NCIS Finally Revealed Why Gibbs Shot McGee, But What's Next?


Warning! The following contains spoilers for the January 19 NCIS episode "The Head Of The Snake." Read at your own risk!

NCIS teased a pretty huge event in the Season 18 premiere with a flash-forward, in which Leroy Jethro Gibbs gunned down Timothy McGee with a sniper rifle. The scene appeared pretty brutal and heartless, but I was quick to think there was more to the story than Gibbs firing on one of his own in some crazed turn of events. It turns out the hunch was right, though there's still a question of whether everything will be okay after Gibbs' tough moment of heroism.

After some leads from Tobias Fornell, Gibbs finally brought the NCIS team in to the opioid drug ring that the two plus Leon Vance had been looking into. It led to Nick Torres nearly being killed, and Ellie Bishop being taken hostage by the mastermind behind the operation: Merriweather. Merriweather suggested an exchange of prisoners, with Bishop's life being offered in exchange for the return of Merriweather's confidant Vladimir. The exchange was set to go down at an airstrip, with the only hiccup for NCIS being that Vladimir was already dead.

The team moved forward with the plan anyway, with McGee posing as Fornell to better ensure the success of turning the tables on Merriweather. The problem was Merriweather already turned the tables and armed a plane with a bomb. Vance was able to inform Gibbs, who was safely perched on an air traffic control tower with a sniper rifle, of the bomb, but McGee's comms were down. With no way of warning McGee that he was moving into an explosion, Gibbs decided to shoot his friend until he stopped moving towards the trap.

Bishop ended up being okay and the bad guy was caught, but the episode ended with McGee's wellness still very much in question. While he wasn't caught in the explosion, those gunshots did a number on him. Even after McGee safely made it to a hospital, it was still uncertain if he'd completely be in the clear or what damage he'd walk away with. The episode ended with Gibbs seated at his bedside, with McGee looking worse for wear. Will he pull through as good as new, or will there be lasting effects to Gibbs' gunshots?

I can only speculate on what NCIS will do but would like to remind viewers of when Torres was hit by a car and was in a coma. It didn't take long at all for Torres to shake off that injury, and while he was a little sore, he was back on the job in no time. I'd wager the same will happen with McGee, but I wouldn't put it past NCIS to kill off a key character either, or at least leave them with an injury that takes more than a week to shake off.

If I had to put money on it, though, I'd say McGee pulls through. As Torres pointed out in the first hour of the night's two episodes, no one is nearly as good with computers as he is, so there'd be a pretty huge hole in the NCIS team with him gone. Recovery probably won't be easy, but McGee is a tough guy. I'm sure ultimately, these gunshots will lead to another book idea that really puts him on the map in the Bahamas!

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

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.