet ricocheted in Pedro's skull after exhuming him, Gibbs is visibly haunted- though the body of the man he killed being presented in front of him for the first time is enough to do that on its own.
- Deadpan Snarker: More than half of what he says is pure snark.
- Death Glare: Has one that is very effective in breaking a suspect or stopping Tony when he was being an idiot. This is his default look when his buttons are pressed.
- Dented Iron: Severely wounded during Desert Storm (permanently damaging his eyesight). Later caught in an explosion that caused temporary memory loss. In addition, he's been shot and stabbed several times and nearly drowned once, but recovered no worse for wear. His shooting in the Season 12 finale resulted in some permanent damage, though. His knee was obliterated (necessitating replacement surgery) and he admits, in a rare show of vulnerability, that he's experiencing chronic pain.
- Determinator: Few things will stop him from getting Justice for those harmed. He will even break some laws if need be.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": Largely because he was enlisted, not a commissioned officer.
- Dope Slap: Aka the "Gibbs Slap" done to all of his agents, but to Tony the most. He's even self-inflicted when he knew he was doing something he'd slap any of his agents for. The only people he never, ever slaps are Abby or Ducky.
- Drives Like Crazy: When Gibbs needs to get to an investigation ASAP, he weaves in and out of traffic like a bat out of Hell. Kate at one point describes his driving as "Apparently Gibbs is trying to kill us." He's also the only one on the team unfazed by the motoring antics of Ziva, another crazy driver.
- Embarrassing First Name: Though it's never stated that he's embarrassed by it, no one except his parents, residents of his hometown, or his ex-wives call him 'Leroy'.
- Experienced Protagonist: Gibbs has been an agent for over a decade as of the pilot, and was a Marine sniper before that.
- Facial Dialogue: Gibbs can hold entire conversations with squints, glares, smirks, and Gibbs slaps.
- A Father to His Men:
- Ziva directly calls him "the closest thing she has to a father". (Note that her father is very much alive—or, at least, he was at the time.)
- Later, he explicitly refers to his team as his "kids."
- For a wedding gift, he gives McGee the watch his father gave him on his wedding day.
- Friend to All Children: Probably has something to do with Kelly. If there's a child involved, he will take the case very seriously. His Establishing Character Moment from "Ice Queen" saw him comforting a Cub Scout who happened upon a corpse and giving him his NCIS hat and telling him he could come visit their headquarters sometime with his friends.
- Guile Hero: Just as guile as a Magnificent Bastard is magnificent.
- Gut Feeling: It's legendary. Some fans consider his gut an extra character. His gut has Memetic Badass status in-universe.
- The Hero
- 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.
- He asks M. Allison Hart if she ever used to be a redhead, apparently bewildered by his attraction to her, given that she's a brunette.
- There might be a Freudian Excuse for this—in "Life Before His Eyes", we see that his beloved mother was also a redhead.
- Averted with CGIS Agent Abigail Borin. Despite a genuine mutual respect and their virtually identical personalities, there's no hint of an attraction. Even the team fails to note that she's a redhead when debating the possibility of fixing the two up.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ducky.
- Hidden Depths: He apparently plays racquetball and wanted to be a painter when he was younger (wanting to specialize in watercolors).
- History Repeats: Just like protagonist Harmon Rabb from parent series JAG, Gibbs possesses some form of visual impairment. However, unlike Harm, Gibbs's condition is caused by injuries and irreversible, while Harm's was just a defect that developed with age and was later corrected through laser surgery.
- Honorary Uncle: To Fornell's daughter (who calls him Uncle Gibbs) by their mutual ex-wife. Also with Mike Franks' half-Arab granddaughter (who is also his goddaughter).
- Hopeless with Tech: Ironically enough, 20 years ago Gibbs went undercover as a computer technician. The team finds this hilarious when they find out.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Not always, but employed whenever he gives a Death Glare.
- Informed Flaw: The injury that damaged his eyesight did nothing to impair his shooting skills, including sniping a terrorist through a window from a mile away.
- It's Personal: He has a tendency to do this. As said, anything involving children (or otherwise reminding him of Shannon and Kelly) automatically becomes this. Hurting anyone from his team also pushes him to this point. But every criminal that is disgusting enough to him can trigger this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Knight in Shining Armor: To the women in his team, especially Abby.
- Last-Name Basis: To everyone under his direct supervision, who are basically intimidated into calling him by last name, and Leon, whom Gibbs likewise calls Director (unless they're engaging in personal conversations). The only people to break this trend are his late wife Shannon, his late father, who obviously called his son by his first name, Ducky, who prefers to use Gibbs's middle name, and late mentor Mike, who affectionately called him "Probie."
- Layman's Terms: Does this at least once an episode, mostly to Abby, Ducky and McGee. Abby uses a lot of scientific and medical terms and takes a while to get to the meat of a conversation because she loves theatrics and retorts that she needs a big windup to get to the point or else Gibbs would be bored, Ducky has a habit of going off on tangents with reminisces, and McGee's IT jargon goes right over Gibbs' old-fashioned head.
- The Leader: Of the Major Response Team.
- Magnetic Hero
- Married to the Job: Particularly in early seasons. The job is pretty clearly a substitute for his late first wife and daughter, and he pursues it doggedly and near-obsessively. He expects the same of his team.
- Unfortunately, this killed marriage number four, when he became viciously obsessed with catching a serial killer and alienated his then-wife sometime around 1995, and the marriage finally went kaput in 2001 when Gibbs was negotiating with his wife and a divorce lawyer right around the time he recruited Tony to the team. Gibbs hasn't been married for real in nearly twenty years since.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe. Whenever The Team sets up an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, they give him the edge.
- Military Maverick: He has a slew of incident reports under his belt and came under investigation in later seasons.
- Must Have Caffeine: In the form of coffee.
- Noodle Incident: Nothing was known about his second ex-wife until halfway through season twelve.
- Old Soldier: Specifically, an old marine.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His daughter died along with his first wife. Unfortunately, Pedro Hernandez shot an NCIS agent driving a car they were in. When the agent was killed, the car went out of control, wiped out, and the resulting wreck killed Shannon and Kelly.
- Papa Wolf:
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."
- Do not endanger his people. Just don't. Especially Abby.
- He extends these tendencies in the episode "Requiem" to his deceased daughter's now grown friend Maddie. Twice he's asked if he's her father. He shrugs it off. But ultimately, it's evident he views her in the same light as the rest of his team...as family.
- Percussive Maintenance: Among his favorite solutions for electronics that piss him off are drowning them in booze, smacking things that won't turn on until they break (he once suggested this as a way to deal with an ornery PDA), and shooting computers.
- Perp Sweating: A master of interrogation.
- Phrase Catcher: "On it, Boss."
- 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. Season 13 reveals he's made a habit out of eavesdropping on the skylight reverberations in the main office, which lets him pop in on their conversations already informed.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
- His reaction to Ari murdering Kate was to kill the bastard and stop at nothing less than that. Eventually, he decided killing him was less satisfying than watching him be killed and allowed Ziva to take him out.
- Gibbs blatantly committed an act of cold-blooded murder by taking out Pedro Hernandez. Then, he left behind his spent shell casing as a message to those who were close to him. Gibbs paid a steep price for that crime much later, and he deeply regrets what he's done, and how badly it hurt Abby when she found out about it.
- Rule #1: "Never let suspects stay together," or maybe it's "Never screw over your partner." There's a lot more "Gibbs Rules". The ones shown tend to be consistent: Never let suspects stay together, Never go anywhere without a knife, Never involve lawyers, Never get personally involved, Never screw over your partner. Rule 44 was sent to Mike Franks to get him away from his house before he was attacked. We only see 15 out of 51 rules for the most part.
- Tony mentions that any situation that requires Gibbs to invoke any rule in the 40s is serious business. The forties are emergency rules, and Abby reacts to them with strong distress when she hears they are in play, because it almost always means Gibbs is knee-deep in a life-threatening situation.
- There were originally 50 rules, but Shannon snuck an additional one in prior to her death. Rule 51: "Sometimes, you're wrong."
- Sexy Mentor
- Semper Fi: And Gibbs always remembers it.
- Silver Fox: Abby 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.
- Terse Talker: Gibbs's sentences generally don't exceed ten words. Very much enforced, and the result of a lot of bottled lamentations. Gibbs is a man of few words, and once the man enters the room, he makes everyone present knock off their idle chatter and give him clear and simple information. Occasionally, he will speak at length, but only very rarely- or when in the presence of a family member or someone he grew up with. This is because Mark Harmon didn't care for a lot of the lines Gibbs was given and started paring them down, causing the writers to start hedge-trimming his dialogue.
- Ultimate Job Security: The man is a maverick and doesn't have the patience to play nice when it would be prudent to do so, but he gets results, meaning that his job is safe.
- Vance and Gibbs become friends of a sort, and Vance knows that Gibbs has the unaltered copy of Vance's personnel file - even if he's never opened it. Yet. Gibbs has yet again armor-plated his job security in adamantium.
- When Gibbs "retired" at the end of season 3, it later was revealed that Director Shepard had "neglected" to file his retirement. His job security is so great he can't quit even if he wants to!
- It has been implied on occasion that before Vance, and possibly even during Vance's tenure, Gibbs would be Director if he ever decided he wanted the job; the sheer havoc he could cause if denied means only a fool would try to stop him. It has been implied more than once that Gibbs knows how to deal with politics and how to act as a proper Director. He just doesn't care to do so. The one time Gibbs acted as Director while Jenny was away, we found out he doesn't have the patience for the politics.Director Shepard: Jethro's a great field agent, a great team leader, and he deals more efficiently with difficult politicians than I do.
Captain Todd Gelfand: Then why isn't he the...
Director Shepard: He shoots them.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: 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.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Has this vibe with Vance. Despite their animosity, there is a sincere mutual respect—and mutual tragedy of having their wife murdered. Indeed, their friendship develops because of this—Vance seeks his advice, knowing that Gibbs knows exactly what he's going through.
- Working with the Ex:
- Once had to deal with one of his ex-wives, his ex-lover, and his current lover at the same time. All he could do was awkwardly stand there as the three women took pot shots at him.
- Diane, the ex-wife he shares with Fornell, has become a recurring character. Most of Diane's venom is directed at Fornell, though, so Gibbs is free to silently snark as they argue. Any episode that features Diane is titled "Devil's Tri-". Until the events of Season 12, where Diane is murdered.
- Your Cheating Heart: That's why he broke up with ex number two- she committed adultery. And why he burnt yet another boat made for his intended sweetheart.
Forensic Specialist 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.
- 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 isn't as conventionally exciting as chasing down suspects but 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." Also, "Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs!"
