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- Basically any episode ending with a child involved, seeing as how Gibbs tends to flashback to his daughter.
- Any scene involving Shannon and/or Kelly that isn't a Tear Jerker, and a few that are.
- The romantic relationship between Timothy McGee and Delilah Fielding in general; while they're not perfect, they have one of the most stable relationships in the series. Season 14 has them get married, and a season later they have twins named Johnny and Morgan.
- Anytime Gibbs drops his stern/gruff demeanor, revealing that for all his standoffness, he genuinely cares about his team, as evidenced by the sincere anger or fear he has shown whenever any of them have been in danger.
- In the second episode, Gibbs arrives at the victim's house shortly before the family has to leave for the funeral, and finds the dead Marine's son in a half-built treehouse that will never be completed because his father is dead. After solving the case Gibbs returns and finishes the treehouse himself.
- Season 1, episode 15, Gibbs is illegally helping an old Marine friend. Everyone can guess as much, even if there's no proof. He refuses to bring Tony and Kate in on it, leading them to form the wrong conclusion. Fortunately, Ducky sets them straight.Fornell: If I find Gibbs is helping him, I'll have him charged. As an accessory to murder.
Kate: He's right. We have to do something.
Tony: Like what? I mean, Gibbs obviously doesn't trust us enough to tell us what's going on.
Ducky: You don't honestly believe that, do you? Don't you see, Gibbs is doing his very best to protect you.
Tony: From what?
Ducky: From being accessories yourselves. He's willing to risk his own life and reputation for a friend, but he's not willing to risk yours.
- In the episode "UnSEALed", Gibbs' relationship with the little boy is really sweet.Boy: I'm not gonna help you catch my dad.
Gibbs: That's OK. *ruffles his hair
- Even though it's Played for Laughs a few moments later, the scene in "Missing," when Gibbs tells Tony that he's irreplaceable after rescuing Tony from the serial killer.
- When Tony is passing out just before he's abducted while on the phone with Gibbs:Gibbs: "We're coming for you!"
- It's the genuine panic in his voice that sells it.
- When Tony is passing out just before he's abducted while on the phone with Gibbs:
- "Left For Dead". Gibbs allowing Tony to crash at his place after spending the entire episode refusing.
- "Seadog" begins with Gibbs promising the young men at a community center that he will get the lights turned back on. . .and ends with him having done exactly that.
- Pretty much every scene with the little girl in "See No Evil" qualifies as this. Her little actress (Abigail Breslin) deserves an award for the way she pulls at your heartstrings in a thousand ways all episode long.
- In "Call of Silence" Tony is ordered to watch Corporal Ernest Yost, an aging World War II Medal of Honor Recipient, who is convinced he murdered his friend in battle. So Tony takes the lonely man to a fair or amusement park, off-screen, and wins the gentleman a stuffed giraffe.
- One of the greatest moments in NCIS happens in this episode. A rather combative member of the JAG Corps arrives to take Yost into custody, accompanied by an armed escort. As the disagreement on who has jurisdiction gets heated, Tony leans over and moves Yost's tie aside, showing proudly his Medal of Honor. Instantly both the JAG officer and her escort snap to attention. Despite it not strictly being a requirement, that is how much MOH recipients are honored.
- In the end, Gibbs brings in a Japanese POW, Hitoshi Yoshida, who fought on Iwo Jima as a witness to help prove Yost's innocence. It turns out Yost did kill his friend in an accident, as the friend was wounded, in pain and was about to give away their position. He isn't charged and the record remains as it was. And the Japanese POW? He didn't fight on Iwo Jima but Guadalcanal, where Yost was previously injured. He agreed to come and jog Yost's memory out of goodness of his heart despite the two having been on opposite sides in the war. At the end of the episode, Yost and Hitoshi share a drink together at Hitoshi's restaurant.
- In "SWAK", when Tony is in the hospital with the plague, Gibbs tells him that he won't die, and Tony believes him... Just anytime that Tony and Gibbs act like Father and Son, really...
- Despite the ending of 'Twilight', there is a brief but powerful scene halfway through. Ari has admitted that he will try to kill Gibbs soon. Gibbs isn't unduly worried, and stays at headquarters for the night. He tells McGee, Kate and Tony to go home, several times. The camera cuts to later in the night, with Gibbs working in a silent office... except for the snoring, because they all stayed with him.
- Also, at the beginning of the episode, Tony, still recovering from last episode and just the recipient of being pushed to the ground by Kate after a fall down a hill, ordering McGee and Kate away from the bomb on the car while he stays behind to hold the trigger so they can get a lead before it detonates.
- "Caught On Tape". In the middle of a shootout, Gibbs pauses to whistle to the man's dog so that the animal will run out of the house to safety.
- Everyone imagining Kate appearing to them, managing to get them to smile while they're still reeling from her death. If nothing else, it's a good way to remember her, not the horrific way that she died, but as their friend.
- The only exception to this is Gibbs, who is seeing her berating him for letting her die throughout the episode, which makes her final appearance to him, gently teasing him for being late to her funeral, all the sweeter.
- In "Honor Code", every scene Gibbs has with Zach, the kidnapped man's son, is a CMOH. Abby even calls Zach "Mini-Gibbs."
- The reunion between Zach and his father at the end of the episode is really sweet.
