Throughout the course of NCIS, Gibbs has had his fair share of heartbreak. So let’s take some time to look at some of his more emotional moments, because they’ve definitely shaped the Leroy Jethro Gibbs that fans adore.
Shannon and Kelly
In Season 3, fans found out about Gibbs’ tragic past and the sad fact that his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Kelly, were murdered. It’s something he carries every day, and you can see it written on his face, especially during difficult cases or when an episode revolves around his past. Gibbs will forever have a broken heart over the loss of the two people he loved most in life. What is more heartbreaking than that?
The loss of Mike Franks
Gibbs and Mike Franks were the best of friends. I mean, Gibbs was Franks’ Probie, right? They definitely had their fair share of heartbreaking moments, but the one that takes the cake is when Franks died at the hands of the Port to Port killer. Granted, Franks was sick and dying, but it was still devastating to see Gibbs lose his friend and even watch him build his casket.
Saying goodbye to Ziva
In Season 11, Cote de Pablo departed the series and took her beloved character Ziva David with her. Not only was it hard for fans to say goodbye to her, but it was even harder watching Gibbs answer the phone, hear Ziva’s voice and then realize she wasn’t coming back.
The death of Diane
She might’ve only appeared in a handful of episodes, but it was still hard to watch Gibbs and Fornell’s ex-wife Diane get shot and killed just like Kate. What made it even worse was Gibbs witnessed it, just like he did with Kate. Even though their marriage didn’t last, Gibbs and Diane had a clear connection. After all, as Diane told Gibbs, he was her Shannon.
Gibbs gets shot
The Season 12 finale ended with Gibbs getting shot. If that wasn’t tumultuous enough for fans, Season 13 opened with Gibbs fighting for his life. Obviously, he survived, but Season 13 hasn’t shied away from Gibbs trying to cope with almost dying. To see Gibbs struggling and confronting his feelings is a new side of the man in charge, but also proves that he is not superhuman.
Gibbs loses his memories
During a case at the end of Season 3, Gibbs got caught in an explosion that caused him to lose his memories. As sad as it was to see him not recognize anyone from NCIS (save for Jenny and Ducky), it was even more heartbreaking to watch him relive all of the painful memories of Kelly and Shannon’s deaths.
Farewell to Jackson Gibbs
Who didn’t adore Gibbs’ father, Jackson (played by Ralph Waite)? When Waite unfortunately died in real life, the series made sure to honor him by having Season 12 finale revolve around the death of Jackson. It was sad to say goodbye, but also a lovely dedication to the actor and his character.
This is something only the utmost dedicated NCIS fans will probably remember. In Season 5, Abby bought everyone an iPod and explained to Gibbs how much music he could download onto it. Gibbs replied, “I only listen to five, Abs.” Later on in the episode, those five songs were revealed to be recordings of Kelly playing the piano. Yeah, it’s as heartbreaking as it sounds.
Kate’s unexpected death
The Season 2 finale didn’t hold back on the shock factor, especially when Ari shot and killed Kate in front of Gibbs and Tony. Despite her departure opening the door for Ziva, it was still sad to see her go and watch her team members, especially Gibbs, try to get justice for her death.
Jenny and Gibbs are no more
Part of me still hopes Jenny Shepard will somehow miraculously come back from the dead. Anyways, Jenny wasn’t just Gibbs’ boss, aka the director of NCIS, but they also had a complicated and romantic past. Saying goodbye to her didn’t come easy for Gibbs, and who can blame him?
Kelly’s childhood friend
In Season 5’s “Requiem,” an old friend of Kelly’s returned to get help from Gibbs. Her reappearance stirred up all kinds of memories and emotions within Gibbs. Anytime Gibbs faces his past, how can you not feel for him and just want to give him a hug?
Gibbs goes on hiatus
Season 3 closed with Gibbs leaving his post at NCIS. Not only did his team not expect Gibbs to ever leave the job he loves so much and is extremely good at, but neither did fans. It definitely wasn’t easy watching him walk away and spend time in Mexico with Mike Franks, but thankfully, he came back.
Gibbs meets Tony’s father
Season 7 introduced Tony’s father, Anthony DiNozzo Sr., played by the fabulous Robert Wagner. Even though the whole episode was enjoyable, one scene stood out. While trying to talk some sense into Tony’s father about actually being a father to Tony, Gibbs opened up about the loss of his own child. Gibbs said, “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to know her as an adult. You have that opportunity to get to know Tony. Do it.” Gibbs is very rarely so candid about his personal life and feelings, so to see him open his heart for the benefit of Tony was quite moving.
Abby learns Gibbs’ past
In Season 7, Abby discovered Gibbs’ past, aka that he hunted down and killed the man who murdered Shannon and Kelly. It opened up a whole can of worms, including a moment between Gibbs and Abby where she confronted him about it all. As close as Gibbs and Abby are, it was definitely one of the more uncomfortable scenes with them, especially since they were both feeling so many different emotions.
Young Gibbs and young Shannon
In what has to be my favorite NCIS episode, when Gibbs goes back to his hometown for the first time, fans (and Tony, Abby, McGee and Ziva) learned about his father, but also got a glimpse into young Gibbs’ life. One of those moments was the very first time he met Shannon. Viewers also finally got an answer to Gibbs’ famous rules. His list of rules are all due to Shannon, who had her very own. Gibbs reflecting on all of this was surely bittersweet.
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