Tom is a huge fan of NCIS and even follows some of these rules himself.
Special Agent Jethro Gibbs and His Rules
On the TV show NCIS, Jethro Gibbs provides words to live by in the form of Gibbs Rules.
There are many different Gibbs Rules; some are based on being an agent, like rule #9: "Don't go anywhere without a knife." Others are based on being in the Marines, like rule #23: "Don't mess with a marines coffee, if you want to live." Some are based on life, like rule #44: "First things first, hide the women and children."
In season 3, episode 4, Zeva asks Gibbs how many rules he has, and Gibbs states 50. In the final episode of season 7, Gibbs turns over rule #13 and writes rule #51. Since then, rule #69 was revealed, indicating that the fearless NCIS leader has been adding to his list.
In total, only 35 of Gibbs' rules have been revealed. At first, it was thought there were only 50 rules. However, as the seasons have gone on, there seems to be a growing number of rules.
Here's the complete list to date of Gibbs Rules to date.
The Complete List of Gibbs Rules: 1-25
- Rule #1: "Never let suspects stay together." Gibbs Alternate Rule #1: "Never screw over your partner." (No one is sure why the writers had two #1 rules. However, they probably weren't keeping track at the time. In NCIS Season 8, Episode 11, Ships in the Night, Magee acknowledges that there were two #1 rules when Gibbs decides to break rule #1.)
- Rule #2: "Always wear gloves at a crime scene."
- Rule #3: "Don't believe what you are told, double-check." Alternate Rule #3: "Never be unreachable."
- Rule #4: "The best way to keep a secret, keep it to yourself." Corollary 1 to Rule #4: "The 2nd best way to keep a secret, tell one other person, if you must."Corollary 2 to Rule #4: "There is no third best."
- Rule #5: "You don't waste good." (Season 8, Episode 22)
- Rule #6: "Never say you're sorry."
- Rule #7: "Always be specific when you lie."
- Rule #8: "Never take anything for granted."
- Rule #9: "Never go anywhere without a knife." (Season 8, Episode 9)
- Rule #10: "Never get personally involved in a case." (Jethro burned this rule in Season 16, Episode 13)
- Rule #11: "When the job is done, walk away."
- Rule #12: "Never date a co-worker."
- Rule #13: "Never ever involve lawyers." (It is also mentioned that there are 7 rules that involve lawyers. Currently, this is the only rule about lawyers that has been revealed.)
- Rule #14: "Bend the line, don't break it." (Season 11, Episode 3)
- Rule #15: "Always work as a team." (Season 5, Episode 5)
- Rule #16: "If someone thinks they have the upper hand, break it." (Season Finale, Season 8)
- Rule #17: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #18: "It's better to seek forgiveness than ask permission." (Season 3, Episode 4, revealed by Director Shephard)
- Rule #19: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #20: "Always look under." (Season 12, Episode 17 revealed by Special Agent Barrett. Mentioned again in Season 17, Episode 16 by Special Agent Bishop.)
- Rule #21: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #22: "Never ever bother Gibbs in interrogation."
- Rule #23: "Never mess with a marine's coffee if you want to live."
- Rule #24: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #25: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #26: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #27: "Two ways to follow: First way they never notice you, the second way, they ONLY notice you."
- Rule #28: "When you need help, ask." (Season 9)
- Rule #29: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #30: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #31: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #32: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #33: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #34: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #35: "Always watch the watchers." (Season 8, Episode 21 and Season 17, Episode 17)
- Rule #36: "If you feel like you're being played, you probably are." (Season 9, Episode 1)
- Rule #37: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #38: "Your case, your lead" (First said to Tony Dinozzo by Gibbs in season 6, episode 16 and in season 10, Episode 3, Gibbs said it again to Dr. Mallard)
- Rule #39: "There is no such thing as coincidences." Rule #39A: "There is no such thing as a small world." (Season 10, Episode 14)
- Rule #40: "If it seems like someone is out to get you, they are."
- Rule #41: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #42: "Never accept an apology from someone who has just sucker punched you." (Revealed during Season 9 on Feb. 21st)
- Rule #43: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #44: "First things first, hide the women and children."
- Rule #45: "Clean up your own messes."
- Rule #46: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #47: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #48: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #49: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #50: Hasn't been revealed
Gibbs Rule #51: "Sometimes You're Wrong"
Gibbs seems to use rules 51 and over for his personal life. They seem to be made up on the spot and as normal, the rules are not necessarily in order.
- Rule #51: "Sometimes you're wrong."
- Rule #5: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #53: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #54: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #55: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #56: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #57: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #58: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #59: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #60: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #61: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #62: "Always give people space when they get off the elevator." (Said by Abbie to Gibbs in Season 11, Episode 12)
- Rule #63: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #64: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #65: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #66: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #67: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #68: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #69: "Never trust a woman who doesn't trust her man."
