Leroy Jethro Gibbs has been fighting crime and putting bad people in jail since 2003 when NCIS first began. Now, 16 seasons later, Gibbs is still doing what he does best. The show continues to gain new viewers, but there’s so much to know about his past.
From how he got his name to how the character was first introduced, here are five fast facts about the one and only Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon)!
Life Before NCIS
Though Gibbs has been a part of NCIS for 16 seasons, the character was actually first introduced on a different show created by the same person — Donald Bellisario. In fact, two episodes of the show JAG served as the backdoor pilot for NCIS during Season 8 of JAG.
What’s In A Name?
Leroy Jethro Gibbs is named after his father’s best friend and business partner, Leroy Jethro “LJ” Moore, but goes by Gibbs unless you’re a close friend and can call him Jethro. Family calls him Leroy. LJ had a falling out many years earlier with Gibbs’ dad because LJ helped Gibbs’ mom, dying of cancer, kill herself with a drug overdose.
Gibbs’ first wife, Shannon, and only daughter, Kelly, were murdered while he was serving as a marine. He killed the man who did it and has had a death wish ever since, making him fearless on the job. He has married and divorced three times since and is known for usually being attracted to redheads (his mother had red hair too).
Sign of Affection
While it may hurt, Gibbs likes to smack his agents on the back of the head (and occasionally himself) and considers it a kind of “wake-up call” when someone is either going off-topic or just acting like an idiot. Special Agent Tony DiNozzo was the usual recipient of a Gibbs head slap.
Gibbs has a list of 51 rules (it was 50 but Rule 51 was created in the Season 7 finale of the same name) that he lives his life by — an idea he got from Shannon when they first met. Those he works with try to learn this list, with Tony going a bit further as he was always trying to find out who taught him the list.