- The ending of the episode "Bait" is a COMH if you think about it, behind one of the few NCIS episodes where no-one dies. Double points for Kody, who has just spent the day being strapped to a pipe bomb and forced to threaten his peers, who he very clearly wanted to help, gets reunited with the mother he thought was dead. One can only hope he was able to make it up to the other hostages though.
- There's something really, really cute about Gibbs helping comfort the fussy baby daughter of one of the women who found the murdered bodies in "Light Sleeper", then offering to prepare the baby bottle as he and McGee took her witness statement.
- Even more heartwarming comes in later in the episode after The Reveal: The woman with the baby used to be a sleeper agent for North Korea, but she turned her back on it and killed her former comrades because she genuinely loved her husband and baby daughter too much to leave them. And at the end of the episode, her husband decides to forgive her as he knows her love of him and their daughter was always real.
Gibbs: No one is going to hurt you, Abby.
- Gibbs' Tranquil Fury regarding Abby's stalker ex:Gibbs: "Why didn't you come to me, Abby?"
- There's an undercurrent of genuine hurt that she didn't seek him out. When he confronts the guy, it manages to be heartwarming and scary all at once:"The only reason you're still able to walk is because I didn't know about you until today"
- Later in that same episode, Gibbs finds Abby hiding in the elevator, clearly terrified from the attempt made on her life earlier, which leads to this sweet exchange:
Abby: Youre just saying that to make me feel better...
Gibbs: Did it?
Abby: ...Yeah. Can you say it again?
Gibbs: No ones gonna hurt you, Abbs.
- Gibbs' Tranquil Fury regarding Abby's stalker ex:
- In "Hiatus", Ziva helps an amnesiac Gibbs regain his memories by putting his hand on the back of her head as if imitating his famous Dope Slap in a moment both funny and heartwarming as it shows despite her rather standoffish demeanour she really does care about him.
- In "Buried", Abby laments that she missed the chick fight that happened earlier in the episode. McGee then reveals that he recorded it on his new camera phone, much to her delight. The two of them have fun rewatching it over and over again until Gibbs catches them goofing off.
- The ending of Witch Hunt. They rescue the kidnapped girl, and to make it up to her for missing Halloween, let her visit their building as all the agents from their cubicles give her candy. The mother tries to express gratitude and how she could thank Gibbs, and Tony replies "He knows". That he does, even remembering his daughter (also in a princess dress before she died) with a smile.
- In "Sandblast," Gibbs' remark of "My son, Tony, plays that same game."
- The end of "Twisted Sister": Sarah McGee, now cleared of suspicion for the episode's murder, comforts the victim's girlfriend, telling her that the victim was a good man and that he really loved her. This is especially poignant when you remember that Sarah had previously trashed her entire college cheer squad (and by extension, the girlfriend) on her blog. She's essentially offering comfort and sympathy to someone that she normally can't stand.
- This exchange, from "Smoked":Gibbs: You know how I feel about apologies.
Ducky: That they're a sign of weakness.
Gibbs: Not between friends.
- Around the middle of Season 4 Ziva starts noticing Tony's odd behavior. She gets suspicious, but instead of being angry that he's keeping secrets she starts worrying about his health and a possible relapse of the plague. Episode 11 ends with her telling Gibbs while researching Y Pestis, unable to quite hide every trace of her concern.
- "Cover Story". Having just discovered that Abby is the next target of McGee's deranged fan who is acting out his latest novel, the team is racing to save her. Already worried, when McGee reminds them that Abby is on her own with no protection, Gibbs guns the engine with such force that if you didn't already know how fond of her he is, that little moment confirms it.
- "Requiem" when Kelly's best friend, Maddie, comes back into Gibbs's life. He immediately slips into the paternal role like a pair of well worn shoes. When Maddie is threatened, he immediately does everything to protect her, swearing not to let what happened before happen now...and he succeeds. At the end, he holds a pair of pictures of both Kelly and Maddie, overlapping them in a way so it looks Gibbs is embracing both of them.
- In the same episode it turns out that Maddie still maintains a webpage in memory of Kelly, despite the fact that more than a decade has passed and they were both small children when Kelly died.
- When Gibbs makes it perfectly clear that he is not going to stop protecting Maddie.Ducky: Jethro, just who are you trying to save?Gibbs: I look at her, I see Kelly, Duck. How it should have been.Ducky: Jethro, be careful. Don't-don't let your....some things just can't be undone.
- NCIS: In "Corporal Punishment", a "Poster Boy" marine escapes from a mental institution, right before he's given a Silver Star; his list of accomplishments includes breaking out of captivity after four days' torture, killing his captors, and getting his comrades to safety. It turns out he had been initially rejected for service, and he had gotten steroids, giving him 'roid rage. When Ziva asks him if he went through all that "just so [he] could be some sort of Super-Marine?" he says "No ma'am. Just a Marine."
- Later in the same episode, the Marine loses his shot at the medal due to his drug use, and is said to be lucky if he gets an honorable discharge. Gibbs goes back to the office, gets a box, comes back to the Marine's room and silently places the opened box on the table. It's his Silver Star. End credits.
- When the marine attacks Ziva, Tony and McGee scramble to her rescue, from where they had been on surveillance. They burst through the door, guns drawn, to find Ziva cradling the marine's head in her arms, just like a mother would comfort her child.
