HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVNCIS‘NCIS’ Fans Were Hoping for More From This Vance Storyline

‘NCIS’ Fans Were Hoping for More From This Vance Storyline

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

The hit police procedural NCIS is approaching the end of its 19th season, making it one of the longest-running primetime TV series currently on air. In its nearly 20 years on TV, NCIS has remained popular with a host of beloved characters, each of whom find themselves in one captivating storyline after the next.

With more than 400 episodes, however, it’s not surprising that not every storyline on NCIS has been a slam dunk. It’s virtually impossible to avoid a few misses in two decades of episodes, even with top-notch writers and actors behind a series. Though it didn’t decrease their love for the show, NCIS fans feel that the series missed the mark with Director Leon Vance, played by Rocky Carroll, who now directs select episodes of the show.

The specific episode eliciting fans’ complaints is the Season 6 episode “Knockout,” which centers around the director’s backstory. The episode revealed that earlier in his life, Vance was a boxer in Chicago.

Throughout the entirety of the episode, the characters hinted that Leon Vance was actually Tyler Keith Owens, and vice versa. This idea was never officially canon. However, fans theorized that Vance and Owens switched identities after the former suffered a detached retina. The event forced him to retire from the Marines, but the new identity allowed him to continue with his career.

Fans React to Vance’s Mishandled Backstory on ‘NCIS’

The Season 6 episode left many fans feeling confused rather than satisfied with Vance’s backstory. It appeared many shocking revelations came to light, but the new possibilities with Vance’s storyline didn’t lead anywhere.

As they often do, NCIS fans took to Reddit to discuss their frustrations with the seemingly abandoned storyline. “I wish they utilized the possibility that Leon Vance was not actually Leon Vance, but his childhood friend Tyler Owens,” the original poster wrote. “This was hinted towards in the Season 6 episode, “Knockout”. The pieces were there, the seed was planted, and then we got nothing from it.”

“I just finished rewatching that episode the other day. [I] was so confused why they’d include something like that and never mention it again!” another said. “I had forgotten about the Vance storyline – just like the writers,” added a third.

The director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service being unmasked as an imposter would certainly have been an interesting turn of events. It’s been 13 seasons since “Knockout,” however. And to this day, the possible dual identity of Director Vance remains lost to the obscure NCIS history books.

It’s safe to say that it wasn’t the direction in which the writers wanted to go. And while that’s completely fair, it does beg the question – why start down that road in the first place?