NCIS

Why The Dark NCIS Prequel Might Destroy Fans Of Mark Harmon’s Gibbs

Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs had been such an instrumental part of the “NCIS” franchise for so long that it was just a matter of time before they gave the man a “Young Gibbs”-style prequel that makes him an even more focal point. “NCIS: Origins” is that spin-off, and it gives the fan favorite the “Young Sheldon” treatment by being a series on which Harmon acts as a narrator while Austin Stowell plays the younger version of the character.

That’s the good news for Gibbs fans. The bad news is that “NCIS: Origins” tackles the darkest possible time in the character’s life — the early 1990s when he was a young agent at Camp Pendleton.  Specifically, the series’ events start in 1991, which fans familiar with their “NCIS” backstories no doubt know is the year Gibbs’ wife and daughter are killed by the drug kingpin Pedro Hernandez (Thomas Rosales Jr.), whom Gibbs later shoots in retaliation.

The original “NCIS” features several flashbacks to this intensely traumatic period in Gibbs’ life. Since “NCIS: Origins” seems to pick up around the time he joins the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the prequel series will likely destroy fans by focusing even more intensely on this painful Gibbs era.

The year 1991 is a very bad one for Gibbs

Just why is Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ backstory so dark? For starters, the future “NCIS” mainstay is in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. There, he receives word that his family has died, before he gets wounded and falls into a coma. That level of tragedy sounds like the beginning of either a superhero or a supervillain origin story … and indeed, after Gibbs wakes up, he starts straddling the line by tracking down Pedro Hernandez — whom his wife was supposed to testify against — and making an uncharacteristic kill to take the kingpin down. He gets away with this thanks to some sympathetic allies, but the murder continues to be the darkest thing Gibbs ever did in the “NCIS” universe.

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On the original “NCIS,” Gibbs is an icon of his profession, and the assorted allusions to these past events serve to wedge a few all-too-human cracks in his shell. “NCIS: Origins,” however, takes things to a time when the character is still learning to live with the situation … and could potentially even cover the events as they unfold. Yes, the prequel nature of the show means that every single “NCIS” fan knows what eventually happens to him, but witnessing the poor guy going through the absolute worst time in his life will undoubtedly be a difficult ride for young Gibbs and the viewers alike.

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