‘NCIS’: Why Is Gibbs So Mean Lately?

NCIS” has experienced a lot of changes over the last 17 seasons. One thing you might have noticed is how mean Gibbs (Mark Harmon) has become. What’s going on with him? Here’s Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s take on Gibbs’ bad attitude.

The team jumps whenever they see Gibbs

Mark Harmon with the NCIS cast |  Cory Osborne/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon with the NCIS cast | Cory Osborne/CBS via Getty Images

It seems like things get super tense whenever Gibbs enters the office. As soon he steps into the area where his team is working, they jump and get to work immediately. Sure, they act this way partly because they respect him, but they also fear him. No one on the team (except for McGee, who has been there the longest) seems completely comfortable in Gibbs’ presence.

Three times Gibbs was horrible to his team

Mark Harmon as Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS |  Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon as Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS | Erik Voake/CBS via Getty Images

During “NCIS” season 16 episode 23, titled “Lost Time,” Gibbs yells as Kasie for no reason. In this episode, Kasie comes down to the morgue to give Gibbs an update, and he turns to her and growls, “What do you want now?” He also walks away from Jack Sloane while she’s talking to him, and he leaves a crime scene without notifying his team members.

Another example of Gibbs being mean was when he hung up on Ziva (Cote de Pablo), a former team member. Considering how close they became over the years, it was unusual to see him being so curt with her. During season 17, episode 11, Ziva and Gibbs are on the phone when he gets another call. Ziva says she has something else to say, but instead of gently switching to the next call, he gruffly says, “I gotta go,” and hangs up. It turns out the call isn’t even an emergency. It’s just Sloane calling to see how Gibbs is doing after he told Phineas his mother died.

The third example is when Gibbs bangs a baseball bat on his desk, right next to Palmer (season 17, episode 13). The medical examiner came to Torres, Bishop, and McGee to vent about how overwhelmed he is now that Ducky is retired. He said he was so busy the night before that he didn’t even go home. “You guys, I got 14 minutes of sleep on an autopsy table,” Palmer said. Gibbs suddenly comes into the office and tells the team about a murder they need to investigate. They don’t move fast enough for him, so he gets a baseball bat and bangs it with full force on his desk, even though Palmer is sitting there. “Go. Gear. Let’s go!” Gibbs yells.

Mark Harmon says Gibbs is a flawed character

Mark Harmon | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

During a 2014 interview with Larry King, Harmon discussed what he enjoys about playing Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Surprisingly, one of the things he loves about Gibbs is that he has a lot of flaws. Harmon also said Gibbs is a very complex character. “[Leroy Gibbs] is complex, which is fun to play. And I’ve always said that I like the underbelly parts of this character more than any of it. I like his flaws… His past is dark,” said Harmon.

During an interview with CBS about “NCIS” season 16, Harmon says Gibbs is a good guy, but he has also made a lot of mistakes. “I like this character a lot,” Harmon said. “And like him a lot because I’m greatly attracted to his flaws. And he has so many of them. There are a lot of things he does really well, and there are a lot of things he does horribly.”

Gibbs has been through a lot

Gibbs’ personality started to take a much darker turn after he revealed to his team that he killed Pedro Hernandez, the man who killed his family. This secret has haunted Gibbs for years, and now that his team knows about it, the reality of what he did has now come to light. Gibbs was so distraught over the revelation that he sought help from his therapist, Dr. Grace Confalone.

Gibbs was also held captive for two months (during part of seasons 14 and 15, along with McGee), so that doesn’t help much either. It’s possible Gibbs’ personality change is because of the trauma he experienced throughout his time with the NCIS. Hopefully, he doesn’t do something else he’ll regret later.

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Fans Think Mark Harmon Shaded Pauley Perrette When He Said This

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