YMMV / NCIS

  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Any case where there's a Would Hurt a Child villain gets taken personally by Gibbs and the rest of the team.
    • Rapists are not shown in any sympathetic light (to the point where the Team tends to go easy on people who kill them), and if you're a child molester or a sex trafficker, Team Gibbs will show you NO mercy when they hunt you down.
    Abby: (After Agent Cabot slaps a serial rapist in Interrogation for attempting to use Victim Blaming to save his skin despite the huge pile of evidence against him) Okay... I'm really antiviolence, but that was awesome!
    • Being a member of the CIA is more-or-less shorthand for corrupt agent in this show.
    • Subverted with the Real-Life Superheroes Neighborhood Watch program in "Secrets". Many of them are portrayed as pretty nerdy as they dress up in homemade costumes and take on "secret identities" However, the episode demonstrates that they willingly put themselves in danger constantly in order protect others, their influence has actually lowered crime rates by 50% in the DC area, and they can be pretty badass when the situation calls for it. Even Gibbs comes to respect the group by the end of the episode.
  • 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.
    • As is Bishop, who mourned her dead boyfriend for all of one episode. This is a man who was the first she dated after her divorce (and she got over that right away too) and whose proposal she was going to accept.
  • Badass Decay: Every time Kort shows up after season 4, something worse happens to him. It's no surprise that he ends up getting killed no matter what the circumstances.
  • Broken Base: One don't hear much about it but there's one camp that think that Ziva and Tony's relationship is Like Brother and Sister (making Gibbs' team like siblings with him as Daddy Gibbs) and then there's the ones that think of it as Belligerent Sexual Tension. And then there's they who can't make up their minds. Even the series switched back and forth a lot.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • After conjecturing that a computer has a twelve-core processor by glancing at its monitor, a character is described as having the "the high score in virtually every massively multiplayer online role-playing game", a feat that would be not be possible to achieve in a human lifetime if most MMORPGs even had high score tables.
    • The entire plot of "Semper Fortis" proceeds from a Critical Research Failure. A former Navy Hospital Corpsman is arrested (and charged) for practicing medicine without a license. The team laments how No Good Deed Goes Unpunished and how wrong it is. The thing is, it is wrong. Besides being a long-standing principle of common law, most states have some form of "Good Samaritan Law" that offers protection to people who render aid in emergencies. Virginia (where the episode takes place) has Code § 8.01-225 specifically protects "Any person who in good faith, renders emergency care or assistance, without compensation, to any ill or injured person at the scene of an accident, fire, or any life-threatening emergency". Not only would the Corpsman not be charged, she would be even more protected. Her record would ensure that the idiot that arrested her would be tossed out on his ear.
  • Ear Worm: It seems like such a simple little Theme Tune, but just try getting it out of your head.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • People who dislike and/or outright hate every other character on the show will still love Ducky. But hey, it is Ilya Kuryakin...
    • CGIS Agent Abigail Borin, played by Diane Neal, has a popularity with the fanbase all out of proportion to the number of times she has actually been on the show, to the point where she made two consecutive appearances on NCIS: New Orleans and eventually made a third. Many are clamoring for her to be a full time addition to the NCIS universe and some blatant hints have been made on NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans that the powers that be may be seriously considering the idea.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Agent "Pouty Lips" Lee.
  • Fandom Heresy: Regarding an ill-conceived reference to Doctor Who. We have McGee, a fan of the show, calling the Doctor "Doctor Who" and movie cultist Tony condescendingly asking who watches that show. Yeah, the Whovians didn't like that.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Between Kate and Ari in the first two seasons, even acknowledged by the other characters.
    • Arguably, Tony and Trent Kort, the CIA agent who tried to kill him once.
    • Gibbs and M. Allison Hart.
    • With bonus Les Yay in "The Curse". A female suspect (Melora Hardin) smiles at Kate and says "Come on home with me, honey." Kate does.
    • Vance and that North Korean spy. Ducky explicitly explained how to her Vance is the closest thing to a lover she's had.
  • Follow the Leader: Abby is one of many quirky technogeeks inspired by the Franchise/The X-Files Lone Gunmen trio. One episode even features sailors named after TLG's creators, Glen Morgan and James Wong, as a Shout-Out.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Early jokes about "why Gibbs has three ex-wives" seem a lot less funny when the real reason becomes clear.
    • A Crossover fanfic with Law & Order: UK that had Matt and Ronnie of the latter show venturing to DC became this thanks to (1) Jamie Bamber playing a recurring role as Bishop's husband, and (2) a storyline that had the NCIS team working with British Coppers, culminating in one of them joining.
    • In "Page Not Found", Tony and McGee remark that a corrupt CIA agent is "worse than Trent Kort". Come "Dead Letter", Kort is revealed to have been traitor for years.