- "In The Zone." Tony and germaphobic NCIS analyst Nikki Jardine go to Iraq to investigate a murder. At one point Nikki goes to visit the family of a man who helped save her brother's life during an ambush (and was killed by Marines who mistakenly thought he was an insurgent). Nikki brings a laptop computer for the young son, who had given her intel during the investigation. The boy is thrilled with the gift—not only for himself, but also for his little sister's sake. She is not allowed to attend school, so the laptop can provide her access to an education. When she sees the gift, and he tells her it's theirs, she shyly walks up to Nikki, wraps her arms around the woman and softly says "Thank you" over and over. Nikki freezes for a moment, but then overcomes her phobia and warmly returns the hug.
- A lot of the stuff involving Jackson Gibbs in "Heartland". Gibbs's clear joy at finally being able to drive and keep his dream car, and especially that hug at the end. On a broader note, pretty much anything involving hugs.
- In that same episode "Heartland", just as Gibbs is driving out of his hometown he reminisces about the first time he met his deceased first wife Shannon. The flashback itself is incredibly heartwarming but the smile that Gibbs gives after he thinks of her is priceless.
- In the S6 episode "Cloak", Tony is smashed to the ground by a machine gun slam to the head, and Ziva goes absolutely berserk. It took four people to bring her down. The first words out of her mouth upon waking are "Where is Tony?"
- Ziva air guitaring at the end of "Road Kill".Ziva: Tony, you and I come from two totally different places. In my world, you grow up. Fast. You have no choice.Tony: Now you do.
- The ending (arguably even the majority) of "Silent Night", heartwarming for the whole team spending Christmas together (even if Gibbs is taking a detour to take someone back to their daughter), and downright heartwrenching for the call back to Kate's sketches.
- At the end of "Caged" (when McGee was held hostage in a women's prison), Ziva asks, "Did they hurt you?", then declares "Because if they did, I will kick their ass."
- Also, the victim of the week (a prison guard) was killed because he was raping Sharon's (one of the prisoners) oldest daughter. After this is discovered by everybody, Celia Roberts, a convicted Serial Killer, takes her aside into one of the private visitor rooms to have a private conversation with her, and then tells McGee that the hostage situation can end since they got their killer. It seems like Celia threatened Sharon to give herself up. Then it turns out that Celia convinced Sharon to let her take the blame instead because while Sharon had only a year left in prison and still had other children at home to take care of, Celia had no family and was serving life. When Celia also give herself up, she "confesses" to the warden that while the guard was raping Sharon's daughter, she and the other women involved in the hostage situation had zero involvement in the murder so they don't get punished alongside her. The best part is that the NCIS team, while they do know the truth, decide to respect the wishes of both women involved and decide that justice has been served.
- In its own way: Hadar made sure to save Ziva's family picture of her siblings, and gives it to her after his Tough Love admission to Just Following Orders in covering for Michael's crimes in Washington.
- The marine from Season 5's "Corporal Punishment" reappears in an episode, unknowingly working for the bad guys. The moment he meets Gibbs and team, he recognizes that and quits, helping them.
- The ending of "Faith" certainly qualifies: DiNozzo (doing a not-so-Secret Santa) gives a sour human-resources woman a gift she didn't get as a child, bringing her to joyful tears; McGee and Abby, via MTAC, help a little boy talk to his mother who is deployed overseas; and Gibbs and his dad reconcile and leave to deliver some hand-carved toys to a children's hospital. Merry Christmas, indeed.
- The ending of "Outlaws and In-Laws". Franks and the mother of his daughter-in-law are both just sitting on his front porch while Gibbs voiceovers a story about how Civil War soldiers who fought on opposite sides of the war had to live together when their kids got married. They hated each other, but still managed by not speaking to each other for the rest of their lives. Except on Franks' porch, the Matriarch shyly looks at him like she wants to say something, but doesn't. Considering that it's one of her few moments of vulnerability, it's kinda hard not to ship them now.
- "Truth or Consequences." The premise alone ( Tony, McGee, and Gibbs go to Somalia to rescue Ziva from a terrorist camp.) is equal parts this and Moment of Awesome, but the last 2 minutes are the most heartwarming. When the team comes into the squad room, beaten, tired, and looking like hell, the entire floor applauds them, starting with Vance. And Abby, usually the embodiment of Genki Girl, silently and calmly goes over and hugs Ziva. You can't help but feel good after watching that.
- In early season 7 a Mossad officer came to try and bring Ziva back to Israel, despite the fact that she did not want to return, he continued to act as if she did. When Gibbs finally foils his plan at the end, the officer says "I failed you, Ziva, I'm sorry." Ziva replies with "Never apologize. It is a sign of weakness," which is Gibbs's rule #6, cementing her decision to stay with the team.
- Gibbs setting things up in "Mother's Day" so that he legally could not have his mother-in-law arrested for the murder of a man connected to the same drug cartel run by the man who killed Shannon and Kelly.
- Gibbs's rules are a constant fixture throughout the show, with him and other characters invoking them as a code to live by. It's eventually revealed that Gibbs started his list after meeting Shannon and learning that she had a set of esoteric and arbitrary rules she tried to live by and we see that Shannon was both flattered and amused by Gibbs' attempts to emulate her. He had 50 written down on scraps of paper and stored away in a wooden box for years and it's while remembering the moment Shannon discovered his list that he decides to add a 51st rule: "Sometimes you're wrong."
