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The Best Episodes of NCIS

Every episode of NCIS ranked from best to worst. Let's dive into the Best Episodes of NCIS!

From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, a team of special agents investigates any crime that has a shred of evidence connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, regardless of rank or position.

Genres:CrimeDramaAction & Adventure

Top Episode Highlight

The best episode of "NCIS" is "The Stories We Leave Behind", rated 9.7/10 from 787 user votes. It was directed by Michael Zinberg and written by Scott Williams, Brian Dietzen. "The Stories We Leave Behind" aired on 2/19/2024 and is rated 0.5 point(s) higher than the second highest rated, "Family First".

  • The Stories We Leave Behind
    9.7/10 787 votes

    #1 - The Stories We Leave Behind

    Season 21 Episode 2 - Aired 2024-02-19

    As NCIS mourns the loss of Ducky, the agents find comfort in working on one of his unfinished cases involving a woman whose father was dishonorably discharged from the Marines.

    Director: Michael Zinberg

    Writer: Scott Williams, Brian Dietzen

  • Family First
    9.2/10 1,418 votes

    #2 - Family First

    Season 13 Episode 24 - Aired 2016-05-17

    NCIS, FBI and MI6 continue an international manhunt for an escaped British spy who is targeting current and former agents.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • Keep Going
    9.2/10 1,305 votes

    #3 - Keep Going

    Season 14 Episode 13 - Aired 2017-01-24

    During an NCIS hit-and-run investigation, Palmer joins a stranger on the outside ledge of a building in an attempt to save his life.

    Director: Terrence O'Hara

    Writer: Scott Williams

  • Truth or Consequences
    9.1/10 1,548 votes

    #4 - Truth or Consequences

    Season 7 Episode 1 - Aired 2009-09-22

    As the hunt for Ziva's replacement begins, Gibbs and his remaining team members must head back to work with the past still weighing heavily on their minds.

    Director: Dennis Smith

    Writer: Jesse Stern

  • She
    9.1/10 738 votes

    #5 - She

    Season 16 Episode 13 - Aired 2019-02-12

    After a malnourished and confused 9-year-old is found hiding in a storage unit, NCIS reopens an old missing persons case when the girl is believed to be the daughter of a Navy recruit who disappeared 10 years ago. Also, Bishop discovers notes that Special Agent Ziva David kept on the case long after NCIS officially stopped investigating.

    Director: Mark Horowitz

    Writer: Gina Lucita Monreal

  • Call of Silence
    9.0/10 1,880 votes

    #6 - Call of Silence

    Season 2 Episode 7 - Aired 2004-11-23

    Ernie Yost, an elder Marine veteran confesses to murdering his best friends almost 60 years ago in a war battle and the NCIS's job is to solve all the secrets and save Ernie from prison.

    Director: Thomas J. Wright

    Writer: Roger Director

  • The Arizona
    9.0/10 910 votes

    #7 - The Arizona

    Season 17 Episode 20 - Aired 2020-04-14

    The team tries to verify the identity of Joe Smith, who claims he served on the U.S.S. Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and wants to be buried there upon his death.

    Director: James Whitmore Jr.

    Writer: Gina Lucita Monreal

  • SWAK
    8.9/10 1,376 votes

    #8 - SWAK

    Season 2 Episode 22 - Aired 2005-05-10

    When Tony opens a mysterious letter thinking it's for him, a small puff of white powder comes out and it releases a possible deadly virus. Kate calls for help and soon she and Tony are isolated in a bio-hazard isolation room for precausion. McGee and Gibbs work to discover who sent the envelope and how to cure their friends before its too late for them. Meanwhile, Tony's health gets worse...

    Director: Dennis Smith

    Writer: Donald P. Bellisario

  • Twilight
    8.9/10 1,249 votes

    #9 - Twilight

    Season 2 Episode 23 - Aired 2005-05-24

    A group of serial terrorists seek revenge and send Ari (guest star Rudolf Martin) on an assignment to kill Gibbs. The NCIS team goes on a hunt after him, but when they discover that Ari has a bigger plan, it is already too late... the NCIS team will have to face the death of one of their team members...

    Director: Thomas J. Wright

    Writer: John C. Kelley

  • Requiem
    8.9/10 1,210 votes

    #10 - Requiem

    Season 5 Episode 7 - Aired 2007-11-06

    Gibbs finds himself emotionally challenged when he agrees to investigate a crime connected to a friend of his daughter, who passed away years ago, and the investigation leads to a shocking conclusion.

    Director: Tony Wharmby

    Writer: Shane Brennan

  • Heartland
    8.9/10 1,266 votes

    #11 - Heartland

    Season 6 Episode 4 - Aired 2008-10-14

    When a murder investigation leads the team to Gibbs' hometown, secrets about his past are revealed.

    Director: Tony Wharmby

    Writer: Jesse Stern

  • Great Wide Open
    8.9/10 716 votes

    #12 - Great Wide Open

    Season 19 Episode 4 - Aired 2021-10-11

    Gibbs and McGee head to Alaska while the team works at home to uncover the conspiracy behind the serial killer.

    Director: Terrence O'Hara

    Writer: Brendan Fehily, David J. North

  • Till Death Do Us Part
    8.8/10 1,023 votes

    #13 - Till Death Do Us Part

    Season 9 Episode 24 - Aired 2012-05-15

    Terrorism shakes the foundations of the Navy and NCIS to such an extent that Gibbs and the team face surprises that will devastate them.

