The 19 Absolute Best 'NCIS' Episodes of All Time

From Kate's death to Ziva's return, these are the greatest moments in NCIS history.

ncis best episodes
ROBERT VOETS

NCIS has aired so many incredible episodes throughout its 16 seasons. The CBS drama, which began in 2003, currently stars Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, Wilmer Valderrama, and Emily Wickersham, but some of its most popular characters were played by Cote de Pablo, Michael Weatherly, and Pauley Perrette.

Though it seems impossible to narrow down a list of favorites from the 379 installments, there are a few storylines that stick out as the most memorable. Like Ziva’s exit, rumored death, and miraculous return, for example. Or when the group came face-to-face with some of the most notorious criminals ever seen (remember the Port-to-Port killer?). And don’t even get us started about DiNozzo’s and Abby's exits, lest you want to see us ugly cry for several minutes hours.

We still have a few months before season 17 premieres, so we suggest using this list of best NCIS episodes ever to hold you over until the time comes for Gibbs, McGee, and the rest of the team to liven up our Tuesday nights again. Warning: Once you start, you may find that you can’t stop until you binge-watch every minute.

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Twilight
ROBERT VOETS
Season 2, Episode 23 amazon.com

Fans apparently in fury after discovering Caitlin Todd's (Sasha Alexander) fate in this suspenseful segment. 

Pyramid
Cliff Lipson
Season 8, Episode 24 amazon.com

The Port-to-Port killer's finale will leave you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out what will happen next, and if the NCIS can actually come out on top. 

Kill Ari Parts 1 and 2
ROBERT VOETS
Season 3, Episode 1 and 2 amazon.com

Kate's shocking death sends the entire unit on a manhunt for Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin). The back-to-back episodes also introduced the world to Ziva for the first time. 

Requiem
MONTY BRINTON
Season 5, Episode 7 amazon.com

Gibbs agrees to help the friend of his late daughter, but things quickly turn dangerous. You should likely prepare to cry and/or yell at the TV. 

Call of Silence
CBS All Access
Season 2, Episode 7 amazon.com

A Medal of Honor recipient shocks the team when he confesses to murdering his friend nearly 60 years ago. 

Under Covers
CBS All Access
Season 3, Episode 8 amazon.com

Things between Ziva and DiNozzo heat up when they go undercover as married assassins. All we can focus on is their chemistry, but their mission of stopping a murder at the Marine Corps ball is also watch-worthy. 

Shabbat Shalom
Monty Brinton
Season 10, Episode 11 amazon.com

Ziva's estranged father Mossad Director Eli David, played by Michael Nouri, pays her an unexpected visit that has a lasting impact. 

Till Death Do Us Part
Richard Cartwright
Season 9, Episode 24 amazon.com

Jamie Lee Curtis joins the NCIS ranks as they search for Vance (Rocky Carroll), who has suddenly disappeared. 

Judgement Day Parts 1 and 2
MITCHELL HADDAD
Season 5, Episode 18 and 19 amazon.com

These two episodes completely changed the course of NCIS history. We'll let the rest of Jenny's (Lauren Holly) journey speak for itself. 

Truth or Consequences
CLIFF LIPSON
Season 7, Episode 1 amazon.com
$19.99

The NCIS struggles to cope—and find a replacement—after Ziva leaves. They fear she may have died, so they embark on a revenge mission that does not go smoothly. 

Honor Thy Father
Monty Brinton
Season 11, Episode 24 amazon.com

Gibbs heads to Stillwater after his father's death, while the rest of the team investigates a prison escape that brings them face-to-face with an old enemy. 

Past, Present, and Future
Sonja Flemming
Season 11, Episode 2 amazon.com

Ziva's final moments (or at least, what we thought were her final moments), were spent, and honestly it's worth watching all 60 minutes just to experience "Tiva" at its finest.

Rendezvous
Michael Yarish
Season 14, Episode 24 amazon.com

Jennifer Esposito and her character, Alex Quinn, say goodbye to the series in this episode that follows Gibbs, McGee, and Torres as they search for a missing Navy SEAL.

Family First
Sonja Flemming
Season 13, Episode 24 amazon.com

DiNozzo's exit was jam-packed with mystery and new revelations about the love of his life, Ziva, and the child he didn't know the two shared. 

House Divided
Monty Brinton
Season 15, Episode 1 amazon.com

Season 15 kicked off where the dramatic season 14 finale left off: With Gibbs and McGee in serious danger after getting captured by the Revolutionary Armed Council in Paraguay.

Two Steps Back
Patrick McElhenney
Season 15, Episode 22 amazon.com

Abby Sciuto's farewell was not for the faint of heart. After 15 seasons, forensic scientist Abby (and actress Pauley) said goodbye after a traumatizing experience left her friend Reeves (Duane Henry) dead.  

She
Monty Brinton
Season 16, Episode 13 amazon.com

Viewers had long given up on Ziva, but hope that she was still alive was restored after Bishop discovered a major bombshell in season 16. 

Daughters
Sonja Flemming
Season 16, Episode 24 amazon.com

After years of believing she was gone for good, Ziva finally made a reemergence in the final episode of the most recent season. More great news? We'll apparently get to see more of her in the 2019 premiere as well! 

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