- Rule #70: Hasn't been revealed (In Season 11, McGee or McGibbs tried to make up his own rule. We will acknowledge the effort, but we won't write it down as an official rule)
- Rule #71: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #72: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #73: "Never meet your heroes." (In Season 16, Episode 7)
- Rule #74: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #75: Hasn't been revealed
Gibbs Rule #91: "Don't Look Back"
When Season 18 ended in the spring of 2021, a new rule popped up.
- Rule #76: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #77: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #78: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #79: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #80: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #81: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #82: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #83: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #84: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #85: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #86: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #87: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #88: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #89: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #90: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #91: "When you decide to walk away, don't look back." (Season 18 finale)
- Rule #92: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #93: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #94: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #95: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #96: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #97: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #98: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #99: Hasn't been revealed
- Rule #100: Hasn't been revealed
Scroll to Continue
Read More From Reelrundown
What is your favorite NCIS episode or moment?
Maddie roe age 16 on June 08, 2019:
For me its Gibbs rule #23 : "Never mess with a Marine's coffee, If you want to live." My bff is a Marine and you mess with his coffee than you better run
Tom Fattes (author) from Naperville, IL on November 13, 2018:
Thank you for the update. I need to go back and watch the episode again.
Tom Fattes (author) from Naperville, IL on November 13, 2018:
Thank you. I missed this tonight.
John Ervin on November 13, 2018:
I think Gibbs mentioned rule 73 in "A Thousand Words" (16.7). "Never meet your Heroes"
Rule 73 on November 13, 2018:
Never meet your heros
November 13th 2018
DFYcontent on July 24, 2014:
That's like asking which one of your kids you like best ;-)
The one that springs to mind right now is Stakeout (5x12). Loved the crime, the team interactions,... just a very enjoyable and fun episode to watch (again and again).
anonymous on November 03, 2012:
when Abby and Ziva slap each other
anonymous on July 04, 2012:
#37 has been revealed. Tony gave McGee Gibbs's coffee......#37 never mess with a marines coffee. And then of course they mentioned something about "dead man walking" :D
GrowthSpark on May 06, 2012:
Thanks for pulling all the rules together, I hear them on the program and often wonder if they are duplicated as I don't keep track. I just love the NCIS humor.
grannysage on May 04, 2012:
Kate: What did Ducky look like when he was younger?
Gibbs (smiling slightly): Illya Kuryakin.
I'm a David McCallum fan. This is a great lens.
ssalunkhe on April 17, 2012:
Thanks for sharing the lens. I would love to live my life by Gibbs rules.
DesignedbyLisa LM on February 27, 2012:
I was looking for this list! Thanks for keeping track.
Nightcat on February 27, 2012:
This is awesome, I was hoping a list of his rules would come out some day. Angel Blessings!
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on February 27, 2012:
I loved seeing these 50 Jethro Gibbs Rules. I love all the NCIS episodes and have probably seen each of them at least 3 times. I can't think of my favorite right now.
MyFairLadyah2 on February 08, 2012:
Love this show - Can't think of a favorite episonde/moment - Nice Lens!
Tom Fattes (author) from Naperville, IL on January 11, 2012:
@Gail47: Our whole family gathers around the TV on Tuesday nights to watch NCIS. Kids must have their homework done first though, Dad's rule #2.
Tom Fattes (author) from Naperville, IL on January 11, 2012:
@ijbgraphics: Yep, I think that was at the beginning of season 7. We've been watching each season in order.
ijbgraphics on January 11, 2012:
when they go to rescue Ziva and Gibbs snipes the terrorist :) Nice lens btw
Gail47 on December 21, 2011:
Tony and Ziva in Paris - those to actors have great charisma! Love all of NCIS and have watched every NCIS on USA there is. Family knows when "Gibbs" is on, I'm rarely available. Wonderful lens.
anonymous on October 10, 2011:
I'm glad to find your lens. I now know what to get my sister-in-law for Christmas. She is the biggest NCIS fan in the state of Alabama. She DVRs every episode and watches them over and over. I didn't know there were NCIS tee shirts...I've put this lens in favorites and will have to get her one for Christmas...she will love it! Cool lens!
Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on October 07, 2011:
I love his grumpy character on NCIS. I think the best scenes are when he is interacting with Abby.
