‘NCIS’ Season 17 Episode 5 builds on Emily Fornell’s overdose last finale, potentially leading Gibbs to become ‘personally involved’
The case dealing with counterfeit opioids from Canada in season 16's finale required Leroy Gibbs to confront his personal demons and this will be explored further in season 17 potentially to show Gibbs' personal and emotional growth
Spoilers ahead for Season 17 Episode 5: 'Wide Awake'
In 'NCIS' Season 17 Episode 5, we have a reference to an old case that was featured on Season 16's finale episode 'Daughters'. In 'Daughters', Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) called his friend Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) for help to go after the drug dealers who caused his daughter Emily Fornell to overdose on grey-market opioids.
The team had zeroed in on the sketchy pharmacist who was helping to funnel the counterfeit opioids into the country but the case was far from done and dusted. In the recently aired episode 5, 'Wide Awake', we had Tim Mc Gee (Sean Murray) tell Gibbs a lead had come up about the counterfeit opioids coming in from Canada.
The ever-diligent McGee had put out a BOLO. However, Gibbs is reluctant to open that can of worms again and tells McGee to "give it to the DEA". His excuse is that Fornell just wanted to "move on".
But given that the case had triggered Gibbs' hallucinations about his dead ex-wife Diane Sterling (who was also Emily's mother) in season 16's finale, Gibbs might be equally eager to move on too.
After all, the case did interfere with his all-important Rule 10 -- "never get personally involved in a case". But given season 17's storylines, he might not have a choice. The creators of the show are definitely not done with this particular story arc given its allusion in 'Wide Awake'.
In an interview discussing the major cases for season 17, showrunners Steven D. Binder and Frank Cardea said the drug-trade storyline was "something too great to leave behind" and that Tobias would be making an appearance in season 17.
The narrative has the potential of having Gibbs come to grips with losing his family and becoming more open to getting "personally involved". The show is already showing the evolution in Gibbs' character in terms of emotional interactions.
We already have his "father-like" bonding moments with Phineas, a boy in his neighborhood in 'Wide Awake'. Do we dare hope he will move forward and establish a more romantic equation with Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane (Maria Bello) in the upcoming episodes as well? Fingers crossed.
'NCIS' Season 17 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.