7 Young Gibbs plots NCIS: Origins could cover and 3 the show should avoid

NCIS: Origins has some intriguing plotlines they can use for a younger Gibbs show but a few they should avoid!
"Alibi" -- The NCIS team is forced to re-examine a hit-and-run murder case when a former FBI agent turned lawyer confides in Gibbs that her client’s confidential alibi is solid. Meanwhile, McGee grows suspicious of Tony’s strange behavior, on NCIS Tuesday, Nov. 12 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Mark Harmon
Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS
©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"Alibi" -- The NCIS team is forced to re-examine a hit-and-run murder case when a former FBI agent turned lawyer confides in Gibbs that her client’s confidential alibi is solid. Meanwhile, McGee grows suspicious of Tony’s strange behavior, on NCIS Tuesday, Nov. 12 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Mark Harmon Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

NCIS: Origins is being set for a big premiere this fall on CBS. It’ll be fun to see this prequel of a younger Gibbs handling his first days as an NCIS agent in the early 1990s. Like many prequels, it’s going to be interesting to see how things once were for NCIS and how Gibbs grew as an agent. 

However, there’s also risks as the prequel might turn into too much fan service with mentions of future characters and fail to focus on NCIS itself. Here are seven plot points we’d like to see on NCIS: Origins and three the show should avoid to become a worthy prequel. 

NCIS: Origin plots we want to see

A rookie Gibbs makes mistakes

We’re so used to Gibbs as the leader who’s always in charge that it’ll be fascinating to see him as a rookie making mistakes. A great turn would be how Mike Franks is Gibbs’ mentor and the one pushing him on and chewing Gibbs out for letting his temper get the best of him. 

The image of a younger Gibbs getting his head slapped will be fun as we also see how those mistakes end up making him a better agent. This is the origins of how Gibbs became the man we know and thus builds up how even Gibbs was once a probie. 

Gibbs’ lost family 

Obviously, a major part of Gibbs’ timeline is the deaths of his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Kelly. He took revenge on the man responsible but their passing obviously changed his entire life. The show should definitely make that a plot point, perhaps for the first season, showing their happy life together before it all came apart. 

It’s a daring storyline, but one the show has to tackle, as this was one of the huge moments of Gibbs’ life and shaped all we know of him afterward. It will be dark, but NCIS: Origins isn’t complete without this important plot. 

Gibbs and Young Fornell

Sturgeon Season
“Sturgeon Season” – Gibbs and Fornell (Joe Spano) attempt to track down the leader of a drug ring who supplied drugs to Fornell’s daughter. Also, the team deals with the case of a missing cadaver from the NCIS autopsy room, on the 18th season premiere of NCIS, Tuesday, Nov. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Joe Spano as Tobias “T.C.” Fornell, Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights /

While NCIS: Origins shouldn’t lean too much on cameos, it would be good to see how Gibbs and Fornell first met up. It’s logical they’d clash as the FBI and NCIS argue on a case and Gibbs and Fornell are adversaries at first. We don’t know too much about Fornell’s past and childhood, so this would be a good way to flesh him out a bit more. 

If nothing else, it’d be hilarious to see Fornell was once more upbeat and cheerful when he was younger to contrast with the older man we know. Seeing how this bromance first formed would be terrific for younger viewers. 

The Gibbs and Jenny affair


A key character in NCIS: Origins will be Vera Strickland, who became a brief love interest for Gibbs. Seeing how that developed can be good, but bigger would be showing how Gibbs met Jenny Shepherd, played by Lauren Holly in the main series. Their affair was brief but very passionate and would carry over to their later working relationship. 

Detailing their meeting and the connections to the later show can be great, especially with the right casting for the young Jenny. If there’s one “early bird” cameo fans would like to see, Jenny would be it. 

Gibbs and his dad’s relationship

A wonderful part of the regular NCIS show was Gibbs’ complex relationship with his father Jackson (played by the late Ralph Waite). The prequel show has Robert Taylor in a recurring role as Jackson, and the pair’s bond should be delved into deeper. It will be interesting to see the differences between the two, who were estranged for a time but might be bonding more now. Still, seeing how the two stubborn men butted heads can provide good drama and explain a lot about Gibbs’ own fatherly ways with his agents.

How NCIS grew

Part of the show’s background is how NCIS wasn’t as well established in the early 1990s. Even in the 2000s, it had to fight for respect, and it’s certain that before that, in a new Camp Pendleton, they had little attention. So, the series can build on how NCIS proved themselves with their investigations and became a top agency.

There can be conflict with the other agencies like the FBI and CIA as well as even other military groups who don’t like being investigated. The show isn’t just the origin of Gibbs but NCIS itself and it’ll be intriguing to see how it grew. 

Old-school investigations

The real pull of the show is how it’s set in the early 1990s, a time when the Internet barely existed, people still used pay phones, and DNA testing was considered science fiction. In other words, we’re going to see old-school investigations lacking the fancy tech NCIS fans have become used to.

Don’t expect an office filled with laptops or the cutting edge screens. The agents are going to use photos, need the phone book to track an address and more. That’s going to be a great draw and will no doubt explain Gibbs’ lack of understanding of technology given he barely used it in his younger days. 

Plots we don't want to see

An overload on young cameos

NCIS 1,000 episodes celebration /

We can see a couple of faces as mentioned like Fornell and Jenny. But the show should avoid trying to overload on future NCIS faces in this prequel. It’d be tempting to show a younger Vance and that mission that got his career started but it would distract from the Gibbs plotlines. Ditto for a younger Tony starting as a rookie cop in Baltimore. 

Let’s not get some cute cameo of a young Abby somehow touring the agency lab to get her start or McGee as a science whiz. We certainly don’t need Ziva’s dad somehow showing up on a Mossad mission. Just because it’s called NCIS: Origins doesn’t mean we need to see every future character popping up just for fan service. 

Inserting modern thinking into storylines

It’s always tricky for a TV show set in the past to avoid having modern touches put in. That’s going to be a risk for the showrunners of this show. Sure, we’ll no doubt get a joke on some future famous person or President, that’s par for the course. But the showrunners can’t put more modern aspects into the time like terms for minority groups that won't have been coined until the 2000s or public sentiments toward marginalized communities that aren't accurate to the period.

Yes, there should be plots around the sexism of the times, like Lala Dominguez as a woman in a male-dominated workplace, but don’t go overboard with her trying to be more dominant. Remember that the US Navy in the early 1990s had different rules and methods that have to be recognized in the show. While it can paint a portrait of a different era, the show has to be careful preaching with modern sensibilities. 

Retconning NCIS history

The biggest risk of a prequel is retconning some of the established history of a property. NCIS can be the same, as there can be a temptation to add stuff to Gibbs’ history that we haven’t seen before, like past love or something. It also has to handle timelines, as Ducky didn’t join NCIS until 1992, so he can’t have been introduced earlier. Likewise, it’s established Gibbs and Tony first met in 2000, so they can’t have some “secret first meeting.”

As noted with the “early bird cameos,” the show has to be careful in making plotlines work in the timeline. Young Sheldon was good at addressing some continuity errors of The Big Bang Theory and making them work. NCIS: Origins has to watch its step not ruining the show’s history just for some random plotline. 

NCIS: Origins premieres this fall on CBS and will air Mondays at 9/8c.