    Director: Tony Wharmby

    Writer: Gary Glasberg

  • Kill Ari (2)
    8.7/10 1,159 votes

    #14 - Kill Ari (2)

    Season 3 Episode 2 - Aired 2005-09-27

    Still stressed over Kate's death, Gibbs is even more hurt when Ari kidnaps Ducky and decides to play with his mind. Gibbs sends Tony to follow Ziva, and after Jenny and Gibbs are almost shot to death, he is even more determined to finish once and for all with Ari, and Ziva's strange connection to Ari will be just the help that he needs.

    Director: James Whitmore Jr.

    Writer: Donald P. Bellisario

  • Judgment Day (2)
    8.7/10 465 votes

    #15 - Judgment Day (2)

    Season 5 Episode 19 - Aired 2008-05-20

    When one of their own is killed, the team must find the killer before they get to another member of the team, Gibbs. In an emotional investigation, the team tries to stay together, against the wishes of Assistant Director Vance.

    Director: Thomas J. Wright

    Writer: Christopher J. Waild, Steven D. Binder, David J. North

  • Shabbat Shalom
    8.7/10 974 votes

    #16 - Shabbat Shalom

    Season 10 Episode 11 - Aired 2013-01-08

    While the NCIS team investigates the link to a dead journalist and a Navy petty officer, Ziva is taken aback by the sudden emotional visit by her father, who she hasn't seen in more than two years. While Ziva questions the purpose of her father's visit as the Director of Mossad, her father insists he is in the U.S. strictly to see his daughter for Shabbat dinner.

    Director: Dennis Smith

    Writer: Christopher J. Waild

  • Honor Thy Father
    8.7/10 900 votes

    #17 - Honor Thy Father

    Season 11 Episode 24 - Aired 2014-05-13

    The NCIS team investigates whether a fire on a U.S. Navy ship that served as a secret detention site for indicted terrorists was accidental or an intentional diversion for an escape. Meanwhile, Gibbs travels to his childhood home following news of his father’s passing.

    Director: Tony Wharmby

    Writer: Gary Glasberg, Gina Lucita Monreal

  • Check
    8.7/10 872 votes

    #18 - Check

    Season 12 Episode 11 - Aired 2015-01-06

    The NCIS team investigates copy-cat crime scenes while Gibbs navigates two ex-wives relentlessly trying to get his attention.

    Director: Alrick Riley

    Writer: Steven D. Binder

  • Spinning Wheel
    8.7/10 800 votes

    #19 - Spinning Wheel

    Season 13 Episode 11 - Aired 2015-12-15

    After Ducky is attacked by a man claiming to have information about his half-brother who died decades ago, the NCIS team searches for the perpetrator, as Ducky recalls the final emotional days he had with his sibling. Also, with the holidays approaching, Bishop and Jake discuss the future of their relationship.

    Director: Terrence O'Hara

    Writer: Steven D. Binder

  • Scope
    8.7/10 864 votes

    #20 - Scope

    Season 13 Episode 18 - Aired 2016-03-15

    The NCIS team re-examines an ambush on a group of Special Ops snipers in Iraq after an American couple is attacked in the same area six months later. When Gibbs discovers he needs the account of the lone survivor, Marine Gunnery Sergeant Aaron Davis, he tries to connect with the wounded warrior who is being treated for PTSD at Walter Reed Medical Center.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: N/A

  • In the Wind
    8.7/10 555 votes

    #21 - In the Wind

    Season 17 Episode 11 - Aired 2020-01-07

    Gibbs must face the consequences of helping Ziva with "the one thing" she said she'd take care of before returning to her family.

    Director: Rocky Carroll

    Writer: Scott Williams

  • Kill Ari (1)
    8.6/10 1,188 votes

    #22 - Kill Ari (1)

    Season 3 Episode 1 - Aired 2005-09-20

    After the terrorist's attack, the NCIS team is shocked and is trying to cope with Kate's sudden death, each in their own way. Now, their mission is to collect all the possible info on Ari and find a way to stop him before he does any more damage. Meanwhile, while feeling guilty over Kate's death, Gibbs is informed that the NCIS director is leaving, and the replacement is Jenny Shepard, a woman Gibbs worked with in the past and had a romantic history with.

    Director: Dennis Smith

    Writer: Donald P. Bellisario

  • Hiatus (2)
    8.6/10 967 votes

    #23 - Hiatus (2)

    Season 3 Episode 24 - Aired 2006-05-16

    The NCIS team must work on an assignment against a terrorist group without Gibbs, who is still recovering from the explosion. Gibbs has to fight with memory loss, while he's visited by his mentor and his former boss. His help is needed, expecially when the team discovers that Gibbs is the only person who has informations about the terrorists' plans, so he needs to retrieve his memory before the terrorists attack.

    Director: Dennis Smith

    Writer: Donald P. Bellisario

  • Dead Man Walking
    8.6/10 1,034 votes

    #24 - Dead Man Walking

    Season 4 Episode 16 - Aired 2007-02-20

    When a Navy Lieutenant becomes the victim of radiation poisoning, the NCIS team must find the person who's behind the crime. The Lieutenant, who is working for the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), claims that only his two colleagues knew about his assignment, and whoever it was, the person tried to stop the Lieutenant's next investigation.

    Director: Colin Bucksey

    Writer: Nell Scovell

  • Judgment Day (1)
    8.6/10 1,029 votes

    #25 - Judgment Day (1)

    Season 5 Episode 18 - Aired 2008-05-20

    When a former NCIS agent is found dead, the entire team is put in danger as they hunt after the killer.

    Director: Thomas J. Wright

    Writer: Steven D. Binder, David J. North