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The NCIS Moments Worthy Of Tears According To Fans

Few shows have enjoyed a longer run than the popular CBS drama "NCIS." The series, which premiered in 2003, is based on a real-life organization known as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and follows a fictional team of agents, led by Mark Harmon's Leroy Jethro Gibbs, as they solve crimes related to the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps. Although the core team has changed over the years, as some actors have departed the series and others have joined to fill in the ranks, the show's audience has remained consistently loyal.

As a crime procedural, "NCIS" is not really known for being an emotional show ... at least, not in the traditional sense. However, the writers have found numerous ways to draw emotion out of the fans over the years, and there have been several moments throughout the series' run that have actually left viewers tearing up. Over on Reddit, fans of the show recently talked about some of the episodes and storylines that tugged on their heartstrings the most. 

These are the "NCIS" moments worthy of tears, according to these fans.

When Ziva finds her father's body

Cote de Pablo's Ziva David has been a fan-favorite character since she joined the team in Season 3. While there are probably several Ziva-related moments that have made fans emotional over the years, especially when it comes to her long and winding relationship with fellow agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), several fans point to a moment involving a different deeply personal relationship as being the source of their frequent tears — and that is the death of Ziva's father, Eli (Michael Nouri).

In the Season 10 episode "Shabbat Shalom," Ziva finally reunites with her father, who is also the director of Mossad. The two begin repairing the broken pieces of their relationship, but the process is interrupted when Eli is killed by an assailant during a shooting at Director Vance's (Rocky Carroll) home, that also leaves Vance's wife dead.

"Ziva seeing old Eli on the floor crushed me," wrote Reddit user DaWalt1976 of the moment. "Cote really sold that scene." 

'The Call of Silence' episode

Sometimes entire episodes leave "NCIS" fans weeping. One such episode, titled "The Call of Silence," came early in the show's run, way back in Season 2. The episode features Ernie Yost (Charles Durning), a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient living with survivor's guilt who confesses to the team that he killed his best friend during the war. Gibbs, Kate (Sasha Alexander), and the rest of the team set out to figure out what really happened to Ernie's friend Wade, and the result is a powerful and moving episode.

"When Ernie dances with Kate and she's got tears running down her cheeks is usually enough to get my misty eyed," wrote user johnpaulhaire of the episode. "It gets worse as he's describing the night that his buddy Wade died."

"It's not like there's just one scene in that episode [that] makes me cry," added Anxiousrabbit23, "there's a lot." They go on to note Kate and Ernie dancing, Ernie's Medal of Honor citation, the recreation of battle, and Ernie still blaming himself. "There's more I'm forgetting but that whole episode is full of tears," they conclude.

When Jimmy Palmer saves a man from suicide

"NCIS" doesn't have a sprawling ensemble cast, but the show most often focuses on the endeavors and lives of the field agents because they're the people investigating cases every week. However, there are beloved members of the team who don't operate in the field, and every once in a while they get their chance to shine. That is what happens when Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), the assistant medical examiner, puts his own life on the line to stop a man from jumping from a building in the Season 14 episode "Keep Going."

The hour, which features a number of flashbacks to different moments in Palmer's life, is one that many fans of the show have said always makes them get a bit misty-eyed. A Reddit user by the name of philthehuskerfan noted specifically that they are drawn to the way Palmer talks about his co-workers, their friendships, and what they've done for him while attempting to talk the man off the ledge. They especially like all the references to Gibbs, who eventually helps bring the young man in from the ledge after convincing him he isn't responsible for his father's death.

When Paula dies in 'Grace Period'

Like many long-running procedurals, "NCIS" has made excellent use of unforgettable recurring characters over the years in order to add depth to the show's extended universe. They don't always survive though. One such character is Paula Cassidy, played by Jessica Steen. Introduced in Season 1, Paula is an NCIS agent who worked at Guantanamo Bay before eventually being reassigned to the Pentagon. Although the character appears in only a handful of episodes throughout Seasons 1 through 4, fans of the show really love Paula, which makes her death in the episode "Grace Period" that much harder.

After her team is killed in action early in the episode by a suicide bomber, Paula is killed by another bomber when, after running through a secret door and tackling the would-be bomber, he sets off another bomb while they are trapped, killing them both. Multiple Reddit users cite Paula's untimely death as one of the "NCIS" moments that always makes them cry. User sinna_fain specifically mentioned the moment and calls out the sadness that occurs in the moments immediately after Paula rushes the bomber, when Tony, who isn't able to open the secret door in time, runs to the wall and presses his face against it, unable to believe what just happened.

The Pearl Harbor-themed episode

The Season 17 episode "The Arizona" stands out because it doesn't feature the team solving a murder or crime. Instead, the episode follows Joe Smith (Christopher Lloyd), a veteran who says he served on the U.S.S. Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor and thus wants his ashes to be interred there upon his death. The team quickly sets out to confirm the man's identity, but because he was under 18 at the time and had used his brother's name to enlist it makes things difficult. Gibbs and the team are unable to confirm Joe was on board before he dies from a heart attack. However, they are eventually able to confirm his story is true based on a scar he sustained during the attack.

One user, realclowntime, cited both "The Call of Silence" and "The Arizona" as being episodes that really moved them, calling both hours "really beautifully done, heartfelt, gut wrenching episodes that even someone who doesn't entirely agree with the military, like me, can't help but remember and be deeply moved by." Meanwhile, wittchimp specifically calls out the end of the episode when Gibbs asks McGee (Sean Murray) to sit down and starts talking about his own military career and his lingering trauma.

If you don't get misty-eyed at that, we don't know what will do it. But it is clear there have been several moments during the show's long run that have made fans cry. No doubt there are still more to come, too.