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NCIS/Leroy Jethro Gibbs

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Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Actor Mark Harmon
First Appearance JAG Ice Queen (1)
Series Billing Main Cast

Special Agent Gibbs works for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, leading a team of investigators including Timothy McGee and Anthony DiNozzo. Gibbs is one of NCIS's senior agents and is respected and feared by most other NCIS personnel. He appears to be highly placed in the agency, taking over leadership on a couple of occasions when the NCIS Director is unavailable. (Enemies Domestic)

Gibbs was a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant before he joined NCIS, and people still occasionally refer to him as 'gunny'. He still maintains a relatively stereotypical marine attitude, expecting a minimum of 110% out of his agents. He's very protective of his people, and at one point makes the comment that he's never lost an agent uncover (Chained).

Gibb's house is the same house he lived in with his first wife and daughter. Currently, the house is sparsely populated and Gibbs appears to live primarily in the living room, dining room, bedroom and basement. The TV doesn't seem to get much use, but the bookshelves are packed full. He spends a lot of his spare time in his basement drinking whiskey out of coffee cups and working on a wooden boat which he builds hand tools. He seems to be on the fourth boat.


Gibbs follows a set of rules which serve both as a code of honor and guidelines on being an investigator. In Switch Ziva asks if the rules are written down anywhere. Gibbs replies no, and when Ziva demands how she is suppose to learn them Gibbs tells her it is his job to teach them. In Heartland, Gibbs has a flashback to when he met his first wife, Shannon. The encounter indicates he received the idea of the rules from Shannon, though his rules seem to be different than hers. It is confirmed in Rule Fifty-One that Shannon gave him the idea for the rules. Since many of the rules relate to being an NCIS agent, either as an investigator or working on covert operations, Gibbs may have adopted the rules after joining NCIS, so after Shannon and Kelly's death, perhaps as a homage to Shannon.

In Switch, Gibbs says there is about 50 rules. This is confirmed in Rule Fifty-One, when we see Gibbs add rule #51. However, in the same episode, we overhear Shannon ask in a flashback, shouldn't the rules start at #1, indicating that Gibbs may be adding the rules haphazardly, that the rules may not be sequential from 1 to 51.

In Rule Fifty-One Tony tells Ziva the rules don't have to be written down, they are for daily use, except for the 40s. The 40s are for emergency use only.

In Rule Fifty-One, Gibbs goes to a room in his house and takes out a wooden box that has the rules written down on scraps of paper. He has a flashback of Shannon finding his box and reading the rules. In his memory he tells her it was her idea. Out of the flashback back in current time, Gibbs takes the paper scrap with rule #13 out of the box. Then he turns it over and writes #51 on the back.

In Ships in the Night CGIS Special Agent Abigail Borin tells McGee that rule #1 is never make excuses, and he should write that down. He replies that rule #1 is taken, twice.

# Rule Episode Quoted


Never let suspects stay together.

1x01 - Yankee White
8x11 - Ships in the Night
8x14 - A Man Walks Into a Bar ...


Never screw over your partner.

4x14 - Blowback


Always wear gloves at a crime scene.

1x01 - Yankee White


Don't believe what you are told. Double check.

1x01 - Yankee White
9x01 - Nature of the Beast


Never be unreachable.

3x13 - Deception


Best way to keep a secret, keep it to yourself. Second best, tell one other person, if you must. There is no third best.

4x14 - Blowback


Don't waste good.

8x22 - Baltimore
9x01 - Nature of the Beast


Never apologize.

7x12 - Flesh and Bone
9x02 - Restless


Always be specific when you lie.

1x23 - Reveille


Never take anything for granted.

3x10 - Probie


Always carry a knife.

1x13 - One Shot, One Kill
1x20 - Missing
3x10 - Probie
8x09 - Enemies Domestic (1)


Never get personally involved on a case.

7x21 - Obsession


When the job is done, walk away.

6x24 - Semper Fidelis


Never date a co-worker.

6x24 - Semper Fidelis
7x13 - Jet Lag
8x21 - Dead Reflection


Never ever involve a lawyer.

6x07 - Murder 2.0
7x24 - Rule Fifty-One


Always work as a team.

5x05 - Leap of Faith


If someone thinks they have the upper hand, break it.

8x24 - Pyramid (2)


It's better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

3x04 - Silver War
7x12 - Flesh and Bone


Never, ever bother Gibbs in interrogation.

4x10 - Smoked


There are two ways to follow. First way, they never notice you, second way they only notice you.

7x15 - Jack-Knife


Always watch the watchers.

8x22 - Baltimore


If you feel like you are being played, you probably are.

9x01 - Nature of the Beast


Your case, your lead.

6x16 - Bounce


If it seems like someone is out to get you, they are.