  • Gotta Ship Em All: Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, McGee, Kate, Abby, and, to a lesser extent, Jenny, are each shipped with all the others by fans. The Ziva/Kate ship is particularly jarring, considering Ziva didn't even come on the show until after Kate had died. This leaves only Ducky, Palmer, and Vance who aren't commonly shipped with anyone (though you do occasionally see Ducky/Gibbs or Palmer/someone), perhaps because Ducky is about thirty-five years older than almost everyone else, Palmer doesn't have a substantial amount of interaction with anyone other than Ducky, and Vance was married until very recently.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The final line of "Twisted Sister," in which McGee's sister thinks she may have killed someone, has Gibbs saying "Sometimes, McGee, a little lie is good for the soul." Sis is played by Troian Bellisario, who four years after the episode first aired would start to build evidence to the contrary. P.S. She didn't do it.
    • In "Good Cop, Bad Cop", Tony is being annoying to McGee, including a reference to "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe and asking him if he has a body buried under his floorboards. (It Makes Sense in Context...sorta.) Seven years later, it's revealed that Tony's apartment has a body buried under the floorboards, and he doesn't even know it. And to make it better, this revelation comes after McGee leases the apartment for himself and Delilah, making Tony's joke prescient by seven years.
      • And speaking of that body, witness this dialogue from "Return to Sender" when McGee and Bishop try to guess how Tony could even afford his apartment. Does Gibbs intentionally hide the answer in plain sight?
        Bishop: Loan from your dad?
        McGee: Generous cougar?
        Gibbs: (entering) Dead body...at the mortuary.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Any scene with Jake and Ellie, courtesy of the revelation of his affair and their subsequent divorce.
      • In "Incognito", McGee congratulates Jake on him and Ellie going to St. Johns for a long weekend. He didn't know that it was supposed to be a surprise anniversary gift and Ellie sarcastically thanks McGee for ruining the surprise. Six episodes later, Ellie gets a nasty surprise of her own when Jake's affair comes to light, meaning that was one of the last things that they were ever going to do together.
    • In one episode, a mob boss says that if Gibbs is screwing him around, he'll kill his entire family, and then him. Gibbs jauntily replies that everyone in his family is dead, though he would be willing to give the boss the names of his ex-wives. Later on, we learn that he does have a living father, Jackson Gibbs, who appears in several episodes...and eventually dies of a stroke.
    • Tony's comments to Jimmy and Breena in We Build, We Fight become this after Family First, when it is revealed that Ziva had their child without telling him. Victoria Palmer was not the first NCIS baby.
    • In "Dead Letter," Kort mentions that he was the best man at a dead agent's wedding. Tony doesn't believe him. Either Kort's lying to gain sympathy and seem less guilty, or he just killed his friend (of which he does have very few).
    • In "Hiatus, Part 2", an amnesia-stricken Gibbs is being caught up on history:
    Doctor: "It doesn't surprise you that The Terminator is the governor of California?"
    Gibbs: "Not at all. The Gipper was President."
    • A little over ten years from that episode's airing, we got an even more shocking presidential election result. Even odder, the episode was rerun on the USA network a few days after Election Day 2016.
    • "Dead Man Talking" The team's attitude regarding the woman who turns out to be a pre-op transsexual, as well as the killer they're looking for comes off pretty transphobic nowadays—continually referring to her as a "guy", or with male pronouns, even as a "he-she" (which some consider a slur these days). In particular, Gibbs' snark about "adding that misdemeanor to the murder charge", regarding the woman having used the female restroom, is especially cringeworthy given the ongoing bathroom controversies.
    • A marine recruiter in "One Shot, One Kill" tells two teenagers that Iraq will probably be over by the time they finish basic training. Yeah...
    • Any episode that explores Abby's troubled background and issues stemming from harassment, especially the episode where she is pursued by a stalker. In real life, Pauley Perrette shares this aspect of her character because she was aggressively stalked to the point of being sickened to even open a laptop and having tearful breakdowns, and now started her own group to protest and cope with this sort of abuse, as seen in a two-part special on 48 Hours. Perrette invoked that plot on purpose as a statement to the problem stalkers present to our society and how unjust it is for authority abusers to just leave them be and blame the women for getting involved with them as though they had control over the situation in the first place.
    • In "Dead Air", a few extreme members of "Military At Home" (a social group based in Alexandria, Virgina, who believe that America should focus on their own problems instead of being the world's police) target a high-school softball game which has the daughters of high-profile government officials as players (Thankfully, the team managed to get everybody out of the baseball field before the bomb went off). Seven years after the episode first aired, a Left-Wing domestic terrorist shot up the practice game of the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, which took place in Alexandria, and unlike the episode, people did get hurt in the attack.
  • He's Just Hiding: Ziva. This is even supported by producer and co-writer of the episode, Gary Glasberg, who stated it's left open to interpretation whether or not Ziva is dead for real. Though, now that Glasberg himself is no longer with us, if she does suddenly come back, he won't be there to see it happen...
  • Ho Yay: Has it's own page NCIS
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • 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 Tony and his old flame with an RPG. Your Target Is In Another Safe House.
    • 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 ...
    • 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 Turn when he saves Presidents Bush and Sharon, then crosses the Moral Event Horizon in his final appearance when he murders Kate and tries to kill Abby.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The famous Dope Slap. Apparently, the show had to tone down the use of it, as fans of the show were frequently doing it to Michael Weatherly in public.