- Casual Danger Dialogue: More like Casual Post-Danger Dialogue, but after working with - and later duck taping up - the Obviously Evil assistant Chip (an assistant that she specifically requested against), Gibbs and co come to rescue her, only to find her sitting in a chair with only one thing to say.Abby: (casually sitting in her chair, used duck tape roll in hands) Now can I work alone?
- 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: Abby snuggles up to people she's close to and often hugs them from behind. It's her way of showing fondness and affection.
- 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.
- Disappeared Dad: She lost her adoptive father at a young age, and heaven knows she feels regret over the fights they had.
- Does Not Like Guns: Downplayed. Though she handles guns and ammo on a regular basis in lab tests, Abby never uses a gun to shoot people- ever. However, she has no problems opening fire on dummies and using guns for ballistics tests and simulations.
- 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".
- Foreshadowing: In "Kill Ari, Part I", Abby mentions she's originally from New Orleans when it's discussed that people there play lively jazz music at funerals and she interjects that before them, they play a dirge to properly mourn the departed. Many seasons later Abby's New Orleans background leads back to the discovery of a biological brother. It also becomes a big topic of intrest for the backdoor pilot of NCIS: New Orleans, which is all things NOLA.
- Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind: Abby's dress sense blares with goth, but she's got a brainy and generally level head. When she's not talking about creepy/gothic fetishes and fetishism in general, that is.
- 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: She is compelled to hug everybody. In fact, it deeply distressed her when a lecturer at a meeting for sexual harassment in the workplace made it seem like it was wrong to hug people and the entire room assured her they appreciated her hugs.
- 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.
- Iconic Item: Her black lace parasol.
- 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.
- Klatchian Coffee: Sometimes, Abby gets a little too wild after drinking one too many Caf-POW!s in one setting. Gibbs has had to make her slow down and stop on a few occasions because she was running at a mile a minute. She also set a huge record one time... which presumably ended with marathon barfing, given her reluctance to bring it up and mentioning how it didn't end well.
- 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
- Leitmotif: You will almost always hear techno/rock music pulsing in the background when a scene occurs with Abby in the lab. Compared to the mostly orchestrated score of the series, it really stands out as unique, just like she does.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: People who target Abby tend to wish they hadn't (via off-screen mayhem).
- Like Brother and Sister: With Tony whom she treats like an older brother. Also McGee after both recieved some Character Development. She also treats Ziva and Kate like older sisters.
- Love You and Everybody: She's a big-time hugger. She even made an apology to a tree when Tony had to dig out a bullet for evidence and got a splinter, defending it by forgiving him for "attacking" the tree.
- 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
- Nice Shoes: She wears oversized high-top booties and elevator boots. As Tony put it succinctly while doing a Humphrey Bogart impression, "The cute lady with the funny shoes". However, she hates high heels, and the one time she was forced to wear them, whined that she had to and promptly begged to take them off.
- 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.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Abby stopped wearing pigtails for a while, ditched her dark lipstick, and played a dirge instead of the usual techno rock music as she mourned Kate. The "spirit" of Kate called her out on it.
- 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.
- Platonic Life Partners: She and McGee dated once early in the series, and they had a Will They or Won't They? that ended on "won't".(especially with McGee marrying Deliah), but they still get along fairly well. Enough for her to be his Best Woman.
- Power Echoes: "...and I will rise up, and I will find the man that did this to Tony, and I will crucify him!"
- Properly Paranoid: She was afraid to work in the lab in the days following Kate's death out of fear she would come under attack by the sniper who killed Kate. Ari opened fire on the lab and bullets burst through the windows, and had the lights in the lab not been killed, Abby might have been instead. Gibbs then resorted to having bullet-proof glass (well, bullet-resistant glass, because Abby insists that no glass is truly bulletproof) installed in place of the old lab windows to prevent this from ever happening again.
- 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: She is very furtive and doesn't give much about herself away. For good reasons.
- 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, 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. It seems like the true parameters of Abby tests are that she's trying to find out if her love interest exhibits pure and rich feelings toward her and possesses a kind and charitable heart, because she dislikes it when men aren't satisfied with what they get and doesn't want to be made to change for a man or humor men only concerned about fulfilling their own self-interests and not thinking about her. When McGee went and asked where their relationship was going, it made her feel very insecure and sad that he felt she wasn't trying hard enough to make it work when she was already doing her best to understand him, and in that one moment, the whole thing fell down like a house of cards.
- Secret Keeper: Abby knows Gibbs killed somebody in cold blood. She was made to perform a DNA test on the autopsy results for the man that Gibbs murdered (who killed his family), and invariably found out that Gibbs was a murderer. Abby buried the results as furiously as possible, and later shredded the documents when Gibbs was put under a separate investigation for his misconduct throughout his career, as this was the one piece of absolutely damning evidence he could never talk his way out of.
- 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. There's also that one time she's forced to adhere to a standard dress code and looks like Dream Career Barbie...with tattoos all over... and curly, slicked-back hair instead of pigtails and none of the usual dark lipstick or eyeshadow.
- 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.
- Tattoo as Character Type: A big black spiderweb on the far left-hand side of her neck. It firmly cements her as a fan of all things gothic. She also remarks to then-boyfriend McGee she got a new one during Season 1, an unspecified one which Kate reveals is on her ankle. Later, in a moment of pure Fanservice, after she is forced to don regulation clothing but then gets to change back to her normal attire, we see she also has a giant gothic cross tattooed on her back and two stick figures on her shoulder blades. There's a tattoo of a circular skull emblem on one of her fingers as well.
- 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. Also, McGee and Deliah married each other at the end of Season 14.
- Vanity License Plate: "4NS CHIK" displayed on her red 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe. The car before this one was a hearse.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Prone to tall stockings like a typical goth.
Senior 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).While a "Probie", he used to be the butt of Tony DiNozzo's every joke. Eventually, he became an official agent, then later took over Tony's status and desk as Senior Special Agent when he left in Season 13. McGee is currently married to Deliah Fielding, whom he met in Season 10 while in need of a good fellow computer hacker.
- Accidental Misnaming: Suffers from all of Tony's Mc-names and being called "Probie." The second name goes away when he becomes an official agent, unless someone reminds Tony to Poke the Poodle.
- Affectionate Nickname: He's originally addressed as "Probie" by Tony as an epithet, but it morphs into something friendlier and even somewhat affectionate as Tim gains more experience and starts standing up for himself. Tim learns to accept it when he learns that Gibbs is still called "Probie" by people who knew him from his Probie days 20 years ago, and that it eventually becomes a reminder of the mentor-mentee relationship some agents share.
- Bash Brothers: In Season 14, he and Torres were often teamed up.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He is the kindest and most polite secret agent you will ever come across, but do something that pisses him off and you will regret it. He has the tech savviness, book smarts, gun skill and 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
- Calling the Old Man Out: In the episode where Tim reunites with his Glory Hound of a father, he rages at his dad for putting his job above the affections of his own family.
- 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. However, with Tony's departure, it seems to be an affectionate keepsake of his friend as opposed to just another Borrowed Catchphrase.
- Clear My Name: In "Probie" he was charged with killing another cop.
- Cool Car: Had one in high school, much to the surprise of Tony. He shares in lamenting the car's demise when McGee told him of its fate.
- Deadpan Snarker: In later seasons.
- Disappeared Dad: His estranged and divorced father appears, then dies in season 12, and had not been a major part of his life since before the show started.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: His middle name is Farragut. This was first mentioned halfway through season 13.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He is particularly ashamed when his colleagues call him "Elf Lord" (his online gaming name).
- Fair Cop: Sean Murray as Agent McGee would seem to be the only one to avert this, but then he lost a good amount of weight entering Season 7, and now we can include him.
- Fake Guest Star: In season 1, he only shows up for a few episodes because he was a probie agent at Norfolk. He doesn't officially join the team until season 2.
- Formerly Fat: Before around Season 6, McGee is noticeably a bit rubbery in the face and slightly heavyset. Then he slims down dramatically and the excess blubber around his face goes away and the skin clings more closely to his facial musculature, making him look a lot older and wiser. This also marks his Character Development. Tony later remarks he preferred Tim more when he was fatter because he was easier to tease.
- Friend to All Children: An early mission involving The Team being bodyguards to a military woman and her family showed Kate and Tony struggling to get along with said client's children, while McGee just played ORPG with the son and things ran very smoothly (much to Tony's dismay). He also bonds fairly well with Henry, the 14-year-old who's being targeted for witnessing a drug-related stabbing in "Homefront" due to the two of them being Military Brats.
- Friends with Benefits: Surprisingly, for all the ribbing he takes from his coworkers and especially Tony that he has never gotten anybody in the sack, McGee has lost his virginity and has been seen to have had a girl sleep over at his place wearing his MIT t-shirt.
- Happily Married: Married Delilah Fielding at the end of Season 14.
- Hidden Depths: A tech head, hacker and best selling author.
- 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 even though he has a beef with people showing weakness by apologizing.
- In-Series Nickname: Gets a new one nearly once-per episode, almost always recived as a variant of his last name, with 'gee' being replaced by an insult or something pertaining to his personality. However, the moniker 'Elf Lord' has stuck around quite consistently, and even Gibbs has used it.
- Intimate Marks: In season 1 he gets a tattoo on his butt to impress Abby. Later it's revealed that it's the word "Mom".
- Last-Name Basis: Almost always referred to as "McGee".
- First-Name Basis: But ends up being called "Tim" a lot more as of Season 14.
- The Lancer: Tony's departure means that McGee is now Gibbs' Number Two.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Ziva whom he treats like a barely older twin sister, also a Big Brother Mentor to Ellie. Also Abby after both recieved some Character Development. He also treats Tony like an annoying older brother.
- Loser Has Your Back: Plays this role once or twice in early seasons, but he's no longer enough of a loser to pull it off.
- Military Brat: His father was an Admiral in the Navy.
- Most Writers Are Writers: He's a successful author of novels inspired by his workplace and coworkers, which he writes under the Significant Anagram "Thom E. Gemcity."
- Mr. Fixit: "Special Agent Goodwrench," season two, episode four.
- Mystery Writer Detective: McGee is a special agent, who wrote a best selling novel... that he would have preferred his coworkers never found out about. Later on, he was able to use his fame to get into a club that other undercover agents couldn't get in to.
- Name McAdjective: Tony gives him a lot of Mc-nicknames to work with.
- Nerds Are Sexy
- Not So Above It All: After years of protesting against Tony's treatment of him, McGee's just as eager to break in Ziva and Bishop when they join the team as probies. However, he continually insists that the way he treats probies is nowhere near as bad as how Tony treated him.
