Why NCIS’ Shocking Season 18 Premiere Betrayal May Not Be What It Seems

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Warning! The following contains spoilers for the NCIS episode “Sturgeon Season.” Read at your own risk!

NCIS got a late start to the season due to COVID-19, but the Season 18 premiere finally arrived strong. “Sturgeon Season” opened with a scene in which McGee pursued a plane rolling down a runway, and successfully pulled his car in front of its path. McGee exited his car but soon found trouble as a sniper fired three shots. The first missed, the second hit his arm, and the third went right into his leg.

McGee finally dropped to the ground writhing in pain, as the scene cut to the sniper taking shots at him. It was none other than Gibbs, and just as the mind of every NCIS fan presumably exploded, the episode flashed back to months earlier. Viewers were left with the knowledge that Gibbs may have gunned down one of his own in cold blood, and speculate on what situation on NCIS led to that. I spent most of the episode pondering what could’ve happened, and ultimately, I’m a bit skeptical the situation was what it appeared.

When things in NCIS seem truly unbelievable, things may not be as they appear. As much as I want to believe Gibbs broke bad or that McGee is some dirty cop that’s been on the take and deserved to be targeted, neither action is really in the character of either. Sure Gibbs has had his past brushes with some sketchy behavior, but killing someone on his own task force?

Also, it should be noted that Gibbs served as a Scout Sniper for the U.S. Marine Corps. People can lose a step with age, I suppose, but am I really to believe he would miss a kill shot on McGee when he’s on top of a building not that far away? He probably could’ve gotten a good shot in without a scope, so the placement of those bullets, while still painful, seemed intentionally placed in areas that would not kill McGee.

Not that knowing that would make McGee any happier about being shot by Gibbs, so I have to wonder if the shots were made in an effort to convince another group of his loyalty to them. Perhaps Gibbs has gone deep undercover in some criminal underworld that I’m guessing is somehow involved in that whole business he’s caught up in on the low with Tobias Fornell. The NCIS team may not know Gibbs put these shots on McGee, but the people he could be working with would’ve certainly been suspicious had he whiffed a bunch of shots on an operative.

My final theory is that, even though those shots looked painful, they were entirely faked. Perhaps this is some elaborate NCIS plan where McGee loaded himself up with fake blood packets, and Gibbs is popping off blanks outside of the clear missed shot? Okay, I know this theory is a stretch, but even so, less of a stretch than the idea that Gibbs was actively trying to kill McGee in the Season 18 opener.

Do you think Gibbs was trying to kill McGee? Sound off in our poll, and tune into NCIS on CBS Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the franchise, and for the latest news happening in television and movies.