A popular series like NCIS, which has 18 seasons and multiple spin-offs under its belt, is likely to have a long list of fan favorite episodes. There is one in particular in the case of the long-running CBS star series, which not only made fans cry, but also broke its leader.
With the thrilling finale of season 18 of CBS‘ hit series NCIS and the high expectations of what the next episode will bring, procedural police drama writers have a very high bar to clear after showcasing exciting episodes and character arcs. Of all the airings so far, one stands out above the rest.
We refer to the story starring award-winning actor Christopher Lloyd, who made a special appearance in the final episode of Season 17 playing the character of a Navy veteran Joe Smith. He delivered a moving performance alongside actors Mark Harmon as Gibbs and Sean Murray as McGee.
NCIS season 17 premiered on CBS in early 2020, after production was halted due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, fans of the series were able to enjoy Christopher Lloyd‘ talent thoroughly, given the guest star played a major spontaneous role in the series finale.
Lloyd as former Navy member Joe Smith, who tries to persuade Gibbs that he is the guy he claims to be, stunned NCIS viewers in the episode “The Arizona.” Joe identifies himself as a 95-year-old veteran who, after having health issues, decides he wants to be buried at the Pearl Harbor memorial because he served there in his youth.
However, there were various issues in proving his identity, prompting the police to request a DNA test from the NCIS team. During the investigation, Lloyd appears in a dramatic sequence in which, despite his character’s reluctance to go into detail, he gives a heartbreaking and heartfelt recounting of the events of the famous Pearl Harbor memorable attack while serving aboard the U.S Navy ship, the famous USS Arizona.
Joe experienced a heart attack and died during his rehabilitation after the episode ended. After his death, it was revealed that his earlier experiences were true events in which he had taken part, rather than a fabrications of a crazy old man. The experience had such an impact on Gibbs that he revealed his most vulnerable side to his partner McGee.
The NCIS protagonist encountered some of his most dramatic and darkest situations in the unforgettable episode. He talked about how war can transform people, and, like Joe, he admitted to McGee that his time in Kuwait had affected him. It changed him so much that he feared his wife and daughter would not recognize him when he returned.
Something he unfortunately couldn’t prove, because as fans of the show know, Gibbs never got the chance to see his wife and daughter upon returning from the war. Both were killed by a drug dealer, whom the protagonist later located and murdered in cold blood.