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  • 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!
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    • Being a member of the CIA is more-or-less shorthand for corrupt agent in this show. (Especially if your name is Trent Kort.)
  • Adorkable:
    • Jimmy is possibly the single dorkiest character seen on the show. This only makes him cuter.
    • Jack Sloane can also be quite cute when she gets excited about something. Notably, she gets adorably enthusiastic over, of all things, the social dynamics of your average neighborhood cul-de-sac.
      McGee: Suddenly the whole neighborhood's got a story to tell.
      Sloane: A dynamic I just couldn't resist.... Cul-de-sacs are a psychological gold mine. Test labs for tribal behaviors complete with alliances, betrayals, intrigue... [delighted grin]
    • Kasie geeks out over many things.
  • Advertised Extra: Jon Cryer was the main draw in the advertisements of the Season 13 premiere, making it seem like he was going to be at least a recurring supporting character. He ended up only being in 3 episodes total.
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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Does Abby solve crimes out of a sense of duty? Or does she regard cases more like fun puzzles to solve? That would explain why she's so happy all the time.
  • 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. Subverted when she comes back in Season 17. She's constantly frazzled and on edge, not bothering to let down her guard completely until the people pursuing her are finally caught.
    • 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:
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    • One doesn'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.
    • The quality of the show once DiNozzo leaves. Some say that the show is just spinning its wheels, lost the magic it used to have, and that Bishop and Torres are poor replacements for Ziva and Tony. Others feel that the new characters bring their own unique traits to the show, McGee stepping up to the leader role is natural character development, and that many of the plots are just as good as the older seasons.
    • Whether Gibbs still has a role on the show. On one hand, he is the face of the franchise, so much so that CBS has outright told him that the show will be canceled once he steps down. However, many argue that Gibbs rarely actually contributes much to the goings on with the show. Many of the last few seasons have had him prioritize his own storyline separate from the rest of the team, and it's shown many times that McGee, Bishop, and Torres can work perfectly fine without him. And even when he does take an active role in the case-of-the-day, he doesn't really do much of the legwork, basically just glaring at the others until they find the evidence they need.
    • How the show treats its female Special Agents Kate, Ziva, Jenny, and Bishop. For many, they are some of the best portrayed female characters on television, or at least in a procedural show, as they have their own wants and needs while allowed to be their own persons. For others, the fact that any happiness is almost immediately taken away, the fact that they are often the victims of sexism from their own teammates (Kate particularly), and that much of their personal lives are spent on romancing the macho man of the team devalues them. But then there's how the characters leave the show. Tony and Ducky got to ride off into the sunset and move onto more peaceful ventures. Kate and Jenny were murdered, Ziva was thought to be dead for years and was hunted down by a terrorist during that time, and Bishop had to intentionally disgrace herself in order to go undercover and follow Ziva's footsteps.
    • Speaking of which, Bishop actually trying to actively emulate Ziva. While some believe it made her into a stronger character, others feel it was a desperate attempt at trying to give her a replacement personality after getting rid of her various quirks from her debut season.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • 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.
    • Both Torres and Kasie have gained a lot of fans once those characters settled into their roles.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Agent "Pouty Lips" Lee.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • NCIS is no stranger to killing popular characters, but the pointless deaths of Breena (and especially Emily) in season 18 are viewed as beyond the pale by most fans, and can easily make it tempting to disregard those deaths, or even the entire season, if they don't get retconned (something which wouldn't be unprecedented in this show).
    • Bishop's departure in Season 18 wasn't exactly embraced by the fandom. Many preferred to pretend she just retired to a desk job or something and is still with Torres off-screen.
  • 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.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Early jokes about "why Gibbs has three ex-wives" seem a lot less funny when the real reason becomes clear. Likewise, the jokes that Gibbs wouldn't mind his ex-wives suffering a bit become harsh when Diane dies and he becomes clearly shaken by it.
    • 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 a traitor for years.
    • In "Twofer", multiple characters joke about how bad the body smells. This turns out in part to be due to a toxin in the man's stomach, which knocks Jimmy out when carrying out the autopsy.
  • 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 for a while.
  • 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.
