Gibbs is gone, but he is not forgotten, as a new secret is about to be revealed.
NCIS returned in 2022 with an episode that put the agents on the case of the theft of classified Navy software capable of controlling drones, and the culprit turned out to be right in front of them almost the entire time.
While the focus of the investigation was on the stolen software, there was a background mystery involving $10,000 that was deposited into the bank accounts of McGee and Palmer but not Torres, Knight, Cole, or Kasie. The mystery was solved by Vance at the end of the hour, and it involved a secret about Gibbs being revealed about something he has been doing behind the scenes for decades.
In typical McGee fashion, he attempted to return the money to the bank because he had no idea where it had come from. Palmer, for his part, had no idea what had happened when he told Knight the details, but it turned out that the money was earmarked for his daughter.
Knowing McGee and Palmer were unaware of the large deposit in their accounts, Vance summoned them to his office, where it was revealed that there was nothing suspicious going on and they were not in any danger. Vance elaborated:
I just wanted to welcome you to the Leroy Jethro Gibbs College Scholarship Club as the newest members.
Both McGee and Gibbs immediately said that it was too generous and that they couldn’t keep that much money, but Vance said that they couldn’t because he tried to do the same thing years ago, when his children were the same age as McGee’s and Palmer’s. The two agents were clearly moved, but also perplexed by the large gift for their children. Vance finally clarified the situation:
It’s dedicated to his daughter, Kelly. He started a college fund for her when she was young. Gibbs never closed the account after she d1ed. In fact, he continued to add to it. So he’s helped a lot of agents’ families since then. Kelly’s children are all attending college in her honor.
It’s very Gibbs of him to do something so generous but not tell them in person, and Palmer expressed regret that he couldn’t thank Gibbs in person. Vance simply replied, “Hopefully one day you will,” which isn’t exactly a guarantee that fans will see Mark Harmon in action as his iconic character again anytime soon.
Nonetheless, it appears that some of the people he left behind are still in contact with him, albeit in a different way. Palmer appeared to be planning to thank Gibbs, but most likely over the phone rather than in person. Vance could have theoretically connected the dots about the enigmatic $10,000 without hearing from Gibbs, but I got the impression that he had it straight from the source.
This Gibbs secret is heartbreaking, especially given how long McGee and Palmer have known Gibbs. It’s also not one that signals a return for the former NCIS star, so fans may have to wait a little longer for any indications that he’ll be back on his own team. Keep watching NCIS to find out what happens next, with new episodes airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
Later this year, the show will cross over with NCIS: Hawai’i for the first time, so something big is on the way, even if it isn’t necessarily Mark Harmon’s return. Check out our 2022 winter and spring premiere schedule for more information on what to expect in the coming year.
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