Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

FBI Special Agent Fornell's First Appearance On NCIS Created Plot Holes Down The Road

After 20 seasons on the air, it's hardly surprising to know that "NCIS" has slipped up on occasion. After all, there aren't many long-running series that haven't created a few plot holes that puzzle viewers. Fortunately, the occasional mishaps on "NCIS" haven't hurt the show's success, as it remains one of CBS' longest-running dramas, according to Outsider.

That being said, there are some plot holes that are too significant to ignore. On "NCIS," a couple of these mistakes just so happen to involve a long-running guest star who's become a fan favorite throughout the years. FBI Special Agent Tobias C. Fornell (Joe Spano) is a staple of theĀ "NCIS" universe who debuted in the very first episode. He has appeared in 57 episodes as of this writing (per IMDB), but the agent's cameos haven't always contributed toward tight-knit storytelling.

With that in mind, let's take a look at a pair of gaffes involving Tobias C. Fornell that have caused some confusion on "NCIS."

Tobias Fornell originally had a different name on NCIS

The first episode of "NCIS," titled "Yankee White," is a low-key affair that mostly takes place on Air Force One. It features appearances from President George W. Bush (Steve Bridges), meaning that there is obviously a plot to assassinate him. As such, the NCIS team must get to the bottom of the case, but they face resistance from the FBI.

One scene sees Donald "Ducky" Mallard and Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) find themselves in a slight predicament. In order to get onto Air Force One, Ducky pretends to be a medical examiner from the local county, with Gibbs acting as his assistant. This is when they meet Tobias Fornell for the first time, but he's referred to as Tom throughout the episode.

Considering that he's referred to as Tobias in subsequent episodes, we can safely assume that Tom isn't a nickname or alias that he sometimes goes by. One Redditor speculated that his name was changed to avoid any confusion with Tom Morrow (Alan Dale), though they noted that "[there are] plenty of issues with the timeline, especially earlier in the show." Unfortunately, the name change isn't the only continuity error involving Fornell to come out of the debut episode.

NCIS retconned Gibbs and Fornell's backstory

Leroy Gibbs and Tobias Fornell (sorry, Tom) are strangers when they first cross paths during the inaugural episode of "NCIS." Their relationship also gets off to a rocky start, but they do become good friends as the series progresses. That said, the agents should have been aware of each other's existence long before they bump into each other on Air Force One.

As noted by Express, Gibbs and Fornell used to be married to Gibbs' ex-wife, Diane Sterling (Heather Scobie and Melinda McGraw). Fornell even had a child with his former spouse, which is a pretty significant life event that Gibbs would surely learn about at some point. Furthermore, in a later episode, Gibbs casually mentions that he tried to warn Fornell about marrying Diane, further ignoring the events of their initial meeting on Air Force One.

Of course, sharing a spouse doesn't necessarily mean that Gibbs and Fornell need to be overly familiar with each other. At the same time, they'd surely be aware of the other person's existence before their first in-person meeting.