Let’s toss it back to some vintage NCIS, back when Jenny Shepard ran the office and DiNozzo was cracking jokes while helping solve cases.
This was circa 2005, two years after NCIS premiered on CBS. The show welcomed Lauren Holly as Jennifer Shepard. But everyone called the new boss “Jenny.” In her backstory, she was an old ex of Gibbs (Mark Harmon) whose father was a colonel who’d worked at the Pentagon.
Holly/Shepard left NCIS after three seasons. And she had some interesting takes on the cast. Working with Michael Weatherly (DiNozzo) was hard, like really hard. But not for reasons you may think.
It seems Weatherly was just too damn funny. And Holly’s personality was to be funny, too. Since she was the NCIS boss, you’ve got to be serious. There’s no time for comedy.
“I so want to go toe-to-toe with him,” Holly said of Weatherly in an interview with CBS.
Off screen, Weatherly and Holly lived in the same apartment complex while shooting NCIS. So did Cote de Pablo, who portrayed Ziva. On the show, DiNozzo and Ziva had a relationship.
NCIS introduced Holly as Jenny in the premiere of season three. Writers called the episode Kill Ari Part 1. The team still was struggling over the murder of fellow agent Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander). De Pablo also joined the cast for this season. Plus, Gibbs had no idea that his ex girlfriend was going to be named director.
NCIS Fans Suggest These Episodes Might Be Best of Series
Some fans suggest that Kill Ari Parts 1 and 2 are some of the best episodes in NCIS history.
Holly’s character died on the job three seasons later. Jenny was in a shootout at an abandoned diner. Although she helped kill four hitmen, she died from the injuries she suffered in the exchange of bullets. Gibbs solved the case in the season finale, then Vance (Rocky Carroll) shook things up with some drastic assignments.
Holly wrote about her NCIS departure: “To be honest, now that the work bug had bitten me again, I got bored with my part of the ‘Director. Then the decision was made to kill me, and boy did they.”
Still, Holly appreciated her time on the show.
“When it started, I was just supposed to do six episodes,” Holly told Smashing Interviews Magazine in 2016. “The next thing I knew, I was there, and I did 80-something episodes. It was always meant to be a short-term thing, so it ended up being kind of a gift. It was kind of perfect.”
NCIS now is in its 19th season. There aren’t that many characters from those early episodes still on the show. Mark Harmon finally left earlier this month after a four-episode story arc. Gibbs solved a crime, found peace, then said good bye.
The show returns Nov. 1 with a new episode.