- Number Two: Ever since Tony left. Symbolized by Tony calling McGee "Very Special Agent."
- Official Couple: With Delilah Fielding, who's now his wife.
- Platonic Life Partners: He and Abby dated once early in the series, and they've had a Will They or Won't They? that ended with "won't", but they still get along fairly well. Enough for her to be his Best Woman at his wedding.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Starting season 2.
- Properly Paranoid: McGee never tells anyone where he works. He'll give out cell numbers, pages, etc, but he never mentions NCIS. Which is how he knows, when his new girlfriend shows up to pick him up after work, that she's not who she says she is. Overlaps with I Never Said It Was Poison.
- Real Name as an Alias: His pseudonym as a writer is just an anagram of his full name.
- Recurring Character: In season 1.
- The Reliable One: McGee is often called on by the others to help out with technical or difficult favors outside of the job, such as helping Ducky create a collage for his mentor or getting clearance for a young boy to contact his mother through MTAC.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Not his own, but 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.
- In terms of character, in the first three seasons, he's the fat, wet-behind-the-ears put-upon probie who bumbles around and people treat like a gullible and clumsy child. In the next three seasons, he's gotten fitter and his probie status is lifted, so he becomes a fully-fledged agent of NCIS and finally starts repaying most of the ribbing he got from Tony because now they are equals and he can't belittle him anymore. By Season 14, McGee is now the senior special agent on the team and no longer the target of anyone's insults (because Kate, Tony, and Ziva, his teasers, are no longer present), his face has gone from looking all wide-eyed and flabby to incredibly sharpened and aged with some deep furrows in his forehead and cheeks.
- Undying Loyalty: McGee has a tendency to pick up the Idiot Ball and run with it when people he's loyal to are in trouble. He's risked his job for his sister's sake, and despite being newly married to Delilah with a child on the way, left the safety of the chopper at the end of Season 14 to help Gibbs, which got him stranded in Paraguay.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tony, behaving much like a pair of squabbling brothers at times.
- Wham Episode: Ziva is not hunting Bodnar on her own. McGee has been helping her track Bodnar's movements. The scene in which Tony finds out what they're doing is played like he caught them sleeping together.
- Will They or Won't They?: As noted above with Abby, although McGee says outright in Season 12 that they never will because he failed to pass a Secret Test of Character Abby gives to all the men she dates. And because he later ends up marrying Delilah Fielding.
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 protégé, taking the place of Gerald Jackson after he had been injured too severely to continue work at NCIS, who also acts as a Ducky-expy to Tony's Gibbs whenever Tony is in charge of a case. He is always eager to help the team any way he can, even if his skills are more or less exclusive to the morgue. However, Jimmy's also a gawky nimrod with a spectacular knack for saying the wrong thing. He's married to a woman named Breena and they have a daughter named Victoria.
- Action Survivor: He works out in a gym but he isn't combat proficient.
- 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. McGee occupies another 20%, while the remaining 5% is a wildcard usually filled by Tony.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: The drinks served at his Stag Party are all watered down, but he still gets hammered.
- The Consigliere: It's revealed in one episode that whenever Tony is left in charge of a case, he secretly has meetings with Palmer to help point him in the right direction whenever Tony feels that he's lost on what to do next.
- Creepy Mortician: Downplayed, but working with dead bodies has given him a rather macabre sense of humor.
- 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 B.S.O.D.: He gets this after Diane, Gibbs' and Fornell's ex-wife, dies.Ducky: Right, on three. One, two—
Ducky: I beg your pardon?
Palmer: No. I don't want to.
Ducky: You don't want to what, Mr. Palmer?
Palmer: I don't want to know how much her liver weighs. I don't want to catalog her scars. (Gibbs enters autopsy) Most of all, I don't want to cut open another friend. I think I've had my limit. (walks away)
Ducky: I don't remember the moment I reached my limit, but I do remember never being the same.
- Hidden Depths: He trained as a medical examiner and is presumably being groomed to replace Ducky in the future, but he also demonstrates significant knowledge of criminal activity when he acts as Tony's secret consigliere.
- The episode Keep Going reveals that he took and failed the ME exam twice, and passed on the third try. This means that he could be an official ME on par with Ducky outside the Navy Yard— but since he respects Team Gibbs' dynamic so much, he chose to stay.
- Hollywood Nerd
- In-Series Nickname: the numerous Memetic Mutation 'Autopsy Gremlin' that he received from DiNozzo.
- Loose Lips: Coupled with his chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome, Palmer is often the person to blunder a secret the fastest, sometimes without even knowing it was a secret. For instance, Palmer inadvertently clued Tony in on a private detective's name that Ziva and McGee were desperately trying to withhold from him because they knew he'd find it to be a goldmine for wisecracks and they'd never hear the end of it. Cue Palmer catching him in the office late at night and accidentally spilling the beans...
- Loved I Not Honor More: He tells his love that while he loves her more than anything, his True Companions were in trouble and he needed to go and help them, even if it meant moving the wedding up to a sooner date (within the hour) and then come back for the honeymoon. She completely understands.
- 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. For example, Quinn was feeling very awkward after she had a sex dream about Gibbs so he tried to comfort her by revealing that he had pretty much the same dream ("He knocks on the desk and asks 'Do you know what kind of wood this is' and things get wild!") with a bit too much enthusiasm.
- Passing Judgment: Often on the receiving end. Jimmy's unbelievably terrible with his choice of words. He usually says just one thing that turns out to be highly irreverent and gets a really dirty stare from Gibbs or an appalled look from Ducky, sometimes both at the same time.
- Person as Verb: In a Call-Back 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.
- Rank Up: Passed the Medical Examiner's examination at some point in season 14 and didn't tell the others because he didn't want to leave the team.
- Recurring Character: Starting after "Bete Noir", when Ducky is forced to hire a new assistant to replace Gerald as he goes through months of excruciating rehab. Eventually, Palmer sticks as a main cast member.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Palmer has no actual firearms training so it almost results in I Just Shot Marvin in the Face with Ducky in the season 10 episode "Detour".
- Ducky, whose military training may be decades old, is smart enough to carefully push the gun away from his face and avoid being accidentally shot.
- Retirony: Subverted. One moment, Jimmy's talking with Agent Barrett about his recent engagement. Seconds later, the Port-to-Port Killer is loose and violently kidnapping Jimmy and Barrett. However, Gibbs saves the day, and Jimmy ends up surviving the episode with only a few scratches.
- 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.
Palmer: "Every time he does that, I feel special."
- In an earlier episode, Ducky mentions that his attempts to emulate the "Gibbs' Slap" on Palmer were ineffective, as he seemed to enjoy it.
- Palmer himself lampshades this after Gibbs slaps him in "Scope".
- The Watson: To Ducky's Holmes.
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 than 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.
- Beware the Nice Ones: One of the nicest people you'd ever meet and possibly tricked a terrorist into blowing himself up to avenge her fiance.
- 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.
- Cartwright Curse: One failed marriage and one dead boyfriend/would-have-been fiance. Looks like she's well on her way to having the same screwed up love life that nearly everyone else does.
- 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.
- Disposable Woman / Stuffed In A Fridge: Genderflipped; is revealed to be dating an Afghani interpreter (about a year after getting divorced) who was rescued in a previous episode. The second episode featuring their relationship is also when he's shot to (brain)death by a Chinese financial terrorist because he cracked the terrorist's code.
- 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 was married to a man named Jake, who she's known since they were in college together. Her new job as an NCIS agent caused a strain on her marriage, which fell apart when Jake had an affair with a coworker.
- Happily Divorced: And now the marriage is annulled and Ellie is back on the market again, glad to be rid of Jake.
- 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 used her maiden name rather 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.
- Poor Communication Kills: Losing her NSA security clearance made it hard to have regular conversations with Jake. Instead of finding other things to talk about, Jake decided to find someone else with NSA credentials.
- 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.
- Revenge: Vows to avenge the death of her fiance Qasim at the hands of Chen the terrorist, going rogue and risking her life and job. Gibbs, who has some familiarity with Ellie's situation having also gone rogue to kill the guy who murdered his wife and child, is worried about her given how screwed up his emotional life has been ever since and that he and his friends were targeted by the killer's children years later.
- Sadistic Choice: Gave Chen a similar "choice" he gave that episode's victim: Kill himself or get captured by terrorists that Chen ratted out. Chen chose to kill himself and it's implied Ellie tricked him.
- Tragic Keepsake: A romantic card with photo booth pics of her and Qasim which would have been her answer to his marriage proposal ("YES!") that she was planning on giving him the day he died. After she avenges his death she gives it to Gibbs so she'll stop dwelling on the past.
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
- Benevolent Boss: He has a gruff demeanor and can be absolutely tyrannical at times, especially if the situation is critical, but he truly respects his team and would lay his life down for them.
- Crusading Widower: Starting season 10, as of "Shabbat Shalom".
- Da Chief: He's the Director.
- Death Glare: Is one of the few people not intimidated by Gibbs', due to having a pretty epic one of his own. When the two of them get into a Glare Down, everyone else hauls ass out of the room.
- 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.
- Mysterious Past: Not all of it has been explained...yet. We do know he's quite happy to be out of the field.
- Oral Fixation: Chewing on toothpicks.
- Scary Black Man: He can be absolutely terrifying when he wants to be, which is probably one of the reasons he gets to boss Gibbs around. Taken to severe extremes when he put a fire safety axe through a metal table in the interrogation room to intimidate a teenage suspect who was suspected of killing one of Vance's friends.
- The Uriah Gambit: Vance is revealed to have been originally recruited to NIS in 1991 almost specifically for his expendability. Obviously, it didn't go as planned.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Has this vibe with Gibbs. Despite their animosity, there is a sincere mutual respect—and mutual tragedy of having their wife murdered. Indeed, their friendship develops because of this—Vance seeks his advice, knowing that Gibbs knows exactly what he's going through.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard
Played By: David McCallum, Adam Campbell (young version)
"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: His medical expertise allows him to kick your ass if you push him too far.
- 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. And never forget to show Due to the Dead.
- 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.Palmer: I'm suddenly overcome with the desire to share a story of only a peripherally relevant nature.
Ducky: It's a hazard of the profession, Mr. Palmer.
- Clear My Name: Ducky didn't want to clear it, but Gibbs did.
- Combat Medic: he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was stationed in Afghanistan and Bosnia.
- Combat Pragmatist: In S11E01, Ducky took down a random mook with a random bowl, saving Palmer in the process.Palmer: (being manhandled) CALL SECURITY!!
Ducky: Who needs security?
- Cool Old Guy
- 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 thought to have been killed in an accident decades ago, turns out to be alive in the episode "Spinning Wheel" (13x11).
