These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Angst? What Angst?: Ziva. Though we do get shown some moments, most of the time she's surprisingly chipper considering everything that's happened to her.
Black Hole Sue: Abby has shades of this at times. In some episodes she suddenly gains the ability to bend the entire team to her will just because she thinks they're wrong. The most egregious example is probably in "Dog Tags", where she pretty much orders McGee to adopt the dog that bit him at the beginning of the episode. Even Gibbs has trouble refusing Abby's wishes. This trope is best shown when she keeps bugging Ziva to make peace with her father. Said father has left her to be tortured to death even though he had more than enough resources to do something about it, ordered her to kill her own brother and spy on her friends, and tried to frame her for murder. Ziva herself has admitted that Eli is dead to her.
Kyle Boone from "Mind Games" - one of the sickest villains from this show.
Nick, the drug dealer in the episode "Angel of Death." After his drug mule got stuck in the hospital with a broken leg, he cared more about getting the drugs than the man's health. After the balloons burst and killed the man, his only concern was getting the drugs from his dead body, even with his sister in tow. After sneaking into the morgue and finding the body, he cracks jokes and prepares to cut him open in front of his sister.
Rogue CIA agent Jack Canton from "Marine Down". What a sociopath.
Mossad Director Eli David. Raised his children to be weapons, is implied to have had his son's mother killed to "harden" him, and orders his daughter to kill her half brother, and later abandons her to die and then tries to frame her for a murder committed by another agent acting under his orders.
Tommy Doyle, from "Murder 2.0". He arranges the murders of three different people in an effort to be famous. Thankfully he's stopped, and NCIS doesn't release his name to the public, keeping him from being a household name like Mc Veigh or Manson.
Counterpart Comparison: Shown in the S2 Ep12 episode "Doppelgänger", with the team working with civilian law enforcement, which are all extremely similar to the characters.
Creator's Pet: Ziva David. More plots revolve around her than any other character, including Gibbs.
Critical Research Failure: In "Anonymous was a Woman", Lieutenant Gorman mentions the presence of UN peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, which is not true entirely since ISAF is the only international force that provides peacekeeping to help Afghan police/soldiers in securing the country.
Memetic Badass though he may be, Gibbs can definitely be seen as this, given his occasional penchant for assholish behavior, bending or even breaking the very laws he's supposed to be enforcing, and utter hypocrisy in how he interacts with agents/officers from outside the team who're working on the same case.
Anthony Dinozzo can be seen as this too, with actions that are pretty much sexual harassment towards women and his treatment of computer tech McGee which are very much like those of a bully (such as constant insults, cruel pranks, and even convincing most of the women in the NCIS headquarters McGee was gay). He also has the same lack of regard for laws and hypocrisy toward agents/officers outside the team as Gibbs.
In earlier seasons Gibbs and Tony have their moments.
McGee and Tony get in many awkward situations.
Tony and crook-of-the-week Jeffrey White in the episode "Chained." (Technically doesn't qualify as Foe Yay, since Jeffrey didn't know they were enemies until the last five minutes.)
Jerk Sue: Gibbs and Abby (to some extent) are the biggest examples of this trope. With Gibbs, the way he treats his team and others just reeks of or is borderline assholish/abusive behavior. He also occasionally breaks the law. Yet he's loved and worshiped; he's just teasingly/lovingly referred to by said characters as a bastard and his law-breaking ways are deemed as necessary. Abby on the other hand, is seen as sweet and kind and treated as the team's beloved little sister, even when she's bullying McGee to adopt the same dog that almost mauled him to death or pester Ziva into forgiving her father who was emotionally negligent at best, emotionally abusive and extremely callous at worst.
In one episode, Gibbs is "shot" as part of a sting. In the season 5 finale, killing Jenny Shepard offscreen. Subverted, as they darn well would. She takes four baddies with her, though. And the serial killer's plan to get himself shot and ruin Gibbs' life...it fails. Badly. "Requiem" opens with Gibbs having apparently drowned.
Like you would really blow up Gibbs, Abby, Tony, Ziva AND McGee, and give Ducky a heart attack at the news. Yep, that's the season nine cliffhanger note all the actors have had their contracts renewed...
Like you would really kill Tony and Ziva off in a car crash 3 episodes before the end of season 10.
Magnificent Bastard: Ari starts off as one of these (shooting Gerald and managing to escape), then does a Heel-Face Turnwhen he saves Presidents Bush and Sharon, then turns into a Complete Monster in his final appearance when he murders Kate and tries to kill Abby.
Ari shoots Kate and tries to shoot Abby to deliberately cause Gibbs grief, despite the fact that he could have easily shot Gibbs instead at the time and Gibbs was a more tactically valuable target.
It's strongly implied that Eli David ordered the missile strike that killed Ari's mother, in order to "harden" him into a better killer. Keep in mind that Ari was a child at the time, and Eli was his father. If that wasn't enough, he orders his daughter Ziva to kill Ari, her half-brother, after Ari proves to be disloyal.
More Popular Spin-off: NCIS has far outstripped its parent show JAG, to the point that many viewers haven't even heard of the latter.
