NCIS season 19 introduced a blossoming relationship between medical examiner Dr. Jimmy Palmer and Special Agent Jessica Knight, but their workplace romance breaks one of former team leader Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ long-standing rules. Gibbs, a former Marine gunnery sergeant turned federal agent, was known for having an extensive list of rules that all members of his team knew and followed. His rules, like his character, provided an underscoring structure to the show until he left the agency in NCIS season 19, episode 4, “Great Wide Open.”
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Following Gibbs’ departure, NCIS season 19 focused on Special Agents Tim McGee, Nick Torres, and Jessica Knight adjusting to a transition in leadership with former FBI Agent Alden Parker as their new boss. However, the season finale’s twist ending—in which Parker is on the run with his ex-wife from the villain the Raven, without knowing she is secretly working with him—has encouraged theories supporting the possibility of Gibbs’ return. Season 19 also included a special crossover event with NCIS: Hawai‛i, the franchise’s newest spinoff.
Palmer and Knight’s attraction is hinted at first in NCIS season 19, episode 15, “Thick As Thieves,” after Knight asks Palmer to be her plus-one at a wedding. Romantic tensions were built up throughout the rest of the season, with them admitting their feelings for each other in episode 20, “All or Nothing,” and finally kissing and making it official in the season finale. It can be assumed that their relationship will continue to be developed as an important subplot in NCIS season 20. However, their relationship breaks Gibbs’ rule number 12: never date coworkers. Gibbs’ absence from the show may complicate whether this rule still applies.