- Major Injury Underreaction: In "Broken Bird", Ducky is suddenly attacked by a knife-wielding woman while examining a body at a crime scene. He dismisses it as "just a defensive wound." His right hand still has the knife impaled in it.
- The Medic: In addition to being the Medical Examiner.
- The Mentor: To Palmer. Officially too.
- The 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. Or to go undercover as an arms dealer, because they needed an older British man on very short notice.
- Non-Action Guy
- No Sense of Direction: He blames his assistants but he's always the one giving directions.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Few people call him "Donald".
- Inverted in the way he calls everyone else by their full names—"Anthony", "Timothy", "Caitlin", etc.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ducky wears a four-in-hand tie to work one day and the other characters immediately wonder what's wrong (granted, he was also acting strangely, but the tie was the major cause for concern). Turns out Ducky has found himself a girlfriend named Sophie and she is much younger than him and made him feel self-conscious about his age, and he's tried to find ways to make himself appear younger and reinvent his image. We never get a chance to meet her, however, because come next episode, the romance has fizzled out and Ducky is back to his old self again, deciding that he shouldn't have to change for someone for them to love him.
- The Profiler: Ducky can fish up an enormous amount of information from a victim just by looking at the nature of their wounds and the things found on (or sometimes in) their person.
- Punny Name: With a name like that, what did you think he'd be called, Mousey?
- Ari first thinks of the locomotive, mildly surprising Ducky. (Ducky actually has a model of the locomotive on display back at his home)
- Quintessential British Gentleman: He is unfailingly polite and charms ladies of all ages.
- Rhymes on a Dime: "Witch Hunt" has this one:The sky is blue, the grass is green,May we have our Halloween?
- 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.
Special Agent Alex Quinn
Played by: Jennifer EspositoA federal agent training instructor, Quinn is friends with Gibbs and was once McGee's trainer. Introduced in Season 14 after Gibbs repeatedly shoots down agents to take Tony DiNozzo's place that she recommended, prompting her to come pay him a visit, which ultimately led to Gibbs not only recruiting Agent Torres, but recruiting her for his team as well.
- Broken Ace: Was a great field agent until My Greatest Failure broke her.
- Remember the New Guy: Prior to her debut appearance, Quinn met Gibbs.
- My Greatest Failure: ...she was traumatized by the death of her partner because (from her POV) her partner, a new mother, just wanted to give her some privacy during a stakeout and got out of the car right in front of the criminals they were watching and got shot to death. Additionally, because the reason her partner died (again from Quinn's POV) was an argument with her (Quinn's) fiance...
- Really Gets Around: ...her engagement ended and she's been extremely reluctant to have any sort of steady relationship ever since.
- Troll: Quinn always remembers her trainees. Bishop was one of them. Quinn says she doesn't remember Bishop, although she later tells McGee that she definitely remembers her. She's just messing with her because she's so tightly wound.
Special Agent Nicholas "Nick" Torres
Played by: Wilmer Valderrama
- Badass Biker: Went undercover in a bike gang. He's still awesome on a bike.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is deeply reluctant to go out of his way to help a witness (a former sailor who will be deported to Mexico as soon as he's turned over to FBI) see his mother in Ohio one last time until the witness and Bishop threaten to torture him by singing in the car all the way back to DC. At the house he covers for him ("He's being redeployed" "Where?" "It's... classified"), stays long enough for mom to make dinner and for her son to tell the truth, and even gives him his cellphone back and lets him go make a call by himself without fear he'll run away. Torres explains that meeting the witness' mom "made it personal" — he knows people like him and his mom — and he couldn't not help him.
- The Lost Lenore: He and a childhood friend Sophia were inseparable, and he was convinced that she'd be his wife one day. Then in their senior year of high school, she was diagnosed with cancer.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Although Torres managed to pin Silva for a bunch of crimes, he sabotaged Silva's family.Silva: (to Torres through the interrogation glass) You got me, Torres! Now you ruined my family. You happy now?
- Rogue Agent: Deep cover for 8 years in Argentina.
- Walking Techbane: Not to extreme levels but his distaste for office work and complicated technology in general put him in conflict with the printers.
MI6 Officer Clayton Reeves
Played by: Duane Henry
- The Aloner: Part of the reason was that "he didn't want anyone with a family" to put themselves at risk (he was in the foster care system). While he might not know the team's exact family situations (he knows Bishop's and he clearly doesn't know he's not one to talk to Gibbs about the lacking a family) he's aware they consider themselves Like Family.
- The Atoner: Possibly why he apparently signed up for an operation that Quinn described as a suicide mission.
- Dark Secret: Screwed something up really bad in the past to the point he wasn't sure if he would be able to stay in MI-6.
- Death Seeker: Considering how he was practically ordering Vance in "MIA" to get him another Whillowby-style assignment and receiving one that would've taken him to Syria... (he ultimately rejects it).
- Fire-Forged Friends: After learning his best friend and fellow agent betrayed both for money he declares that "We're not mates, she (Bishop) is my mate".
- Loners Are Freaks: Bishop becomes increasingly disturbed that he apparently has no friends as of his MI-6 partner's betrayal and only has himself as an emergency contact.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: After three appearances as a guest star.
- Separated by a Common Language: Apparently his Running Gag to parallel Ziva's Blunt Metaphors Trauma: One of Bishop's brothers reminds his other brother that "mate" means "friend" in British; Reeves insists his gift to Bishop are "crisps" not "chips".
- Shipper on Deck: Is clearly not bothered that Bishop's brothers suspect he's in a relationship with her (he isn't, but what with the sudden death of her boyfriend...).
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For both DiNozzo and Ziva, as he's introduced in the final episodes mentioning both characters: Outgoing, sharply-dressed lover of pop-culture and foreign person of color from their country's equivalent of the CIA. Subverted in that he didn't wind up joining the team immediately.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Torres. As the team has never seen two big guys of relatively equal status with this relationship everyone is worried they're going to fight, but this is just how they affirm their friendship. They *are* going to fight, however -- how else will they know who's better?
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."
- Action Girl
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Can be cold, especially towards Tony.
- The Baby of the Bunch: The youngest of four children among an older sister and two older brothers.
- Badass in Distress: Everytime Ari's on-screen, expect her to be in trouble.
- Boom, Headshot: She took one bullet right between the eyes from a sniper.
- Brainy Brunette: The intelligent and sassy reddish-brown-haired chick on the team. Not so much now that she has a ventilation in her forehead (plugged by mortuary putty) and a grapefruit-sized hole in the back of her head...
- Blatant Lies: She and her friends conducted themselves with dignity on spring break, she says. College fraternities are bizarre, she says. Tony's Male Gaze habit is sick and wrong, she says. But then they walk in on a photo shoot for the US men's water polo team and she gets Distracted by the Sexy about as easily as Tony ever did.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: Tony imagines her dressed as such. As well as nude, causing her to squeal in horror.
- Character Death: The first and most jarring instance of a major character on the show suddenly dying horribly.
- Decoy Protagonist: The first two seasons heavily portrayed her as the Deuteragonist and The Lancer (her actress was even billed second before Michael Weatherly) until she was McLeaned.
- Dropped a Bridge on Her
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dies Wide Open
- Emotionless Girl: You can feel a breath of cold air when she talks, especially to Tony.
- Fair Cop
- Famous Last Words: (after Tony told her that she did well and Gibbs said he was right) "Wow, I thought I'd die before I ever heard..."
- Foreshadowing: In the fake-out dream sequence Gibbs has in the Season 1 finale, "Reverie", she's shown in autopsy with a bullet hole in her forehead, with a pallid complexion and her eyes coagulated over from death. The person who dies in that episode is an entirely different woman, but Gibbs's dream turns out to be providential come next season...
- Former Teen Rebel: DiNozzo finds out that when she was a university student, she once engaged in (and won) a wet T-shirt contest. This also falls under Blatant Lies since she lied to Tony about what she did during Spring Break.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted in her last episode where she jumps in the way of a bullet meant for Gibbs... only to be saved by her bulletproof vest. When she does die, she gets unceremoniously sniped in the head.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Her Fatal Flaw, literally; she thinks she is a good one but has helped more than one murderous psychopath because they looked sympathetic. One almost kills her, then Ari actually does.
- She's right more often than wrong, so this is a played with trope.
- I'm Going to Hell for This: In the episode where the victim and attacker were on the same "dating" site.Abby: Care to guess what their fetish was, Kate?
Kate: Oh, no. I'm going to hell just listening to all this.
- Intimate Marks: Never seen or described but apparently Abby talked her into getting a tattoo on her butt.
- Lady of War
- Mood Whiplash: Causes two cases back to back in the Season 2 finale when she takes a bullet for Gibbs only to reveal she was wearing a bullet-proof vest only to then immediately get shot in the head.
- Not So Different: There are several moments where she just as much like Tony as she claims she isn't. Usually involving McGee, going so far as to agree with Tony that they have no respect for him and casually breaking into his apartment to "see him in natural environment". After apparently taking bets about what kind of underwear he uses.
- Ms. Fanservice: A major subplot in "Conspiracy Theory" revolved around Tony finding a (real) picture of her in a wet T-shirt contest and using it as blackmail material.
- Only Sane Woman: She felt like this at times with Gibbs and Tony at the beginning.
- Out of Job, Into the Plot: Was recruited by Gibbs after having to quit Secret Service for defying orders.
- Posthumous Character: As Ducky is autopsying her, he has an actual internalized conversation with her with her joking about being dead.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
- Really Gets Around: In the pilot episode, she "got to know" people on the job by sleeping with them. It took a dark turn when two of those people died of poisoning. She believed it was the only time on the job you could get to know someone, asking Gibbs if he knew any other way. Gibbs's answer was a very curt "Church."
- She was actually forced to resign from Secret Service due to breaking the rules by shagging the agents (no fraternization policy). She kept everyone in the dark about it and no one tattled on her. The truth came to light when NCIS investigated the murders on Air Force One.
- Sacrificial Lion: The very first main character to be killed off, and her sudden death firmly establishes the Anyone Can Die aspect of the series.
- Sugar and Ice Personality
- Tempting Fate: Her downfall; "I thought I'd die" was the poorest and last choice of words she ever made.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Abby's Girly Girl.
- Tonight, Someone Dies
- Two First Names: Applies to her actress too.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Gibbs. It was never resolved after her death, but they had extreme chemistry throughout the first two seasons of the show.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Posthumously, her "spirit" torments Gibbs, who is guilt-ridden over the kill shot."I already took one bullet, Gibbs... why'd I have to go and take two!?!"