      • The ex-wife comment becomes even harsher when Diane is killed and Gibbs is traumatized by it, even hallucinating her in future episodes.
    • 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.
    • For similar reasons, Tony and Ziva's goodbye scene in "Past, Present, Future" is this after "Family First," as she's pregnant in that scene, although neither of them know it.
    • 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.
    • A marine recruiter in "One Shot, One Kill" (from the first season, first aired in 2004) 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.
    • Speaking of Abby, virtually every single scene between her and Gibbs over the show's first 14 seasons after a falling-out between their actors resulted in Perrette deciding to leave the shownote . Consequentially, Gibbs and Abby have very few scenes together in Season 15, not even in her final episode.
      • In particular, the episode "Dog Tags", where Abby befriends a dog that bit McGee and relentlessly chastises McGee for disliking and fearing the animal, to the point of forcing him to take the dog home with him seems like a downright eerie premonition.
    • In "Dead Air", a few extreme members of an isolationist political group based in Alexandria, Virginia, target a high-school softball game which several high-government officials are attending due to their daughters participating in the game. Thankfully, nobody was hurt because 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 in Alexandria, and unlike the episode, people were hurt in the attack (although the only fatality was the perpetrator after a shootout with the police).
    • In "One Man's Trash", Kasie's debut episode, she moves her workspace from Autopsy to the Forensics Lab because she didn't want to see the dissection of one of the victims; when Gibbs asks if it's her first dead body, she nervously says she has seen one before but she doesn't give him any details. In "What Child is This", we learn that Kasie's "first dead body" was her father, who died from a sudden heart attack on his mail route three months before the events of "One Man's Trash". Kasie had to ID him in the morgue because her mom couldn't bring herself to do it. What makes it even worse? The last time Kasie and her father talked to each other, they got into a huge fight because Kasie was thinking of dropping out of grad school.
    • In Season 17 everything that the new neighbor Sarah did now that we know she was the one who firebombed Ziva's farmhouse (making Team Gibbs think she was dead for three years) and used her own son as a way to spy on Gibbs.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In Season 7's "Jack Knife", Ducky talks about how saving someone's life tends to form a bond between the rescuer and the rescued. Season 18's "Everything Starts Somewhere" then reveals that he first met Gibbs by accidentally saving him from a kidnapping, which Gibbs acknowledges as the start of their friendship. Ducky knew exactly what he was talking about.
  • He's Just Hiding!: In a show with lots of geopolitical intrigue and a few Death Faked for You scenes it's hard not to hope that Emily Forenell might have had her death faked for some reason.
  • 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.
    • "Capitol Offense" has a small subplot joke of McGee having stolen Abby's cupcake. When he finally admits that, yes, he ate it, she promptly belts off a swift "Book 'em, Danno!" Little did anyone probably know that just over two years later, there would be an actual Hawaii Five-O reboot that takes place in the same Bellisarioverse and even re-contextualizes the legendary Danno quote.
    • 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.
    • In "Voices", McGee and his wife Delilah are disagreeing on whether or not they want to know the gender of the baby they're expecting. Tim wants to find out, and one of the reasons he gives is because it would be easier to narrow down the baby names if they know the gender. At the end of the episode, the couple discover that they're expecting twins, one boy and one girl, so they really do have to come up with names for both genders.
    • In early May 2019, David McCallum was seen leaving Martin's Tavern in Georgetown with none other than Robert Mueller. People were quick to joke that NCIS was on the Mueller Investigation.
    • There was a lot of speculation from the fans that Mark Harmon uses a flip phone in real life, due to his character, Gibbs, notoriously hating modern smartphones and refusing to keep up with technology. According to one Facebook user, Mark Harmon actually uses an iPhone!
  • 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... Season 16's "She" reveals that Ziva is indeed still alive.
  • 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.
    • Like you would really kill off Dex, the brave bomb-sniffing black Labrador who the team and audience has come to respect and adore throughout the episode "Seek". By the episode's conclusion, he's recovered and given to his handler's widow.
    • Like you would even DARE to kill off the beloved and highly idolized Abigail Scuito on her farewell episode. Trailers ALWAYS Lie!
