NCIS Season 20 started a new era for the series. It was the first full season without Mark Harmon’s Agent Gibbs helming the major case response team. Gary Cole admirably took over the leading role, and he did a great job of pushing the series forward with his Agent Parker character. However, it was Torres who took center stage as the season wrapped up. There was a big cliffhanger involved, and it looked like Torres was about to employ some vigilante justice in thoroughly Gibbs-like fashion.
Why Agent Gibbs Had a Rule for Everything on NCIS
Gibbs’ First Wife Inspired His Trademark Set of Rules
NCIS Season 6, Episode 4, “Heartland” started off like any other case, but things quickly got complicated. The team found out that one of the victims was from Stillwater, Pennsylvania, which was Gibbs’ hometown. That led to the very first appearance of Gibbs’ father, Jackson Gibbs. He and Gibbs didn’t get along at first, but by the end of the episode, they were in a good place. In fact, Tony DiNozzo felt comfortable enough to ask Jackson if he was the one that taught Gibbs all of his rules.
Jackson’s response was surprising. He said that he hadn’t taught Gibbs his rules, which left Tony to ponder their origin. However, viewers were treated to the answer. As the episode was wrapping up, Gibbs was driving along, and he had a flashback to the first time he met his wife, Shannon. They were both waiting for a train, when they struck up a conversation. Gibbs offered to sit with her on the train, and at first Shannon refused. But she quickly relented because Gibbs wasn’t a lumberjack. It was an odd statement, but it turned out that she had a rule about dating lumberjacks — and a rule about everything else. Thus, Shannon was Gibbs’ inspiration for his rules.
Gibbs’ Rules Were an NCIS Mainstay
Gibbs’ rules were a part of NCIS from the very beginning. Season 1, Episode 1, “Yankee White” was about a threat on the president’s life. Gibbs and DiNozzo led the investigation and teamed up with Secret Service Agent Kate Todd, who had never conducted an investigation before. Thus, Gibbs shared a few of his rules with her, including Rule #1: “Never let suspects sit together.” By the end of the episode, she had resigned from her job and was poised to join Gibbs’ team.
After the premiere, NCIS continued to introduce more and more of Gibbs’ rules. They were teaching devices, but they also helped give Gibbs’ character depth. There were even a few times when Gibbs had to rethink some rules, and those were always major occasions. Rule #51, for example, said, “Sometimes you’re wrong.” Another example was Rule #10: “Never get personally involved in a case.” Gibbs actually burned that rule in Season 16. All that to say, Gibbs and his rules weren’t without fault, but they gave NCIS a sense of continuity. They also combined the series’ legal justice with Gibbs’ person version of a moral compass. That was one of the many reasons that fans have loved NCIS for so long.
NCIS airs Monday nights at 9:00 p.m. on CBS