- "A Man Walks Into A Bar..." is a crowning episode of heartwarming five plus years in coming. Especially when Gibbs brings Kate's sister to the place where Ari was killed.Gibbs: This is closure. Everything else is memories.
- Understated but heartwarming one in 'Baltimore,' McGee asks Ziva how she'd react if he was killed. Her answer is an immediate, matter-of-fact, off-the-cuff statement of "I'd hunt him down and make him regret the day he was born!" in a tone that dripped with "how do you not know this already?"
- Also from "Baltimore", Tony's final flashback that establishes the basic Tony-Gibbs relationship—giving him a Dope Slap when he says or does something stupid, then paying him a genuine compliment: "Don't waste good. And you're good."
- One of the other flashbacks shows Gibbs getting Tony's personnel file, indicating that within just a few brief interactions, Tony impressed him so much that he believed that he'd be a worthy addition to NCIS.
- When we find out that Gibbs built Mike Franks' coffin himself.
- Another understated one near the end of "Royals and Loyals". Tony is poking Ziva (yet again) about who she met when in Miami, and says he would like to meet him. Ziva asks Tony what he would say to him if he did.Tony: (grins) Be careful. (Beat) Handle with care...Contents: priceless.
- From "Broken Arrow": DiNozzo Senior showing Tony the picture of both of them on a fishing trip, and telling him it was one of his fondest memories, right after Tony assumed he'd forgotten about it.
- Ziva's "There's always another monster" speech in "Swan Song" is just one CMOH after another. First, she hugs Tony. Then Tony touches her face. Then they hug. Then the elevator opens to reveal Abby and McGee, also hugging. Then the whole team gets in a group hug... excuse me, there's something in my eye...
- In "Kill Screen", McGee decides to swear off girls for a time, especially after the previous Girl of the Week faked her own kidnapping and put his position in NCIS in danger. However, when he meets the Victim Of The Week's ex-girlfriend, he finds out she is a girl with very similar interests to his (videogames, laser gunfights), but he chooses not to ask her out. In the end, Tony decides to give him a hand and set him a "laser gunfight" date for him and the girl.
- Despite the weird looks Ziva, Gibbs, and Tony give Palmer when he goes into great detail about how a stolen purse is a knockoff, Tony sincerely thanks him for providing them with possibly relevant information and actually seems genuinely impressed. Palmer even smiles at this, as if proud that for once, his random babbling has proved useful.
- In the episode "Recruited" Ducky's predecessor, Dr. Walter Magnus (played by Bob Newhart) is suffering from Alzheimer's and is slowly forgetting who he was. As he tells Ducky, before this disease he could sit and mentally recall every detail of the cases he worked but now they are slowly slipping from him. So Ducky, with McGee's help, creates a video showing the happy pictures of those Magnus' cases as Ducky narrates that these were the men and women Magnus helped and brought them closure to.
- In "Enemy On The Hill", Abby's entire world is turned upside-down when she finds out she's adopted. Where does she go? Gibbs' house, where he holds her and tells her she isn't alone and that her family is going to help her through this.
- The ending of the episode "Safe Harbor": The team spent the episode searching for a date for Gibbs, who they thought was feeling lonely. In the end he tells Ziva "You are never alone when you have kids", gives her a kiss on the forehead, and finishes with, "Goodnight, kid."
- Engaged, Part II has a couple. The first is when Gibbs and Ziva are talking to the two girls that Gabriela Flores had rescued, one of whom has grease burns on her face and may be permanently blinded, the other with cigarette burns all over her body. When they're done, Gibbs gives them both a kiss on the head and tells them never to stop smiling.
Flores: She should watch those girls change the world in positive ways she never imagined.Gibbs: That a punishment?Flores: That's a gift, sir. Punishment's knowing she could've done the same.Gibbs: ...You're rare, Flores. Come on, let's go home.
- Then, after they find Flores alive, and capture the female insurgent who was posing as a teacher in order to destroy the school, Gibbs asks Flores what he thinks should happen to the insurgent.
- Palmer finally gets one in the Christmas Episode "Newborn King." He wearily puts up with his jerkass future father-in-law's abuse all night, but when Pops implies that the team doesn't know what they're doing, Palmer snaps and rips into him. He explains that they're highly trained, his father-in-law doesn't know what he's talking about, and if Palmer's not going to get any respect then the team should. Also, he's not taking a high paying job in the private sector because he "loves NCIS" and his job there. Also, his father-in-law isn't leaving until he understands all this."So sit down, and shut up!"
- In "Need to Know", there's something strangely heartwarming about McGee getting to call someone "Probie" for once.
- A major plot point in "Rekindled" is when Tony crosses paths with an arson specialist named Jason King, whom he saved from a housefire when Jason was nine, but unfortunately was unable to save his little sister Amy. After Tony tells McGee and Ziva the full story, Gibbs comes in for a debriefing in their current case. Once it ends, it turns out that as usual Gibbs overheard what his team was talking about and he comforts Tony by pointing out that at least he managed to defy Bystander Syndrome and did something to help.
- For a majority of the episode, Jason gives Tony the cold shoulder as he still resents him for not being able to save Amy. When the two finally talk it out, Tony makes it clear that there was nothing he could have done to save his sister, and that he was forced to learn that night that he couldn't save everybody that he crossed paths with. Tony then admits that the incident was why he chose to become a cop, because for once in his life he actually made a difference, and wanted to help other people from suffering the same fate (the same reason why Jason chose to become an arson specialist). Tony then tells Jason that while Amy was gone, they were still here and that they could still focus on the people that they could save. Jason promises that he'll try, and then they part on better terms.
