NCIS: Top 10 Best One-Liner From Main Characters

Nick Torres

“[My Superpowers Are] Kicking Down Doors, Breaking Through Windows, A Tango.”

Nick Torres joined the cast in the Season 14 premiere, “Rogue,” after having spent several years undercover in South America. Adjusting to the civilian side can sometimes be difficult, especially when doing tasks outside of his comfort zone.

When speaking this line to Ellie Bishop in his fourth episode, “Love Boat”, Torres has been assigned to do computer research by McGee, and while he acknowledges this work is important, he finds that desk duty is a waste of what he refers to as his superpowers. Nick is nothing if not a suave man of action.

18/11/2022

Ellie Bishop

“Don’t Put Me In A Position I’m Not Trained For.”

Ellie is far from alone when it comes to having a perfectionist mindset, and in many cases, her determination to do the job to the best of her ability is what makes her a strong asset for the team at NCIS. However, as in real life, perfectionist can also lead to crippling self-doubt.

In this moment of Season 12, Episode 21’s “Lost in Translation,” Ellie gives Gibbs this response after he puts her in charge of taking down the insurgents and saving Qasim and Corporal Collins. However, Gibbs uses this as an inspirational moment to show Ellie it’s not about training, but about her self-doubt. This quote exemplifies the internal conflict Ellie must overcome.

Jimmy Palmer

“Future’s Coming With Or Without You. You Might As Well Be There.”

Ducky’s assistant since Season 1, Episode 21, and the chief medical examiner after Ducky’s departure, Jimmy contrasts well with his boss, while at the same time Jimmy and Ducky’s friendship is one of NCIS’s best.

However, in Season 14’s “Keep Going”, he is put in the serious situation of having to talk a civilian off of a ledge, and it’s one of the most serious moments he has on the show. While the civilian believes the world is irreparably divided, Jimmy gives him this line, which not only speaks to Jimmy’s character, but also speaks to the real-world audience watching the show. It’s heartwarming and inspiring.

Leon Vance

“Bear In Mind, Gibbs, When The World Is Watching, ‘No Comment’ Can Only Play For So Long!”

Having a tough-as-nails boss is a cliché of the police-procedural genre, so NCIS is far from alone with having Director Vance act this role. Although Vance isn’t defined by his hardness, it also comes with the terrain, and this quote shows him putting down the law in Season 15’s “One Step Forward”.

Dealing with the press is definitely one of the more annoying parts of the captain/director’s job in these shows, and often that annoyance rolls downhill. Sure, Vance has his moments when he’s not fulfilling the expectations of his role, but no quote better summarizes him than this one.

Ziva David

“I Once Killed A Man With A Credit Card.”

If there’s one thing audiences learn throughout the course of this character’s run on the show, it’s “Don’t Mess With Ziva.” Introduced in Season 3 as a replacement liaison for Mossad after the murder of Caitlin Todd, Ziva was always a bit of a wildcard on the show, falling under suspicion at one point for being a double agent. Through it all, she always manages to hold her own.

By this time, in Season 7’s “Jet Lag”, fans have gotten to know the character over the course of four seasons, yet still she manages to intimidate with this simple line. From most other characters, this would be an exaggeration for sure. But from her? No doubt it’s true.

Tim McGee

“Eleanor Bishop, Will You Be My Frodo?”

McGee is the nerd of the NCIS team, and that’s why this line spoken to Ellie so perfectly summarizes his character: nerdy to the umpteenth degree, but also capable of having some genuinely touching moments with his teammates, like this one.

Fans get this quote in Season 14’s “Love Boat”, when McGee enlists Ellie to be the bearer of the ring (hence the Frodo connection) for when he is going to propose marriage to his girlfriend, Delilah Fielding. Not only does this quote help set up that important moment, but it acts as a perfect showcase for what makes McGee the adorable dork that he is.

Ducky Mallard

“Their Bodies Tell Me A Great Deal; It Helps To Reciprocate.”

If the taskmaster boss is one cliché of cop shows, another is the eccentric mortician, and Ducky fits this to a tee… but that’s far from a bad thing. Having to deal with death all day, every day is bound to do some interesting things to the psyche, so even if there was nothing else to this line, the behavior would be understandable.

However, there’s a deeper wisdom behind this line from Season 6’s “South by Southwest.” Not only does the idea of speaking to dead bodies come from a practical place of keeping the mind occupied, but it also comes from a place of empathy, of wanting to show respect for the dead. Far few things are as human of an instinct as that.

Abby Sciuto

“I Believe In Magic, Prayer And Logic Equally.”

Having a tech genius on the team makes for a much easier time dealing with anything related to computers. Thanks to Abby, one of the most intelligent NCIS characters, the team always have someone reliable in their corner when it comes to that.

For many science-based characters in fiction, though, religion/spirituality seems to come in conflict with the logic-based mindset of science. However, Abby makes clear in Season 15’s “Bulletproof” that these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and her ability to combine these differing aspects of culture into one person, and act as an example of a spiritually-inclined scientist, is what keeps her memorable.

Tony DiNozzo

“I Think You Have Me Confused With Someone Who Is Far Less Awesome.”

Having a tech genius on the team makes for a much easier time dealing with anything related to computers. Thanks to Abby, one of the most intelligent NCIS characters, the team always have someone reliable in their corner when it comes to that.

For many science-based characters in fiction, though, religion/spirituality seems to come in conflict with the logic-based mindset of science. However, Abby makes clear in Season 15’s “Bulletproof” that these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and her ability to combine these differing aspects of culture into one person, and act as an example of a spiritually-inclined scientist, is what keeps her memorable.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs

“Family’s More Than Just DNA. It’s About People Who Care And Take Care Of Each Other.”

Even though Gibbs changed in major ways after season 1 of NCIS, he was always the father figure of the team, someone everyone else can turn to for advice, while each of them also has a profound respect (and differing levels of fear) for their stern but caring boss.

In Season 9’s “Enemy on the Hill”, Abby comes to learn that she’s adopted, and it makes her re-evaluate her entire sense of self, which she expresses to Gibbs. He responds with this quote, a reminder in the moment of the broad meaning of the word “family”, and that Abby has a family with her NCIS colleagues. It’s sweet, and quintessentially Gibbs.

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