‘NCIS’: Gibbs Is Surprisingly Nice in This Episode

NCIS boss Leroy Jethro Gibbs isn’t known for being nice. He tends to speak his mind, and he doesn’t smile easily. However, during NCIS Season 3, Episode 1, Gibbs is completely out of character. He’s actually nice to his team and seems more concerned about their needs. Here’s Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s take on Gibbs’ personality change.

What happens before Gibbs suddenly becomes nice

Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly | CBS Television Network. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly | CBS Television Network. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Before we see the nice version of Gibbs during the season 3 premiere, a lot happens during the season 2 finale. Sadly, Agent Kate Todd is unexpectedly shot and killed. The first bullet is lodged in her vest, but the second bullet hits her in the head. Gibbs and DiNozzo have the misfortune of witnessing her death. Neither of them ever seems to fully get over her passing.

Gibbs is (temporarily) nicer after Kate Todd dies

Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs | Eric Mccandless/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon as Leroy Jethro Gibbs | Eric Mccandless/CBS via Getty Images

Gibbs is so shaken by Kate’s murder that his personality suddenly shifts. The shock and stress of this event causes him to become very nice. When Gibbs returns to the office he sits at his desk, staring at Kate’s empty chair. Then Kate’s ghost appears, and she’s clearly angry about what happened (this is likely a manifestation of Gibb’s guilty conscience). Kate’s ghost says, “Why me, Gibbs? Wasn’t stopping one bullet enough for you? Why did I have to take two? Why did I die instead of you?” Gibbs weakly responds, “I don’t know.”

When DiNozzo and McGee arrive, Gibbs is suddenly a lot nicer. It’s raining outside, but DiNozzo tells Gibbs he’s going to do more investigating on the roof. Gibbs walks up to DiNozzo, who braces himself for a “Gibbs head slap.” Instead of getting slapped on the head, Gibbs tells DiNozzo to change into dry clothes first. “Tony, you’re soaking wet,” says Gibbs. “Go put some dry clothes on.” DiNozzo is surprised and confused by Gibbs’ behavior.

Michael Weatherly, Mark Harmon, and Cote de Pablo |  Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Michael Weatherly, Mark Harmon, and Cote de Pablo | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Furthermore, Gibbs usually doesn’t get coffee for anyone, but this time he offers McGee and DiNozzo a cup of coffee. “I’m going for coffee,” says Gibbs. “Can I get you boys some?” McGee and DiNozzo give each other a surprised look before declining the unexpected offer. Gibbs also addresses McGee by name instead of calling him probie.

After Gibbs leaves to get coffee, DiNozzo says, “That’s a first.” Then McGee says, “He called me Tim.” McGee says it’s nice Gibbs is being kind to them, but DiNozzo isn’t so sure. “Nice? I don’t want nice. He’s not Gibbs if he’s nice.” According to Abby, Gibbs is always kind, but DiNozzo hasn’t had the same experience. During an exchange in Abby’s lab, he says things at the office seem weird to him because Gibbs is nice. “Gibbs is always nice,” says Abby. “To you and Ducky, maybe,” says DiNozzo. “Me, he growls at and smacks on the head.”

DiNozzo doesn’t handle Kate’s death well

On the other hand, DiNozzo becomes very mean. He spends about three minutes taking out his anger on poor McGee. He becomes sarcastic and slaps McGee on the back of the head. DiNozzo misses the mean version of Gibbs, so he tries to say and do things that will get under his skin. He’s successful and Gibbs eventually returns to his old self—head slap and all.

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Why Is Gibbs So Mean Lately?

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