    • Like you would really kill Gibbs by blowing up his boat. Even with his body floating on the water face-down, nobody bought the Season 18 cliffhanger for a second, even with CBS announcing Mark Harmon was coming back before the episode aired.
  • Memetic Badass: Leroy Jethro Gibbs is the most badass NCIS agent ever if you were to ask both the series and the fans, and Always Gets His Man. If he shows up in a crossover episode with one of the other series, he steals the show, and in-universe his own team (particularly Tony) have effectively made their equivalent of the Chuck Norris Facts solely for Gibbs.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • 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 Replacement: Ziva is more widely recognized than Kate, given that the show gained widespread recognition after Kate's departure. As a result, many newer viewers don't even 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.
  • 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.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Ducky's voice.
  • 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.
    • The infamous "2 idiots, 1 keyboard" scene, where Abby and McGee get into a Hacker Duel with someone trying to hack into NCIS...using the same keyboard...
    • 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.
    • The jury in "Unseen Improvements," who seem to concentrate exclusively on Gibbs' police brutality suspension and gloss over that the person he brutalized was an animal abuser, bred pit bulls for fighting, and drowned them when they lost. As a result, the guy Gibbs is supposed to be testifying against gets a Not Guilty verdict.
  • 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.
      • Some fifteen seasons later, Doug Savant returns as a different character. Apparently, he really needed to be responsible for a crime on this show.
    • 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.
  • Nausea Fuel: Sometimes there's a particularly brutal death or physical violence, but where we get the worst of this is Ducky and Jimmy's line of work as the medical examiners, which is much more visceral than some viewers may be used to given they have to find details even mid-investigation where most series gloss over to the aftermath. Some of the corpses and even the conditions they have to recover and/or examine them can step straight into Gorn, which is probably why Ducky often uses some dry Black Comedy to downplay it.
  • 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:
    • Bishop is still on the receiving end of a lot of vocal fan hate after her second season. She grew out of it, but then fell right back in during Season 18.
    • Both Torres and Kasie were initially received quite poorly compared to their replacements (DiNozzo and Abby respectively).
  • 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, until Season 18.
      • "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.
      • Possibly due to just getting used to her after over seven seasons, Bishop now has a fandom of her own.
    • Torres started to come out of this when he started being more than the standard "macho man that makes fun of the nerd" stereotype that DiNizzo was. He's not entirely out of Scrappy-dom for various reasons, but he's still much more well liked now than than when he first showed up.
    • Kasie was initially seen as Abby-lite, but after a few character development episodes and giving her some of her own unique quirks different than Abby, she's garnered her own fanbase as well. It also helps that Pauley Perrette's controversial departure gave Diona Reasonover some sympathy points.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Ship Tease:
    • Tony and Kate unfortunately she dies before it can go anywhere. He also seems to have... something towards McGee, although that never goes anywhere either.
    • Tony and Ziva's becomes one of the most defining aspects of the show. The two eventually get a Relationship Upgrade, but not until both characters leave the show as regulars.
    • Bishop and Torres became the next teased couple, though not everyone enjoys the pairing.
  • 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 (before which we got zero indication that she was seeing anyone), one to kill him off a few weeks later, and one a few weeks after that to tell us their story via flashbacks, capped off with the revelation that she would have accepted his proposal had he not died. 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. Unfortunately, given how rushed it was, 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.
    • Gibbs' relationship with his never before mentioned fiancée Ellen Wallace gets this too. He was in the process of divorcing his third wife in 2001. That leaves very little time for him to meet Ellen, want to marry her, then break up with her the day before 9/11 (she was killed in the attack on the Pentagon). Not to mention that he swore off marriage after the third divorce. It's unlikely that he would have met someone who would have changed his mind so rapidly.
    • Some feel like Bishop and Torres are like this. Part of it is because it's a repeat of Tony and Ziva, including years of Will They or Won't They? with many thinking there won't be a Relationship Upgrade until either the show ends or one of the actors leaves. Part of it is also because some feel that they don't show enough chemistry between the two to justify them actually falling in love with one another, particularly Bishop towards Torres.
  • 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.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Miranda Pennebacker from "Gone". She's some kind of Anti-Villain who Gibbs apparently got involved with at some point, and mainly deals in stolen jewels and the like, but still considers human traffickers to be scum, and helps rescue a kidnapped girl from such people. Sounds like a cool character, right? Too bad she never shows up again after that one episode.