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. Early on in her tenure at NCIS, she is not allowed to participate in taking down suspects. Another woman comments on the presumed chauvinism of this. Ziva replies that Gibbs is actually afraid she'll kill the suspect by mistake. Then it happened. Several times. First Second Third
- 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. Or at least that seemed to be the case...
- 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.
- From "Broken Arrow"
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Tony.
- Berserk Button: A couple, but God help you if you hurt Tony.
- The Big Guy: Neither big nor a guy, but unquestionably the best fighter in the main cast.
- 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.
- Dead Guy Junior: Names her daughter after her late sister, Tali.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has her moments.
- Defrosting Ice Queen
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: She's not allowed to interrogate suspects because Gibbs thinks she might kill them by mistake.
- Drives Like Crazy: Director Shepard once said of her, "I think she was an Eastern European cab driver in a past life."Vance: Most fathers teach their daughters to drive. I have you to blame for this?
Eli David: This she learned from her mother.
- One of her driving habits is doing 80 in a 40 zone, as was noted on her speeding ticket.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Three seasons after she left the show, she's killed off screen and the team finds out about through a breaking news bulletin.
- 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.
- Funny Foreigner: Downplayed. She's serious except for her tendency to butcher English-language quotes or figures of speech.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: 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 Son: I have no father in this case. It gets to the point of changing nations just to give him a Take That!.
- Informed Judaism: 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.)
- Ironic Death: She lost her sister to a suicide bombing. She herself got murdered in an explosion.
- 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:
- Lady of War
- Last Minute Hookup: Last Minute Kiss with Tony in her final episode.
- Like Brother and Sister: With McGee whom she treats like a younger brother. Also Zigzagged with Tony Depending on the Writer. She also treats Abby like a younger sister.
- Locked in a Freezer: Locked In A Shipping Crate with Tony in "Boxed In".
- Ma'am Shock: Another Berserk Button.
- 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 Hat: Her Tragic Keepsake is an Orange Cap.
- One of the Boys: She likes to hang around men in a nonromantic wolf-in-the-pack sort of way and she takes great pride in her skill at manly things.
- Omniglot: She speaks at least nine languages, including the language of love.
- Photographic Memory: Very useful in her line of work as agents who don't develop this tend not to last long in Mossad.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Immediately after joining The Team.
- Put on a Bus: Cote de Pablo left the series after season 10, unable to come to terms with her contract. Ziva, emotionally torn up by the attempt on her life, decided to leave NCIS and stay in Israel off the grid. Her life comes to an end, offscreen, in "Family First".
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Woman in this case, thanks to her upbringing.
- 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'.
- Someone to Remember Him By: The Season 13 finale reveals that Ziva became pregnant by Tony at the beginning of Season 11 (when she was written out) and subsequently gave birth to a daughter. This bombshell is dropped after Ziva's death.
- Stuffed in the Fridge: Blown up in her sleep in a missile strike. For a while it seemed she got out of it... then it was implied that whatever was left of her got unearthed from the charred ruins of her compound.
- 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".
- Uncertain Doom: Seems like they found her body after the bombing, but it was never shown, just implied that they were convinced it was hers.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: The writers seemed to enjoy dropping hints that in fact she and Tony had, something confirmed in the Season 13 finale.
- Michael Weatherly has stated that a kiss was filmed quite a while ago, and was never aired.
- Verbal Tic: Has a slight habit of forming questions as statements with "yes?" tacked on the end; which is probably a carry over from her native Hebrew (a language in which asking a question by means of inflection is perfectly common.
- You Killed My Father: To Ilan Bodnar, her sent her spiraling into a wave of grief upon shooting her father.
Director Jenny Shepard
Played By: Lauren Holly
"Do you think it would be inappropriate if, as director, I went in there and smacked that smile off her face?"
- Action Girl
- Da Chief: From season 3 to season 5.
- Fake Guest Star: In season 3.
- Fiery Redhead
- Hypocrite: She won't let Gibbs go after Ari without proof, yet she goes after La Grenouille with a vengeance, positive he killed her father, even though she has no proof.
- Iron Lady
- It's Personal: Her possibly unwarranted hunt for René Benoît is this, since she believes Benoît killed her father. Benoît claims that he had actually been bribing her father and that he killed himself out of shame.
- Lady of War
- The Last Dance: She died in a gunfight with five assassins, taking most of them with her.
- Meganekko: Whenever she wore glasses, skirting into Hot Librarian territory.
- Ms. Fanservice: She's occasionally subjected to blatant Male Gaze starting from her very first appearance (in that case it was her legs).
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Immediately after joining and leading The Team.
- Redemption Equals Death
- Secretly Dying: Aww...
- Sexy Mentor
- Sharp Dressed Wo Man: After dying in a hail of bullets, Abby commented on how Jenny was always such a sharp dressed lady.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: She and Gibbs have this vibe.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Abused her power to try and get revenge on Rene Benoit, the man who killed her father.
- Working with the Ex
- You Killed My Father: To La Grenouille. Later she does kill him, but no one figures it out until she's already dead... or was it Trent, actually telling the truth?
- Your Days Are Numbered: Before she was killed, she was sadly already terminally ill.
- In fact, it's implied that she preferred "hail of bullets" to "terminal illness" and that's part of why she acted the way she did leading up to her death.
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.He departs NCIS in the Season 13 finale so that he can focus on raising his daughter with Ziva in the wake of Ziva's death.
- 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.
- Fornell's pronunciation is actually how an Italian speaker would pronounce Tony's surname. It makes sense if Fornell has Italian ancestry, as suggested in "Short Fuse" where we see him cooking "spaghetti alla puttanesca" for himself and Gibbs using a recipe from his "nonna" (grandma).
- 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." He also mentions his mother encouraged him along with his father in high school, before we learn Mrs. Dinozzo died when he was eight and Senior has yet to remarry. Furthermore, at the very beginning of the show in the Backdoor Pilot, Tony has greased up hair which is dyed black. A flashback to 2001 reveals he also had this hairstyle back as a Baltimore cop, suggesting he dropped it sometime later in the year during 2003.
- 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.
- Occasionally, however, he turns out to be Wrong Genre Savvy.
- 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.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Abby and Elle whom he treats like younger sisters. Also treats McGee like a younger brother. Also Zigzagged with Ziva Depending on the Writer.
- 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: In a shipping container with Ziva in "Boxed In".
- Military School: We find out that he attended one on season 12.
- The Movie Buff: His defining trait outside of being the Handsome Lech. He is a library of cult films from the 1940s to early 1980s.
- 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.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Drops his Class Clown identity for a while (stops dissing [McGee], quits making wisecracks, combs his hair up neatly without any messy spikes in front, and becomes all brooding and distant) around a particularly distressing Christmas season when he learns a girl he used to date has checked into a rehabilitation center and blames himself for encouraging her breakdown. Ziva is able to get him to overcome his guilt and Tony promptly returns to being a joker in style by the end of that same story.
- 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.
- Promoted To Parent: Discovers his daughter (by Ziva) in the Season 13 finale, driving some major life choices.
- Put on a Bus: He left the show in the Season 13 finale, having spent a good portion of the preceding season becoming detached from his job and questioning his life choices.
- 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.
- Someone to Remember Him By: He discovers, in the Season 13 finale, that he has a daughter with Ziva a short time after learning of Ziva's death.
- 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.
- They Do: With Ziva; they have a daughter.
- 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.
- 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.
Other NCIS Agents and Superiors
Director Thomas Morrow
Played By: Alan Dale
- The Bus Came Back: Shows up in "Chasing Ghosts" to tell Vance what Ziva has been up to, as well as trying to keep them from hunting down Ilan Bodnar.
- Bus Crash: Is killed in Season 13 by a vengeful ex-MI-6 agent, although it's actually recurring character CIA agent Kort covering his tracks.
- Back for the Dead: In season 13's "Return to Sender".
- Da Chief: The original one.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Is very understanding and tolerating of Gibbs' Cowboy Cop tendencies.
- Put on a Bus: In the first episode of season three, after accepting an offer to become Deputy Secretary of the Homeland Security.
Special Agent Chris Pacci
Played By: Tim Kelleher
Special Agent Michelle Lee
Played By: Liza Lapira
Tony: She's even more probie than Probie!
- Action Girl: She's not in the field often to show it, but in "Once A Hero" she goes undercover and defeats The Dragon of the Villain of the Week.
- Action Mom
- Double Agent
- I Have Your Daughter: Not her, but the people that were making her be a Double Agent.
- The Mole: Framed Langer for her crimes and kills him.
- Nerds Are Sexy: She definitely felt this way about Jimmy Palmer during their fling.
- Redemption Equals Death: She became the Human Shield in a standoff for the culprit that kidnapped her daughter and made her the mole. Once she knew her daughter was safe, she gave Gibbs a non-verbal signal to shoot her and by proxy, shooting him as well, killing them both.
- Sympathetic Murderer: Despite killing and framing Langer, it's possible to feel bad about the situation she was put in. Even Ziva and McGee (to an extent) agreed that they may have done the same thing.
- Two First Names: Lee can pass as a given name.
- Walking Spoiler
- Whack A Mole
Played By: Muse Watson
"Don't tempt me, Jethro! I ain't nearly drunk enough."
- Anti-Hero: His retired status makes him both willing and able to go into moral grey areas that are too dark for the regular team.
- Badass Grandpa
- Badass Beard
- Cool Old Guy
- Cowboy Cop
- Cynical Mentor: Seems to have been this to Gibbs.
- Dead All Along: In his last appearance, Gibbs seems to be talking to Mike in person as they gaze upon a body bag. But Mike ominously appears to be fulfilling the role of a Greek Chorus and inexplicably appearing and disappearing, if Gibbs's absolutely devastated state of mind didn't give it away. Then, a not-so-subtle comment about forming "ghosts" of people inside one's mind is brought up... and we soon learn this is exactly what Gibbs has done for Mike. As soon as it's revealed Mike is the one who died in the first place, the ghost avatar of Mike vanishes permanently and Gibbs finally unzips his body bag to look upon the pallid and withered shell his mentor left behind.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: He died in Gibbs' arms, too fast to say any final comments. Gibbs worked his subsequent grief out by envisioning a conversation with his dead mentor.
- Do Not Go Gentle: He knew he was on his way to the grave, yet he willingly sought out the Port-to-Port killer and had a violent struggle with him, managing to shoot him at least once before finally being overpowered and finished off.
- Dope Slap: The originator In-Universe. He first slapped a Probie Gibbs, who would later inflict the same actions on his team members.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: He was dying of some illness but he still had enough fight to take on Jason Cobb and actually wound the serial killer.
- Grumpy Old Man: Imagine an older, grumpier Gibbs.