APackageAtTheDoor on September 28, 2011:
We just recently started watching NCIS, and I think what hooked me was a scene from one of the first episodes I saw, "Twisted Sister" about McGee's sister. It's a scene with Gibbs, Jenny and Abby. Abby starts imitating Gibbs and Jenny and then says something like, "The kids don't like it when the parents argue." My jaw just dropped and I howled with laughter. I knew I was going to love this show!
bernie74 lm on May 21, 2011:
Oh My, there are just too man to choose from. I could sit and re watch them all. But I must admit I do love the episode where Tone and Tim a caught and Tony is injected with truth serum and they find out that Ziva is still alive. and the look her and Gibs exchange when she is being recued is awesome.But there are many others
Tom Fattes (author) from Naperville, IL on May 21, 2011:
@anonymous: I had to go back and look at the episode again because I had originally marked it as Rule 16. After watching the episode I did verify it was Rule 16.
anonymous on May 21, 2011:
Gibb's Rule #14 was revealed in the last episode of this season (May, 2011). Tony said:"If the suspect has the upper hand - break it."
Jen from Canada on January 07, 2011:
I love Gibbs Rules and Head Slaps (though these seem to be dwindling). Twilight is the episode that sticks out and S.W.A>k. I also like the McGee heavy episodes. He's my favorite character. Rule 3 and Rule 8 seem similar to me. I wonder if they noticed that in hind sight.
TeacherSerenia on January 07, 2011:
I dont have any favourite NCIS moment but I love any moments with Abbey or McGee in them. I think they are both very smart. I hate DiNozzo always puttin McGee down - especially when he calls McGee Probie - that is just plain nasty.
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on November 15, 2010:
I love ALL NCIS episodes and have many favorite moments. But my favorite 'Line' was said by Tony - "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got!" The many NCIS fans in my family quote that line to each other frequently, in appropriate moments. It should be a Gibbs RULE! :)
Gibbs Rules are a part of NCIS that I look forward to in each episode. Keep waiting to hear more. Such fun to read them altogether here. And, am absolutely crazy about the 'bloopers' - hadn't seen them before! Good job putting this together. ~~A SquidAngel NCIS fan is leaving a Blessing~~
Rule #1: Never let suspects sit together. Other Rule #1: Never screw over your partner. Rule #2: Always wear gloves at a crime scene. Rule #3: Never believe what you are told.
The rule is simple: "When you walk away, don't look back." This explains why Gibbs named his boat Rule 91 – because he was planning on walking (well, technically sailing) away from the NCIS team after his suspension following his treatment of a suspect who was mistreating dogs.
Gibbs' Rule #62: Always give people space when they get off an elevator. First mentioned in "Double Back" (Episode 13, Season 11).
Indeed, Pauley left NCIS because of an alleged falling-out with the show's lead, Mark Harmon. According to HELLO!, the show's two stars reportedly had a bunch of on-set clashes that left the mood between them pretty sour during Pauley's later years on the show.
Rule 45: Left a mess I gotta clean up. Gibbs doesn't like a mess. Rule 45 was introduced in “Rule Fifty-One” (Episode 24, Season 7). Rule 51: Sometimes you're wrong.
One of Gibbs' rules is that agents should always be available. This makes sense because you never know when there will be an emergency and a team member's expertise could help solve a case. However, Gibbs broke this rule during “Lost Time” (season 16, episode 13). Bishop called Gibbs after he didn't show up to work.
Many 'NCIS' fans do not like when Mark Harmon's Gibbs calls Ziva “Ziver” In certain scenes, as he did when Cote de Pablo's Ziva returned in the final moments of season sixteen, Mark Harmon will call Ziva “Ziver.” If you're wondering how this decision came about, Christopher J.
Throughout Wickersham's lengthy Instagram post, she doesn't mention anything about why she chose to leave after Season 18 of "NCIS." The most likely explanation is that she merely wanted to pursue other opportunities after playing the same character across eight seasons and 172 episodes.
Viewers saw Gibbs (Mark Harmon) swim away from the bomb blast that blew up his boat Rule 91 (when you decide to walk away, don't look back) in the NCIS season 18 finale, so it was no surprise that he made it out alive, but what happened next meant his life was in jeopardy still.
what's he drink? As far as alcohol, he drinks bourbon. In an episode, he handled a small metalic flask with the names of his deceased partner and daughter. According to Episode Seven of Season Six, he ordered a bourbon.
How does Gibbs get his boats out of the basement? It was revealed Gibbs gets his boats out through the wall. He removes bricks and makes a large hole in the wall. FBI Agent Alden Parker (Gary Cole) makes this discovery when looking for Gibbs.
The pair fell out in 2016. For over 15 years NCIS fans loved the relationship between Mark Harmon's Jethro Gibbs and Pauley Perrette's Abby Sciuto but it came crumbling down in 2017 when the actress unexpectedly left the hit CBS show.
What the 'NCIS' Boss Said About Michael Weatherly Returning as DiNozzo. NCIS has already been confirmed for Season 20—and fan attention is already on who will be returning to the CBS show. Michael Weatherly is probably top of most fans' lists when it comes to actors they want to see come back to NCIS.
