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The NCIS Bromance That Fans Love To See

NCIS is very much one of those crime procedurals where many viewers come for the thrilling investigations but stay for the well-developed dynamics between the characters. Sometimes, those dynamics progress to flirtation. From Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva David's (Cote de Pablo) long-simmering courtship to Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) and Tim McGee's (Sean Murray) brief flirtation, the series is no stranger to a good romantic subplot. It has even trafficked in the occasional bromance.

While there are a few options for the best NCIS bromance, it's hard to beat the duo of Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and FBI Agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano). We first saw these two interact all the way back in episode one of NCIS (not the backdoor pilot during JAG). In "Yankee White," the two men butted heads over the investigation into the murder of a secret service agent aboard Air Force One.

Fornell went on to become one of the most important non-series regular characters in NCIS history. After retconning some details, the series established that Gibbs and Fornell have a long history together that includes a shared ex-wife. Throughout the series, we see a genuine and touching friendship develop between the two men, even when they are squabbling over jurisdiction.

Their relationship is one that NCIS fans cherish. In a Reddit poll that asked viewers to vote for their favorite couple, user u/cassieisbetter wrote in, "I voted Tiva, BUT the Fornell/Gibbs bromance might be better."

Here's why NCIS fans love Gibbs and Fornell's bromance.

Gibbs and Fornell manage to find humor in even the most intense situations

In a Reddit thread dedicated to Fornell's most memorable appearances on the series, user u/RangerZzzz17 chimed in with a popular option: "got to be the one where Gibbs shoots him in the ass."

The moment in question comes in the season 11 episode "Past, Present, and Future." Fornell is acting as the bodyguard of a businessman who the FBI believes is being targeted by a terrorist organization. Except, as Gibbs and the NCIS team learn, that man is actually a terrorist himself with plans to detonate an explosive.

At the end of the episode, Gibbs observes the man's motorcade through the scope of a sniper rifle. When the man steps out of his car to take a phone call, Gibbs pulls the trigger, killing the him. Unfortunately for Fornell, he isn't far enough away from Gibbs' target, and he takes a bullet right in his behind.

When Gibbs comes down from his sniper's nest, he sees Fornell lying haplessly on a stretcher. In a moment that feels very representative of their dynamic, as Fornell is wheeled away from the tense scene, he yells incredulously, "You shot me in the ass!"

Fans love seeing behind the curtains of Gibbs and Fornell's dynamic

Another frequently cited Gibbs and Fornell moment comes in the season 3 episode "Under Covers." As is often the case when Fornell makes an appearance on NCIS, the episode sees him in a turf war with Gibbs over who gets jurisdiction on a case. After an operation nearly gets botched due to a lack of communication between the FBI and NCIS, the two men have a heated exchange on the floor of NCIS' squad room. They decide to take their conversation to the elevator in order to have a little privacy.

While both men are literally huffing and puffing with anger before entering the elevator, once they are alone, the mood lightens considerably. Gibbs pushes the emergency stop button while Fornell casually offers him a stick of gum. With the elevator ride paused, the two men have a civil conversation about the operation, strike a deal, and then exit, donning their performative scowls again once they re-enter the public space.

In a Fornell-centric Reddit thread, user u/mrsxpando cited it as one of the character's most notable moments, writing, "That one was really funny, because it's so obvious that the hardass/fighting over jurisdiction...is bulls—."

Gibbs and Fornell are even better when Diane comes around

The cornerstone of Gibbs and Fornell's bromance is the fact that they have a similar taste in romantic partners. So similar, in fact, that they were both married to the same woman. Diane Sterling (Melinda McGraw) is a real firecracker who is perhaps one of the only people on planet earth who could put up with both of those strong-willed agents.

Throughout the series, she makes several appearances, usually involving her work for the IRS or a case she's found herself stuck in the middle of. Gibbs and Fornell are great on their own, but as Reddit user u/NCIS-Potter wrote in the comments of a thread, "Their bromance is seriously the best...[but] it's even better when Diane is involved."

The three main Gibbs, Fornell, and Diane episodes of the series are "Devil's Triangle," "Devil's Trifecta," and "Devil's Triad." As the names suggest, each sees the three entangled in a situation that forces them to not only confront their past and present relationships with one another, but also a high-stakes case. These episodes mix the best of NCIS's investigatory thrills with the interpersonal banter that really makes the show sing.

Whether they're enjoying some one-on-one time or sparring with their shared ex-wife, Gibbs and Fornell are an NCIS couple viewers are always happy to spend quality time with.