- Famous Last Words: "Ain't you smart enough to get out of the rain? ......Me neither...... Jonas. My name is Mike Franks. I figure I got one more fight left in me...You want it?"
- Foreshadowing: This exchange at the beginning of "Swan Song":Ghost!Mike: Better fill me in, Probie... I'm lost.Gibbs: (brokenly) ......So am I.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: The Khobar Towers bombing in '96, as well as the lukewarm response to it, prompted him to retire.
- Incurable Cough of Death: One of the hints of him having some kind of illness. It would probably have killed him even if Jason Cobb wouldn't have, since Gibbs was already in the process of making a coffin for Mike.
- Knight in Sour Armor
- Last Episode, New Character: Appears in flashbacks in "Hiatus, Part 1", makes proper debut appearance in Part 2.
- Papa Wolf: Towards his granddaughter Amira and daughter-in-law Leyla.
- Posthumous Character: He appears in flashbacks and in Gibbs's dreams in just about every season after his death.
- Rated M for Manly: A very simplistic down-home man who can't be bothered with pencil-pushers but a hardcore Marine like no other.
- Retired Badass: Even after he said good-bye to his old post, he always kept eight bullets in his cartridge, and one in his piece, just to be prepared so that he would never be caught by surprise. Unfortunately, Jacob stole his weapon shortly after inflicting fatal wounds to Mike.
- The Reveal: We see Gibbs dutifully at work on some elaborate woodcarving project all throughout Season 8, and it appears to be the machinations of an innocent hobby. At the end of Season 8, Gibbs is one of the pallbearers for Mike's body, and special emphasis is given to his custom-built casket, as it happens to be the finished project of all the handcrafting Gibbs did that season as a last request of his old mentor and longtime friend.
- Secretly Dying: Mike was already dying from what is heavily implied to be lung cancer, from a life of heavy smoking and alcohol consumption to cope with his hardships. Gibbs, at least, knew because Mike had given him plenty of warning so Gibbs could build his coffin. Franks chose to go down fighting when Jason Cobb confronted him and was fatally stabbed during the fight.
- Underground Railroad: S11E4 revealed he helped smuggle in abused women from Kabul over the years, and give them fake identities taken from deceased servicewomen. It fell apart after his death. He asked Gibbs to help him but Gibbs refused.
Played By: Pancho DemmingsOne 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 released by Ari at the start of season 3, he hasn't been seen since. Given that Kate was just murdered and the injuries he also incurred and being taken hostage a second time just when he thought he was in the clear to resume his duties, he had much incentive not to come back.
- Salt and Pepper: Him and Ducky.
Special Agent Paula Cassidy
Played By: Jessica SteenAn 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
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 BellisarioAbby'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.
Played By: Joel GretschWas 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.
Played By: Michael O'Neill
SECNAV Phillip Davenport
Played By: Jude Ciccolella
- Dark Secret: He's the reason why the Port-to-Port killer was born, when a hellish military training program drove him into a killing spree.
- Must Make Amends: He retires as the Director of SECNAV after it comes to light he's responsible for creating Cobb and Cobb tries to get back at him by killing E.J., his niece.
Erica Jane "E.J." Barrett
Played By: Sarah Jane Morris
- Action Girl
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: She doesn't like that Gibbs dismisses her as a fellow team leader. To be fair, she is dismissive of the older Gibbs too.
- Everyone Loves Blondes
- Put on a Bus
- Red Herring Mole
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Averted. She never used her connection to her Uncle the SECNAV to get anything.
- Temporary Love Interest: For Tony.
- Tomboyish Name: Her nickname.
Played By: Matt Willig
- Beard of Sorrow: After going on the run in Season 9, he developed a full beard from dishevelment.
- Boom, Headshot: Snuffed by Cole in a dark street corner.
- 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.
- Lured into a Trap: Cade was set up by Cole to come to what appeared to be an arranged meeting with Tony, and sniped.
- Mauve Shirt: He survived the first attempt on his life by Jonas Cobb and was in critical condition afterward. When he got out of the hospital, he left NCIS to recuperate but couldn't land a part-time job to keep food on the table. Then he ended up on the run from an even greater enemy, until lured into a trap and assassinated.
- Red Herring Mole
- Smart People Wear Glasses
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Cade and McGee didn't get along together because they were almost always engaging in spitting matches. When he left the main office, it showed.McGee: Sorry to see you go.Cade: Yeah right.
Played By: Alimi Ballard
SECNAV Clayton Jarvis
Played By: Matt Craven
- Asshole Victim: Killed in the Season 11 opener.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: He is killed offscreen in the Season 11 opener. A bombing takes place as a result of his involvement with a conspiracy on home soil.
- Jerkass: Espically to Tony.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He starts treating the team a bit better later on.
- Last Episode, New Character: Appears in the season 8 finale.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: What he ultimately turns out to be.
Played By: Matt JonesA 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: He does not come off as gay because he doesn't want that aspect about him being spread around the workplace. He outed himself right away when McGee thought otherwise.
Played By: Colin HanksAn 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.
- A Dick in Name: Guess what everyone calls him. Especially Abby.
- 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.
Played By: Ethan Rains(Former) Systems Administrator for NCIS, until he made a deal to give a computer virus to a bad guy.
- Anti-Villain: Motivated by the need for money to pay his uncle's medical bills. His conscience wouldn't let him go through with the deal, anyway.
Played By: Robyn LivelyTony 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. She is also implied to be a newcomer.
- Awesome McCoolname: "Vivian Blackadder" is a mighty-sounding name.
- Flat Character: One of the reasons she doesn't translate to the NCIS series is because Donald Bellisario thought Vivian was a dull character.
- George Jetson Job Security: The opener of Season 14 reveals that Gibbs has a major habit of immediately and frequently booting newcomers who don't click with him within the span of only a few days in rapid sequence; we can safely assume Vivian falls into this category.
- Ironic Name: The woman whose last name is that of a kind of snake turns out to be no good for Gibbs.
- Revenge Before Reason: Vivian becomes blindly driven by a desire for payback for her brother being killed in the bombing of the USS Cole while she's an NCIS agent under Gibbs, and he warns he that he'll cut her loose if she doesn't rein it in, which leads to a big mistake that causes Gibbs to basically drop her as one of his agents, abruptly and unceremoniously.
- Sister Judy / The Pete Best: Off the show with the implication Gibbs delivered on a warning from earlier and sent her back to the J. Edgar Hoover building for being too revenge-minded after busting her chops.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: A non-lethal example. Vivian's only seen in the two-part JAG backdoor pilot, and quickly forgotten. Since JAG has been over and done with for a long time now and Vivian has never been seen in the spinoff NCIS proper, people are surprised to know she existed as a precursor to the other female leads.
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:
Fornell: You know I'm not going to kiss you goodnight.
- This scene from "Short Fuse" says it best.
- Then there's this exchange in the Season 11 premier:
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 Gibbs's ex-wife too.)
- Papa Wolf: When his daughter Emily gets kidnapped by a money lauderer as ransom for the money the team confiscated, Fornell tells him this during the ransom call:Money launderer: [Bishop's] got eight minutes to bring me my money, by herself. Once I'm safely away I'll tell you where your daughter is. She's fine, but if you even think about sending anyone else, I'll know, and your daughter will pay the price.
Fornell: Okay, but just so we're on the same page; if you so much as touch a hair on my daughter's head, so help me God, I will find you, and I will rip the eyes out of your face and shove them so down far your throat that you'll need a proctologist to read the evening paper.
- Perp Sweating: Not seen as often, but he's brutal in the interrogation room.
- The Rival: A friendly rival, but a rival.
- Shot in the Ass: Two episodes into season 11, tying back to the last few seconds of the season 10 finale.
- Sixth Ranger: Occasionally, when he shows up.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: In the wake of all the trauma he experienced in later seasons, he begins Season 14 having taken residence in Gibbs' living room, eating all the food in the kitchen, watching endless TV, and wearing Gibbs' bathrobe. Gibbs has made it abundantly clear he'd like Fornell to move out, but Fornell is cheerfully oblivious. After three months of this, Emily tricks him into moving back home by having her entomologist boyfriend seed Gibbs' home with termites. At which point Gibbs moves into his living room while his place gets fumigated.
- 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
- Asshole Victim: Gunned down by the entire main cast of federal agents after killing one of their own.
- Back for the Dead: And one episode later, is gunned down by every single field agent on Team Gibbs for murdering Ziva. He says it wasn't his intention to have her killed, but at this point no one cares what his motivations are.
- The Bus Came Back: He's back as of "Dead Letter".
- Deep Cover Agent: CIA agent deep inside Rene Benoit's organization.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Supposedly once Benoit's Number Two, supposedly CIA Deep Cover Agent, it is not clear what he is up to.
- Eye Scream: The Port-to-Port Killer gouged out his eye. He had it replaced with a prosthetic, because a man with an eyepatch gives a scary and conspicuous vibe that an agent doesn't need.
- Killed Off for Real: Shouldn't have taken out that hit on Ziva, Kort.
- Knight Templar: As far as we can make out.
- The Mole: In "Dead Letter", is revealed to have sold nuclear secrets to Russia in 2002.
- No Name Given: If we're to believe Jenny, "Trent Kort" is an alias.
- Put on a Bus: Leaves the series after "Pyramid".
- Smug Snake: As Gibbs put it, he doesn't hide being a jerk.
- Stepford Snarker: Should've kept your mouth shut.
- You Monster!!: Followed orders up until he was fired. Then he went on a covert rampage. Mind you, NCIS messed up his operation first back in season 4, then used him for information going forward (neither party was very nice about it). His missions included doing some heinous things to people, but it was all sanctioned. Acting on his own to cover his tracks, however, he turns into a monster.
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.
- The Bus Came Back: She now works for the Department of Defense.
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.
- 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 #1 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. If they are both in the same room, they sometimes get collective addressed as "Abbses".
- Rule #1: Never make excuses.
- Statuesque Stunner
Played By: Enrique MurcianoZiva'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 CurtisAt 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
Played By: Melinda McGrawGibbs' second wife. She was also married to Fornell, whom she has a daughter. She works for the I.R.S.
- Amicable Exes: Mostly with Gibbs. Not so much with Fornell.
- Berserk Button: Mentioning how Gibbs was still pining over Shannon instead of paying attention to her is pulling the pin on the grenade and letting it rip.
- Boom, Headshot: Via Sergei as Call-Back to Kate's death.
- Call-Back: Her death is patterned over Kate's death in the season 2 finale.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: She dies in Gibbs arms, though it happened in broad daylight instead of the night like the trope suggests.
- Dies Wide Open: Via Boomheadshot courtesy of Sergei. While he he doesn't seem to mind if she dies this way, it sure added to the Call-Back to Kate's death.
