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The NCIS Editing Error That Had Fans Worried About Gibbs' Security

One eagle-eyed NCIS fan is challenging the "unmatched" investigative skills of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs following a glaring editing error in the long-running hit show's second season. 

The former Marine gunnery sergeant and man of few words have spent 18 seasons nearly flawlessly leading his team of colorful — and distinctly endearing — agents as they catch bad guys and solve cases for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. But it shouldn't come as a shock that he's made a few missteps. After all, no one — not even the highly trained and level-headed Gibbs — can escape a hiccup in every high-stress situation. 

A moment in episode 19 of season 2 appears to be one of these times, as an unnamed viewer pointed to a series of editing blunders that seemingly undermined Gibbs' reputation for quick thinking and a sharp eye. Titled "Conspiracy Theory," the episode follows the case of Petty Officer Jessica Smith, who, after being attacked in her room at night, reports the incident to the police. She says someone is after her, but her therapist casts doubt on her claim, arguing that Jessica is likely suffering from paranoid delusions — a trauma response to the recent death of her fiancee in Iraq.

Soon after, Jessica's body is found, and early reports indicate it was a death by suicide. But when evidence surfaces that she was murdered, the team comes together to find the person responsible for the young Petty Officer's death. In a post published to MovieMistakes.com, a fan notes that around 15 minutes into the episode, Gibbs is seen carrying out the unmissable blunder. More specifically, Gibbs' careful and safe placement of his gun is called into question thanks to a set dressing change. 

Gibb's gun snafu could make you question his skills as an NCIS agent

Gibbs is seen placing his gun into his office desk drawer, where he sets it on a blue folder labeled with the N.C.I.S. acronym and surrounded by books of Post-It notes. He then "goes to talk to Fornell in the lift." Everything appears fine until Gibbs returns to his desk and moves to pick up his gun. That's when the fan noticed an editing error simply too big to explain away. When Gibbs goes to grab his gun from the desk, "the contents of the drawer and position of the gun have completely changed," the poster writes. In the place of the sticky notes and blue folder are a stack of brown and manilla folders, with the gun sitting on the bottom of the desk drawer next to them.

While it's a comical editing error, it's easy to see how it might also call into question Gibbs' ability to deal with matters of national security. How does a top NCIS agent and team leader miss the fact that where he put his gun clearly looks different than where he left it? And was it just simply a game of musical desk drawers, or could someone have possibly tampered with the contents of Gibbs' desk while he was away? Several characters comment about someone sitting at his desk and his lack of a password-protected computer in the scene. Gibbs flashes his gun, arguing that he doesn't need a password so long as he has his firearm, but how good is that if Gibbs doesn't notice, someone may have scrambled the contents of his desk, including the location of his gun? 

It's hardly on the level of the most hated NCIS storylines in the series and is only one error on a show that has delivered nearly 350 episodes and numerous on-screen mistakes since starting its run in September 2003. But it's funny all the same and a reminder that even the best of us get a little distracted.