- Ducky after convincing Palmer not to cancel/postpone his wedding:Ducky: Did I not say, rather poetically, that we have loved ones who should not be taken lightly?
- Jimmy and Breena have a lot of these. Most notably, when Harper Dearing bombs the Navy Yard in the middle of preparations for their wedding, Jimmy asks Breena if they can get married right then, but postpone the reception and honeymoon until Team Gibbs is safe. Breena Slater proves once and for all time that she is Jimmy's perfect girl by agreeing instantly and without a hint of regret.
- Tony's making a bucket list. Okay, he wants to master art of kung fu, haha, experience a Wonder of the World "besides Gibbs," hehe—holy crap did that just say "tell Dad it's okay?!" Others, Word of God include "discuss Paris," "let friends get closer," and "tell her." Whoa.
- Early Season 10, Tony asks Abby to develop some photos on a very old camera of his. Ziva later finds him holding the photos, and jokingly asks him if it's more pictures of him from boarding school. He tentatively asks her if he can show her something, and we find out the pictures are of him and his mother. They then have a touching conversation where we find out more about Tony's mother than in the past nine seasons, including that Tony got his love of movies from her.
- After NCIS is bombed, Tony and Ziva are trapped in an elevator. Ziva's estranged father calls her cell to make sure she's alright before they even get out. And despite the fact that they last parted on such bad terms that she changed nationalities to get away from him, he's the only relative of any of the team members to make such a call - and he did it at a time that was probably quite late at night, Jerusalem time.
- In the episode "You Better Watch Out" we find out that Tony has a pet goldfish named after Kate.
- Really, the entirety of the last five minutes of that episode.
- Also, it's mentioned later that he has two goldfish; presumably, the other one is for Ziva.
- Everything Tony does for Ziva in "Shiva" after her father is killed, including bringing Schmeil over from Israel.
- In "Hit and Run", Abby's spent the whole episode worrying that she isn't good enough to counteract all the bad in people's lives. Gibbs comforts her by saying that you can't always see the after effects of a good deed. Then he asks if she remembers the first day they met. She says she'd been eating Chinese for lunch and had given him her fortune cookie. Turns out Gibbs had kept that fortune after all these years. And even better? The fortune says "Today's new friend is tomorrow's family."
- "Detour" Jimmy and Ducky's It Has Been an Honor moment as they prepare to escape the terrorists who have abducted them. For perhaps only the second time in the entire series Ducky calls Jimmy by his first name instead of the usual "Mr. Palmer".Jimmy: "Dr. Mallard, I just want to say, in case your plan, brilliant as it is, doesn't work. . ."Ducky: (realizes what he's trying to say) "Likewise, Mr. . .Jimmy". (they shake hands) "Shall we?"
Jimmy: "Doctor, I respect you more than anyone else in the world, so please forgive me when I say go to hell. I'm not leaving you. I think it's time we made our stand."
- And when Ducky repeatedly suggested that Palmer run and save himself?
"Look, I've got two guys missing! I don't have time for this! I want answers now! Right now!"
- It borders on Tearjerker at one point, as the two are cornered by a gunman. Ducky, who can't run because of a sprained ankle, instantly yells to Palmer to run while he can, essentially trying to make a Heroic Sacrifice on his behalf. Palmer of course refuses and the two seem on the verge of tears as they await their fate.
- There's also the gang's collective Berserk Button reaction when they realize that the two are in trouble—Gibbs pretty much loses it when interrogating a suspect, revealing that he's genuinely frightened for their safety.
- All of "Seek", for dog lovers out there. Particularly all of Gibbs' interactions with Dex—apparently animals bring out his softer side too. Then, the ending combines this with "Awesome" and "Tearjerker" when Gibbs brings Dex back to his handler's widow. As the team leaves, Tony muses that he's been thinking about getting a dog. Gibbs declares with the utmost respect and sincerity:"That's not a dog. That's a Marine."
- The episode ends with a shot of Dex sitting at his handler's casket, paying his respects, and a dedication to military dogs.
- Every year on her late sister's birthday, Ziva makes a point of going to the opera to honour the sibling who wanted to be an opera singer when she grew up. One year, she isn't able to get tickets. So Tony gets McGee to explain how to turn the bullpen's speakers into a high grade surround sound system and tracked down a CD of her sister's favourite opera so she could listen to the opera at her desk.
- Tony, Ziva and McGee resigning from NCIS to protect Gibbs in "Damned if You Do", because they know that he would do the same for them.
- Tony and Ziva's final scene. He's spent several months trying to track her down and is madly begging her to come back to the States. She refuses but shows she will always love him by treating him to the series most memorable Big Damn Kiss.
- Ziva told Tony about an old tradition involving making a list of things which you want to come true. On the flight back to the states, Tony is despondently drawing the list.
- Tony giving Ziva her star and then on the plane, finding it in his pocket.
- Gibbs offering CGIS Agent Abigail Borin a position at NCIS and on his team. Notable in that every time someone else has tried to fill in the slot in the team first filled by Kate and then Ziva, there is blatant (and often heavy) resistance from some if not all of the team. With her, however, it's clear than none of the team would object to her being a full time member of Team Gibbs.