- Fiery Redhead: As expected for Gibbs' ex-wife.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: One of the most domineering and hateful shrews to ever darken one's doorway when scorned... but a nice one to those who make her feel adequate.
- The Lost Lenore: For both Gibbs and Fornell, much so for the latter.
- The Missus and the Ex: She gets along with Gibbs' second wife just fine.
- Mrs. Robinson: She got... "cuddly" with McGee at one time.
Mossad Director Eli David
Played By: Michael NouriZiva'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.
"Tell me, Leon. Are we winning?"
- Abusive Parents: He uses his own children as tools in his schemes. One (Ziva) ends up killing another (Ari Haswari) and on Eli's orders.
- Accidental Public Confession: Performs one because Tony goaded him not just on Ari turning traitor but an apparent habit for his agents to go rogue in general. He admits none of his men ever do something without his say, including the one Tony just killed in self-defense. The second worst part for Eli, first being Ziva saw this, is Tony was originally being interrogated by him and the guy turned it around without Eli realizing it.
- Badass Grandpa
- Badass Israeli
- Badass Longcoat
- The Chessmaster
- Cool Old Guy
- Cultured Badass
- Fallen Hero
- Fatal Flaw: Patriotic Fervor.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Eli is easily as bad as the terrorists that he fights, to the point that he drives his own son into becoming one.
- Knight Templar
- Moral Myopia: He has repeatedly violated Israel's treaties with the USA by ordering operations on US soil, which have resulted in Mossad agents killing a number of American federal agents. When Tony is forced to kill a Mossad agent who resisted being arrested for the murders he committed under Eli's orders, Eli treats it as a horrible offense against Israel by the USA and tries to have Tony extradited.
- Rated M for Manly
- Redemption Equals Death: To what extent is arguable, considering that before his death, he murdered a witness to his entry into the US as part of his "redemption".
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He shows weariness with the world of intrigue with every breath.
- The Spymaster
- Two First Names
- Was It Really Worth It?: "Tell me, Leon. Are we winning?" His actions ultimately turn both of his children against him.
Played By: Merik Tadros
Played By: TJ Ramini
Played By: Oded FehrEli David's former protege, and the one responsible for having him killed.
- Badass Israeli
- Batman Gambit: He knew that NCIS would analyze the background of his video chat with Ziva, so he put up a false background to divert authorities away from him.
- Et Tu, Brute?: From Ziva — Eli never had the chance to find out.
- Evil Former Friend
- Sibling Rivalry: Played with. Though Bodnar isn't actually related, Ziva always resented him because she felt like he was trying to be Eli's son.
Played By: Marina SirtisEli 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.
Played By: Rudolf Martin
- Affably Evil
- Arch-Enemy: To Gibbs in the first three seasons.
- Arc Villain: Of Season 1. In the episodes to follow his debut in "Bete Noir", Gibbs becomes obsessed with the one that got away and is busy running a facial recognition search for months on end in the background trying to land a bead on the guy, and it finally takes the help of newcomer McGee to help zone in on him.
- Badass Biker: In the finale of Season 1, he reappears on a motorbike clad in a red racetrack jumpsuit and matching helmet, and even takes a moment to taunt Kate by flipping his visor.
- Badass Israeli: He orchestrates a clever attempt to weed out Marine One among a trio of helos shuffling around to disguise the one carrying the President with Smoky Sams, missiles that look every bit as threatening as the real thing but aren't deadly at all. By firing them at the convoy of helicopters, the pilots would have to interpret it as an attack and make emergency landings; the one with the President on board would land first, at which point Ari's men would destroy the decoys with genuine rocket launchers and capture President Bush, whom he called a "butcher" for causing many Israelis to go to their deaths. It never got that far, but it was very competently thought out.
- Bastard Bastard: When accused of being a liar and a bastard, he admits that's half-right, as he actually is a bastard child. And has no qualms about blowing holes through womens' heads just for pissing him off.
- Becoming the Mask: Was essentially conceived and raised to be a mole in Hamas.
- Big Bad: Of seasons one and two, plus the first two episodes of season three.
- Boom, Headshot: How he kills two women, including Kate, and how he goes out. One to the head leaves 'em stone dead.
- Cold Sniper
- Cultured Badass
- Deadly Doctor: Studied at an institute for medicine, as evidenced when he's able to properly examine a body in autopsy. It becomes Chekhov's Skill when Ducky inadvertently realizes Ari's demonstration of medical expertise could be crucial in finally securing a profile on him, and it is.
- Death Seeker
- Disproportionate Retribution: His motive behind everything he does to Gibbs and NCIS in general? Gibbs reminds him of his father.
- Double Agent
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: It is implied that he cared for his late mother and believes his father is responsible for her death.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Ziva still loved him, even after what he had done. And he had an Israeli doctor and childhood friend he loved and planned on proposing to before Becoming the Mask.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He found Gerald's inability to drive Ducky's vintage Morgan painful to listen to or see.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: His fatal mistake was that it didn't even occur to him that Gibbs would really trust Ziva to watch his back and assumed Gibbs was alone when he confronted him.
- For the Evulz: Shot Gerald in the shoulder just to prove he was evil (which spelled curtains for his career at NCIS when Gerald needed months of physical therapy afterwards), blasted his Swiss associate Marta in the head all because she made him angry, and then put a matching bullet hole through Kate's head because she opened old emotional wounds from his past.
- Genius Bruiser
- Gone Horribly Right: His father raised him to be a monster... who hated him for it and did everything he could to destroy what his father had worked for.
- Hero Killer: The series' first. He even killed Kate to prove it.
- Karmic Death: He dies via a Boom, Headshot, the same way he killed Kate.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Also like Kate, he didn't get to finish a retort- after being told by Gibbs he would watch him die. Ziva capped him in the head and that was that.
- Posthumous Character: He still has effects in the story long after his death.
- Revenge by Proxy: He stuffs Kate into the fridge and tries to do the same to Abby, aware that it's the best way to make Gibbs suffer. He also tries to kill Jenny, snipes at McGee (who lucks out by unknowingly moving out of the way at the last second), and tries to kidnap Ducky. The only member of Team Gibbs he doesn't single out is Tony.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Unusual to invoke this on an Arc Villain, but he was introduced two-thirds of the way through season one and died at the beginning of season three after only appearing in a grand total of five episodes, and is still an occasional influence of the team, who they work with, and who they go up against as of season twelve.
- Smug Super: He's good and he knows it.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky
- Tykebomb: All grown up. Eli David deliberately fathered him on a Palestini woman so that he would have a child he could raise to infiltrate Hamas.
- You Killed My Father: Blamed his father for his mother dying in an Israeli attack on the Palestinians while Ari himself was away visiting his father. This was his Start of Darkness.
Played By: Armand Assante
- Affably Evil
- Arms Dealer
- The Chessmaster
- Combat Aestheticist: In a strategic rather then one-on-one fashion. If he wants someone out of the way he uses The Plan rather than just ordering a hit because the latter would be too crude for a Man of Wealth and Taste.
- The Don
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Or in this case, their children: his daughter Jeanne.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones
- French Jerk
- Man of Wealth and Taste: He has a fondness for fine wine.
- It was actually cognac, not wine, that he and Ducky drank when they met.
- N-Word Privileges: Only a French guy could give himself the codename La Grenouille (the Frog).
Played By: Enzo Cilenti
Colonel (ret.) Merton Bell
Played By: Robert Patrick
Jason Paul Dean
Played By: Marco Sanchez
Played By: Jacqueline Obradors
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl
- Big Bad: Takes over for Colonel Bell in season 7.
- Brother–Sister Team: With Alejandro.
- Faux Affably Evil
- Feuding Families: With Gibbs.
- Karmic Death: After toying with Gibbs' life and heavily responsible for Mike Franks losing a finger, she was shot to death by accident, by her own brother, no less.
- Widow Woman: The inheritor of her husband's drug cartel after he was killed.
- You Killed My Father
Jonas Cobb, The Port-to-Port Killer
Played By: Kerr Smith
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: He was trained to weather any kind of suffering, but his psyche broke under the immense toll his training placed on him. His first successful assassination awakened an innate Blood Lust and he went rogue.
- Big Bad: Season 8.
- Dark Is Evil
- Disc-One Final Boss: His demise does not cast out the danger the NCIS operatives are facing. Rather, his murder of an agent with a secret access-granting microchip inside of them kick-starts a second conflict that threatens the organization all over again.
- Disney Villain Death: Shot before he could act first and crashed out of a window several stories onto the roof of a car below, caving the vehicle in and leaving Jonas unquestionably dead if the bullets hadn't already finished the job.
- Famous Last Words: "Liar."
- Gone Horribly Right: He was trained to be a remorseless assassin, and that's exactly what he became. And then he decided to commit a few non-sanctioned assassinations...
- Hero Killer: He killed Mike Franks.
- Last-Second Chance: Vance and Gibbs gave him one final chance to lay down his gun. He did not go for it and was subsequently shot before he could open fire on them or the director of SECNAV, and knocked through the glass window behind him.
- Sanity Slippage: The psychological abuse of Operation Frankenstein drove him insane after he made his first kill for the project.
- Serial Killer
- Super Soldier
- Training from Hell: Deconstructed.
- Tykebomb: Downplayed. He developed a twisted sense of superiority over right and wrong after his first kill. Then he went renegade and kept doing this out of a primal sense of liberation.
Played By: Scott Wolf
Played By: Richard Schiff
- Big Bad: Of season nine.
- The Chessmaster
- Crazy-Prepared: Mutiple times, but his most notable instance was during an FBI sting operation in which he asked to 'use the bathroom.' When the SWAT team kicks down the door, all they find is an open window, and his bag left behind. And then a cellphone inside starts ringing...
- Faking the Dead: Tries this to escape NCIS in the premiere of season ten by blowing up a car with his brother's remains inside. Gibbs doesn't buy it and manages to uncover the truth.
- Misplaced Retribution: Blames NCIS for transferring his son to another Naval ship, and the Navy itself for a flaw in their systems (which they were correcting) for his son's death. Instead of, ya know, the terrorists who actually killed him.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Western Terrorists
Played By: Alex Veadov
- Avenging the Villain: He is Ari's best friend and maternal half-brother, and he's out for Gibbs' blood to avenge him.
- Bash Brothers: He and Ari are a villainous example of this trope. Literally.
- Beard of Evil: Sports a Badass Beard and is definitely evil.
- Best Served Cold: He waited a decade after Ari's death to take his Revenge.
- Big Bad: Of season twelve.
- Boom, Headshot: How he killed Diane. He dies in the same manner from the hands of Fornell.
