NCIS' 400th Episode Revealed The Key Way Ducky Changed Gibbs' Life


Warning! The following contains spoilers for the NCIS episode "Everything Starts Somewhere." Read at your own risk!

NCIS celebrated its 400th episode with a blast to the past, and audiences got to see a young Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Donald Horatio "Ducky" Mallard cross paths for the first time. As luck would have it, that story tied into a case the team was working on in the present, and would eventually bring a criminal to justice. We also learned a good deal about the two's relationship, and how Ducky influenced Gibbs' life in a major way.

Ducky came into Gibbs' life at a weird time, beyond the fact that they only met because Ducky hit a car that was holding a captive Gibbs in the trunk. After the two men went to get a drink, Ducky learned that Gibbs was originally in Washington D.C. for a wedding, but that his girlfriend would not be joining them. Gibbs broke it off feeling it was unfair to make her wait around on him and his blossoming military career, even though he still had feelings for the girl.

Ducky admonished Gibbs, specifically for not even having the dignity to end the relationship in person. Over the course of the flashback scenes Ducky convinced Gibbs that he made a huge mistake, and if there was a chance to rectify it, he should find a way to patch things up. Gibbs took Ducky's advice and called his girlfriend Shannon to see if he could visit her house to ask her an important question. Though we don't know for sure, it's assumed Gibbs was leaving to propose to Shannon, who would go on to be his first wife.

Unfortunately, NCIS fans may be aware that this story doesn't have a happy ending. Gibbs' wife Shannon and their daughter Kelly were murdered by a drug lord, who was later killed in cold blood by Gibbs. The case brought back Gibbs' memories of Ducky's advice, which caused Ducky to wonder aloud if he deserved blame for the hurt Gibbs carried with him in life. After all, had Ducky never said anything, Shannon may never have been in a position to be murdered.

NCIS' Gibbs reassured Ducky he had no anger towards him because if it weren't for him, there would be no fond memories to look back on before the sadness. Gibbs told Ducky he had nothing but thanks to give that he knocked some sense into him way back when, and the two had a warm moment before getting back into the case. The bad guy was caught, and as luck would have it, these two guys' iron-clad memories were key to bringing him to justice.

Overall, it was a solid 400th episode, and a great chance to see Mark Harmon's son Sean Harmon step into the character's shoes once more as Young Gibbs. Actor Adam Campbell did a solid job as Young Ducky as well, enough that I began to wonder if the adventures of Young Ducky and Gibbs could be a spinoff as opposed to a once in a while occasion.

NCIS airs on CBS Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the franchise, and for the latest happening in television and movies.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.