- Tony, who has no problem with tricking a probie into memorizing the entire NCIS handbook, presents Bishop with a cupcake with a lit candle to congratulate her on having her first BOLO come back with a positive result.
- The episode "Better Angels" has Gibbs spend pretty much the entire episode bickering with his father. But at the end of the episode, Gibbs Sr. introduces his son to a man who saved his life during WWII as "the best man I know."
- Even more heartwarming, the man who saved Jackson's life was a German pilot. Jackson's compass was busted and couldn't know which way to go over Europe to reach the English Channel. Later, as Walter Beck lay dying, hating himself for having to fight for an ideology he never believed in and fearing he only did evil, was assured by Jackson he did do good and by saving him, his son Leroy came into the world, and Leroy helps people and saves them. None of that could have happened if not for Walter Beck.
- This also becomes an unintentional Tear Jerker when one realizes that this was Jackson Gibbs' last episode, and as such possibly the last time Gibbs ever spent time with his father. His actor died the following year.
- Look closely at the pencil holder in Abby's lab during season 11 and you'll see a new addition - Ziva's Israeli flag.
- After hearing the news that the birth mother decided to keep the baby that Jimmy Palmer and his wife were going to adopt, Gibbs comforts Jimmy as only he can and reassures him that he is ready to be a father.
- Abby going out of her way in "Shooter" to help a homeless girl reunite with her parents after the former ran away in 2008.
- At the end of "The Admiral's Daughter," Jimmy realizes his wife sent him a "picture puzzle" that translates to "A bun in the oven." Complete with "Rock-A-Bye Baby" playing in the background.
- In "Bulletproof" both McGee and his girlfriend Delilah are struggling to adjust to Delilah's recent paralysis. Over the course of the investigation Tim and Gibbs go to interview a soldier who was paralyzed in the line of duty and now runs a skydiving business. At the end of the episode McGee takes Delilah to meet and talk with him at his work, where he runs a parachute company and is coming down for a landing.
- In "Double Back," Doctor Cranston (aka Doctor Kate's Sister) has a brief chat with Bishop, telling her that the desk she's at, formerly Ziva's and Kate's before her is a good place to learn, and that both her predecessors would approve of her.
- In "Alleged", a rape victim is being uncooperative in the investigation because of the embarrasement of it potentially becoming public and because she doesn't know who assalted her. While waiting in the conference room, Abby, having heard about what had happened, visits her and tells her that she can trust Gibbs, and that Agent Cabot and her Family and Sexual Violence unit was working hard to make sure that nobody has to go through what she experienced ever again. The talk helps the victim take courage, and tells Gibbs that she had filed a restricted report and did a rape kit the day after the assault, giving the team a huge lead on the case. Once the predator's been caught, she thanks Gibbs and Abby for their help, accepting that others are going to know about the rape and is ready to face her assaulter in the court-martial.
- In Bishop's introductory episode, she hands Abby a sketch she made of a suspect. Abby remarks that it's good, though not 'Kate good.' When Bishop asks who Kate is, Abby says it's a long story that would take several hours and a box of tissues. Almost a decade since her death and Abby still cares so much about her fallen friend.
- A retired Vietnam War Marine and the Victim of the Week in "The Searchers" never gave up trying to find his best friend and commander's body after they went missing in an ambush so his family could give him a proper burial. After finding the conman who murdered him for threatening to turn him in for producing bogus dog tags, the team finally find out where the dead marine was and fulfill his wish.
- The location of where the body had been all these years is also heartwarming; the Marine Unit the victim and his friend were in came across a village the Vietcong razed, and the commander decided that they would help a fifteen-year-old boy give his parents a proper burial. Shortly afterwards, the ambush happened, and the boy who secretly followed them took the commander's body to bury it next to his parents. He honestly didn't know that there were people searching for him, he just wanted to honor and thank the man who helped him in his time of need.
- The dead marine's relationship with the family of his friend is also pretty sweet, with him becoming a full-fledged father figure to his friend's daughter, and even making videos so her daugher would get to know more about her grandfather.
- The name of Jimmy and Breena's child: Victoria Elizabeth Palmer, named after Ducky's mother.
- And in a later episode, Ducky is declared to be the child's honorary grandfather, who the parents both expect to be addressed as Grandducky once she's old enough to speak.
- In "Cadence" the case takes Tony back to his former military academy. One of the other cadets, an overweight teen nicknamed Piggy, collapses during the middle of drills, and Tony's first instinct is to help the guy out, even standing up to the senior cadet to do it. Cue the final scene of the episode; while Tony is reminiscing about a picture of him and Piggy as flagbearers, he calls him up and invites him to dinner to catch up.
- Gibbs comforting Bishop when she feared Jake might be dead and sharing her relief when he turns out to be okay.
- Day In Court has a doozy. Jake was having an affair with the IA officer at NSA. When the team find out, they are all naturally concerned for Bishop, culminating in Jake turning up at the Navy Yard looking for her, with McGee and DiNozzo telling him to leave while he still has the power to, then Gibbs telling him in no uncertain terms to 'Get his head out of his ass'. Make no mistake, Team Gibbs has a lot of friction, but they are a family.
- In the following episode, Gibbs following Ellie to Oklahoma and convincing her to come back to DC with him—without ever once saying or doing anything to pressure her. And proving that he knew she would come back? When they're getting ready to leave, he admits that he only bought a one-way ticket, meaning that he knew he'd be driving back with her.
