‘NCIS’: Why Did Gibbs Leave in the Middle of a Case?

NCIS Season 18 will finally answer some burning questions. One of those questions involves unusual events that took place during NCIS Season 17, Episode 8. Gibbs (Mark Harmon) leaves in the middle of a case, but why? He also leaves work for a few days after a mysterious text. Here’s what Executive Producer Frank Cardea had to say about Gibbs’ unusual behavior.

Gibbs has been distracted for a long time

Sean Murray, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, and Mark Harmon | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Sean Murray, Emily Wickersham, Wilmer Valderrama, and Mark Harmon | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

One thing Torres, Bishop, and McGee notice is that Gibbs has been very distracted. During season 16, episode 23, when the team answers a call to investigate a crime scene, Gibbs is hardly paying attention. McGee asks a question and Gibbs seems to be daydreaming about something. When he finally comes back from his daydream, he sends Bishop and Torres out to look for clues. The team can tell something isn’t right with their boss. “How could you not have seen that?” says Bishop to Torres once they reach the next investigation site. “Gibbs is clearly distracted.”

After an initial investigation, Bishop, McGee, Torres, and Gibbs, check out another crime scene. Gibbs is still distracted and silent, so Bishop asks what he thinks about the investigation so far. “Gibbs, what do you think?” says Bishop. “You haven’t really said a word.” Gibbs looks annoyed, but before he can answer, Torres lets them know he and McGee found blood in another room. The team discusses what the blood could mean, but before they reach a conclusion, Gibbs jumps in his car and speeds off. The team is concerned because he has never left a crime scene without saying anything.

Gibbs is grumpier than usual during ‘NCIS’ Season 16, Episode 23

Gibbs also leaves in the middle of an interrogation with a woman believed to be the wife of the victim. (We later find out she is not his wife, but a thief who pretends to be his wife). He was also snapping at his staff and just being irritable. Throughout this episode, everyone says, ‘Was it something I said?’ at least once.  

This leaves us wondering what had Gibbs so distracted. Before this episode, he confesses to his team and therapist that he killed the man who killed his family (Pedro Hernandez). However, it seems like something else is bothering Gibbs.

What Frank Cardea says about Gibbs’ strange behavior

Emily Wickersham and Mark Harmon on NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Emily Wickersham and Mark Harmon on NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

During NCIS Season 17, Episode 8, Gibbs takes a few days off after receiving a mysterious text message. When Sloane confronts him about taking time off, he says it’s sturgeon season. After some prodding, Gibbs says he’s helping Fornell with his daughter and he has to address an issue that came up.  However, Cardea says this isn’t true. Why did Gibbs leave in the middle of a case? And where did he really go during his time off?

“Let’s just say he didn’t walk out in the middle of a case because it was sturgeon season or because Emily Fornell [the daughter of his good friend] left rehab,” Cardea tells TV Insider. “We are looking forward to paying this storyline off.” We can’t wait to finally get some answers in season 18.

Read more: ‘NCIS’: How Much Money Is Mark Harmon Paid Per Episode?