NCIS Made Some Unexpected Reveals About Gibbs' Past

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(Image credit: cbs press)

Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched the latest episode of NCIS.

While part of the most recent NCIS episode saw McGee and Bishop ready to geek out over all things Comic-Con (which is clearly not in San Diego here), the installment dropped a ripsnorter of a surprise reveal for Gibbs connected to its latest victim, one Major Ellen Wallace. The body led to many plot-related questions for the show's various characters, but viewers were eager to learn what tied Gibbs to Ellen. By the end, it was revealed that the two were almost husband and wife at one point!

Though not every single detail got shared throughout the course of "Hail & Farewell," fans still got to pick up on some mighty interesting facts about the NCIS' head honcho. Let's go over them here.

Leroy Gibbs and Ellen Wallace Were Engaged

Ellen Wallace entered the episode as a bunch of uniformed bones that revealed themselves to be a Marine Major who'd never been found after the Pentagon attack on 9/11. Characters claimed that Ellen had left a party early on September 10 after being distracted over her complicated relationship with an ex-fiancé. (Warning bells!)

Later, while Bishop and Kasie were trying to make sense of Ellen's belongings, a Jurassic Park reference gave way to them finding a particular Polaroid. They could hardly believe their eyes as they looked at a younger and foxier Gibbs with Ellen in the photo. Something tells me NCIS was trying to make #HotGibbs a thing.

So there you have it. There was a chance at one point for then-Marine Leroy Gibbs to have married Ellen Wallace. Who knows how many timeline changes that would have caused?

Gibbs Actually Ended A Relationship Once

Sure, Gibbs has been a romantic guy on one occasion or two over the years, but it's no NCIS trade secret that the special agent has had bad luck with women and romance in his many years as a marriage-worthy adult. In fact, Ellen is currently the only relationship that was confirmed to have been put to pasture by Gibbs himself.

Gibbs admitted to Sloane that he was the one that called off his engagement with Ellen, since being involved with him just leads to bad things. He didn't exactly offer up the information without being provoked, though, as the team was trying to figure out why Gibbs' blood was showing up on the 18-year-old corpse's uniform. (She'd wiped up a cut he had, as opposed to something more nefarious.)

Checklist time! Gibbs' first marriage ended horribly – his wife Shannon and daughter Kelly were murdered by a drug dealer, which Gibbs got revenge for. Wife #2 was Diane, who divorced him because she couldn't bear living in Shannon's long-casting shadow. Diane was later shot to death by a terrorist in Season 12. Jeri Ryan's Rebecca was Gibbs' third wife, and it was revealed that they divorced due to her cheating on him with the man she would later marry. Then there was Stephanie, who blames their failed marriage on his obsession with serial killer Kyle Boone.

It's not exactly fun celebrating the reveal that Gibbs dumped someone, though, considering they might have made a good couple had she not died before he could reconsider things.

Gibbs Probably Could Have Saved Ellen

McGee discovered that Ellen had put in a two-minute call to Gibbs before she'd died, and she was likely killed by someone who worked with her at the Pentagon. It ended up being Daniel Kent, her father's aid who'd served with him overseas. He'd killed her and allowed the 9/11 attack to cloak his crimes, which was dark, though solving the case wasn't as important as determining how Gibbs tied into it, though. Even if Gibbs was a master interrogator when pulling that confession out.

Gibbs wasn't very open at first about what Ellen's call to him entailed, but he soon admitted with some angered frustration that he didn't even pick up the phone when she called. Instead, he just kept drinking and let it go to his answering machine. Even though she pleaded for him to pick up, Gibbs was only thinking that she was calling to talk about uncomfortable personal things, not realizing the trouble she was actually in. So he ignored her, and doesn't ever quite forgive himself for it.

Here's how Gibbs put it to McGee later, when the case was wrapped and Ellen was being given a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

I was trying to do the right thing for her. But she still ended up here. I regret that choice.

While the episode would have been helped out by actually showing Gibbs and Ellen's happier times together in the past, it was still an emotionally driven win for NCIS that some fans were moved by. And it's a testament to the writers' ability to still introduce new details like this that shake the character dynamics up. It's like McGee put it when everyone else assumed that their boss wouldn't be up for a trip to a Comic-Con: you just never know with Gibbs.

Thankfully for fans around the country and around the world, CBS likely isn't going to made any rash decisions with NCIS in the near future, and it's already been renewed for Season 17, which will air this fall. So that means we're likely going to get even more layers revealed for Mark Harmon's Leroy Gibbs before it's all said and done.

Not that NCIS' continued renewals are proof that Mark Harmon will keep on keeping on with the show that cemented his legacy as a primetime TV icon. However, the actor himself has expressed the notion that he doesn't want to quit bringing more NCIS to fans until the point when the writers are completely devoid of new stories to tell. (There are always new writers, naturally.) What's more, Harmon isn't fooling himself about trying to land any big screen franchises in his post-NCIS years, understanding that the CBS drama could possibly be his last big hurrah.

It be wild if, when NCIS: Los Angeles brings back Jag's David James Elliot and Catherine Bell, CBS decided to go ahead and revive the NCIS predecessor, bringing this franchise completely around full circle. I bet Harm and Mac have some of their own well-hidden secrets that viewers would love to dig into.

With just four episodes left in its sixteenth season, NCIS airs Tuesday nights on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.