So, in theory, it would be possible for Weatherly to return to NCIS but there has been no news that he will actually be making a comeback just yet. However, NCIS showrunner Steven D Binder confirmed to TV Insider that there have been talks of him one day reprising the iconic role.
The boat that Gibbs was building during the first six seasons of NCIS was a particularly personal project for the Navy special agent, as it was named after Gibbs' daughter, Kelly. In NCIS lore, Kelly and her mother, Gibbs' first wife, Shannon, were killed in a car accident after their driver was shot by a drug dealer.
“Aht lo leh-vahd,” Tony whispers in her ear. You are not alone. “I know,” she smiles as she walks away. A closing montage, set to Patty Griffin's “You Are Not Alone,” alternates between Ziva in Israel picking olives, planting a tree and leaving a note at the Wailing Wall, and Jackie Vance's funeral.
Fans say Ziva is Gibbs' favorite
"Nah Ziva (David, Cote de Pablo) is definetly (sic) the one Gibbs favoured as a daughter because she earned his trust by saving his life by killing Ari," said /u/youngclarky. A plurality of commenters (about half) picked Ziva as Gibbs' favorite.
They embrace, with Ziva finally accepting comfort for her loss, and Tony reminds her in Hebrew, "Aht lo levad" ("You are not alone").
After a hug and “I love yous,” McGee makes Gibbs promise him he's going to be OK. “I already am,” Gibbs says, and with that, McGee leaves. And NCIS says goodbye to Mark Harmon and Gibbs — for now, we hope. It's hard to imagine the series ending (whenever it does) without him returning.
It turns out that the reports—including ours—of Wilmer Valderrama's exit from his role as Special Agent Nick Torres on NCIS may be greatly exaggerated and that he will be returning for season 20 of the CBS drama.
Katrina Law's Knight has replaced Emily Wickersham's Bishop on the show, just as a knight can capture a bishop in the game of chess.
A continuing thread that runs through the “NCIS” TV series involves Leroy Jethro Gibbs' boats. He has built at least four of them in his basement, and websites are devoted to the mystery they offer ... which is: How does Gibbs get the boats out of his basement after he has finished them?
This seasons-long mystery is solved in Mark Harmon's final episode as the star of NCIS, which finds Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs finding a little peace after decades of struggle. Are you ready to say goodbye with me?
NCIS follows leads to catch Paul LeMere (Jason Wiles), the serial killer operating under the alias Tom Samuels.
Abby's energy drink of choice isn't real, sadly, but you can buy Caf-Pow merchandise. For the authentic NCIS experience, fill your mug with Hawaiian Punch. That's the drink that was used until Perrette cut sugar out of her diet, and the show switched to using unsweetened cranberry juice instead.
Gibbs likes to cook steaks in the fireplace and build boats in his basement. He prefers plain black coffee that's strong and made at home. Or, if necessary, he'll take one from a coffee vendor. One place that's not a coffee option for Gibbs, though, is the NCIS vending machine.
AnotherCigarGuy. Was watching a rerun the other night that said it originally aired in May, 2004. Gibbs was in the basement, sanding his boat when Fornell, the FBI guy came down the steps. on he table." Fornell walks over, picks up a bottle of Rare Breed and says, "Who still drinks THIS stuff?"
As Parker lit up the basement with a flashlight, viewers could clearly see that one of the walls had an enormous boat-shaped hole in it. Essentially, this suggests that Gibbs breaks through the wall on each occasion a boat needs moving – bricking it back up upon his return.
Mark Harmon, as Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the television series NCIS, wears an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Just like his colleague Special Agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) he is wearing the standard size 42mm steel on steel version with orange bezel and and black dial, refence number 2209.50.
I worked for eight years crafting [Ziva] and when I felt like the character wasn't being treated with the respect she deserved. "They were going to send [Ziva] back to Israel and make her an unfortunate, miserable woman. "I didn't think it was fair.
How do we know? Because the boat he was building is a Glen-L Design, the Amigo. Our Shop Foreman, Allyn, made the frames for the show and that is what was shown in the series as described below. We always wondered how Jethro was going to get a 22 foot boat out of his basement!
What kinds of boats does Gibbs on NCIS build? Officially, the Kelly was a Glen-L Amigo, a 22-foot sailboat that Glen-L describes as "a heavy boat capable of serious long-distance offshore and coastal cruising."
Rule 91 is the sixteenth and final episode of NCIS Season 18 and as well as the 414th episode of the entire NCIS series. This episode also marks the final appearance of Emily Wickersham (Eleanor Bishop) as a main cast member.
Since there are only 69 (that we know of), Rule 91 seems to be specifically tied to the Season 18 finale episode, and it could very well be about Mark Harmon's exit from the show, which has been hinted to. Above and below are photos of Rule 91 (the boat), which were recently released by CBS.