NCIS plot hole: Fans baffled by ‘mystery’ figure in key Gibbs crime scene moment

NCIS plot hole: Fans baffled by ‘mystery’ figure in key Gibbs crime scene moment

October 12, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic put an end to NCIS’ 17th season earlier this year despite fans being promised a full season of 24 episodes. Now the cast and crew are back in production for CBS, but some observant fans have been busy pointing out the show’s most egregious blunders. 

Season 17 of long-running crime procedural NCIS was cut short by four episodes this year following the spread of coronavirus. 

Thankfully, after an extended hiatus, the show is back in production and hoped to resume airing new episodes before the end of 2020. 

The pandemic has certainly thrown a spanner in NCIS’ schedule, but fans have been assured Leroy Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) and the team will soon be back to business as usual.

In the meantime, devoted viewers and new fans alike have been able to catch up with prior instalments thanks to NCIS’ availability on streaming platform CBS All Access.

As fans look forward to discovering more about Gibb’s mysterious absence and Ziva David’s (Cote de Pablo) exhilarating return, they’ve also been enjoying the NCIS team’s classic capers.

Unfortunately, rewatching some earlier episodes with a fresh set of eyes has also exposed some embarrassing production blunders. 

While the production team on newer seasons of NCIS have the scripting, filming and editing process down to a fine science, things weren’t as refined back in  2006.

During a pivotal episode in season three, Untouchable, Gibbs and the team are called to investigate a mysterious suicide case.

As ever with NCIS, the crime isn’t all it appears to be, and the victim’s death is soon investigated under the suspicion of murder. 

This case aired during the height of Ziva’s original tenure in the series, before her supposed death in season 12. 

It proved to be yet another riveting chapter in the early days of NCIS, pulling in over 15 million viewers when the episode originally aired.

However, despite broadcasting at the pinnacle of NCIS’ popularity in the States, the episode’s production left a lot to be desired.

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One fan took to online forums when they spotted something peculiar going on behind Gibbs when he questions a potential suspect.

They said: “When the Lieutenant is explaining how her gun was in the victim’s house, the camera pans behind Gibbs. 

“Pay close attention and you can see a very faint shadow move across his back. Since we see there is nothing behind him on numerous occasions, it can only be part of the film crew.”

Although the strange incident was brushed off by most fans in the moment, this particularly perceptive viewer couldn’t help spotting an out of place shadow pass over Gibbs.

Though it’s easy to dismiss the error as the work of someone in the background, the scene is shot at multiple angles, confirming it would be impossible for someone else in the scene to make the shadow.

These days, removing an inopportune cameo appearance from a crew member is quite easy to remove with the use of advanced visual effects. 

Having shot this particularly perplexing case back in 2006, though, it may have been too costly or difficult to remove the shadow, so the blunder was kept in. 

Hopefully, most fans will be too wrapped up in Gibbs and the team’s riveting adventures to notice any similar errors in season 18.

NCIS season 18 will air in 2020 on CBS.

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