In season 5 of “NCIS,” tragedy struck. Svetlana Chernitskaya, AKA Natasha, held a grudge against Gibbs and Director Jenny Shepard for something that happened when the two were on assignment together in Paris nine years before. The Paris incident ended with Natasha’s lover dead, and she began her plan for revenge.
In the two-part episode, titled “Judgment Day,” Natasha’s assassins attack Shepard in a diner, killing her, but not before Shepard takes out a number of the assassins herself. She eventually succumbs to her wounds and bleeds out. Natasha’s plan succeeds, but she’s eventually caught in Gibbs’ trap later.
As the NCIS team finds out, someone walked out of the diner alive after the firefight. Tony and Ziva are on that case, while dealing with their grief and guilt over not protecting the director. Gibbs talks to Mike Franks, who tells him that Shepard died protecting Gibbs. She basically sacrificed herself to give Natasha the satisfaction of getting her revenge. But, she didn’t go out without a fight, as was her style.
In reality, Lauren Holly was looking to move on from “NCIS.” Shepard’s death was a way to write her out of the show. At this point, Shepard already had a terminal brain tumor. Her death in the diner definitely came as a shock, for the characters and the fans alike.
Jenny Shepard was definitely a fan favorite; she was strong, and determined to be a good leader, and she gave Gibbs a hard time constantly. The two were former lovers, and the tension in their scenes together was just amazing. I remember watching “Judgment Day” and being so affected by Shepard’s death; she was my favorite director, and while Vance is incredible, there still hasn’t been one like Jenny Shepard.
‘NCIS’: Which Character Deserves to Be Spotlighted?
“Judgement Day” was a Jenny Shepard-centered series of episodes, the recent “Fight or Flight” was a Torres-led production, and who knows how many Gibbs-centered episodes there have been. But, who deserves to be brought forward into the light now? Who haven’t we given enough credit to lately?
It seems like Director Leon Vance has been in the dark lately. He’s had important roles in some episodes, like teaching Torres to fight in his episode. But there hasn’t been an episode firmly dedicated to Vance since his wife died in the season 10 episode “Shabbat Shalom.” And still, that episode was mostly about Ziva. The time before that was “Knockout” in season 6. So, it’s safe to say that Vance is due for an episode all to himself.
But, what’s been happening with Vance that would make a good episode? “NCIS” could touch on his feelings about losing Gibbs, but that runs the risk of becoming a Gibbs-focused episode. And I don’t want to see Vance framed for a crime or anything like that. I just think we need to see things from Vance’s point of view, and give fans who don’t like him a look into his life. He’s a good director; fans just don’t like him because he had to keep Gibbs in check all the time.