- Call-Back: His ways of getting into Gibbs is mimicking the deaths of Jenny Shepherd, Mike Franks, and most notoriously, Caitlin Todd, the first two for The Team's cases, the last one is how he killed Gibbs' third ex-wife, Diane. His own death is a near-reproduction of Ari's: a single shot through the forehead.
- Cold Sniper: Whether he is actually one or he only did it as a Call-Back to his late best friend is uncertain.
- Karmic Death: He dies via Boom, Headshot.
- Mixed Race: His father is Russian and his mother is a Palestinian Arab.
- Villainous Breakdown: When his final showdown is with Fornell, and not Gibbs:What is this?
- Villainous Friendship: With Ari.
- You Killed My Father: Or best friend (and half-brother) in his case.
Played By: Giles MattheyThe leader of a terrorist group called The Calling.
- Child Soldiers: He creates them.
Agents' Family Members
Shannon and Kelly Gibbs
Shannon is Played By: Aviva Farber and Darby Stanchfield
Kelly is Played By: Mary Matilyn Mouser, Brenna Radding and Sam Schuder
- Death by Origin Story: It was their deaths that made Gibbs into the agent he is today.
- Dramatic Irony: Had Gibbs not taken the career path that led to their deaths, he would have died instead.
- Kill the Cutie: Both were murdered by a drug cartel leader while Gibbs was trying to hunt him down. He killed the NCIS agent driving their vehicle, causing the vehicle to wreck, and the crash slew both of them.
- Love at First Sight: Gibbs spotted her in a store window, the two shared a sweet look, and then by happenstance met at the train station waiting for the same train, chatted it up, decided to ride the train together, and that was that.
- Posthumous Characters: They still show up much in the same way Gibbs internalizes Mike Franks.
- She Knows Too Much: Shannon wanted to testify against Pedro Hernandez and his drug cartel. This got her and Kelly assassinated.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Shannon is the originator of Gibbs's rules to live by as an agent, having originally started them for herself in a more lighthearted manner. For instance, "Never date a lumberjack" makes more sense coming from her than a male. Gibbs then incorporated them for himself.
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 dying after suffering from a stroke.
- Badass Grandpa: Though technically, he isn't a grandfather anymore, he's still old and badass.
- 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.
- Parent with New Paramour: The root cause of Gibbs' estrangement with his father was that his father showed up to the funeral of Shannon and Kelly with a date (which ultimately didn't work out).
- Retired Badass
- "Well Done, Dad!" Guy: Jethro blamed him for losing his mother. Their relationship has been slowly healing.
Played By: Claire Carey
- Abusive Parents: Ann and Jackson were constantly bickering and implied to have even been skipping out on each other when Gibbs was growing up, because Ann felt a sense of dissatisfaction with the way things turned out living in Charlottesville. Her alienation of affection also caused him to lose face because he was implied to be schmoozing up other women outside the marriage. She finally walked out on the family, and Jackson feels like he ultimately failed to make Ann happy and let her down. Gibbs also notes his dad hated that she left him.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Zig-zagged; she was no award-winning wife, that's for sure, but putting chocolate syrup on her son's waffles shows how much she loved her son as a mother.
- Despair Event Horizon: Her cancer diagnosis made her give up all hope of happiness and prompted her to take her life while she had all her faculties intact.
- Driven to Suicide: Killed herself by overdosing on pills to avoid a slow and painful death and making her family watch her slowly wither away.
- Fiery Redhead: She is obviously the reason why Gibbs favors redheads- they remind him of his mother.
- Karmic Death: After she split from Jackson, terminal cancer befell Ann. She took fate into her own hands and ended her life before she became sickly.
- Lethal Diagnosis: Following her separation from her husband, perhaps as a result of all the pent up toxic emotions she had from the failed marriage, her body withered and developed a killer form of cancer.
- My Greatest Failure: Her apparition in "Life Before His Eyes" tells Gibbs that she's aware she gave his father nothing but hell and helped to break apart the family because of it.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: Poor Gibbs was just a boy when he lost Ann, and because of the sudden way Ann decided to go out, he was deprived of a chance to tell her how much she meant to him.
- Posthumous Character: Ann has been gone for a very long time, but she plays a big role in "Life Before His Eyes" and has a few appearances in flashbacks.
- Your Days Are Numbered: She was diagnosed with a terminal cancer.
Anthony DiNozzo Sr.
Played By: Robert WagnerTony'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. In his later years wanted to find a purpose in his life, and started to aid a homeless shelter's inhabitants with his connections and apparent wealth, such as giving one guy a brand new pair of shoes.
- 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. He's been broke several times already.
- Parent with New Paramour: For a while, Senior almost netted himself a recently-widowed friend with a daughter of her own and planned to marry her- and neither child minded the idea of becoming stepsiblings. But then she dumped him and Tony Junior found dear old dad loafing around his house in his pajamas and playing his breakup mix.
- 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.
Played By: Paula NewsomeLeon's wife, who is somewhat exasperated with the hours he has to work and the toll it has taken on their personal lives.
"You are my partner now."
Dr. Rachel Cranston née Todd
Played By: Wendy MakkenaOffhandedly 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. She appears in season eight.
- Affectionate Nickname: Tony refers to her as "Dr. Kate's Sister".
- Brainy Brunette
- Chekhov's Gunman: Kate casually mentioned her in a season 1 episode.
- Cool Big Sis
- The Ghost: She used to be that one character only mentioned in conversation. Until Kate is suddenly murdered, and has trouble dealing with closure, at which point she fully appears to conduct psych evaluations on the team and learn more about what happened to Kate and make peace with it. She presumably also attended Kate's funeral after the team had up and left, as she hadn't met them up until then.
- Happily Married
- Hospital Hottie
Played By: Troian BellisarioMcGee'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 Palmer
Played By: Michelle Pierce
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Breena's father initially doesn't think much of Palmer and believes she can do much better.
- Happily Married: With Jimmy starting season 10.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Downplayed; Jimmy's just a gawky man described as an "autopsy gremlin" and his wife is bang-up beautiful to such a degree the others wonder how someone like Jimmy managed to land a total fox like her.
Played By: Jamie BamberBishop'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 biweekly racquetball match and chat on the phone almost daily.
- Adorkable: Abby outright calls him "adorable". Then there's his glasses and his school girl-like gushing over Gibbs and the team. He later seems similarly awestruck at Ellie's efficiency.
- Derailing Love Interests: Starts out as an adoring, loving, supporting husband to Ellie and clearly becomes even more enamored of her after seeing her in action in "Grounded". But within a year, he admits that he's been having an affair with a coworker. The 180 was so abrupt that the show itself seemed to lampshade it when Ellie tells DiNozzoand McGee about this and they ask "Are you sure?", as if they find this as inexplicable as the viewer.
- Happily Married: He and Bishop were very much in love, but their jobs caused 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 could talk about are the murders Bishop investigates. With this, the marriage became increasingly strained, with his workplace affair putting the final nail in the coffin, and they are now divorced.
- Hello, Attorney!: He's played by Jamie Bamber, so natch.
- 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.
- We Used to Be Friends: He was on good terms with Gibbs' Team, but all friendliness towards him went out the window once the affair came to light.
- 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.
Played By: Margo HarshmanMcGee's Love Interest starting from late season 10 to the present; the two of them get married at the end of Season 14. She works for the Department of Defense and helps Team Gibbs during their interagency cases from time to time.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's a really sweet person, but you don't want to be on her bad side.
- Brainy Brunette: She's the senior intelligence analyst at the DOD.
- Disabled Love Interest: She and McGee began dating before the bombing that paralyzed Delilah from the waist down, and a main factor in their continuing relationship was both of them coming to terms with what had happened. They marry at the end of Season 14.
- Handicapped Badass: After getting caught in a bomb blast in "Kill Chain", she is confined to a wheelchair while slowly recovering from her injuries. Nonetheless, that doesn't stop her from wanting to try skydiving. Or even going undercover.
- Happily Married: To McGee as of the end of Season 14.
- Nice Girl: The first for McGee. One of his first love interests tried to kill him.
- Official Couple: With McGee.
The daughter of Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo.
Played By: Tyler RitterThe adopted brother of Abby Sciuto, first appears in Season 13 "Sister City" and the Crossover episode of the same name on NCIS: New Orleans. The One with... whom she grew up, not the long-lost biological one.
- All-Loving Hero: In order to help Eva, the Russian spy, he obstructs the New Orleans team by setting ablaze an oyster bar.
- Good Is Dumb: He trusts everyone except for the two agency branches who are trying to protect him. He initially feared that he killed the victims on the plane with food poisoning.
- The Pollyanna: He has ridiculously good faith in people.
Played By: Daniel Louis RivasAbby's biological brother, introduced in Season Nine's "Enemy on the Hill."
Played By: Juliette AngeloTobias and Diane's daughter.
- Fiery Redhead: She really takes after her mother.
Played By: Scottie ThompsonThe 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. Eventually married and settled down before NCIS came back into her life 8 years later.
Margaret Allison Hart
Played By: Rena Sofer
Played By: Paul TelferA marine who is revealed to have used steroids.
- Private Military Contractors: Works for Colonel Bell (see above) until he realizes that he's on the wrong side and quits.
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.
- Big Brother Instinct: Big sister instinct in this case; she goes far out of her way to protect her main asset.
- Daddy's Girl: You can really tell that from the way she hugs him after she comes in from the cold.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Deep Cover Agent
- The Ditz: Less so in reality then in appearance.
- Everyone Has Standards: Tony's reaction. Even he thinks she and her fellow partyholics are stupid and shallow.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Yes, the episode is about an admiral's daughter.
- Fiery Redhead
- Hero of Another Story
- Military Brat: With a rather ironic emphasis on the "brat" part.
- More Than Meets the Eye
- Non-Idle Rich: Even before becoming involved in covert warfare she was the top of her class at college.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: This is her cover.
- Spoiled Sweet: She is a reasonably likable though sassy person, even when you just know her as a stupid, gluttonous, partyholic.
Dr. Cyril Taft
Played By: Jon CryerThe doctor who saves Gibbs's life in the Season 13 Premiere "Stop the Bleeding". They later become friends.
- Commonality Connection: Part of the reason why he and Gibbs bond is because they both know what it's like to have their only child die.
- The Confidant: Though never explicitly shown on-screen, he was mentioned by Gibbs to be the one he goes to when he reaches his limit.
- Deadpan Snarker: Compares Gibbs's surgery to deep-sea diving.
- The Medic: He's a doctor with his private practice and a Navy Reserve Captain.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Two years prior to meeting Gibbs, his son Paul died from cancer.
Played By: Tamer HassanA Turkish Arms Dealer.