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Behind Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ tough exterior lies a complex and tragic past, shaped by the loss of his wife and daughter. Mark Harmon’s character, the face of the NCIS franchise for 19 years, is set to receive renewed focus in the upcoming NCIS: Origins spinoff series. This series will explore Gibbs’ beginnings as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which was known as NIS in 1991—a pivotal year for Gibbs that sets the stage for the new series.

In 1991, Gibbs was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps and began his career at NIS amid a significant personal loss. Some details of this period have been revealed through key episodes of NCIS that shed light on Gibbs’ character, often through flashbacks. One of the most revealing instances is the double episode “Hiatus” at the end of season 3, which provides crucial insights into Gibbs’ past.

NCIS Revealed Gibbs’ Wife & Daughter Were Killed By A Mexican Drug Dealer
In season 3, episode 24, “Hiatus Part II,” it is revealed that Pedro Hernandez, a Mexican drug dealer, killed Gibbs’ wife Shannon and their daughter Kelly. The conflict began when Shannon witnessed Hernandez killing a marine and decided to testify against him. A NIS agent was assigned to protect Shannon and Kelly, but the agent was shot while driving them, leading to a fatal accident that killed both Shannon and Kelly. Special Agent Mike Franks, the NIS agent investigating the murder of Gibbs’ family, ultimately allowed Gibbs access to the case file, enabling him to avenge their deaths.

How Shannon & Kelly Gibbs’ Death Will Play Into The Upcoming NCIS Spinoff
NCIS: Origins will focus on Gibbs as he is newly assigned to Camp Pendleton’s NIS office, following his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps and while mourning the loss of his wife and daughter. Although these events were covered in flashbacks and conversations in the original series, Origins might portray them anew, setting the scene for Austin Stowell’s portrayal of Young Gibbs. Shannon and Kelly’s deaths profoundly impact Gibbs, driving him to become an NIS agent.

Shannon and Kelly’s deaths are central to Gibbs’ backstory, so their tragic event will be explored in NCIS: Origins. The series might depict their funeral, as Robert Taylor has been cast to play Gibbs’ father, Jackson Gibbs. It’s revealed in season 6, episode 4, “Heartland,” that Jethro and his father were estranged for 15 years, and the last time they saw each other was at Shannon and Kelly’s funeral. With an actor cast to portray Jackson, it’s likely that at least the funeral will be portrayed on screen, providing deeper context to Gibbs’ early life and motivations.

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