    • Phineas, Sarah's son from Season 17, develops into something of a surrogate son for Gibbs, so much so that he seemed happier playing with him than he had been in every other season of the show. After Gibbs finds out that his mom was a terrorist that has tried to kill Ziva the past few years and used her son to spy on Gibbs, Phineas is handed off and is never seen again.
      • He eventually does come back in a Season 18 episode, wrapping up his subplot as well as the subplot regarding Lucy, the abused dog Gibbs rescued earlier in the season.
    • Despite both casts working practically in each other's backyard, the show very, very rarely crossed over with its parent show JAG. In fact, its spinoff show NCIS: Los Angeles has had more crossovers!
    • "Identity Crisis" gave us FBI Special Agent Courtney Krieger, a rookie member of Fornell's team, who is tracking an arms deal. She proves to be quite resourceful in the investigation and trades phone numbers with Ziva, but she's never seen outside of this one episode.
    • The season seven premiere gave us a One-Scene Wonder named Heather Kincaid, a Seattle police officer who was applying for Ziva's old job with Team Gibbs. The character had a snarky personality and would have meshed with Team Gibbs better than any of the other applicants in the episode (it helped that her actress had good onscreen chemistry with Michael Weatherly). However, DiNozzo intentionally sabotaged her job interview at the last minute because he was still wangsting over Ziva's resignation, and we never saw Heather again.
  • 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.
    • McGee, Torres, and Bishop (especially the latter two) fall into this during the Season 18 episodes "Watchdog" and "Gut Punch."
      • In the former, the team is investigating an illegal dogfighting ring when Gibbs finds the guy in charge and starts pulverizing him. McGee, unaware his new experimental body cam is turned on, accidentally films Gibbs attacking him without provocation or reading him his rights and arresting him. As such, Gibbs gets in serious trouble and is arrested himself. He tells the others to simply tell the truth, as Gibbs is willing to accept whatever punishment comes his way. Bishop and Torres convince McGee to go against Gibbs' wishes and they try to erase the video from the database, which is almost immediately discovered. Moreover, all three of them lie to the attorney in charge of the case, which only worsens Gibbs' position. The three continue to take the position that they did nothing wrong. While the criminal did something reprehensible, they are still law enforcement officers and have to be held to a higher standard, yet despite being caught trying to destroy federal evidence and lying to a prosecutor, only Gibbs faces extreme punishment. This especially comes off as tone deaf with the recent protests about cops that protect their own when they break the law.
      • In the latter episode, after Gibbs has been indefinitely suspended, the rest of the team is stuck on COVID preparation duty. Once again, Bishop and Torres complain about having to face punishment for their actions and lament that they are not given any real cases and that they are essentially on the bottom of the totem pole. When they are doing COVID checks in preparation for an event the Secretary of Defense is holding, they discover links between the event and a murder investigation spearheaded by other agents. Instead of relaying this info to the other agents and allowing them to investigate, or even requesting to assist said agents as a team, the group tries to investigate the case themselves and are discovered quickly. The episode gives some lip service to how the group messed up, but it's delivered by a character who was a smug asshole to the group for most of the episode, and much of the rest of the episode seems to give the impression that Gibbs' team is above any punishment, no matter what they actually do, because they're "the cool kids."
  • The Un-Twist:
    • "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.
      • It gets untwisted even further in subsequent episodes. Given the nature of the show, many viewers speculated that Jake was in fact lying to protect Ellie from something even more nefarious, only for the affair to be confirmed once again.
    • Emily Fornell suffers a drug overdose. Everyone assumes her drink was spiked and sets out to find her assailant. . . and it turns out that she's become a drug addict.
  • The Woobie: Various characters have been this at times. Tony sometimes skirts into Jerkass Woobie territory.
    • Jeanne Benoit. A completely innocent woman who just happened to be the daughter of a crime lord/arms dealer, and as such, was manipulated by Tony in order to get to her father, only to find out Tony never really loved her. (In Tony's defense, it's implied he really did have feelings for her and didn't like having to do what he did).

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