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Why Kate And Gibbs' Relationship Has NCIS Fans Scratching Their Heads

In the world of "NCIS" the high stakes investigations may be the primary draw for audiences to tune in week after week, but it's also a fact that for all the tension between the agents of the NCIS and their criminal quarry, another more powerful draw is the romantic tension between the various team members. The tension between Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo), McGee (Sean Murray) and Abby (Pauley Perette), as well as Ellie (Emily Wickersham) and Nick (William Valderrama) made for hours of watching and speculation as fans and fellow agents alike wondered would they or wouldn't they.

However, there is one potential pairing that left a number of "NCIS" fans more than a little confused: that of Agent Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander) and Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). This pairing seemed like it was all systems go during the first and second seasons of NCIS, with plenty of tension between the two, though it never materialized due to forces both within the narrative and the real world. Let's explore just why this pairing was confusing to "NCIS" fans.

A series of mixed signals

In a Reddit post, user firstclasscaptain pondered the relationship between Kate and Gibbs, stating, "Ok so I'm relatively new to ncis and this sub so I'm not sure if someone already posted ab it. BUT in s1 there were many points where I was like whaaatt? It almost seemed like they were trying to put them together or Gibbs is just a playful guy. . ."

They go on to list a few instances in which the pair flirt or engage in playful banter during the first season: the first season episode "Sub Rosa" has Kate end up atop Gibbs on a surfacing submarine and Gibbs makes a playfully flirtatious joke, and later in the season Gibbs comments on a back tattoo Kate has in the episode "My Other Left Foot" which implies either he read her file or has what could be personal knowledge of said tattoo. Initially it seemed a potential relationship between Kate and Gibbs was on the table. However, as the first season gave way to the second, the dynamic began to shift, with Kate and Tony beginning to spend more time together and engage in playful banter. This all comes to a tragic end when Kate is killed in the second season finale, "Twilight," leaving fans' questions about either of Kate's potential pairings unanswered.

An avenue left unexplored

During the first season of "NCIS" the characters had yet to be fully fleshed out, and as a result the writers explored possibilities for the characters that would later prove to be less tenable. As Gibbs evolved from not only the team leader but also the father figure and mentor to his team, the idea of a relationship between Gibbs and one of his subordinates likely became a bit too complicated, which is possibly why later relationships, such as Gibbs' ill-fated romance with Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) or Lt. Col. Hollis Mann (Susanna Thompson), became the standard for Gibbs.

The banter between Gibbs and Kate was ultimately intended to be a possibility for the characters, but was ultimately left unexplored as "NCIS" found its footing. As such, the beats left in the first season can come off a little confusing in the light of what we know of the characters from later seasons. As with any relationship, chemistry is key, and sometimes the combination of elements simply isn't right.