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Gibbs' Biggest Mistake Ever On NCIS

All of the investigators on "NCIS" have done things they regret, whether that's Ducky (David McCallum) feeling haunted by his humane euthanizing of tortured prisoners, or Ziva's (Cote de Pablo) violent dealings with her family. But Special Agent Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), the leader of the team until early in Season 19 of the show, wrestles with an especially dark and haunted past because of what happened to his wife and child.

The series gradually reveals that Gibbs' first wife Shannon (Aviva Baumann) and their daughter Kelly were killed by drug dealer Pedro Hernandez (Thomas Rosales Jr.) after Shannon identified him at the scene of a murder. Gibbs was overseas in the Marine Corps when it happened and forever regrets not being able to prevent their deaths. He did however eventually assassinate Hernandez in revenge, covering up the crime for 20 years until Abby (Pauley Perrette) discovers the truth.

Gibbs has crossed the line when it comes to justice and upholding the law several times since. But this is really the biggest slip-up Jethro Gibbs makes on "NCIS."

Gibbs didn't tell anyone when he was being targeted

u/theBolsheviks on the "NCIS" subreddit once argued that Gibbs can be something of a "Mary Sue" on the show. The post points out that the character can do no wrong and has all the "right flaws," so he always gets away with his mistakes.

This especially applies to the time in Season 16 that Gibbs was targeted by vigilante judge Deakin (Mike Farrell) for Pedro Hernandez's murder. The agent decides to go solo in order to confront the judge, not telling McGee (Sean Murray) or Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) about what he's doing, in part to protect them and also because of his shame over the cold-blooded killing.

Even if Gibbs has the best of intentions here, keeping secrets only puts him in more danger and does more harm than good. The team largely accepts what he did to Hernandez, and are loyal to him, so wouldn't it make more sense to recruit them for help? By the end of the episode, Gibbs only stops Deakin and the other vigilantes with their help. Ultimately the whole incident shows how Gibbs' stoicism is a detriment to himself and others, personally and professionally.