7x22 - Hunted
7x24 - Rule Fifty-One


Don't ever accept an apology from someone who just sucker punched you.

9x16 - Psych Out


First things first. Hide the women and children.

7x24 - Rule Fifty-One


Clean up your messes.

7x24 - Rule Fifty-One


Sometimes you are wrong.

7x24 - Rule Fifty-One


Never trust a woman who doesn't trust her man.

9x07 -Devil's Triangle


  • Gibbs grew up in Stillwater, Pennsylvania, a coal mining town (6x04 Heartland)
  • his father is Jackson Gibbs (6x04 Heartland)
  • his mother is dead, sometime before he met his first wife, Shannon. (6x04 Heartland)
  • he was named after his father's partner in the store Jackson Gibbs opened. (6x04 Heartland)
  • in high school he worked on projects out back in his dad's shop. One time he bought a car that didn't run in hopes of completely rebuilding it. He left town before it was completed and his father completed it for him. (6x04 Heartland)
  • Gibbs seems to have joined the core out of high school. (6x04 Heartland)
  • he was already in the US Marine Core when he met his future first wife, Shannon in the summer of 1976. 6x04 Heartland
  • Gibbs married Shannon in 1982. (3x24)
  • Kelly was born in 1984. (3x24)
  • in the US Marine Core, Gibbs served as a sniper.
  • he was involved in black ops and has a top secret classified service record. 6x15 Deliverance
  • in Columbia, (18 years before season 6), Gibbs killed Cesar Castillo with 1 shot from 1200 yards. Castillo was a Columbian drug dealer, torturer, rapist. During his escape, Gibbs was wounded. A local, Rose Tamayo, found him sheltered him and nursed him back to health. 6x15 Deliverance
  • In 1991, Gibbs served in Desert Storm as a Marine Gunnery Sergent. (3x23)
  • Shannon witnessed the shooting of a Marine in Oceanside. She identified the killer as Pedro Hernandez (3.24)
  • his first wife Shannon and their daughter Kelly (8 at the time) were killed when a sniper shot the NIS agent driving the vehicle they were in.
  • Gibbs was notified of his wife and daughter's deaths while serving in Kuwait. He was wounded shortly after that and was in a coma for 19 days. His recovery was complicated by his lack of will to live. (3x23)
  • June 1991 Gibbs was released from Befesda and went to visit Shannon and Kelly's graves. 3x24
  • the murder of Shannon and Kelly was investigated by NIS agent Mike Franks. When Gibbs met with Franks, Franks informed him that the killer had escaped to Mexico and could not be located by the Mexican authorities for extradition. Franks left the investigation file on his desk with Gibbs in the room while Franks stepped out.
  • Gibbs went to Mexico and assassinated Pedro Hernandez with a shot from 1000m. He left behind his shell casing. (7x22)
  • after returning from Mexico, Gibbs was investigated by MP Laura Macy out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for possible connection to the Hernandez murder. She felt there was enough evidence to proceed, but buried it because she felt the killing was justified.
  • Gibbs resigned from the Marine Core
  • he joined NIS as a special agent in Aug 1991 (3x24).
  • he was Mike Franks probationary officer and partner for about 4 years until Franks retired.
  • he was Jenny Shepard's partner and trainer sometime after Franks left.
  • he speaks Russian and uses sign language. It is unclear where he learned these languages.
  • he served in France with Duckie and Jenny. At some point, Duckie assaulted a French police officer (pushed him off a cliff into a lake). Gibbs and Duckie fled, stealing a boat and sailing the channel.
  • while working for NIS (the agency was later renamed NCIS) he worked with Jenny Shepherd doing undercover work in Europe, including assassinations
  • he has been married 4 times in total
  • Steffani Bronwin Flynn was his third ex-wife. They were married for 14 months. They lived in Moscow together. The marriage was after Gibbs involvement with Shepherd.
  • Diane was another wife, also a redhead like Steffani. After divorcing Gibbs, Diane married Fornell and they had a daughter together. (8x19) (9x07)


  • Gibbs builds boats in his basement. No one knows how he gets them out of the basement. In Tribes Gibbs tells Brent Langer that the boat in his basement is the third one.
  • During the time that everyone was having trauma-induced hallucinations of Caitlin Todd shortly after her death, Gibbs' imaginary Caitlin was an accusatory figure, appearing as she had at the time of her murder complete with bullet hole in the forehead. Gibbs' Caitlin asked him why she had to die for him.

NCIS Characters
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs | Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo | Special Agent Timothy McGee | Officer Ziva David (†)
Special Agent Caitlin Todd (†) | Abby Sciuto | Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard | NCIS Director Jenny Sheppard(†) | NCIS Director Leon Vance