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Is This Gibbs' Most Useful Talent On NCIS?

Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is a man with a lot of gifts. He can solve mysteries, he can build boats, and he can get those boats out of his basement and never properly account for how he does it.

There's other stuff, too. Gibbs is a celebrated marksman, he knows first aid, and he can fight hand-to-hand with the best of them. He's a loyal friend and a dedicated law enforcement officer. He possesses the strength of will necessary to hunt his wife's murderer like an animal, slaughter him, and then keep his crime a secret from the law for years. Gibbs' entry on the NCIS fan wiki lists nearly two dozen awards he received during his time in the Marines. There's no way to know for certain that he's an accomplished flautist, but there's no way to know for sure that he isn't, either. That's the beauty of enigmatic stoicism: You can never tell what's just below the surface.

But there's one skillset that's come in handy for Gibbs on several occasions — one without the inherent drama of being good at shooting people or the attached mystery of having a boat-sized removable section of one's house. Ironic for a character who's famously silent, Gibbs is apparently a gifted linguist.

Learning is fun with Agent Gibbs

We've seen Gibbs' polyglot skills on more than a few outings. Season 1 of NCIS showed the crimefighter successfully interpreting the Mandarin tattoo on a suspect. After that, Gibbs has been seen speaking, reading, or interpreting Japanese, Russian, and a fair amount of American Sign Language. He's also exhibited a marked fluency in smacking his co-workers in the back of the head, which is among the most direct forms of communication ever developed by man.

Multilingualism is a spectacular trait in any field, and especially helpful, one imagines, in the world of maritime justice, where scofflaws and vagabonds of any seafaring nation could make landfall at a moment's notice. The question, of course, is how Gibbs came to acquire his remarkable abilities. Maybe they're an extension of his "never be unreachable" rule. Maybe it's all stuff that he picked up during his time in the Marines. Or maybe the persistent need to tear down and rebuild your basement walls in order to get boats out of your house means burning through a lot of contractors, eventually necessitating the use of construction companies from overseas. Whatever the case, Gibbs never ceases to amaze.