- There is something sweet about the ending of Deja Vu, which features Tony, Bishop, and Tim staying at Gibbs's place, watching Holiday Inn.
- Spinning Wheels reveals that most of Ducky's globetrotting was done in an effort to track down his much younger half-brother, who was forcibly separated from him by Ducky's stepmother as part of an acrimonious divorce in which she got everything, despite the fact that Ducky was the only real parental figure in the life of Nicholas Mallard. At the end of a case that centered around Ducky's long lost, and believed long dead brother, the team tracked Nicholas down to a nursing home in Philadelphia, allowing Ducky to see his beloved sibling for the first time in forty years.
- As an added touch, because it was the Christmas Episode, the team gift-wrapped all the information they found about Nicholas' life.
- Gibbs gently asking Bishop if she needs to go home upon noticing how discombobulated she is, having just decided to end her marriage. It gives her the strength to pull herself together and get back to work.
- Scope is full of Heartwarming Moments:
- The injured sniper finally joining the band for injured soldiers, singing a beautiful rendition of 'Hallelujah', while his daughter and the team watch.
- Tony taking Ducky, Palmer and Director Vance to the Italian restaurant he has a voucher for.
- Gibbs finally getting over the loss of Shannon and sleeping on his bed for what could be the first time in over a decade.
- McGee browsing for engagement rings online
- The B-Plot to Reasonable Doubt involves Anthony DiNozzo Sr. struggling to find a purpose in his life after retirement, and he tries to look for voluntary work within NCIS. That all changes when a homeless woman on the street mistakes him for her father. Anthony spends the remainder of the episode looking into her life, alongside Tony. Eventually, it is discovered that she has dementia caused by an inoperable brain tumor, and her birth father died sometime after she left home after being outed as gay. When Anthony finally finds her and takes her to the hospital for treatment, and when the doctor tells Anthony that she only has a month at most to live, he apologizes to her on behalf of her birth father so she could die believing that she and her father have reconciled.
- Also in that episode, when Senior takes the homeless woman to a free clinic to get her checked out, a homeless guy asks if his nice shoes are his size but unfortunately they aren't. The next day Senior returns with a freshly-bought pair of tennis shoes that fit the homeless guy and gives them to him.
- Bishop and McGee enter into a competition to come up with a name for a new aircraft carrier. Bishop wins by suggesting the name of a recently deceased highly decorated officer - Tim's father, Admiral John McGee.
- Much of the episode Charade revolves around DiNozzo having his identity stolen, including being arrested for impersonating a Federal Officer when unable to prove he is the real DiNozzo, the pep talk McGee gives him after bailing him out, ending with McGee calling Tony "one of his best friends" counts as this.
- Talli—Ziva and Tony's daughter introduced in "Family First"—is one cute piece of heartwarming. Especially when she calls Tony "Abba," which is Hebrew for "Daddy."
- For JAG fans- seeing Bud Roberts after eleven years, as a Navy captain in the season 14 premiere (twenty years after he first appeared in the JAG series premiere).
- Season 14's Love Boat had a major CMOH - with McGee proposing to Delilah!
- In "Shell Game", Abby knits "Welcome To NCIS" sweaters for Quinn and Torres. While Quinn has no problem with wearing her sweater, Nick doesn't like his gift because it's a sweater vest and he doesn't like the colbalt-blue color. However, after talking about it with Gibbs, Nick decides show up at work wearing the sweater-vest at the end of the episode, and gets a hug from Abby in response.
- McGee and Bishop reveal during this episode that Abby made them socks and a friendship bracelet, respectively, when they first joined the team.
- Half of the episode Keep Going is Palmer talking to the latest victim's son to keep him from jumping off a building. Most of what Palmer talks about is the team and how much they mean to him, including the fact that he'd passed the ME exam and could now go on to seek his own career elsewhere, but he hadn't told them because he didn't want to leave.
- One of the things Palmer says to the guy is "When you're going through hell, keep going", a saying that a younger Ducky was familiar with. Sounds like Palmer learned more than autopsies from his mentor.
- After Jimmy successfully convinces the son that he can keep on living and the two of them get back from the ledge and head inside, the first-responders, the news crew, and the civilians watching all cheer for the both of them.
- After Palmer accidentally reveals via the microphone to the rest of the team that he's a fully-licensed Medical Examiner now, Abby and Bishop immediately petition Gibbs to get him a pay raise and Ducky rushes back to the building so he can congratulate him once he's safe.Palmer: Dr. Mallard, what are you doing here?
Ducky: Where else would I be? I'm not going to leave you out there all alone, Dr. Palmer.
- The ending. Palmer ventures into Gibbs' basement to apologize for the personal things that he revealed to the guy. He's babbling in typical Palmer-style when Gibbs finally shuts him up by grabbing him into a bear hug note .
- Basically every interaction between Bishop and Qasim post-season 12, on the job and off, before the latter's death.
- The episode "What Lies Above" starts with McGee coming home and finding two thieves ripping up the floor and knocking holes in the wallnote . It's bookended by him coming home to find another person in his apartment. This time it's Gibbs, and he brought his tools."There you are. You gonna help me fix your floor or what?"
- The Gibbs family has an heirloom watch which has been passed from father to son on the son's wedding day for generations. Leroy Gibbs manages to continue this tradition despite having no living children by giving the watch to his about to be married younger son in all but blood - Timothy McGee."Who better than you, McGee?"