The climax of the Christmas EpisodeNewborn King. A pregnant Marine is giving birth while Ziva holds off the mercenaries who are trying to kidnap the baby...but all dialogue and sound effects are muted, with the soundtrack playing "Silent Night." Painfully overdone.
In the episode "Dead Reckoning," an international crime lord is played by some guy you've probably never heard of before. Meanwhile, the timid accountant who turns informer against him is played by Emmy Award winner Christian Clemenson. If you guessed just by reading that sentence that Clemenson is, in fact, The Man Behind the Man, you win a cookie.
Nightmare Fuel: The second-to-last episode of Season 4 has a patient at Jeanne's hospital who died from a heroin bag rupturing inside him - he was a drug mule. His junkie sister and her boyfriend (who ran the drug op in the first place) show up to get the drugs before they're found. Near the end of the episode, the girl snorts heroin FROM HER DEAD BROTHERS INTESTINE. Drugs mess you up, kids.
In "Oil&Water" Agent Borin gives an extremely unnerving and graphic description of what it's like to be blown up.
The Problem with Licensed Games: The video game wasn't very well received. For starters only one voice actor from the actual show was in it, it was near impossible to lose, simple plots, poor visuals, etc.
Replacement Scrappy: Averted with Ziva, as she is far more popular and liked than Kate. Viewers who often get introduced into the show from the third season on often don't know who Kate is until they either stumble across an episode where she's mentioned or view one of the first two seasons later on.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Director Vance wasn't well liked until it was revealed there's more to him than meets the eye, and he very likely isn't Vance at all.
"Angel of Death". A drug dealer and his addict girlfriend try to retrieve the body of a mule, who had the package burst inside him. While the stand-off happens, the addict gets on the table and begins snorting straight out of the opened corpse. Bonus Squick for the corpse in question being her brother!
The exploding bodies in the crypts in "Skeletons."
The flashback of Gibbs' family in "Requiem", and his memories of them in "Hiatus".
The ending of the season 4 episode "Iceman", where even though Mike Frank's son (which he didn't know he had until a couple of years ago) is dead and he's lost so much, he managed to save his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter.
Abby's confrontation with Gibbs in the S7 episode "Borderland" after the cold case she worked on in Mexico turned out to be the man who murdered Gibbs' family and Gibbs subsequently killed.
The whole episode "Friends and Lovers".
"Grace Period", the whole damn thing.
"Better Angels": Jack Gibbs needs his son to meet Walter, the pilot who saved his life in World War II, before he (Walter) dies. The reason? Walter was German (Jack: "I thought I mentioned that" Gibbs: "NO" Jack: "Well, it's not important" Gibbs (who wanted to find Walter with US military records): "It kind of IS") and now that he's dying he's haunted by all the people he killed "for ideas that weren't his". Jack wants Walter to know he's a good man and his son is the proof: If Walter hadn't rescued Jack, his son wouldn't have been born and we all know that Gibbs is a very, very good man (and now Gibbs knows too).
That a German pilot would save an enemy in trouble is old news to Crackedreaders.
Too Dumb to Live: Rivkin. Being told to leave the country thrice, and doesn't get the message. Resisting arrest doesn't make it better.
The character of Director Jenny Shepard, in spades. Introduced as the first female director of an armed law enforcement agency and a possible testbed for future women being promoted to positions similar to hers. Of course, she ends up using her position of power to pursue a private vendetta (an enormous abuse of power) and it is implied that this vendetta was the sole reason why she pursued the Director's position in the first place. Her general behavior around Gibbs, constantly reminiscing about their past relationship and acquiescing to his demands, didn't do her any favors either.
Almost all the characters who are killed in the show are usually female. Kate, Paula Cassidy, Jenny Shepard, Jackie Vance. Then add the fact that they were usually killed to cause their male counterparts' anguish, the show could be used as a textbook example of the Women in Refrigerators trope.
Tony, Abby, and McGee insisting to Kate in the episode "Caught On Tape" that men and women can't be friends or simply coworkers because they'll eventually sleep with one another. Now this could be just an attempt at comedy, but then when there are rumors flying around that Kate and Tony would've gotten together had Kate not died, and then you consider the fact that the show is playing with the idea of a romance between Tony and Ziva, Tony's flirty friendship with Paula Cassidy, and McGee and Abby's off-and-on-again romance/friends with benefits/platonic friendship...you begin to wonder if the writers either have issues that are manifesting on the show or they're just trying to appeal to shippers.
It may be coincidence, but it bears mentioning that almost every gay character on the show has either been a Psycho Lesbian (three, in fact), suicidal, anguished, or just a breathtakingly incompetent agent. Seriously, the dude forgot his gun.
Note, "don't ask, don't tell" was a Real Life policy in effect for the first eight years of the show's run, so gay characters' anguish was often justified, not necessarily a sign of writers aiming to make the character weak. For instance, a male suspect (Naval Commander) in an early episode is hesitant to reveal his alibi involves spending the night with (another) male Naval Officer. Revealing this could cost them both their careers and livelihoods.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Eli David. Every so often the writers make him look like he is misunderstood, that he is some sort of a ultra-dedicated patriot, and therefore Ziva should try to make amends with him. All these ring hollow, however, because Ziva herself has once explicitly stated that, after abandoning her to death in Somalia, for all intents and purposes, Eli is dead to her.