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NCIS Fans Weigh In On The Episodes That Made Them Cry The Most

Police procedurals have been efficient and reliable moneymakers for networks for decades. Nowhere has this been more true than with CBS's "NCIS," which is in the middle of its landmark 18th season. The (until recently) Mark Harmon-led drama has been routinely invited into the living rooms of families around the world since 2003. The longevity of the series has made it one of the most successful television programs in history, thanks to its insane amount of viewers per week (via TV Line).

Every episode of the action series has a bit of excitement, but fans of the show have been reminiscing about the moments that evoked an entirely different response — tears. While the weekly happenings of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service aren't known for being especially heart-wrenching or sad, a handful of episodes throughout its 19 seasons have leaned on the softer emotions to tell a particularly poignant story.

Fans on Reddit recently let their opinions be known about the most heartbreaking episodes of "NCIS."

A NCIS episode involving McGee's father was hard for fans to watch

The consensus among fans appears to be Reddit user Skalkeda's suggestion of Season 12, Episode 10, where Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) bid farewell to his father, with whom he had a difficult relationship. At the end of the episode titled "House Rules," McGee writes an emotional letter to his dad and encloses it in his father's casket just before burial.

Another popular comment from user socal_guy1320 suggested three different moments from the series that were particularly tear-inducing. These included Ducky's (David McCallum) heart attack at the end of Season 9, the death of Gibbs's father in Season 11, and the Season 18 episode in which Palmer's (Brian Dietzen) wife, Breena (Michelle Pierce), is said to have died of COVID-19. The Redditor added, "Those are my top three. There are more that hug at the heart, but these three made me cry."

Also high on the list of suggestions were any episodes focused on Gibbs's (Mark Harmon) family. Reddit user Madbiker67 went as far as to say, "All the Shannon flashbacks give me a lump in the throat." One specific episode of this nature that fans pointed to included the Season 6 episode "Heartland," which featured Ralph Waite as Gibbs's father, Jackson, and Harmon's son, Sean, as a younger version of Gibbs. The episode showed how Gibbs became estranged from his father and how he met his first wife, Shannon (Darby Stanchfield).

Other Reddit users pointed to "Swan Song," the Season 8 episode which featured the final real-life appearance of Mike Franks (Muse Watson), the man who hired Gibbs at NCIS and served as a lifelong mentor to him. Franks was killed on a rainy street outside Gibbs's house in a scuffle with the so-called Port-to-Port Killer. Reddit user jayt00212 said, "Swan Song always gets me. I loved Franks."

Other episodes mentioned included Season 2's "SWAK," in which Special Agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) gets bubonic plague, Season 17's "The Arizona," which featured a guest appearance by Christopher Lloyd, and the Season 11 Christmas episode "Homesick."