    • "Get your hands off my man, you bitch!" from Season 10's "Canary"note .
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • 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.
    • Ari believes that the missile strike that killed his mother was ordered by Eli David, 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.
  • Narm:
    • The climax of the Christmas Episode Newborn 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.
    • Abby's "crucify him!" speech.
    • The infamous "2 idiots, 1 keyboard" scene.
    • The depiction of Marseilles in "The Admiral's Daughter", especially the restaurant signs that make no sense and the accordion background music, more fitting the 1910s than the 2010s.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize:
    • 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.
    • The episode "A Weak Link" had guests Adam Baldwin, Julie Benz and Doug Savant. Subverted - None of them did it, it was a suicide.
    • Misha Collins guest-starred as someone who gets "Singled Out" as a kidnapping/murder suspect. He did steal the car, but did not kill the navy lieutenant.
  • Periphery Demographic: This series is far more popular among tween girls than the typical Police Procedural, thanks to the popularity of Abby Sciuto.
  • 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.
    • Definitely not averted with Bishop, who is still on the receiving end of a lot of vocal fan hate after her second season.
  • 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.
    • After she was poorly received for being overly quirky in Season 11, Season 12 cast Eleanor Bishop as a probie taken under DiNozzo's wing and attitudes towards her improved as well.
      • "A Many Splendored Thing" also cast her in a more positive light for some fans, because of her attempt at going after the season's Big Bad by herself, and succeeding at out-gambitting his attempt at Playing Both Sides.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Yes, that's Randall Pearson kidnapping Emily Fornell in the Season 11 episode "Devil's Triad".
  • Squick:
    • In one episode, a woman and her son with a vendetta against Ducky kidnap him, strap him to an autopsy table, and try to kill him by bleeding him out through a huge needle in his neck.
    • Don't forget when Gibbs find the husband-wife toe-eating team.
    • The Cold Opening of "Murder 2.0". A woman turns on her shower, her husband puts on mood music, Bra Hits Floor, blood starts spurting from the shower head.
    • "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."
    • In "Detour", Ducky and Jimmy weaponize this trope. When they are kidnapped and forced to perform an autopsy on a dead mole, they purposely sqiuck out their captors with the details so that they vacate the cabin they are chained in. This gives them enough alone time to plan out their escape.
    • Some of the dead bodies, before and/or during the autopsy scenes, obviously count. Those makeup artists have no shortage of fake blood and guts.
  • Special Effects Failure: The show started using some extremely cheap looking CGI in lieu of practical effects in later seasons. Watch the car's transformation in this scene.
  • Stoic Woobie: Gibbs, Ziva.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Bishop and Qasim. Unlike the time and care taken to develop nearly every other love interest/love story, their relationship is depicted in a grand total of THREE episodes—one to establish that they're dating, one to kill him off a few weeks later, and one a few weeks after that to tell us their story via flashbacks. The sole purpose of the storyline seems to be to give Bishop the same tragic, screwed-up love life that nearly every other character has. As such, unlike the deaths of other love interests—Jackie, Diane, etc—his fails to have any emotional impact. Not to mention that the time frame of their relationship makes it implausible that they could have been together long enough to be considering marriage.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Or rather, Abby's psychotic stalker ex has a point, in that if he hadn't been stalking her and taking pictures of her, then he wouldn't have found the other stalker that had just kidnapped Abby on her way to court. Of course since it's Abby she's got the situation well in hand, but he still helped find the real bad guy who Team Gibbs didn't even know existed.
  • 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.
  • The Untwist:
    • "Last Man Standing" : Evidence indicates that Agent Lee is the mole the team is searching for until she sheepishly admits that her secret rendezvous ' were with Palmer. By the episode's conclusion, it's revealed that she IS the traitor at NCIS.
    • "Day In Court": Bishop thinks her husband might be cheating on her until she realizes that the woman she saw him with was from NSA's Internal Affairs department and thus concludes that he's in trouble at work. When she tries talking about him with it, he confesses that he is cheating on her with the woman from Internal Affairs.
  • Values Dissonance: As cited in the "harsher" post, the team's attitude in "Dead Man Talking" (an episode released in 2004) regarding the woman who turns out to be a pre-op transsexual, as well as the killer they're looking for comes off pretty transphobic nowadays—continually referring to her as a "guy", or with male pronouns, even as a "he-she" (which some consider a slur these days). In particular, Gibbs' snark about "adding that misdemeanor to the murder charge", regarding the woman having used the female restroom, is especially cringeworthy given the ongoing bathroom controversies. And Kate seems far more aghast at "Tony being on a date with a guy!", rather than Tony being on a date with, you know, a murderer who killed one of their fellow agents and was likely going to kill Tony as well. Not to mention that the murderer likely didn't transition because of identifying as a woman, but as of the ultimate disguise to get away with their crimes. Lending to the unfortunate implication that transgender people are somehow "bad" or "evil". Though given it was a transition to hide from a murder charge, whether it counts as transphobic can become it's own debate.
  • The Woobie: Various characters have been this at times. Tony sometimes skirts into Jerkass Woobie territory.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/NCIS