- Not to mention how eagerly he agrees to be Delilah's "man-of-honor".
- Gibbs consoling McGee when the latter is practically having a panic attack when Delilah is in the hospital. He even waits with McGee in the hospital lobby until Delilah wakes up.
- Abby's cute and gleeful reaction when she learns that Delilah's pregnant, to the point that she cuddles Delilah and Tim at the hospital bed.
- Palmer becoming a minister so he can officiate at McGee and Delilah's rushed wedding.
- McGee letting Torres board the last chopper out of the area in Paraguay, so he can back Gibbs up against the rebels. Doubles as a Tearjerker.
- "House Divided":
Vance: This is why people don't like politicians.Congressman: And I don't blame them. Now get your people home.
- McGee reuniting with his wife after two months of captivity.
- Vance is before a Congressional committee when he gets word of McGee and Gibbs being found. He wants to go in but the committee tell him he has to be bound by rules. As soon as the hearing adjourns, Vance races to the committee to tell them he has to order a rescue. To his shock, they tell him to go right ahead. Vance quickly realizes that the committee are totally backing him but had to put on a show for the cameras. In private, they confess they not only respect what NCIS does but are proud of them.
- One of the terrorists becomes sympathetic to Tim after he monologues about how much he misses his wife and unborn child while being trapped on their ship, and gives him food in exchange for fixing a computer printer. Later, he visits McGee in his cell with more food and admits that he's only part of the group for the money, not the cause the terrorists fight for, and he lost his own family in an uprising a few years back. He admits that if he had his chance, he would take out the boss himself. At the end of the episode, Tim and Gibbs decided to spare the guy for helping them out while they're escaping and he takes care of the boss for them.
- Gibbs hugging Bishop and telling her he's proud of her for holding the team together for the last two months.
- In its way, the culprit of Tim as the subject of a meme started by Tony, out in Paris. He's not there, but he's still playing the old games.
- In "Trapped", Palmer asks the rest of the team to donate to "Inclusion Town", a charity that designs and builds accessable playground equipment for kids with physical and mental disabilities. Torres makes a donation online, but he forgets a decimal point so he accidentally donates five thousand dollars instead of the intended fifty dollars. After finding out about this and talking to Palmer, he is told that he could get a refund if he talked to the main person in charge. At the end of the episode, Torres shows up at the new Inclusion Town playground. While he's watching all the kids having fun, Palmer introduces him to Catherine Scott, the founder of the charity. She heard about the mix-up and reassures Torres that they can easily refund his money. Torres then decides to let the charity keep the money, because seeing the kids made him realize that the playground means so much to them and his donation can help the charity build more accessable playgrounds. Both Catherine and Palmer hug him in response.
- In "Voices", McGee learning that Delilah's having twins.
- In "Ready or Not", Delilah gives birth. Aww-inducing enough, but even more so as McGee names one of the twins after a fellow LEO who just died at the hands of a terrorist.
- At the beginning of the episode, the team is at a crime scene when Tim learns that his wife is going into labor. When Gibbs gives out orders, his order to McGee is to go to the hospital.
- "Double Down" ends with Gibbs' ex-CO reconciling with the son he'd been estranged from for years.
- The first bullpen scene in "Dark Secrets" starts with McGee showing off pictures of his twin babies, which, according to Torres, has become a regular occurance since they were born. Even Gibbs smiles at the sight of them.
- "Two Steps Back" Gibbs signing "I love you" to Abby. Paired with Tearjerker.
- Reeves wanted to start a charity in his mother's name, but is killed before he has the chance...so Abby's doing it for him.
- Gibbs and Sloane holding hands when she reaches out to comfort him after they've been listening to tapes of the Vietnam War, bringing up some harrowing memories for both of them. Just to make it better, she just reaches out and puts her hand on his arm. He is the one who takes her hand in his.
- "What Child Is This?":
- Team Gibbs being willing to put their holiday plans on hold to help the baby boy find any family he might have.
- At the end of the episode, the baby is adopted by the couple who was originally supposed to adopt him in the first place. The new father even calls him a Christmas Miracle.
- Bishop digging her heels in and helping Ziva solve a cold case that she handed off, even calling Gibbs out on Rule 10 (never get personally involved in a case).
- Lily reuniting with her mother and meeting her father for the first time.
- Sloane opening up to Lily.
- "Bears and Cubs":
- Palmer saying that he has two father figures at NCIS, clearly referring to Ducky and Gibbs.
- When Palmer can no longer cover up Ed's involvement in the case NCIS is investigating, Ed begs Gibbs not to get mad at his son-in-law for his actions. And when it comes down to it, nobody actually gets mad at Palmer, as any of them would have done the same thing.
- Palmer reveals to Ed that his own father wasn't a good person at all. What made Jimmy finally give up hating him was the birth of Victoria, because he wanted to become a much better dad than his own ever was.
- Equally heartwarming and tearjerking, Ducky choosing to retire, and to turn over his position as Chief Medical Examiner over fully to Palmer.
- "Silent Service":
- With Ducky stepping down from the ME position, Vance offers him a way to stay on, as the NCIS Historian. The whole team shows up to celebrate him remaining at NCIS while starting his new chapter.
- "Daughters":Ziva: (upon return, to Gibbs) Well, aren't you going to say something?
Gibbs: (after a Beat) Ziver...