This Tuesday on NCIS (CBS, 8/7c), the discovery of a petty officer’s dead body in a billionaire’s Ferrari leads somewhere most unexpected: to the man after whom Leroy Jethro Gibbs was named.
Played by guest star Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), Leroy Jethro Moore is a World War II veteran who a complicated past with Gibbs’ father Jackson (returning player Ralph Waite).
“There’s something that happened in Leroy Jethro [Moore]‘s background that doesn’t specifically connect to the case but connects to a Medal of Honor that he bestowed,” previews showrunner Gary Glasberg.
As the original Leroy Jethro comes face to face with his NCIS agent namesake, “It sort of gets us back into the [Gibbs] family relationship and a falling out that happened with him and Ralph Waite’s character,” says Glasberg. “Gibbs sort of acts as intermediary, to sort of reconnect the two men.”
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Though things may be strained now between Jackson and his old friend, Glasberg promises that viewers will nonetheless get to appreciate the closeness they once shared that led to our Gibbs being dubbed as he was.
“The interaction between Ralph Waite and Billy Dee and Mark [Harmon] is just fantastic. You totally buy the idea that this is a man that had a friendship [with Jackson] that came before Gibbs was even born, that this is the man that his parents chose to name him after,” Glasberg raves. “Billy Dee did a fantastic job, and I’m so happy with the way that it came out.”