‘NCIS: LA’: Deeks’ Gibbs Reference Explained

Eric Christian Olsen in NCIS LA, Mark Harmon in NCIS
CBS; Cliff Lipson/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 Episode 19 “Live Free or Die Standing.”]

Compared with other shared universes, NCIS crossovers are very rare. And so it was especially surprising when on NCIS: Los Angeles, Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen, who wrote the episode, which was directed by Daniela Ruah) referenced Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon, who exited NCIS earlier this year).

As Kensi Blye (Ruah) and Deeks learned from Sam Hanna (LL Cool J) upon arriving to work, they’d all received envelopes they could only open when everyone was there. (The three of them and Caleb Castille’s Devin Rountree ended up being enough.) Inside was a check for $10,000 — which they had to spend and couldn’t put in the bank — and a letter from Eric Beale (Barrett Foa): “In Silicon Valley, we are all drowning in data that we parade as knowledge, power’s confused with respect and success with happiness. I miss you guys and by sharing my wealth, I hope things brings us both happiness.” He’d also donated the same amount to their favorite charities.

After reading it, Deeks commented, “Maybe he was inspired by Gibbs.” Earlier this season on NCIS, in “Pledge of Allegiance,” Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) and Dr. Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) received $10,000. (Wilmer Valderrama‘s Nick Torres and Katrina Law‘s Jessica Knight did not.) Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) explained that they were the newest members of the Leroy Jethro Gibbs College Scholarship Club. He, too, received the same sum, and there was no use trying to give it back.

“It’s in memory of his daughter Kelly,” the director explained. “When she was young, he started a college fund. When she died, Gibbs never closed the account. In fact, he kept adding to it. Since then, he’s helped a lot of agents’ families. Kids all going to college in Kelly’s honor.”

But this leads to the question of how Deeks would have known about that, given the limited crossovers between the two shows, unless it became public knowledge in NCIS circles following McGee and Palmer receiving those deposits. Or maybe Deeks and Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly, who left NCIS after Season 13) — or Kensi and Tony — stayed in touch after his visit to L.A. in “Blame It on Rio”?

Whatever the case, this is just the latest in a long line of Gibbs’ references in the shared universe following Harmon’s exit. He has, of course, been mentioned numerous times on NCIS, and over on the newest spinoff, Hawai’i, we learned that Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) worked with Gibbs (and Tony) and impressed him, and his rules came up during the recent crossover.

NCIS: Los Angeles, Sundays, 9/8c, CBS