‘NCIS’: Gibbs Rules

by on June 14, 2011

in Entertainment

Last weekend I was watching the NCIS marathon that I told everyone about over on my Twitter account… during the marathon I was once again presented with the occasional rule from Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon.

Mark Harmon in NCIS - Naval Criminal Investigative Service

I know they exist but have never seen the list. So I went a hunting. It wasn’t hard to find. There are several resource websites out there that are or act like NCIS wiki’s.

Over at the NCIS Wikia, they list the rules and looking them up, I thought I’d add my voice to the digital fray of the internet forest of information…

So here we go with

Gibbs Rules

Rule #1: Never let suspects stay together.

Rule #1: Never screw over your partner.

Rule #2: Always wear gloves at a crime scene.

Rule #3: Don’t believe what you’re told. Double check.

Rule #3: Never be unreachable. (*Most likely one of Mike Franks’ “Golden Rules”)

Rule #4: The best way to keep a secret? Keep it to yourself. Second best? Tell one other person – if you must. There is no third best.

Rule #5: You don’t waste good.

Rule #6: Never apologize. It’s a sign of weakness.

Rule #7: Always be specific when you lie.

Rule #8: Never take anything for granted.

Rule #9: Never go anywhere without a knife.

Rule #10: Never get personally involved in a case.

Rule #11: When the job is done, walk away.

Rule #12: Never date a co-worker.

Rule #13: Never, ever involve a lawyer.

Rule #15: Always work as a team.

Rule #16: If someone thinks they have the upper hand, break it.

Rule #18: It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

Rule #22: Never, ever bother Gibbs in interrogation.

Rule #23: Never mess with a Marine’s coffee… if you want to live.

Rule #27: There are two ways to follow someone. (1) First way, they never notice you. (2) Second way, they only notice you.

Rule #35: Always watch the watchers.

Rule #38: Your case, your lead.

Rule #39: There is no such thing as coincidence.

Rule #40: If it seems someone is out to get you, they are.

Rule #44: First things first, hide the women and children.

Rule #45: Clean up the mess that you make.

Also stated as, “Never leave behind loose ends.”[25]

Rule #51: Sometimes – you’re wrong.


And there they are, Gibbs Rules, in all their confusingly ordered glory. You might notice the duplications above… rules #1 & 3. They’re reportedly intentional duplications, where there were Mike Franks 3 golden rules that overlapped with Gibbs’ rules. Gibbs started his rules when he met Shannon. (His late wife.)

My favorite rules from above? I like #1, #4, #6, #9, #16, #18, #45 and a golden one, #51. But of those, I’ve been living by #9 & 18 most of my life already, so I go with those.

One of my own rules that I’ve learned to live with is, “Time is always the telling factor in all things.”

Do you have any?

[Psst: In the NCIS finale, it’s been said that the person in the picture that Tony was looking at, will be someone familiar to us. Though there are no more details on that snippet! Arg! {TV Guide}]

The NCIS store on Amazon


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

DAVID RIDGE October 5, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Rule #39a: There is no such thing as coincidence. (Season 7, Episode 21)
although DiNozzo states that is
(Rule #39A) , There is no such thing as a small world. (Season 10, Episode 14)
Canary (episode).
Tony says, “We don’t believe in coincidences around here,” Gibbs added,
Rule #39b: “However, we do believe in bad luck.”

Rule #14: Bend the line, don’t break it. Season 11, Episode 4: Anonymous
Was a Woman (Gibbs)

Rule 62-Always give people space when they get off the elevator. Season 11, episode 13. Quoted by Abby to Gibbs.

Rule #69: Never trust a woman who doesn’t trust her man. (Season 9, Episode 7)

Bruce Simmons October 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

BJ: Allot of shows are taking two week breaks…. When looking at my TV schedule pages, I do show NCIS is on Tuesday nights. I think it’s just on a break for some reason. (These 2 week breaks are weird… not sure what’s up. Maybe debates and play offs?)

bj stevens October 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Where did they move the show as it was NOT on Tuesday at 8pm?

bj stevens October 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Where did they move to as they were not on to night at 8pm?

Susan Hopkins October 11, 2012 at 6:03 am

What are Rules 46 thru 50?

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